Hot Topic: Skepticism on Loudon Road
Traffic engineer Rob Mack points to a part of the aerial photograph of Loudon Road during a presentation at a public hearing on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 about the project that would reduce the road from a four lane (as seen on top) to a three lane (simulated on the bottom.) Mack and Concord city engineer Ed Roberge showed plans and presented the project to over 50 residents that attended the meeting.
(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
The Concord City Council was unanimous in its decision to reduce Loudon Road from four lanes of traffic to three. Monitor readers, however, are not unanimously convinced this is a good idea. In fact, so far, all the mail we’ve received has been negative. Here’s a sampling of local reaction.
I have always had a low opinion of the people who control Concord. But the city council has pushed back the boundaries of political stupidity in its decision to cut in half the number of Loudon Road traffic lanes. The council has voted to fit a Size 10 foot into a Size 5 shoe.
Every business on Loudon Road will be hurt by this, and all property values along the road will tumble. You will have more accidents as people in stop-and-go traffic get rear-ended. And if you want to wait in a 60-minute traffic jam everyday, why not move to Boston?
The fact that the federal government schemes to pour your money into this tells you it will be as wonderful as the war in Afghanistan. We are going to have bike lanes on a road where no one rides bicycles. What Loudon Road needs is to have the sidewalks plowed and de-iced. Of course, the government is not going to pay for anything that actually helps people.
Better plan for Loudon Road
The city proposal to reduce the number of lanes of traffic both on the Heights and on Main Street has major flaws.
I have lived and worked in the Concord area for more than 40 years and seen many changes in the traffic flow. We were told that building Interstate 393 would result in traffic being diverted from the Heights – as would the completion of Regional Drive. Yes, we did see diversion of through-traffic on I-393 and the diversion of some traffic to the industrial area of Regional Drive. However, when on Loudon Road coming from the mall during peak travel times, I still find myself in traffic backed up from East Side Drive to Allard Street.
I would hazard a guess that this traffic pattern results in longer waits to proceed down Loudon Road.
Instead of rebuilding the infrastructure, they should look at better traffic management. Extend Canterbury Road to provide an outlet to Regional Drive. Restrict exits from side streets onto Loudon Road to right turns unless signals are provided. Restrict entry to side streets unless signals are present. Provide additional crosswalks with signals.
Bouchard turns her back on Ward 9
Concord City Councilor Candace Bouchard sat in silence at the Dec. 18 public hearing on the Heights where city engineers Ed Roberge and Robert Mack first presented their plan to transform Loudon Road from four to three lanes. According to the Monitor, more than 50 residents attended that meeting and most were opposed to this project.
Instead of giving voice to the concerns of her constituents at Monday night’s city council meeting, Bouchard chose to be the first councilor to propose that the plan be accepted by the full council. It should also be noted that she arrived late and missed most of the public testimony that was offered before the vote. So thanks for the representation, Councilor. I’ll remember this when I’m trying desperately to make a left turn out of my apartment complex onto Loudon Road faced with a steady stream of one-lane traffic with no breaks in sight. I’ll also remember this when I’m crawling down Loudon Road on a Saturday afternoon (or most other times, for that matter) backed up as far as I can see. Christmastime should be a real picnic.
Oh, and I’ll also remember this when it comes time for re-election and I see your name on the ballot. Surely Ward 9 voters deserve a councilor who advocates on their behalf instead of blatantly ignoring their opinions.
Eat your heart out, Jack and the Beanstalk
What the Count Rumford are they doing to my city? While Steve “The Music Man” Duprey is busy demolishing historic Main Street, the Concord City Council is scheming to eliminate traffic lanes downtown, and now uptown. The five magic beans we get in trade are in the form of heated sidewalks for the former, and bicycle lanes for the latter. Eat your heart out, Jack and the Beanstalk.
Bike lanes on Loudon Road? As a bicyclist, I’m all for it. As a business owner, I would be less than thrilled. Sure, traffic can avoid “the strip” via Interstate 393 and Route 106, but is that the objective? Why would we want to keep vehicles away from the plethora of restaurants on the Concord Heights? As a rule, families don’t bicycle to dinner. Even fewer do it in the dead of winter. Yes, there’s a traffic problem on Loudon Road, but rushing the resolve, just for the sake of a $1.44 million grant, seems less than prudent.
Not too many years ago, Concord took advantage of another federal grant. That one to fund the senseless reconfiguration of curbs and sidewalks on some of her downtown side streets. The result was disastrous, requiring much of it to be undone. Apparently, we didn’t learn from that debacle.
Oh, there’s trouble in Concord City, big trouble!
SCOTT PRESTON HARDY