To The Daily Sun,
Nobody wants to drive in a nice car at 25 mph on a smooth road. Frankly, neither do I! However, Scenic Drive in Gilford is not a normal road. It is a walking street, biking street and frankly a local social event sidewalk/street. Because parking is available near the entrance to Ellacoya Park, folks come from all over to walk Scenic Drive as well as Belknap Point Road every day, and all times of the day. Some days people are three and four abreast walking, talking and socializing. Normally one would say you are supposed to walk single file along the side of a road facing the traffic. Not so on Scenic Drive. This is an event on a tree-lined street. No trash, no litter. You can’t even find a discarded cigarette butt along the street thanks to concerned residents and walkers. People walk their baby strollers and meet with family groups and enjoy the views and cooler temperatures as the breezes come off the lake. On the Belknap Point section of road you can see Mt. Washington clearly from there on a clear day. You can count on seeing friends at certain times every day, some people go by at the same time every day even year around. Residents on the street enjoy the company in the summer months and weave their cars left and right to give the walkers with their dogs plenty of space to pass safely.
For years the road slipped into disrepair with potholes, huge long cracks and crumbling asphalt, making the street uncomfortable to drive and walk on. Bottom line, it was dangerous. Some residents said fixing the intolerable condition of the street would just lead to higher speeds by passing motorists. Others said we pay taxes and should enjoy a smooth ride to our properties like everyone else in Gilford. Efforts were made to convince the selectmen we needed something done. A five-year push to repave the street ended in May 2021 when the street was finally resurfaced.
But we have another problem. Automobile and truck speeds have increased exponentially as a result of the smooth thoroughfare. Same number of walkers, baby carriages, walking dogs, family group troops, kids, runners, bikers etc, but now speeding cars that are taking advantage of the ride. Yes, this is another problem that we can all solve to protect our people-friendly sidewalk street, in the summer months especially.
Signs have been placed along the roadway by a concerned citizen that read “WHAT PART OF 25 MPH DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND.” Efforts are underway to place speed bumps along the street in the summer months to slow the traffic down to the posted 25 mph speed limit as a courtesy to our walking friends.
We can solve this problem in a friendly way if everyone does their part. We invite everyone to come out and take a walk.
There is a Gilford Board of Selectman Meeting tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. to discuss practical solutions. Please come and help us out.