The City Council approved a plan Tuesday to change part of Appleton Street from two-way to one-way traffic to create more parking for those using the Waterville Public Library at 73 Elm St. Above, balloons decorate the library last month to mark its reopening after being closed for more than two years. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to approve a pilot project to create additional parking for the Waterville Public Library by changing Appleton Street to one-way traffic from Elm Street to near the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons.

The vote followed a public hearing at The Elm at 21 College Ave. Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, was the lone dissenter.

City Manager Steve Daly said people have long complained the library at 73 Elm St. has inadequate parking.

Cindy Jacobs, president of the library’s board of trustees, said the parking situation poses problems, especially for older people and those with children who must walk across busy streets to get to the library.

Jacobs worked with city officials to come up with the proposal to change part of Appleton Street from two-way to one-way traffic from Elm Street to the Colby dormitory on Main Street.

It allows for 19 diagonal parking spaces along the street next to the library — for library parking only — from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Three parking spaces already exist on Appleton Street, near the library, and 16 would be new. If the change works well on a trial basis, the council could decide to extend it.


Francke later explained he voted against the plan because it does not address an underlying problem of limited parking downtown, particularly with more students parking in the area because of the Colby College housing along Main Street.

He said no traffic study or analysis was done of the Appleton Street plan, and it was premature to make the change because Main Street later this week is to revert to two-way traffic, and it is not yet clear how that will affect traffic patterns in the area.

With the council action Tuesday, drivers entering Appleton Street from Main Street will be required to turn left into The Concourse because they will not be allowed to proceed on Appleton Street.

Daly said an elderly woman who was crossing Appleton Street within the past month was startled by a car coming from Elm Street, causing her to trip and fall backward, suffering injury.

The driver did not stop to help the woman, but library staff members came to her aid and she was taken to a hospital.

Daly said the expectation is the traffic change on Appleton Street will help slow traffic.


Former Mayor Karen Heck thanked city officials for being willing to try one-way traffic on Appleton Street.

“I think the fact that it’s going to be a trial is a good idea,” Heck said.

In other matters Tuesday, councilors voted 6-1 to approve an agreement with Springfield Terminal Railway Co. for the design and construction of an updated safety system at the Temple Street railroad crossing, with the payment of $77,000 to be funded by the city’s BUILD grant.

CSX Transportation Inc., which bought Pan Am Railways Inc., required a new agreement with the city to fund the design and construction of a system that will mirror others along the rail lines. Without such an agreement, the city would have to shut down all public access to the Head of Falls area or keep one-way traffic on Main and Front streets until an agreement is in place.

Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 5, was the lone dissenter in the vote.

The council welcomed Morris, the former Ward 1 councilor, and new Councilor Brandon Gilley, D-Ward 1.


Councilors voted to confirm the mayoral appointments of Nate Smart, Brett Brockway and Bob Hussey to the Waterville Housing Committee. They also voted to waive the bidding requirements to buy two 2022 Ford Police Interceptor Utility all-wheel-drive vehicles from Quirk Auto Group of Augusta for $69,894.

Additionally, the council voted 6-1 to refer to the Planning Board for a public hearing and recommendation a request to rezone 84 College Ave. to allow marijuana cultivation and sales there. Francke was the lone dissenter.

State Rep. Bruce White, D-Waterville, said he wanted to remind people that Dec. 1 is the deadline to apply for the property tax stabilization program. The program creates an opportunity for those 65 or older who have owned a home in Maine for at least 10 years to have their property taxes frozen.

Daly reported the Quarry Road Recreation Area began making snow Monday night and is expected to be open this weekend.

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