2015-01-16 / Community

Name game still in play for Kennebunkport

Attempts to clear up confusion continues
By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — The Christmas season has uncovered an unfortunate truism of the information age — namely, that online maps cannot always be trusted.

For the past year, the town of Kennebunkport has worked to clear up confusion regarding similar road names in town for 9-1-1 emergency services. That’s important because, for example, if a resident were to call in a medical situation at a home on King’s Highway, dispatchers can’t, or at least shouldn’t, send an ambulance without first verifying which King’s Highway. Kennebunkport has two. One runs from Batsons River to the intersection of Hillside Drive and Kings Lane. The other runs from 132 Ocean Ave. to the intersection of Arlington Street and South Maine Street.

And, even when names were not exactly the same, there have been similarities that could have caused mistakes in that moment of confusion surrounding a lifeor death situation.

After all, if someone had called in a house fire from Lands End Lane, it would’ve been a shame if fire trucks had gone instead to Lands End Road.

The two streets intersect so, assuming the flames were high enough, firefighters should’ve been able to spot any error in location fairly quickly. Luckily, however, that’s no longer necessary, as Lands End Lane officially became Shore Farm Lane on Jan. 1.

But not everyone knows that.

At the Jan. 8 meeting of the Kennebunkport Board of Selectmen, David James, co-founder and president of the Kennebunkport Residents Association, asked if any progress had been made on address clarification work since he last raised the issue, about a year ago.

Town Manager Laurie Smith said the town’s 9-1-1 Addressing Officer, James Burrows — who, by the way, is going on his 41st year as the town’s emergency management director — has changed the names of “about half a dozen streets” over the past 12 months.

The Kennebunkport Street Ordinance makes selectmen responsible for naming streets. However, it also gives them the authority to delegate that function.

Burrows has tackled the road-name review on a “couple-of-streets-at-a-time basis,” but Smith said that practice may need to change in 2015.

“One of the things we recently found out is that maybe we should wait and save up all the name changes for a certain time of year, because some people ended up having difficulty getting deliveries during the Christmas season,” Smith said.

Apparently, among those not getting word of the street name changes were the online mapping services provided by Apple, Google and Bing.

It appears that some delivery drivers, unable to find a given street, simply sent packages back as “address unkown.” Or, as the old Elvis song goes, “no such number, no such zone.”

According to Burrows, the following streets have changed names during the past year, or are due to change within the coming month:

• Homes on Community House Way were renumbered to become part of Community House Road, effective July 15, 2014.

• Ward Avenue became Benson Avenue as of Sept. 1, 2014.

• Brooks Road changed to Brooks Street on Nov. 20, 2014.

• Marshview Drive became Summer Breeze Lane on Dec. 1, 2014.

• As noted, Lands End Lane has been Shore Farm Lane since the beginning of the year, and,

• Mapleview Avenue is due to become Spruce Avenue, starting Feb. 1.

Return to top