Bangor City Councilor Ben Sprague went to Facebook to share his idea of where the a new bus hub location should be.

Pickering Square is the location currently for the city bus hub, and has been for years.  Now, there are plans to turn Pickering Square into a purely pedestrian area with the problem of where to now have city buses converge in a convenient area for those that use the bus system.

Sprague shared a photo showing Exchange Street in Bangor in a location between the Bangor District Court and the parking lot and TD Bank across the street as a location that could suit the bus hub as a replacement location to the Pickering Square location.

He picked this location due to its closeness to Downtown, low impact on traffic, a good location in the case of commuter rail making it all the way up to Bangor in the future and being a location that could viable receive federal dollars.

Sprague states in his Facebook post:

Over the past week I have been listening to your comments, considering different perspectives, and pouring over maps of Downtown Bangor to continue working on the Pickering Square/bus hub questions. Yesterday I circulated a memo to my fellow city councilors offering a new idea and I think it is only fair that I share it with the public here.

What I propose for the bus hub is a location on Exchange Street ("The Downtown Bangor Transit Exchange"). This location would have several advantages including:

--preservation of a centralized hub in an accessible location in Downtown Bangor.

--accessibility would improve for buses coming from Brewer, Veazie/Orono/Old Town, and Broadway. Hampden, Hammond Street, and Union Street routes would be little changed.

--route timings could remain generally the same as they are now.

--if passenger rail returns to Bangor, a likely location could be near the old Union Station. A transit hub on Exchange Street could be the beginning of a true multi-modal facility/area.

--The entirety of Pickering Square would remain available as pedestrian-friendly open space

I also propose a trolley circulating on a continuous loop to various stops around Downtown Bangor including Pickering Square and up Main Street to Beal College and back.

In analyzing maps of Pickering Square in recent days, I also realized that much of Pickering Square is itself in a federal food zone. Granted, it is a lower risk zone than the area behind the parking garage, but it is a flood zone nonetheless. I have concerns about gaining future federal funding for our transit system if we situate the hub in a flood zone especially with the likelihood of flood zones becoming more expansive in the coming years due to climate change and rising sea levels. Would this jeopardize our ability to obtain funding? Would we need to move the hub once again in the coming years? I do not know. But these questions need to be considered.

As I mention in the memo, I am not a traffic engineer, but I think the Exchange Street location has the potential to not just be a nice compromise but in actuality a superior location for the bus hub than Pickering Square: a true win-win.

I welcome thoughts, concerns, and suggestions. The full memo I sent to my fellow councilors and staff can be found at the following link: https://www.scribd.com/document/443884199/Memo-Downtown-Bangor-Transit-Exchange-1-21-2020?fbclid=IwAR0oeNKGNjUHPLrY78lQ5_q8IZ7c1DmxNGfXlCsNgwnxWBwzxC4FopY1Wb4

Sprague mentioned in his post that moving the hub to a different spot would be better since Pickering Square is in a flood zone, which would be difficult to acquire federal funding for. This new location Sprague pointed out would be well out of a flood zone area, and thus more likely to get federal dollars.

Also mentioned in the post, Sprague seems to be bringing in the possibility of a rail system coming to Bangor and surmising that if that were to take place that it would likely be located near where the old Union Station was, located on the Penobscot River where Penobscot Plaza currently resides on Washington Street.

What are your thoughts?  Sprague posted a link in his post for feedback if you feel so inclined.

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