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Letter: Livability and transportation

The razing of the train station in 1961 and how Main Street struggles are mysteries I have pondered since moving here.

Transportation has imbued Concord since the coaches of Abbot-Downing. Researching 1958 forward, with the demise of the fourth train station to the present, yields a compelling story: A history uncollected as the 250th Anniversary (concord250.org) draws near.

In the late 1950s, city officials assisted a developer in razing the 1885 Bradford Lee Gilbert rail station. With 1,500 parking spaces, it failed to revive shopping, as have subsequent garages, where hundreds of $30,000 parking spaces sit idle. The perception that parking is difficult remains. The parking mantra persists that if we just clear another lot we can solve this.

A revitalized Main Street with livability or “suitability for human living” is what’s needed. Given the federal grant partially funding the Main Street redevelopment, consider how Ray
LaHood defined livability – as living not requiring a car trip.

This year I have logged 5,000-plus car miles, including a 3,000-mile journey. But I prefer to bicycle. I’ve logged more than 700 bike miles for everyday local travel. Livability and safe transportation choice compel me to advocate for safe infrastructure for everyday bicycling. Transportation choice can be a catalyst which returns locals to shopping on Main Street, as it has in other livable communities.

ROBERT BAKER

Concord

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