PEAKS ISLAND — Thanks for the article on the Casco Bay Lines crowds over July Fourth weekend (“Large crowds strain ferries to popular Casco Bay islands,” July 6).

As a longstanding resident (summer since 1972; permanent since 2013), I too have witnessed over the decades a significant increase in tourism to the island. It has not been given proper attention; it is not just a Casco Bay Lines issue. To help the city and Portland Press Herald readers appreciate the challenges Peaks Island residents face beyond the excessive wait lines, please consider this analogy.

Imagine you live on Munjoy Hill and you have one mode of public transportation up and down the Hill: a trolley service with two stops, one at Congress Street/Washington Avenue, the other at Eastern Promenade/Congress Street. The trolley departs from the Eastern Prom frequently, with the exception of a few 90-plus-minute breaks. Of course, if you have the means, you can dock and use your own conveyance in your driveway.

On the weekends, when you need to run errands, attend a child’s game or receive your children from your ex-spouse, you leave your dwelling on the Hill. You hop the trolley at the Eastern Prom stop, land at the Washington Street stop 17 minutes later and walk to your parked car.

If you’re lucky, after a five-year wait, you’ve scored a spot in a nearby garage for $140 a month (sans security surveillance). Or you’ve managed to snag one of the limited spots on a few side streets earmarked for cars with Hill resident stickers where you can leave it for several days without risk of being ticketed or towed.

You run your errands and plan your return to the Hill, paying close attention to the clock. You know exactly how many minutes it takes to park, load everything you have into a cart, wagon or baby stroller, dash to the trolley stop, buy a ticket and queue to board. As you round the bend to the Washington Avenue stop, you’re dumbfounded by the throngs of people waiting. The line goes all the way down to Franklin Street. “What?! I have to wait behind 400 tourists for the next trolley?”

A little about these tourists in line with you: They’ve heard of the historic sites, shops, restaurants and glorious views touted by city and Maine businesses and publications. They’ve read about the Prom being the best place to hold a wedding or attend a Reggae Sunday event.

When they disembark at the Eastern Prom stop, families rent golf carts if they don’t rent or have bikes. Parents place their children in their laps, sometimes letting them take a turn at the wheel. It’s not uncommon to spot drivers with an open alcoholic beverage between their knees.

This isn’t policed. Why? The city has only appointed only two police officers and a cadet to manage this influx of tourism every summer weekend. And they’re required to be at the Eastern Prom stop every time a scheduled trolley arrives or departs. All other public safety matters take a back seat.

At the end of the day, some tourists are so inebriated, they form into a drunken pool not fit for any child to stand among. The debris, including soiled diapers, overflows the garbage cans on the Prom. (When the sanitation crew empties them days later, a rank reminder steams off Congress Street.)

As a taxpaying resident of Portland since 1998, I can’t imagine that residents of Munjoy Hill or anywhere else on the peninsula would tolerate this overwhelming influx of tourism. Can you imagine the outrage? Residents would line up at the doors of the mayor and city councilors, demanding zoning rights and funds to preserve their public safety, services and quality of life.

Yet Peaks residents are expected to tolerate this because we’re not really a community of Portland, are we? We’re treated and exploited as a summer resort.

Despite our cries of frustration, Casco Bay Lines continues to reinforce the idea that since it receives federal funding, it cannot discriminate by favoring islanders over tourists. Exactly where are these outdated regulations that never anticipated this increase in tourism? Are they locked in a vault, never to be revisited again?

As a taxpaying resident of the city of Portland on Peaks Island who’s been affected by the excessive increase in tourism, I pray for a public hearing to explore both the regulations and allocation of resources to better manage 1) the number of public safety officials on duty and Department of Public Works services and 2) a designated waiting area and priority Casco Bay Lines boarding for residents, the elderly, the disabled and parents with young children.

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