Effort underway to improve Manchester's Second Street
Tom Levasseur, owner of CK Grill (the former Clam King), watches a couple of pedestrians walk down the sidewalk at his business on Second Street in Manchester Friday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
David Preece, executive director of the commission, said traffic on Second Street is a big problem, creating congestion and safety issues that can be barriers to upgrading the business district.
Tom Levasseur, the owner of CK Grill, said he'd like to see a commitment to sidewalks on Second Street. Years ago, his father put sidewalks along the property's 300 feet of frontage. And Manchester Subaru added sidewalks to its two blocks when it upgraded its property recently.
"There's no consistency," he said. "People can't walk. It's dangerous to walk here."
He also said making the commercial portion of Second Street a one-way would solve many problems. But then Main Street would have to be a one-way through a residential area, something residents wouldn't want.
Bedford allows larger buildings on commercial lots if businesses make improvements — a possibility for Second Street, Preece said. If a business owner provides sidewalks or landscaping, he could earn additional density in his development.
Todd Berkowitz, owner of Manchester Subaru, has already done so. Berkowitz said he's put $2 million into his property in the last five years. He added sidewalks for aesthetic reasons, but said they are seldom used, in part because adjoining properties lack them.
Both he and Levasseur said it would be nice to add another lane to Second Street, but both say there isn't enough land to do so.
"We've got to explore several techniques and tools that the city and the businesses and the residents may want to consider," Preece said.
"Whatever we're going to be recommending to the Planning Board will take into consideration greatly the input that we have received along the way." Preece said.
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