Honking horns and crunching metal have become familiar sounds to the residents of Bangor. Everyone is becoming frustrated with all the traffic, which in turn causes more traffic. So the question is: When will this all end? When will construction be finished? When will I be able to get around again? All these small questions lead to one large question: Why is Stillwater Avenue a mess?
Stillwater Avenue is the heart of Bangor. New developments enter the Bangor area each year; the problem is we have run out of room. The heart of Bangor used to be downtown, but as the world has grown, so has Bangor.
Now people look for larger, more modern superstores. The fact is Stillwater Avenue just was not the right place to build. It has a very low carrying capacity.
The problem occurred when the first brick was dropped. Stillwater Avenue was placed near Penjajawoc Marsh, known to be home to many species. Destroying this habitat could cause a large chain reaction causing us to lose food sources.
Probably the most important development on Stillwater is the Bangor Mall. Now it seems that people are looking for bigger and better, larger and shinier. I feel that it is this attitude that has caused this mess. Department stores that are doing good business seem to move just to compete with the newer, larger stores. Did Home Depot really have to move into a newer, larger store?
Expectations were exceeded and the rest went downhill from there. They tried to make a very large area out of a small area. To do this, construction companies have made many winding roads and parking lots to nowhere. This has confused drivers and caused many accidents.
Another problem we are facing is budget. The town is out of money to construct. Without this money, the companies coming in pay for the rebuilding of roads. Does Bangor let these businesses come in just to fix our roads? Since the companies have to pay for the construction there are very strict deadlines for construction. If the deadlines are not met, the construction companies will have to pay large fines. With all the construction in Bangor, every deadline is a challenge to meet.
Now on to the answers. People may be thinking who and what is behind this. Is there any formula or thought to what the construction companies are doing? Or is it just one big hot mess of concrete? The companies on Stillwater have a plan and diagram for every grain of sand on that street. They take into account what types of vehicles will be traveling the road each day to decide what materials to put into the asphalt.
They don’t just go out and randomly say “Let’s widen the road, because there is too much traffic today.” They design the roads for the 30th busiest day of the year. If they used Christmas Eve for the planning we would have 10-lane highways. They also have machines that count how may cars pass through an intersection. They even give letter grades to the lights depending on how long it takes for the first car in the intersection to get through the light. During the reconstruction of Stillwater Avenue they are planning to reformulate the lights.
No one can predict the future of Stillwater Avenue. For all we know Stillwater Avenue could become a ghost town. Or Stillwater Avenue could continue to be a desirable place for tourists to shop. No matter what its future, we have to think ahead. If we just sit around and wait, play it by ear, we will dig ourselves into a hole. In the future I feel Stillwater Avenue will have to be widened again.
In contrast, I think we will have to stop depending on Stillwater so much. There is no way around it. There is
just no room to construct with the neighboring wetlands. That is why I think expansion should occur elsewhere, away from the wetlands, onto more appropriate ground. We should not only think about today, but always plan for tomorrow.
Eli Szydlo is an eighth-grade student at Glenburn School.