Letter: First, develop Storrs Street
It appears that Concord’s first priority is to spend the money from the federal government. But the plan for the betterment of downtown Concord is all wrong.
The 2½ lanes proposed for Main Street creates a traffic chokepoint between Exits 13 and 14 of Interstate 93, and any traffic (if there still is) will want to find parallel routes, in particular Storrs, State, Green and Spring streets. In good weather, they are already busy with transit, shoppers, moms picking up kids from the new school, etc. In bad weather, with the proposed downtown traffic choke, it will be clearly worse.
The common-sense (or am I missing something) next step to a better downtown to attract more commerce and customers is to develop Storrs Street, connecting Exits 13 and 15 to bleed off the traffic through downtown.
I’ve been around long enough to remember the concern that Interstate 393 would shut down business on Loudon Road. But instead, Loudon Road blossomed because the through-traffic was reduced, allowing more people to do business. If we develop Storrs Street between Exit 13 and 15, it will bring people to downtown, including the many I’ve heard from who have not gone downtown in years. All the pretty pictures are nice but a cart before the horse, especially in this economy.
It seems pointless to address the issues of locally matching the federal money. If you don’t already know that everything gets passed down to the consumer or taxpayer, it is too late now. In a stagnant or shrinking economy, we will all pay more even before this gets added to our burdens. If the federal money can be used on Storrs Street, use it there. If not, send it back.