Hannaford: Sidewalk Success Story

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Fred Packard’s outrage over a photo showing the sorry shortcut across a gully into Hannaford supermarket had a happy ending.

That ending was news that the grocery chain will build a sidewalk for pedestrians next spring. No longer will they be forced to step out into Route 302 and walk in the same space drivers use to enter the supermarket, sometimes with children in tow.

“A plan came together there,” he announced Tuesday, after Board Secretary Georgianne Fleck read from an Aug. 16 letter by Douglas Boyce Sr., site engineering project manager for Hannaford Supermarkets.

“Hannaford is pleased to support the town’s plans to improve pedestrian mobility,” Boyce said. The sidewalk will be constructed on the right side of the right-turn driveway for southbound Route 302 traffic into the parking lot. It will extend all the way down to the parking spots beside the supermarket building. Because there is a railing there, the access way will need to be narrowed from 15 to around 11 feet wide, still allowing plenty of room for vehicles to enter.

Packard became aware of the pedestrian safety issue during a meeting on a sidewalk survey done this spring. A slideshow of existing conditions depicted board planking crossing a gulley between the Greater Bridgton-Lake Region Chamber of Commerce building and the supermarket’s parking lot. Residents traveling to Hannaford on foot from the downtown area, seeking to avoid the dangerous loop into the highway necessitated by the railing, were said to be cutting through the chamber’s parking lot and crossed over the gulley instead.

It was an unacceptable scenario to Packard, and he brought it to the board’s attention. Fleck wrote to Boyce, and a meeting was held Aug. 4 with town department heads Alan Manoian, Jim Kidder and Rob Baker. Boyce came back with a plan, which did not need board approval but was reviewed by department heads.

“Looks Good!” said Transfer Station Director Robert Fitzcharles Sr.

“Project appears to enhance pedestrian traffic flow and safety,” said Police Chief Kevin Scholfield.

“No concerns with this proposal,” said Fire Chief Glen Garland. “Thank You!”

Boyce said the sidewalk would end at the curb of the access driveway, “allowing for its logical continuation toward the village if the town is successful in its efforts to secure support and funding for sidewalk construction in the area.

One of the goals of the Comprehensive Plan Committee, which is now drafting proposed new development standards for Portland Road, is to require developers to provide sidewalks for all new construction projects. In addition, the town also hopes to secure state funding for sidewalk construction along existing businesses.

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