To The Daily Sun,
At the recent meeting of the Meredith Routes 3/25 meeting I asked to speak to the committee about a long-term solution to the summer/fall traffic problem through Meredith Village. The chair denied me that opportunity, ruling that my ideas were beyond the scope of assignment to the committee. While I respect the right of the chair to so rule, I disagree that consideration of solutions to the problem should be limited. He could have ruled that my proposal would be on the agenda at a future meeting.
I believe that the public has the right to a public discussion on any alternative to the Meredith traffic problem and, therefore, submit this Letter To The Editor releasing my letter to the Meredith Routes 3/25 Committee:
Letter to the Meredith Routes 3/25 Committee – 3 November 2014
First, I want to commend you on the hard work you have been doing in trying to find a solution to the sometimes traffic congestion which our town experiences. It appears to me from the news reports that you have systematically considered and reconsidered all alternatives. It also appears to me that there are no fully satisfactory solutions, and that you are faced with a choice between less than optimal alternatives that you do not know for sure are better than the present configuration.
Your search appears to confirm the dilemma faced by previous Routes 3 and 25 committees over the past 50 years: That there is no excellent solution available to bring peak traffic through Meredith Village and to adequately handle pedestrian flow. Now is the long overdue time to move on the alternative that has been not pursued in each study: A bypass around Meredith Village. Let me be clear. I am talking about a new route that carries traffic, daily and not only at peak times, located somewhere north or south of the Meredith/Center Harbor/New Hampton town lines to Route 104.
As I see the problem you face (common with all public issues), you must deal not only with the present situation, but make sure that your solution can accommodate the next solution required in the future. The configuration you appear headed into cannot meet that test. Alternatively, consider where we would be now if a previous committee had declared the need for a bypass and staked out the action steps to advance that position.
I know you must choose what to do now to take advantage of state funds available. But in the long run a bypass will be required. It will take many years to be achieved and your committee is best positioned to recommend what needs to be done. Therefore, I ask you to make one more essential decision: To declare the need for a bypass and to initiate, as a continuing committee, action to advance your declaration. I beg you to "bite the bullet" and give a great blessing to citizens in the future.
I acknowledge such a declaration would face opposition, that it would cost a lot of money and would put a heavily traveled road though pristine land. What wastes the most money? Trying solutions through Meredith Village that do not work in the long run and which annually build social and dollar costs to the citizens of Meredith, or to create a highway to ease our Village problem and to vastly accommodate people and merchandise in cars and trucks to better get to desired locations?
The economic and social benefits of a bypass overwhelming favor its creation. Many of us, primarily as volunteers, have worked for more than 25 years to make Meredith a destination community. We have recently succeeded. Yet we are only at the beginning of what it means to be New Hampshire's premiere destination community.
A bypass north of Meredith Village from Route 25, somewhere east of the Meredith/Center Harbor line, crossing Route 3 north, and continuing to Route 104, could open up vast new economic development opportunities, expanding on businesses supporting our present attractions yet allowing traffic the opportunity to move rapidly around us. Put another way, those who want to get to our destination community will come and others will bypass us. The word will spread about this wonderful village and the ease of getting to it (and the ease of parking when we "bite another bullet"). On the bypass will be new restaurants, gas stations, and motels for both types of travelers, a skating rink, movie complex and other retail enterprises for local residents and visitors. A bypass will broaden our tax base, create new jobs, and expand our destination community. Careful planning will be required to maintain the village character of our community.
Furthermore, this is a great boost you can give to our present village businesses and all Meredith citizens. It will enable those wishing to come to our destination community to do so with ease, either to stay for a few days or to enjoy its beauty, have a cup of tea, to do a little shopping, and then move on.
Reflect on all this and you will be able to expand on the benefits to our town. The future of Meredith is literally in your hands. Please enable for our wonderful town this once in a lifetime opportunity which is at your fingertips.
So I call upon you to be a major part in planning what our community will be like in the next 25 to 50 years. Your committee is the key stone for our future. Please have the vision and courage to serve our community through this dynamic opportunity. Future generations will praise you for your vision.
Miller C. Lovett