Pop up spikes to shred tires of speeders floated at Manchester safer streets sessionBy PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
April 19. 2018 3:37PM
MANCHESTER — Converting one-ways to two-ways. Increased speed enforcement by city police. Road spikes that pop out of the pavement and puncture tires if a driver is going too fast.
Those are just a few of the ideas to make neighborhoods along Maple and Beech streets safer offered during a meeting Wednesday night at the Currier Museum of Art.
Ward 2 Alderman Will Stewart hosted the discussion, the second of two neighborhood meetings held on the topic of dangerous driving conditions near the museum.
“The issue of traffic here in the neighborhood remains timely,” said Stewart, who said the streets were the biggest issue he heard while campaigning. “At this point we really are solution-driven. We want to find out what the issues are and what can be done about them.”
Maple and Beech streets are two-lane, one-way streets running north and south respectively, through the most densely populated area of the city.
About 47 people — public works and elected city officials, police and neighborhood residents — attended Wednesday night’s meeting.
“We are particularly interested in community and neighborhoods,” said Alan Chong, director of the Currier Museum. “Unfortunately when the one-way street system was developed in Manchester there was not enough consideration given to traffic patterns and how they might divide neighborhoods. When too much traffic is managed poorly, it has a tendency to divide neighborhoods. There have been some really horrendous traffic accidents in this area over the last year, and it’s not something that we can have continue.”
Those in attendance spoke about accidents and speeders, cars striking nearby poles, trees or houses, and what they would like to see the city do to address the issue.
“A couple of years ago I used to live on the corner of Salmon and Maple, and we would experience weekly accidents,” said Fred Matuszewski, an architect with city firm CMK Architects. “My office is two blocks down at Bridge and Beech and we still experience weekly accidents there.”
“I’ve been here in Manchester going on four years this summer, and I can see how Beech Street has turned into a dragway,” said the Rev. Eric Delisle, pastor at St. Hedwig Parish on Walnut Street. “We have elderly parishioners that need to cross the street and they can’t move any faster than they can. I’m afraid to cross the street here sometime.”
Possible solutions being discussed include:
- • Converting the streets to two-way streets;
- • Raised crosswalks;
- • Traffic lights and signs;
- • Trimming bushes at intersections;
- • Reducing the travel lanes to one by allowing parking on both sides of Maple and Beech. (Some residents observed traffic doesn’t move quickly on Lake Avenue and Spruce Street, both one-ways running east-west, and suggested the reason is that parking is allowed on both sides of those streets.)
Stewart said state Department of Transportation data showed nine fatalities between 2006 to 2015 on one-way streets in the city, while there were 22 on two-way streets.
Stewart said city police gathered data about speeds at different times of day on Maple and Beech and the two-way Union Street. That information should be ready to be presented during the next meeting of the Aldermanic Committee on Public Safety, Health & Traffic on May 1, he said.