2016-05-13 / Front Page

All aboard

City wants to add bus stop in neighboring Scarborough
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer


The South Portland Bus Service picks up passengers from in front of Wal-Mart on Gallery Boulevard in Scarborough last week. The bus service, which has been servicing Gallery Place since it opened, is planning another stop near the Bob’s Discount Furniture and Homegoods/ Marshalls parking lot to better serve those who use the shops and restaurants in the complex. (Michael Kelley photo) The South Portland Bus Service picks up passengers from in front of Wal-Mart on Gallery Boulevard in Scarborough last week. The bus service, which has been servicing Gallery Place since it opened, is planning another stop near the Bob’s Discount Furniture and Homegoods/ Marshalls parking lot to better serve those who use the shops and restaurants in the complex. (Michael Kelley photo) The municipalities of Scarborough and South Portland have entered into an agreement to expand the public transportation that services Gallery Boulevard, a commercial development between Payne and Mussey roads that houses several big box stores, including Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Marshall’s/Homegoods and a number of restaurants, such as Red Robin’s, Texas Roadhouse, Little Caesar’s and KFC.

For the last eight years, the South Portland bus service has brought shoppers or employees to the area and has asked the town for permission to construct a bus shelter across the street from Red Robin’s and in front of 700 Gallery Blvd., the newest part of the development. South Portland will be responsible for constructing and maintaining the 5’ x 10’ bus shelter.

Arthur Handman, South Portland’s director of transportation, said the stop would be the second South Portland bus stop in Gallery Boulevard. A stop has been offered at 500 Gallery Blvd. since Wal-Mart opened.

“All this project does is put another stop in front of the Bob’s store,” Handman said.

The project, he said, is aimed at making going to the shopping area easier for people so “they don’t have to walk” from the stop in front of Wal-Mart, which Handman said is a quarter mile away.

“We are very pleased they are providing public transportation in this area of town. I see this as a no-brainer decision,” Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said May 4, just before the Scarborough Town Council unanimously approved the inter-city agreement.

The topic was expected to be taken up by the South Portland City Council this week.

“We are working on workshop stuff right now,” South Portland City Manager Jim Gailey said. “It will most likely be a topic of discussion next week on (the city council) agenda.”

Handman said he would like to start the project soon.

“As soon as the approvals are done, we’ll have the shelter available as soon as possible,” he said.

South Portland bus service stops at Gallery Boulevard 16 times a day during the week and seven times a day every Saturday. The bus service does not operate on Sunday, but Handman said Sunday service is being considered.

Hall said South Portland is not the only neighboring municipality whose bus service makes stops in town. For more than 20 years the Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit, which does business as ShuttleBus-Zoom, has been servicing Scarborough through its Portland Intercity bus service, which passes through Scarborough as it connects Biddeford with the Maine Mall area and downtown Portland. The bus operates seven days a week and makes seven trips through Scarborough a day during the week, five on Saturday and three on Sundays (which bump up to five in the summer)

The service has a number of set stops along the way, including near the Clambake and the Landing on Pine Point Road, by the Dairy Corner in Dunstan and across from Wendy’s for northbound buses and in front of Jordan’s Floral and Gifts for southbound buses passing through Oak Hill. The bus also makes a stop at the Maine Medical facility on Campus Drive.

“There are no shelters in Scarborough at this time,” said Perian Carpenter, public relations and outreach coordinator for ShuttleBus-Zoom. “We are looking into putting shelters in that area. The exact locations have not been determined.”

Adding permanent bus shelters at Dunstan and increasing service between that part of town and Portland were listed as two of the goals of 2014’s Dunstan Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy. Shelters have been proposed at several sites in Dunstan, including outside On the Vine Marketplace or old Southgate House, which Avesta Housing is redeveloping into a new affordable housing complex

“We look forward to exciting things in Scarborough. We want to be part of it. We appreciate the support we have from Scarborough,” said Al Schutz, director of ShuttleBus-Zoom.

Hall said for the last few years, the town has provided $25,000 to the Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit to offset the cost of maintaining service to Scarborough. Schutz said the money helps to ensure the Scarborough service continues.

“We are happy to be partnering with Scarborough and we want to make sure they continue to have service,” Schutz said.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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