My Turn: Loudon Road: A comedy worthy of the Bard
One can only wonder what Shakespeare could have done with the comedy of errors revolving around the Loudon Road project.
Now comes the news (Monitor, April 25) that in 2013, of the 1,100 vehicular accidents across the city, 197 occurred on Loudon Road, far more than on any other road in the city.
Loudon Road has about 20,000 cars per day traveling on it, however, so it’s logical it would have a higher accident rate. Left unsaid is that there is no other comparable road in Concord against which this statistic can be measured.
But wait, there’s more. We now learn that, “Police records show most accidents on the road occur at the interchanges with Interstate 93 and Fort Eddy Road, which will be unchanged by the street’s new design.” Whoa! I’m not sure any of us who live on the Heights even consider this interchange as part of Loudon Road, though technically I suppose it is.
Given these numbers then, we can assume that of the 197 accidents, at least 100 of them occurred at this intersection, leaving about 97 dispersed over an area from the bottom of Loudon Road to beyond the Steeplegate Mall.
Residents who attended the winter meeting on the Heights were repeatedly told that the new configuration was being done to improve safety.
Clearly we were misled into believing that the commercial strip on Loudon Road was the most dangerous place in the city to drive, since 197 accidents occurred in the stretch under consideration.
When we pressed for a breakdown of statistics at that meeting, city officials were vague and not forthcoming.
Now we know why. Most of the 197 accidents didn’t even occur on the strip projected for reconfiguration.
It would be helpful to know just how many accidents occurred specifically on the road that is projected to be three lanes, and of that number how many had nothing to do with the current configuration but were caused by impaired or distracted drivers.
It’s possible that we’re talking about considerably fewer than 97 accidents directly attributable to the present four-lane model.
What has been lacking in this whole project is a presentation of solid facts, and we now find ourselves potentially turning Loudon Road into a giant, slow-moving parking lot based on selective and misleading data.
I renew my plea that the city council reconsider this project, which now seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Shakespeare, no doubt, would have dubbed all of this “a most lamentable comedy.”
(Chuck Annal lives in Concord.)