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My Turn

Langley Parkway history sheds light on its future

Let’s finish a (so far) well-executed plan

To the Concord City Council: The column by Dick Lemieux and others from the Transportation Policy Advisory Committee regarding the completion of the Langley Parkway (“Slow down, Concord! Don’t kill Langley plan before vetting it,” Monitor Forum, Nov. 21) has prompted me to write this letter of support for the committee.

As an interested, retired, nonresident follower of this project, I will not be personally affected by the project if completed or not.

But I wish to respectfully remind the council that the parkway has had an important influence on local decision-making for many decades.

This “paper street” has helped formulate master-plan decisions and updates which, in turn, guided subsequent initiatives to invest both public and private money in all parts of the city. To remove the last section of the parkway from the books because there “is no real will” to complete it at this time would disenfranchise those pioneers and investors who made those decisions in good faith that ultimately the roadway and its benefits would come to fruition.

There are indeed many important local issues to be addressed in the last section needed to complete the parkway. They can and should be mitigated, however long it takes.

As an example, I submit the existing southern phase of the completed parkway finally opened in 2008 as Exhibit A. The Langley Parkway was originally conceived as a circumferential roadway beginning with its own interchange with Interstate 89 (at the existing Silk Farm Road overpass bridge) and then running northerly to meet the Penacook Street area as currently envisioned. (Don’t remember the I-89 connection? I invite you to check it out.) Over time, again due to many important local issues in that southern area of the project, the parkway connection was relocated from I-89 to Clinton Street. (This modification you now drive every day worked because only a short section of Clinton Street between the parkway and Exit 2 of I-89 would ever need upgrading in the very, very distant future).

From my observations, that portion of the parkway performs well and as anticipated.

(Gil Rogers of Bow was a state Department of Transportation engineer for 30 years and worked on many highway and bridge projects in Concord.)

Legacy Comments5

For James: Maybe you can provide any foundation whatsoever for Mr. Rogers’ claim that “subsequent [investments of] ... both public and private money [were made] in all parts of the city,” in reliance on plans for the Northwest Bypass? And as to listening to the professionals, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t those be the same professionals who estimated the construction costs for the Main Street project?

For rbryan: Your comments are all right on-point. But you would lend yourself credibility by proving they are not simply NIMBY sentiments: Verify for us that, appearing before the city council, writing letters to the editor, etc., you were also a vocal opponent of Phase II... (Was that not also “a unique and special neighborhood worth protecting”?)

The issue is planning, not engineering. I am sure the realtor whom you purchased your home from failed to mention the reason why the existing open space existed in your backyard, there was a long term plan to improve transportation within the city, another example would be the expansion of regional drive. There is nothing unique in the area of the planned bypas with the exception of higher density of nimby,s. Hopefully the council et al will have a backbone and listen to the professionals as they did for the bearcat purchase.

Mr Rogers response is well intentioned but exemplifies several reasons why the project is not well founded in today's Concord. He is an transportation engineer - I am sorry, but transportation departments tend to prioritize roadway development over the neighborhoods they harm. It's their job and bias. But I live in one of those neighborhoods that will be harmed by the increased traffic, noise and continued disruption caused by the parkway and i don't want my neighbor hood harmed. The area around Auburn Street is a unique and special neighborhood worth protecting from the harms this parkway would bring. He is not living in the area - of course. He is an ex-transportation department engineer - Mr Rogers reasons that the past planing and decisions warrant completing the project. With that reasoning, we might still be fighting the Vietnam war. Sometimes realities change and it is time to move in a different direction. I submit that this pathway/bypass is more valuable to Concord residents as a quiet pathway [unpaved] to the adjacent woodlands and parks in the area than as a paved thoroughfare. Greenspace has value.

Your comments are all right on-point. But you would lend yourself credibility by proving they are not simply NIMBY sentiments: Verify for us that, appearing before the city council, writing letters to the editor, etc., you were also a vocal opponent of Phase II... (Was that not also “a unique and special neighborhood worth protecting”?)

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