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Traffic, parking, and crowds

Maine
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225 posts
22 reviews
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Traffic, parking, and crowds

I've read a lot of posts from people who are worried about traffic, parking, and crowds here in Maine in the summer. I grew up in NY and have lived in Baltimore and Chicago, so I know something about traffic and crowds! For folks who are worried, I hope I can calm your anxiety a little bit. As many have said, for those coming from more congested parts of the US, you will probably laugh at what we call a traffic jam.

Sure, things get busier in the summer and there are lots more people and cars around. But it's all relative. I drive Commercial Street in Portland every single day to get to work. In the winter it takes me about 5 minutes to get from one end to the other. In the summer, this drive triples to 15 minutes. But really, I don't mind. I enjoy seeing the people and the cruise ships when they are in the harbor. The hustle and bustle of a hopping Old Port is fun.

The other day I went out to lunch with my sister. I found a place at a meter about 3 blocks from the restaurant. In any other month except July and August I would've been able to park just steps away. But walking 3 blocks (which took all of 5 minutes) gave us a chance to window shop on our way to lunch.

What really drives people "wicked up the wall" is construction related traffic jams. But the "powers that be" (ie, the DOT) knows this and does everything possible to minimize problems, such as doing construction at night and putting up signs in advance, warning people of upcoming projects and suggesting taking an alternate route. From where I sit, their efforts are working. So far this summer (knock on wood) I have not gotten stuck in any horrendous traffic tie-ups due to construction.

So for those who are worried, all I can say is--don't waste too much energy on this. We have good roads, it is easy to get around, and parking is plentiful. We are happy to have you here, whether you have arrived by car, train, bus, plane, or cruise ship. Enjoy our beautiful state!

Leslie

Southern Maine
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for Maine
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3,792 posts
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1. Re: Traffic, parking, and crowds

Leslie - I have to guess that you haven't driven through Poland lately... :-) Seriously - getting around Portland and finding parking isn't usually too stressful and I agree that traffic compared to Boston, NYC, etc. isn't at the same standard. However, the back-ups in construction zones (like Poland) and heavy crosswalk areas like Wiscasset, Ogunquit and Camden can often add at least a half hour to your travel time. I think it's fair to point that out.

Maine
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225 posts
22 reviews
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2. Re: Traffic, parking, and crowds

No, I haven't been to Poland in awhile--sorry to hear you have construction woes! LOL.

I agree, you can have back-ups in the towns you mentioned, and also crossing the bridge in Bath can be problematic at times. Heck, I got stuck in a traffic jam in Cape Elizabeth last weekend. I was picking up my dog at the groomer and get mixed up in the Beach to Beacon traffic leaving Cape. I needed to meet my husband to catch the 12:15 ferry to Peaks. At 11:45 when I was inching along Rt. 77 I was sure I'd miss the boat. But I crossed the Casco Bay Bridge at 12:06, zoomed down Commercial Street, found a parking place, and ran to the ferry, dog in tow. We made it. :-)

Central Maine
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for Maine
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152 reviews
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3. Re: Traffic, parking, and crowds

As someone who often mentions potential traffic situations in my Trip Advisor posts, I am the first to admit that "traffic slowdowns", "traffic congestion", and "quicker and longer routes" are all relative terms.... especially for folks from more populated areas than Maine. But many folks "from away" envision Maine as rural, wide-open coastline and woodlands where everyone can easily zip along at (or at least somewhere near) the speed limit... and they estimate their travel times, or envision their upcoming vacation travel accordingly. While traffic back-ups of fifteen or twenty minutes are not necessarily "significant situations" in larger cities elsewhere in the US, an unexpected delay of that long in a trip up US Rt 1 for a mid-summer vacationer could be.... I don't include them to discourage folks from traveling anywhere in Maine they want to go -- and agree that we're glad to have them vacation here -- but just want them to be able to include realistic travel times and expectations in their planning.

Maine
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4. Re: Traffic, parking, and crowds

Actually Maine is a rural place where you can zip along at the speed limit...........when tourist season is over :)

Having lived "away" for awhile in places with much worse traffic, when it would take 45 minutes to drive the 4 miles from work to home, it was a breath of fresh air to move back and only have to encounter minor bottlenecks like Wiscasset. I think it's a good idea to make people aware of these spots, but I also get the impression that some visitor posters think that these are vacation killing traffic jams and get overly concerned with ways to avoid them. When in most cases any delays will be relatively minor.

5. Re: Traffic, parking, and crowds

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