Bar Harbor Streetscape Makeover

Story by: Larry Johannesman, ASLA and MaineDOT Landscape Architect

Story by: Larry Johannesman, ASLA and MaineDOT Landscape Architect

Construction is wrapping up this spring on the two-year old Bar Harbor project and will be ready for the summer tourist season. MaineDOT, the Town, the Village Improvement Association, the National Park Service and other community partners all contributed to transforming the corridor to promote better traffic flow and make it safer for all users. Major streetscape improvements were also completed for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Route 3 construction followed recent wayfinding signage improvements throughout the downtown by the Town in partnership with the Acadia All-American Road – one of Maine’s Scenic Byways.

Bar Harbor Map

Significant changes can be seen in the Hulls Cove area. There’s a new sidewalk for people to make their way safely on foot to Acadia National Park and enjoy the spectacular open ocean views on the way.   

new sidewalk

The narrow, steep grades above Hulls Cove created design challenges. The historic Hulls Cove Schoolhouse road frontage property was completely wiped out and new retaining walls, fencing and a garden were put back. Across the street, to avoid a significant bank cut and save trees, the steep bank was protected with a rockery slope using local granite.

local granite rockery slope

The spectacular bluffs area directly alongside Acadia National Park will now have a wide shoulder for improved pull-off parking to enjoy the ocean views. Brown painted guardrail was used instead of the standard shiny galvanized.

pull-off parking

Closer to downtown, the new 10’ wide multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists replaces the wrinkled, failing, narrow sidewalk. The new path will allow safe, easy movement on foot or bike back and forth between the large hotels and downtown. There’s new sidewalk on the other side of Route 3 and both sides will have new Island Explorer bus stops. Native plantings will be used along the path in front of College of the Atlantic to screen campus parking and a few small buildings. Many of the trees removed to make room for the path will be replaced with disease resistant elms and other native trees.

native plantings

Just beyond the college on the north side of Route 3, numerous historic granite pillars had to be removed for construction.  As you can see in the photos below, these pillars were disassembled, new footings poured and then rebuilt on the adjacent property preserving a significant landscape element in this part of town.

Maine DOT construction

Near the terminus of the MaineDOT construction project The Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association created a small park at the intersection of West and Eden Streets. The photos below show the park plan and workers installing the pavers for the fountain area and Fire of 1947 Memorial spot. This special spot known as DeGregoire Green will allow visitors and town residents to rest and get back away from the busy intersection. Interpretive signage and benches will be placed along the walkway.