I received, and was asked to share the following email with readers of The Walpolean. What do you think? – Lil
“Good morning Lil,
I hope this email finds you well. I’m writing to you today to let you know of some traffic observations I’ve had over the last five years since opening The Hungry Diner. I’m wondering if my thoughts could be shared as opinion or know who I should share these observations with in town. I am sure that the powers that be in town and in the state are aware of the incredible amount of accidents that happen in front of the Ames Plaza. We are at the restaurant so often that we see most of them and some of them are quite high speed accidents.
I have also noticed that route 12 is simply busier than ever and the traffic seems to be traveling at a faster speed than posted. The speed limit is 35 mph and many vehicles, including large trucks, are speeding. In any event, this is a dangerous situation and is not good for our town or the businesses along the strip. There are more and more people walking and biking and I fear that someone is going to be hurt. Believe it or not, there are many folks who walk to Diamond Pizza, Walgreens, Pete’s Stand, and our restaurant from the homes and apartments on the other side of route 12. Now a traffic light is surely up for discussion but I feel as though this would be a horrible decision for our town and possibly make the problem worse.
Statistically, accidents at traffic lights (especially on straight roads with a higher speed limit on highways) occur at higher speeds and often are much more damaging and sometimes fatal. I propose a roundabout such as those all over the City of Keene. I remember when the roundabouts were being discussed and they were initially hotly contested but the research shows that they can be a lot better than traffic lights. Roundabouts are not only better for the environment (no idling at traffic lights), they also require drivers to slow down to a very low speed, they include crosswalks, and can be aesthetically pleasing with the addition of plants and flowers.
I would personally hate to see a big set of traffic lights in Walpole. The fabric of our small village has already been upended with the addition of national chains that make our town look like Anywheretown, USA. I believe something must be done about the intersection on route 12 as it is extremely dangerous as it is now. As a parent with a student driver, I hate pulling out of that plaza as the hill makes it very difficult to see if anyone is coming and coupled with high speeds exceeding the limit, it’s really a recipe for more accidents. The blinking light is a band-aid for a much larger problem and does not address making Walpole a walkable community for the many families who live on the other side of route 12 or for the future of the business district.
Thank you for reading and take care!