Parents' concerns likely to kill Freeport library METRO stop

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FREEPORT — A METRO bus stop proposed at the Freeport Community Library may be changed because of parents’ concerns.

Library Director Arlene Arris said parents are worried about possible traffic and safety issues if a bus stop is placed at the library at 10 Library Drive.

The express bus service between Portland, Falmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport was approved by the town last October. A pilot program is scheduled to start in mid-June.

“They were concerned about traffic,” Arris said. “They didn’t think it’d be good for buses to be coming through here.”

Denise Beck, director of marketing for the Greater Portland Transit District, said METRO is listening to concerns.

“We’re taking a look at changing that and most likely will,” Beck said. “We haven’t made a decision yet, but will most likely change the stop.”

When METRO executives met with library staff and around 20 parents last week, the parents said they are worried about their children waiting to be picked up at the library after the library has closed. She said parents don’t want strangers dropped off near their children when a child may have no safe place to go.

Other concerns from parents, Arris said, include parking and traffic. She said parents think people will take advantage of library parking and then use the bus to go back to the center of town, where parking is harder to find.

Arris said people also worry that people who don’t live in Freeport will use the  library as a “pit stop” or stop to use the bathroom.

“They said this is more of a town oasis,” Arris said. “They said it would change the landscape here of being just for Freeport.”

The library “has no issue” with the bus stop, Arris said. She added that parents know she is supportive of their concerns.  

“I’m supportive of the route coming to Freeport, but I’m concerned about the traffic it would create,” Arris said. “I’m grateful they’re considering other options.”

Beck said the three other stops planned in Freeport will be at L.L. Bean corporate headquarters on Casco Street, Town Hall, and on Main Street in front of the L.L. Bean bike, boat and ski store.

A May 9 meeting has been scheduled at the library to talk about the three-year pilot program, but Beck said the meeting wasn’t scheduled specifically to discuss parents’ concerns. The meeting will take place from 5-6:30 p.m.

Meetings will also be held at Yarmouth’s Merrill Memorial Library on May 3 from 5-6:30 p.m.; Falmouth Memorial Library on May 4 from 5-6:30 p.m.; and Portland Public Library on May 5 from 5-6:30 p.m. and May 7 from 10:30 a.m.-noon.

METRO first proposed the bus route in June 2014, and since then has been working with towns to modify bus schedules, fees and stops.

Nine weekday trips and five Saturday trips are being proposed at $3 for a one-way ticket. Beck said more information will be available soon about the express service  on the METRO website.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.
  • Scott Harriman


    She said parents think people will take advantage of library parking and then use the bus to go back to the center of town, where parking is harder to find.

    Downtown Freeport has multiple surface lots and a garage that always have space available and are completely free.

    What advantage would there be to parking at the library, waiting around for a bus that only comes by every hour or two and paying $3 for a short ride down Main Street?

  • Chew H Bird

    First, the Library is public property and that includes everyone… Fear of children being around strangers? If the child is too young to be alone in a public area they should not be there in the first place. How about better parenting like not having your child alone in a public place and being on time to pick up your kids?

    Fear of strangers? Heck, there are strangers inside the Library as well as outside. The Library is a public place. What part of “public place” isn’t being understood?

    • Scott Harriman

      But the strangers would be those scary bus people…

      • Chew H Bird

        My Mom told me a story about the building of 295… Our house was right next to the highway and our neighbor came over and warned my Mom that some bedraggled and sweaty work men were heading toward our house. What did my Mom do? Instead of being afraid or frightened, she went to see what they needed… For the entire construction season my Mom made sure there was a water hose hooked up in our back yard so the men could get a drink any time they wanted and she would unlock the back basement door so they could use the basement bathroom (back then there were no porta potties on job sites).

  • farmertom2

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

  • David M. Perry

    This kind of mindless opposition to convenient public transportation is plain idiotic. Is it really a problem if “strangers” wait outside the library for a bus, or god forbid, need to use the rest room? Endless hearings and debate about petty issues help increase the cost of public transportation and cause unnecessary friction and animosity.