Progress continues on Harbor Walk as city looks to address lighting concerns
Belfast — The Harbor Walk continues to make steady progress towards completion, as the city works to address lighting concerns from neighbors along Front Street.
City Planner Wayne Marshall told councilors Tuesday, Sept. 3, that work on the ramp leading to the Armistice Bridge has been nearly completed and is now open to the public. He said the only work that remains to be done on the ramp is to install a hand rail that should arrive within the next few weeks.
He said much of the paving for the walk is done or nearing completion, and the next phase of the project is to complete the landscaping, which he estimated would take a few weeks to complete.
As work continues on the project, Marshall said the city is having a report compiled regarding the lighting along the walkway. Concerns were raised by neighbors near Front Street who characterized the lighting used on the Harbor Walk as “unnecessary” and “excessive."
In a letter sent to The Republican Journal, the neighbors wrote that “the emitted light is extraordinarily bright and widely cast.”
“Part of the beauty of our harbor and parks at night is the night sky. This expansive and powerful lighting now diminishes views of the night sky and the nocturnal harbor. The pleasure of walking along the harbor is now sorely undermined by a walkway bathed in glaring light,” the letter from neighbors states.
In response to the intensity of the light, Marshall said the intention was that the light would be bright enough that people walking along the Harbor Walk could be recognized. He continued by saying not all of the lighting is on along the walkway and recommendations could come back to the council about other lighting options they could pursue if they wished to make any changes.
He said the report on the lighting would be made available to the council once it is completed.
Once Marshall concluded his update on the Harbor Walk work, Councilor Mike Hurley asked about what type of bollard would be used to prevent people from driving onto the Harbor Walk. Marshall said the idea of the barrier would be something that is easy to move and would rest on the ground.
He said he envisioned the bollard would be a wood post with a wood cap and wood base. That raised some concerns from councilors that the bollards would be too easy to knock over, which prompted a suggestion from Hurley that the bollards have “some substance” without being so heavy they could only be moved with a forklift.
Hurley then asked Marshall about the proposed plantings along Steamboat Landing near the Boathouse. He said he was concerned that the area where there will be plantings is too narrow and a tree would grow out to the curb.
Councilor Lee asked if the planting strip was as wide as the plans called for because he said it seems narrower. Marshall said a change was made to install granite curb as opposed to having a ditch to address storm-water issues.
Marshall said plans originally called for a ditch in between the edge of Front Street and the walkway, but a granite curb was installed instead, which took up about six inches of the planting area.
“It just doesn't look like it will work,” Hurley said in reference to the area where trees will be planted.
Hurley also commented about how narrow Front Street is when cars are parked along the road.
“It's not a two lane road when people are using it for parking,” he said.
He continued by saying the city needs to determine how it wants to use the road. Lee then made a point that if the road is too narrow and if there is a discussion about widening it, the granite curb that has been installed should be shifted to give more room for the trees.
“What's in there now is just ridiculously too narrow,” Lee said.
The update on the Harbor Walk concluded with a suggestion from Councilor Eric Sanders to host a celebration once work on the walkway is completed.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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