To The Daily Sun,
Upon reviewing the Meredith3-25.com website, I printed the map to see how three new Meredith roundabouts would affect my personal driving. According to the Traffic Committee, peak congestion occurs "two days per weekend, 3-4 hours a day, for 10 weekends."So this is for 20 days — 60 to 80 hours — per year, but then comes the Big Disclaimer, that this plan is not going to actually prevent congestion (as personally evidenced at the Parade Road Roundabout during many traffic times).
Let's suppose I need to stop at Meredith Village Savings Bank before 3 p.m., then pick grandkids up at the school. In the most direct route, I would twirl around the Parade Road Roundabout, drive straight past businesses and the fire station, come into the Lake Street Roundabout, exit right, down to the Main Roundabout where the lights are now, bear right, pass the bank to the Pleasant Street Roundabout, drive 360 degrees and backtrack to the bank. Upon exiting the drive-through, I have to backtrack to the Main Roundabout, enter two lanes of moving traffic, drive 360 degrees to exit on the same road, pass the bank again, take the second exit at the Pleasant Street Roundabout, and continue to the school. It gives new meaning to the phrase, "Can't get there from here!".
Oddly enough, my drivers license allows me to turn left, so why is it so unsafe now, especially when none of the proposed changes are based on accident statistics? Another disconcerting fact is that the Traffic Committee did not seek input from the school bus company, fire, police, ambulance, or DPW. Town departments were only asked for comments at an internal meeting on December 23, after the plan was submitted to the Selectboard. Their many concerns are well worth reading, especially the one that notes, "The Lake Street Roundabout was not designed to accommodate ladder (fire) truck access to Lake Street," or, that for safety and maintenance, the median centers should be concrete.
A major cause for traffic congestion include pedestrians dribbling across the road in the crosswalk at Dover Street from the shops to the lake. This proposed plan keeps that pedestrian crosswalk, and also adds four crosswalks at each roundabout, ample opportunity for many more to dribble here and there. The premise that the pedestrians can stop at each median to wait for traffic to pass is wrong.State law gives them the right of way in crosswalks without signals, so traffic will back up in the circles and Rte. 3 in both directions to let them pass. In what world is it safer for pedestrians to cross over one or two lanes of moving traffic than to have a designated light assuring safe passage?
A few years ago, the town planners and leaders of the Greater Meredith Program went berserk when the MVSB installed an electric sign. An emergency Town Meeting was called to forbid any "like" signage that might destroy our "village character". With a third of this Traffic Advisory Committee coming from the Greater Meredith Program, it's director, a founder, and an Executive Board member, I can't believe that they condone the 20 plus reflective, directional signs that come with each roundabout. Add those to the Mills Falls Marketplace sign poles, the tent signs advertising Main Street businesses, crafts fairs, concrete medians, and Hesky Park events, this .3 mile corridor will be confusing and ugly.
My last reason for not liking this plan is that I am prone to motion sickness and driving in circles makes me nauseous.
- Category: Letters
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