Downtown & Mill District Parking

Downtowns are important in many ways. They are the heart of a community, and serve as centers for services, employment, and civic interaction. They create a community's identity, to its residents and to people throughout the region.

A 3D rendering of the future downtown area with parking.

Here in Biddeford, the Mill District is viewed as an integral part of Biddeford's downtown, not as a distinct and separate area. Together, they make up a single vibrant neighborhood. Biddeford is diligently revitalizing itself with energy and imagination. Continuing the positive trends that downtown Biddeford has recently experienced depends, in part, on addressing a documented shortage of parking in the City's downtown district. 

As the first step towards managing downtown parking, the City Council approved several changes at their September 18, 2018 meeting that will go into effect by November 1, 2018. These changes include increasing the number of time-limited on-street parking spaces and charging for parking in municipal surface parking lots in the downtown. Information about parking changes can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document to the right or in the sections below.

As you read about these changes, it is important to remember that on-street parking in all areas of Biddeford remains free of charge. You can park on Main Street and any downtown side street without purchasing a parking permit.

The application form for a long-term parking permit for municipal parking lots is available in fillable PDF format on the right. You can also pick up a form at the City Clerk’s Office or the City Manager’s Office at City Hall. You may submit a complete form by emailing it to finance@biddefordmaine.org or returning it to the City Clerk’s Office. 

Permit applications must be completed by October 19. At that time, there will be a drawing to select the recipients of the first set of permits for the month of November. After November, permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Shorter Time Limits for On-Street Parking Spaces

Parking time limits will be changing on several downtown streets from unlimited parking to two-hour parking, including portions of Adams, Bacon, Center, Jefferson, Lincoln, and South Street. This means that there will be more turnover in no-cost, on-street parking. These two-hour limits were put in place to increase the turnover of on-street parking spaces and help residents and visitors continue to find free parking for their short-term downtown errands. If you would like to learn more details about which portions of downtown streets will have shorter time limits, please click here to view the City Council order in its entirety.

In addition to the on-street parking changes, after listening to public input, six spaces in the Franklin Street Parking Lot will be designated as free 30-minute parking.

Permits Required in Downtown Municipal Lots

Beginning on November 1, 2018, paid parking permits will be required to park in municipal surface lots in the downtown. Long-term parking permits will be available for purchase on a monthly basis, and short-term parking permits can be purchased on an hourly basis. These permits are not needed for on-street parking.

Three types of long-term parking permits will be offered to fit the needs of various types of downtown parking lot users.

  • Monday-Friday, parking permits were designed to fit the needs of downtown employees who park in City lots during the workday and will allow users to park in municipal lots from 8AM to 6PM on weekdays.
  • Nights & Weekends parking permits were designed for downtown residents who work outside of the city and park in municipal lots after work. This permit option will allow users to park in City lots between 6PM and 8AM on weeknights and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • 24/7 parking permits will also be available.

These changes will apply to the following lots:

  • Washington Street Parking Lot
  • Federal Street Lot
  • Downtown Parking Lot
  • Franklin Street Parking Lot
  • Foss Street Parking Lot
  • Alfred Street Parking Lot
  • Gas House Parking Lot
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Parking Lot

These lots can be viewed on the color-coded maps below.

Parking Lots 1
parking lots 2

Purchasing Permits

The yellow starbursts on the maps above indicate the approximate locations of new payment kiosks that can be used to easily purchase parking permits.

Once the kiosks are in operation, you may purchase both short-term and long-term parking permits directly from the kiosks based on availability. To register your vehicle, you must enter your license plate number using the kiosk's alphanumeric keypad and use a credit or debit card to pay for the transaction. The information will be digitally transmitted to parking enforcement officers to prove that you have paid to park – no need to return to your car to display a ticket or receipt.

In addition, there is a mobile app available to manage your parking permit called WayToPark. You can download the app for free for iPhone in the App Store or for Android in the Google Play store. The app is a convenient option to help you buy and extend your parking permit while on-the-go. Once you set up an account and store a payment method, you will simply need to find your location on the map, enter the hours you plan to park, and confirm your purchase.

parking kiosk
mobile app

If you would like to purchase a permit with cash, you may do so at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall. Be sure to know your license plate number! You may want to take a photo of your license plate to bring with you or have your vehicle registration in hand to ensure that you have provided the clerks with the correct plate number.

For the free 30-minute parking spaces in the Franklin Street lot, you will still need to enter your license plate number at the kiosk or app, but your 30-minute permit in these designated spaces will be free of charge.

The costs of each type of parking permit are listed below.

Long-Term Parking Permits

Adjustment period (November 2018 - April 2019)

Monday-Friday permits: $30/month

Nights & Weekends permits: $20/month

24/7 permits: $40/month

Cost beginning May 2019

Monday-Friday permits: $50/month

Nights & Weekends permits: $35/month

24/7 permits: $65/month

Short-Term Parking Permits

Adjustment Period (November 2018 - April 2019): $1/hour

Cost beginning May 2019: $2/hour

Snow Ban Parking

The same parking lots that have been open for snow bans in the past will remain open during snow bans (Washington Street Lot, Foss Street Lot, Gas House Lot, and Wastewater Treatment Plant Lot). If you already have a Nights and Weekends Permit or a 24/7 Permit, there will be no additional cost to park in these lots. 

If you do not have one of these permits, you may purchase a Winter Parking Ban Permit for $2 per storm during the Adjustment Period (November 2018 - April 2019) and $5 per storm beginning May 2019.

Failure to Purchase Parking Permits

A $50 fine will be issued if you do not purchase a parking permit for permit-required municipal lots.

Background: Need for Parking

As early as 2006, the need for parking was well established. As outlined in the reports on the subject, new parking in downtown will stimulate new development, allow continued absorption of vacant Mill space, support existing downtown businesses, and create new access to existing and future phases of the RiverWalk. 

The City Council held three public meetings in April 2018 to gather citizen input on parking. To account for work schedules of all citizens, two of these meetings were held in the evening in front of the City Council, and the third meeting was held during the day with City staff. For those that could not attend the meetings, an online form was also provided to collect additional comments. The proposed fee schedule and parking time limit changes were developed using this public feedback and staff recommendations. 

The most recent Parking Management document provides a complete overview of the history and research that has been conducted on the downtown parking issue. Additional reports and studies that have been conducted on downtown parking are provided on the right for your review.

Why are these changes occuring?

As stated in the parking management plan, "By policy all publicly owned parking is free to the users and paid for by property taxpayers. This creates a situation where some businesses and/or apartment owners get the financial support of the City while others, who provide their own parking, do not. City policies should be fair and equitable in their application. The current parking model does not meet this criterion. The well-documented increase in parking demand, with continued growth projected, will only increase the impact of the situation." 

These policy changes have been put in place to address this inequity and shift to a system where users of parking lots pay for the costs of parking instead of taxpayers.