My Turn: Main Street redesign will only make matters worse
Why won’t the members of the Concord City Council leave Main Street alone?
Is it because they think that two lanes are going to be better than four?
Is it because they think that fewer parking spaces are going to be better than more?
Or is it because they think that wider sidewalks and parallel parking are going to be better than diagonal parking and four -lane traffic?
Not only is the redesign project not going to improve Main Street, it is going to get a lot worse as cars back up in the single lane or collide in the middle lane.
Don’t they realize that the Main Street redesign project is nothing more than a latter-day urban renewal project like the one that killed main street in Laconia back in the 1960s? At least that one was reversible.
Any why haven’t Main Street merchants killed the project before now?
I can only conclude that they allowed themselves to be co-opted by the well-known strategy of including the potential opposition in the planning process to the extent that they find it difficult if not impossible to say no to the project.
This point was best made by Winston Churchill in 1940 when Lord Halifax suggested that the British negotiate with the Germans. “No,” Churchill replied, “we can’t go down that slippery slope.”
And then there is the role of the federal grant in the approval process: Did the city council find the lure of the federal money so irresistible that it approved the project without adequately considering the consequences?
I don’t remember anyone, and that includes otherwise good Republicans like Steve Duprey, complaining that the project would add $4.71 million to the federal debt upon which we would be paying more than 40 cents on the dollar in interest.
I also remember a Main Street study that concluded that Concord will never be a tourist attraction like Portsmouth and it should not try.
As we become more and more aware of the detrimental effect that this project is going to have on Main Street and how much it is going to cost, there is still time to tell our city councilors and whoever else will listen to reason how much we oppose the project and don’t want anything more to do with it.
(Dave Tardif lives in Concord.)