Published DateMEREDITH — The Planning Board this week conditionally approved the Rite-Aid Corporations plan to construct a 15,000-square-foot drugstore on a 2.77 lot on Route 25, between the Irving travel plaza and the Trinity Episcopal Church.
Originally proposed in January, 2012, the project was dogged by concerns about traffic, initially the location of the entrance to the drugstore and later the question of a pedestrian crossing. After several false starts, Rite-Aid and Cobalt Properties, owner of the Irving lot, reached agreement on a shared driveway. However, the driveway will be directly opposite Abbey Lane, the entrance to Meredith Bay Village, whose residents warned that the project would exacerbate already dangerous traffic conditions on the heavily travelled highway.
To address the safety issue, the plan includes extending the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit further eastward and installing an elaborate signaled crosswalk. Two beacons will be placed on Route 25, one at the crosswalk near the shared entrance to the Rite-Aid drugstore and the Irving travel plaza and another 400 feet up the hill to the east. When a pedestrian seeking to cross Route 25 presses the button to activate the beacon at the crosswalk, both beacons will flash yellow for four seconds then turn yellow for six seconds, warning oncoming vehicles before turning red to stop traffic and signaling walk to pedestrians.
Planning Director Angela LaBrecque said the New Hampshire Department of Transportation has accepted the plan, but has yet issue to formally issue the driveway permit the project requires.
Ultimately 70 residents signed a petition opposing the project. Several of the approximately 30 residents of Meredith Bay Village attending the public hearing told the board that the proposed measures would not overcome the dangers to pedestrians crossing the road or motorists turning in or out of Abbey Lane arising from the volume and speed of traffic.