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Goffstown forum focuses on traffic flow

GOFFSTOWN — Residents at a public hearing on Wednesday weighed in on possible changes to traffic flow through Goffstown Village.

Public Works Director Carl Quiram and Michael Long of McFarland-Johnson fielded questions and comments from the public regarding two intersections — Elm, High and Main streets, and Mast Road, Pleasant Street and Main Street.

The $888,000 project is being funded by the town and a federal grant through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program, with the town paying 45 percent of the cost and the grant covering the rest.

Several possible scenarios were presented regarding traffic flow at the two intersections, including traffic lights and roundabouts.

Conceptual drawings included two mini roundabouts at the same intersection and the relocation of the Goffstown Public Library.

But what emerged as the preferred plans for the two intersections were compromises that would allow the character of Goffstown Village to remain, while managing traffic and maintaining safety.

At Pleasant and Main streets, Long said, the preferred solution would be a modification of the existing intersection that better channels traffic in the area.

According to Long, the intersection would include some features of a roundabout.

“It’s the best solution for this intersection at this time,” he said.

That plan would cost an estimated $230,000 as opposed to $450,000 for a traffic light and $490,000 for a full roundabout.

A similar traffic plan was determined to be the best solution for the intersection of Elm, High and Main streets, with slightly raised islands guiding traffic and shortened crosswalks clearly marked for pedestrians.

“We can do this relatively cheaply, but also make a difference, especially for pedestrians,” Long said.

The cost would be $165,000, as opposed to $420,000 for a traffic light and $1.1 million for a full roundabout, which would include the cost of relocating the library.

Long said that while roundabouts are the preferred safety method for traffic calming, they would not be the most effective because of the volume of traffic, notably during peak hours.

The idea of installing traffic lights at both intersections was rejected by the steering committee formed to study the issue, as they were not considered to be in keeping with the character of Goffstown Village.

Resident Russ Lauriat supported the idea of a traffic light at the intersection of Elm, High and Main streets, noting that the construction of newer buildings in town, including Ace Hardware and Cumberland Farms, were not compatible with other historical buildings.

“It’s 2013, I think it’s time we had a traffic light there,” he said. “One traffic light sure as heck isn’t going to ruin this town.”

One proposal suggested by John Hikel, who is a state representative, included making the Main Street area a town square, with one-way streets running around it.

Robbie Grady, executive director of Goffstown’s Main Street Program, spoke out against the suggestion, and said it may not be the best solution for pedestrians.

Lauriat also disagreed with the concept of one-way streets.Selectmen will make the final decision on the intersections, and construction is expected to begin next summer.

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