Parking in Portland, ME in the summer
August 1, 2019 5:11 PM   Subscribe

I will staying on Peaks Island, off Portland, Maine, for a week mid-August, renting a cottage. My daughter will be driving up and staying with me for a few days mid-week. She'll need to put her car somewhere in Portland for up to 4 days.

We're willing to pay for a lot or garage, or look fairly remotely for on-street (overnight) parking. But we haven't dealt with this issue since 2008, and it was bad back then. I can only imagine how much worse it's gotten! Are any garages or lots going to even have spaces on a summer weekday? Or, is there any particular neighborhood where she's likely to find on-street parking? I figure if she finds on-street parking but it's pretty far, she can always take a ride share to the ferry.

She could bring the car on the ferry, but it's very expensive. Mostly, though it's a waste of resources and kind of selfish since we're already doing that with my car (not on the same day) and I like to be mindful of not adding to the car population on the island. Not to mention having to be in the ferry line at least 2 hours before departure. I urged her to park at our house in a Boston suburb and take the train or bus up to Portland, but she's not willing to do that. Any suggestions?
posted by primate moon to Travel & Transportation around Portland, ME (5 answers total)
The city just opened up a new lot at the east end of Commercial Street. $15/24 hrs. Since it's new, maybe there's a shot. She could also park at the bus/train station and take a cab/lyft to the ferry. It's $5/day, I think. Finally, most neighborhoods off peninsula don't restrict or charge for parking. That would just be taking a (very slight) chance that someone would report her car as abandoned. She's welcome to park by my house, we are out past the bus/train station. MeMail me if you want to give that a try.
posted by donnagirl at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

What about the Park and Ride on Marginal Way, at the bottom of Franklin? She could lift to the ferry or walk about twenty minutes. It’s free and it looks like overnight parking is ok.
posted by Sukey Says at 6:25 PM on August 1, 2019

I live in Portland, and while I don't live on the Island I have friends who do, and I honestly don't think this will be a big deal. I can almost always find garage parking if I want it any where in the Old Port, even on a weekday.

Do get a lot or garage, don't park on street.

There is, as I'm sure you know, a garage right at the Ferry Terminal. It might be worth it to call them and see what their short term parking deal is, and if you can pre-reserve (I don't think you can) but it's expensive - $40 per day. That link also has info on a few other privately owned garages right on the waterfront.

This page lists the City-owned garages. I strongly suspect she can find space at either Elm St or Spring St. Both are a very easy walk to the Ferry terminal.

This parking tips page mentions a $5 per day lot at the end of Commercial St, which I believe is the City owned lot at 450 Commercial St. Call City Parking to confirm (207-874-8443) but I believe you can park up there for up to 8 days at a time.

Also, I think Top of the Old Port (a private, open lot) is a strong contender. You can call them to verify.

Finally, there is this page, which lets you put in your dates for arrival and departure and figure out what your best options are for that specific time range. I've never used it for parking, but at a glance it doesn't seem very dodgy.

Holiday Inn by the Bay may also be a very good choice. They are actually a public lot, but most people don't know that. I believe they charge $15 per 24 hours.

If I knew your exact dates, I could research more (and we could check to see if there is something huge going on that weekend.) Bottom line: there are a bunch of options. Make some calls, then make a list of four or five places to try, and I'm sure she'll find something.
posted by anastasiav at 7:33 PM on August 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

These are all great! My daughter's coming Tuesday the 13th, leaving the morning of Friday the 16th. Thanks so far, everyone!
posted by primate moon at 11:16 AM on August 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Just to follow up, as I pack my things to head home after my lovely week on Peaks: Anastasiav's recommendation of the lot at 450 Commercial Street (the west end of Commercial) for only $5/day was fantastic. My daughter was able to park there, as was my sister, later in the week. Another possibility is a new lot where the old CAT (the fast catamaran boat from Portland to Nova Scotia which no longer runs) lot is now available for $15/day. It's right next to the Casco Bay ferry terminal, so it's also super convenient.
posted by primate moon at 4:07 AM on August 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

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