iron ranger

From left: Mark Berling of the IPS Group out of Auburn, the company hired to install parking kiosks in town, stands with Conway Parks and Rec employee Ben Peare and Rec Director John Eastman at the Smith-Eastman Saco River put-in on Friday. (MARK GUERRINGUE PHOTO)

CONWAY — On Friday morning, town employees were seen readying a parking kiosk at Meeting House Road, one of the three popular tourist sites where people from away will be charged a $20 parking fee.

The paid parking program will begin this weekend at First Bridge, Davis Park and the Smith-Eastman Landing on Meeting House Road behind the Conway Police Station. All three sites are popular put-ins for tubing and canoeing.

Conway residents and property owners can park at these sites for free but must obtain a sticker from Conway Town Hall. Conway Parks and Rec Director John Eastman, who is running the program, said about 2,000 town residents have already obtained a parking permit.

Meanwhile, the lot at the Conway Lake beach and boat launch off of Mill St. will be restricted to stickered vehicles only. No visitor parking will be allowed.

Parking enforcement will run this weekend Saturday through Monday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The weekend schedule will run to June 20, followed by daily monitoring though Labor Day.

The kiosk at the Smith-Eastman landing (which cost the town $6,000) is located near the beginning of Meeting House Road. Eastman says it is placed there to avoid confusion. The actual parking lot near the water’s edge has a limited capacity of 22 vehicles, while as many as another 100 can be lined up on both sides of the road.

Parking attendants, whom Eastman called “ambassadors,” will be stationed there as well as the other two paid parking locations, which will not have kiosks.

Selectmen last winter decided to start the parking program in response to overcrowding of these sites last summer.

During the pandemic last year, throngs of visitors escaping indoor activities flocked to outdoor destinations and overwhelmed the parking lots.

Town Manager Tom Holmes said Tuesday the program is a “big, big deal,” and the town is ready to fix any bugs that crop up once enforcement begins.

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(3) comments

guest492

I think this is terrible. These are some of my favorite places in the area for photography. I moved out of North Conway Village two years ago and now I can’t afford $20 parking to stop by these places for a short time. I wonder why the price has to be so high. I know many towns have areas for residents only but this is a bit much.

Retired in the Valley

Between short term rentals and meter parking, North Conway has become a hostile tourist town.

Miketerrain

I live in the Lakes Region and I visit North Conway and the river at least twice a year. With each visit to this area my wife and I go to a North Conway restaurant for lunch and usually visit a store as well. With a 20 parking fee at the river, we'll go visit a different town instead. This reminds me of Massachusetts or NY, so No thank You.

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