Carpoolers can get prime parking at concerts

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 WESTBROOK — Concertgoers heading to the Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row this spring will have an incentive to carpool.

Waterfront Concerts, the company behind the events in Westbrook and venues elsewhere, is trying something new. Starting with the first show, Anderson .Paak on May 26, audience members can tap into a Ride Share program that offers “premium parking.”

“This is unique to the Maine Savings Pavilion,” said Jon Dow, general manager of Waterfront Concerts.

“The city of Westbrook gave us a mandate to encourage public transit and ride sharing. It also comes from concern by neighbors. We had some neighborhood meetings with them and the primary concern was how vehicle traffic would impact them,” Dow said. “The whole premise is to get people to arrive in fewer cars, so we can get them out quicker at the end of the night.”

Drivers of vehicles arriving with at least three passengers that display a RIDE  (Rideshare Incentive Designated Entry) sign and use their emergency flashers  will, on a first-come, first-served basis, be directed to the choice parking spots that also offer a quick post-concert exit. The free RIDE signs are available on Maine Savings Pavilion’s website.

 The system, Dow said, is loosely based on how the Miami Dolphins handle parking around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, and helps encourage carpooling.

Concert-goers not enrolled in RIDE will be able to purchase reserve parking spaces in a small lot next to the venue for $35, or they can park for free in the  1,000-space nearby lot. Waterfront Concerts has an agreement with the Bill Dodge dealership across Larrabee Road for overflow parking. 

To further encourage public transit, Dow said there also will be dedicated drop-off/pick-up spots for Greater Portland Metro buses and Uber/Lyft vehicles.

Dow said if the ride sharing program in Westbrook proves to be successful “we would consider it at any of our venues.”

The stage, Dow said, has been purchased and Waterfront Concerts is waiting for final site work to be completed so construction can begin. Site work should begin within the next 10 to 12 days, Josh Levy, principal of Waterstone Properties Group, which owns the Rock Row property, said Monday, March 11.

“We are shooting to have it up by the first week in May, but that is subject to change,” Dow said.

Levy said there is “no concern” about being ready to go in time for the first concert.

The venue, he said, has “really helped to accelerate the future phases of Rock Row.”

Much of 2018, Levy said, will be spent getting the first phase of the Rock Row development – the construction of Market Basket, Starbucks, The Paper Store and other retailers – up and running. The work is expected to be completed by early 2020, with a early February 2020 opening date for Market Basket.

The next phase of the project, which will include a food hall, movie theater, 110-room hotel, restaurant and retail, is scheduled to open in summer 2021. Waterstone Properties Group will appear before the Planning Board this summer to get permitting approval for the work.

Michael Kelley can be reached at 780-9106 or mkelley@keepmecurrent.com or on Twitter @mkelleynews

Work will soon begin on the Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row, which will begin hosting concerts May 26. The first phase of the Rock Row mixed use development – the construction of a Market Basket and associated retail – is also expected to begin soon and wrap up by February 2020. 

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