To The Daily Sun,
With the Meredith Selectboard approaching a vote on a multimillion-dollar three-roundabout proposal for the downtown area whose construction will take all or parts of the 2017 and 2018 construction seasons it is an appropriate time to learn more about roundabouts. There are many question surrounding roundabouts. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), roundabouts are appropriate at many intersections. Note; they specifically did not say they are appropriate for all applications.
So the question becomes where they are appropriate and where they are not appropriate? According to IIHS the places where they are appropriate are high crash locations and intersections with large traffic delays, complex geometry (more than four approach roads), frequent left-turn movements, and relatively balanced traffic flows. So do we know:
— Is Lake Street intersection considered a high crash location?
— Is Pleasant Street intersection considered a high crash location?
— Is the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 considered a high crash location?
— Is Lake Street intersection considered a location with large traffic delays?
— Is Pleasant Street intersection considered a location with large traffic delays?
— Is the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 considered a location with large traffic delays?
— Is Lake Street considered to have complex geometry?
— Is Pleasant Street considered to have complex geometry?
— Is the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 considered to have complex geometry?
— Is Lake Street considered a place where there are frequent left turn movements?
— Is Pleasant Street considered a place where there are frequent left turn movements?
— Is the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 considered place where there are frequent left turn movements?
— Does the Lake Street have relatively balanced traffic flows?
— Does the Pleasant Street have relatively balanced traffic flows?
— Does the intersection of Routes 3 and 25 have relatively balanced flows?
IIHS does not offer blanket support for roundabouts in all applications. They observe that sometimes space constraints or topography make it impossible to build a roundabout. Geometric design details vary from site to site and must take into account traffic volumes, land use, topography and other factors. Roundabouts often require more space in the immediate vicinity of the intersection than comparable traditional intersections.
Further, IIHS asserts intersections with highly unbalanced traffic flows (that is, very high traffic volumes on the main street and very light traffic on the side street) and isolated intersections in a network of traffic signals often are not ideal candidates for roundabouts.
What the concerns of the NHDOT and McFarland Johnson are with respect to the advisory committee's "3 roundabout" proposal have not been plainly articulated. But they are pointedly stopping short of endorsing the proposal. There is no engineering data for review. It is difficult to ascertain the thought process here.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 10:57
To The Daily Sun,
An accurate presentation of our history that conforms quotes to their context in history is in indeed essential to understanding history. I do believe that is what Mr. Veverka is alluding to in his quote from his letter of 12/31/14: "Anyone can put together a collection of founder quotes to make their case." He then goes on to quote from the Treaty of Tripoli, "as the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" as though this were intended to be used as a civics lesson. That liberals continually roll out Treaty of Tripoli demonstrates the historical bankruptcy of their argument. That Mr. Veverka continues to use it; seems to indicate that he is devoid of any love of history that would cause him to inquire in his heart as to what was happening there, rather he is content to rip off quotes that seem to support his preconceived notion that the founders were like him.
"Treaty of Peace and Friendship" sounds warm and fussy doesn't it? It wasn't. It was negotiated at a time when our nation was very young and very weak and of necessity was forced to sign some onerous treaties. We signed the "Jay Treaty" with Great Britain, in 1794, which was very unpopular at the time, but most importantly it averted another war with Great Britain for more than a decade, and indeed the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 which was short lived due to the continuing demand for more tribute money by the Bey of Tripoli, for continued protection from the Barbary Pirates, pirates sanctioned by the government of Tripoli. We had already paid a hefty tribute with the treaty.
The Barbary Pirates would attack our merchant ships in the Mediterranean Sea. They would sell crew members and passengers as slaves. If the person captured were a Christian they were treated very badly and many of them died. At one point there was a rumor that Benjamin Franklin, who was traveling abroad, might have been taken captive. The purpose of the Treaty of Tripoli was to protect our citizens. Tripoli being a Muslim nation and the United States being predominately Christian, it seems we wanted to insure the Bey of Tripoli, whether freely or by coercion I'm not certain, that we would not wage a Holy War against the Muslims, as we were reputed to be a Christian nation. Seeing that our federal government was secular in nature it apparently seemed expedient to emphasize that. This was not a civics lesson for American patriots, and should not be taken to be so any more than forced confessions from American hostages today should be. It was an effort to protect our citizens abroad when we had little might to do so. For the civics lesson we need to take a look at George Washington's farewell address.
Washington's farewell address was first published in September of 1796 and reprinted by virtually every newspaper in the country. This was something almost every American read or had read to them. I think we have a hard time today understanding how much George Washington was esteemed by the people then. Here's what he said about religion in that address.
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened."
Many of these Americans truly took this admonition to heart, as ministers of the Gospel traveled with the westward migration so that the inhabitants of these newly settled territories would be fit for citizenship. This was the civics lesson concerning religion, of that era.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 10:53
To The Daily Sun,
For more than 50 years I've heard progressives/liberals/socialists/Democrats (PLSDs) like Anne Rogers (see her Jan. 14 letter in The Laconia Daily Sun) demanding more and more taxes from productive citizens. No matter how much government takes, the PLSDs demand more money.
What major problems do they solve with the money? None. The money funds bureaucracies, wasteful and often counter-productive programs, fraud and abuse, and the special-interests that reward PLSD politicians.
Public school cost increases equal or exceed healthcare cost increases but often provide poor results. Government programs don't make people successful (that would eliminate the need for the bureaucracy), they lock people into dependence on government.
PLSDs don't encourage the economic growth needed to actually help people become prosperous; instead they stifle growth by increasing taxes and regulations. Consequently more Americans are poorer and on welfare than ever before.
The PLSDs claim to need money to fix our roads and bridges, but they spend the money collected for roads and bridges on other things. A few years ago President Obama received enough money to fix all our needy roads and bridges, almost $1 trillion, but he spent most of the money rewarding his political supporters, not fixing our infrastructure.
Despite their false claims, the PLSDs don't care about actually improving people's lives; they demonstrate this by fighting against school choice (which would allow students to escape failing and often dangerous schools) and policies that encourage the real economic growth needed to create good jobs.
The taxes and regulations the PLSDs impose to reward supporters also make people change their behavior in ways that reduce tax income and often further retard economic growth and opportunities, e.g., people work less, they move their residencies and/or businesses to lower-tax states, they change their income sources to reduce taxes (like Democrat VP Candidate John Edwards did), and they generally don't relocate to places where their productive efforts are excessively taxed away.
New Hampshire's elected representatives shouldn't focus on increasing taxes. They should focus on creating an environment where everyone can succeed beyond their wildest dreams.
People around the country and the world should hear that the New Hampshire is the place to go to be successful. Entrepreneurs should see that businesses can start or relocate here and grow, enabling the owners and New Hampshire workers to become wealthy.
Hopefully New Hampshire's legislators will focus on creating an environment that fosters success. That would provide good jobs and opportunities for New Hampshire citizens, and richly fund our state and local governments.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 10:47
To The Daily Sun,
Regarding the Meredith roundabouts proposal, we have learned some existing multi-lane road sections will be turned to one lane. We learned that no one discussed the queuing necessitated when the traffic from the two-lane section through the Highway 3/25 intersection must merge to one at the Pleasant Street roundabout. We learned at Dover Street and Highway 3/25 traffic will become right turn only.
We learned the project, if accepted by "We the People" in the town of Meredith is scheduled to start in 2017. We learned the area will be dug up for more than a year as a result of the construction. We learned the expected completion date is sometime in 2018. No discussion was heard about the month of initiation or completion. We are left to infer what we will from that. It could mean two summers with the main highways through the downtown area under construction.
Will the eateries on Main Street profit decline? Was this issue part of the discussion of the Advisory Committee? Will children and families be able to reach the knowledge center of Meredith, our Meredith Library? Will the gridlock at the roundabouts cause family disruption?
We learned the committee and McFarland Johnson referred those with questions to the NHDOT website, specifically to the projects page where the Meredith Highway 3/25 project can be found. By going there one learns that the studies done are for the initial project back in 2006. By going there one learns that the data is 10 years out of date. By going there one learns that the project is quite different than the one we are being asked to review and approve today. By going there one learns that the presenters were deflecting specific questions by reference to an essentially different study rejected nearly a decade earlier.
My recommendation is that you do your homework on this project. The presenters stated the road project is scheduled to take place in 2017 and 2018, the project will not solve the congestion issue, the proposal will beautify the area, and there will be over $5 million spent, but it will not cost you anything. The inference is: government is giving you free money which we can either take or decline. Kind of makes you wonder where they get their money, doesn't it?
You are encouraged to go to the public hearing on Jan. 26 and find what's going to happen to you. It would be better if you did a little homework and lend an informed voice to the discussion.
Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 10:31
To The Daily Sun,
A special meeting of the members of the Belknap Mill Society was held at 7:30 a.m. on January 14. The purpose of the meeting was to update the members regarding the current status of the mill and to take the pulse of the membership with regard to the future of the ownership of the building. 40 members were in attendance.
The board's President, Christine Santaniello, opened the meeting, and after introductions, explained that the mill has been in a difficult financial situation for decades and is down to bare bones staffing. The Society requires revenue of $150,000 annually to operate the buildings and programming. She explained that the board is exploring long term solutions for sustainability of the Society and stressed that the mill building should remain in the hands of the public. She explained that the first option is to explore a relationship with the city, but if this is unattainable, there may be a future with the Belknap Economic Development Council, as the mill is essential to the revitalization of downtown.
Following Santaniello's opening comments, Vice-President Allison Ambrose led a membership input session on possible long-term, sustainable solutions. The members of the Society provided valuable input and suggestions for alternative long-term sustainability. Constructive thoughts came from many passionate members, including attorney Patrick Wood, Tom Tardif, Marcia Cotter, Al Posnack, Hazel Zimmer, Deb Drake, John Pounds and George Roberts. Discussion was had relative to capital campaigns, membership drives, fundraising, working with schools and finding commercial tenants to occupy the vacant second floor space. After a tally, 23 of the present 40 members felt that the Belknap Mill Society should retain ownership of the building. Eighteen of the present members graciously offered to help the Society during this difficult time.
Following the member discussion, Managing Director Beth San Soucie offered an overview of the Society's 2015 goals. Preservation of the building was top on the list, followed by programming. The boiler for the building's heating system needs updating, an expensive undertaking. In addition to the heating system, the Society is working to restore the finial and cupola this spring, and with any remaining funds and grants, will continue to pursue the window project, roof repairs and other necessary building needs. Ms. San Soucie demonstrated thanks for those who offered to volunteer or assist with pro bono work referrals.
The meeting concluded with the board's pledge to consider all matters discussed at the Special Member Meeting. The Belknap Mill Society's Annual Meeting will occur in February 2015, at which time the issue of the building ownership will be presented to the membership for a vote. The date will be made known to the membership and posted on the Belknap Mill Society Website.
Board of Trustees
Belknap Mill Society
Last Updated on Friday, 16 January 2015 10:26