MEREDITH — The Board of Selectmen appear to prefer installing a signal between Lake Street and Dover Street to manage pedestrian crossings of US Route 3 among three options the state Department of Transportation presented at a workshop this week.
In August, after residents roundly rejected a proposal to string three roundabouts along the US Route 3/NH Route 25 corridor, the selectmen asked DOT for a proposal for coordinated signalization to improve the flow of both traffic and pedestrians. This week, the department returned with suggestions to install pedestrian signals at Dover Street, at both Dover Street and Lakes Street or between the two.
Counts taken at the US Route3/NH Route25 intersection, Dover Street and Lake Street in August indicated that pedestrian traffic was heaviest at Dover Street, where 275 people crossed during a peak hour on Sunday. Fewer than 100 pedestrians crossed at the other locations at peak times. Managing pedestrian traffic has been a recurrent theme of the discussion about easing congestion along the corridor since talks began in 2004.
All three options would include what Gene McCarthy of McFarland Johnson Inc., the project manager, called "adaptive signal control" at the US Route3/NH Route25 intersection. He said the equipment that controls the signal at the intersection would not only optimize the flow of traffic through it, but would also manage whatever system of pedestrian signals is chosen. In particular, he said the system could handle vehicles passing through the intersection along with a signal controlling pedestrians crossing US Route 3 and do so continuously in real time as the volume of traffic and number of pedestrians traffic changes.
Likewise, all three options would reduce the number of northbound lanes on US Route 3 and widen the two southbound lanes at the intersection with NH Route 25. McCarthy explained that reconfiguring the intersection would ease the left-hand turn for westbound traffic on NH Route 25, especially for trucks.
McCarthy told the selectmen that designated pedestrian crossings should not be located at intersections. Moreover, he noted that pedestrian crossings at Lake Street and Dover Street would also be in line with the entrance to and exit from the parking lot at the town dock.
Initially, the state had allocated approximately $6 million to address congestion through corridor. However, after the town soundly rejected a proposal to construct three single-lane roundabouts at Lake Street, the US Route 3/NH Route 25 intersection and Pleasant Street, the funds were assigned to other projects, leaving $1.75 million for Meredith.
The selectmen plan to place the options on the agenda of a future board meeting with an eye to holding a public hearing in the new year.
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