Pelham - Windham News | March 16, 2012 - 3 The Roundabouts Are Coming to Pelham: Part 2
Tis drawing shows the proposed roundabout in front of the current Fire Station.
This option will require 118,000 square feet of Tis conceptual drawing shows the proposed roundabout in front of the current Town Hall.
by Diane Chubb This is the second article in a series intended to educate Pelham residents regarding the dual roundabout project coming to Pelham’s Town Center. Two separate roundabouts will be constructed
in Pelham’s Town Center. One will be located at the intersection of Nashua Road, Main Street, Windham Road and Old Bridge Street (in front of the fire station where there is currently a blinking traffic light). A second roundabout will be placed at the intersection of Old Bridge Street and Marsh Road, in front of the existing Town Hall. Bids for the project will be accepted beginning
May 22, with the bids opened on June 14. Actual construction on the first of the two roundabouts in front of Town Hall will begin soon thereafter. The project is now funded entirely by Federal dollars. As mentioned in the previous article, the NH Department of Transportation assembled a group of residents to consider the various alternatives to address the traffic situation in the Pelham Town Center. By summer of 2007, the group had come up with five different potential plans for dealing with the traffic situation that they wanted to present to the public for input. Alternatives For Consideration In May 2007, the working group worked specifically on understanding the various alternatives for resolving the current town center traffic issues. The NH DOT and the group held a public informational meeting on September 13, 2007 during which they presented the issue at hand, the various alternatives considered, and their recommendation as to the best solution. Low cost, short-term options such as signing, landscaping and traffic signals were considered, as well as more involved solutions such as roundabouts. A. Signing Many residents in Pelham have suggested that creating a four-way stop at the intersection in front of the fire station where the blinking light is now. Just install “Stop” signs. All vehicles would be required to stop at the intersection and wait for their turn to pass. Four-way stops already cause much confusion among drivers, as people are unsure as to who has the actual right of way. Is it the vehicle that arrived first? The person on the right? (Actually, both. The vehicle that arrives first is allowed to proceed. But if two vehicles arrive at the same time, then each driver yields to the one on their right.)
Using the numbers gained from traffic studies, the NH DOT created computer simulations to show this option in action. The simulations showed that signs only made the intersection worse, as it would stack traffic on Old Bridge Street all the way to Route 38 during peak hours of travel. Therefore, this option was dismissed very early in the study. B. Traffic Signals. Traffic signals indicate when traffic should stop, yield or proceed. When properly times, traffic signals can: • provide for an orderly movement of traffic • increase the capacity of an intersection • reduce the frequency and severity of collisions; and
• interrupt heavy traffic flow to allow traffic from Tis drawing shows the proposed roundabout in the Town Center.
sides roads to enter. There are a few different types of signals.
1. Pre-timed signals follow a preset order and each phase lasts a specific duration.
2. Semi-actuated signals are good for high mainline volumes and variable side street volumes. If there is no vehicle on the side streets, then the signal does not change.
3. A full-actuated signal has a phase-length determined by vehicle demand on all approaches. It can be coordinated or uncoordinated with other signals. One of the downsides of a signal was the amount of pavement it would require. Because left-turn lanes would have to be included in the design, this option requires 176,000 square feet of pavement. This is 48 percent more than Roundabout Alternative A set forth below. More property would have to be taken to create left-hand turn lanes. It would also create a bigger burden on abutting properties. The impact of such an option on the existing homes, the historical aspects of the Town Center, as well as the wide paved road made this option unacceptable to the working group. The working group also believed there were safety concerns regarding the placement of lanes in the proposed signal at Main Street and Nashua Road. Finally, installing a signal required that the fire station must be relocated. The final design for the intersection could not proceed until the new fire station proposal was supported by the voters. The project would have been on hold indefinitely, and it is likely that the town would have lost the federal earmark as an “inactive” project. Thus, this option was rejected. C. Roundabouts
A roundabout is a circular, one-way intersection. It is not a traffic circle or rotary. When driving in a roundabout, vehicles yield
to vehicles already in the roundabout. Cars enter when there is a gap and follow the road to their desired exit. All cars must yield to any pedestrian traffic.
A roundabout has the following advantages:
• slows speeds • saves lives • improves the capacity of the intersection to handle more traffic
• reduces pollution and fuel usage because vehicles continue moving
• saves money • allows for U-Turns • can be made visually pleasing Roundabouts are in use in several towns in New Hampshire, including Nashua, Keene, Hanover, Plymouth, Meredith, Rye and Pembroke. The better- known
roundabout in Nashua is located near Rivier College and Hayward’s Ice Cream. Three
Accident Involving Police Cruiser
submitted by Windham Police Department On March 14, at approximately 8:10 a.m., the Windham Police
and Fire Departments were responding to a possible medical emergency on North Lowell Road near Londonderry Road. Windham Police Officer Brian Landry responded from the police station located on Fellows Road.
Officer Landry entered the intersection of Fellows Road and Route 111 with emergency lights and siren activated. As he attempted to cross onto North Lowell Road a vehicle that was proceeding west on Route 111 struck his fully marked 2011 Dodge Charger. The second vehicle was a 2007 Mercedes R350 driven by Amy Stewart, 47, of Salem. Officer Landry was transported to an area hospital with non- life threatening injuries. Stewart was evaluated at the scene and refused medical treatment. Both vehicles were towed from the scene. This crash is currently under investigation by the NH State Police and the Windham Police TAR team.
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roundabout alternatives were considered for Pelham.
Single, 5-leg roundabout
Similar to the signalized intersection, this project would have consumed a large piece of property, and had significant impact on abutting property. The historic Town Center would have been altered, which was not acceptable to the working group. Further, this option also required that the fire station be relocated. This was not preferred by the group or members of the public. The remaining roundabout plans considered were named Alternative A and Alternative B. Both options involve the taking of some private property along Marsh Road to ensure that the road is wide enough to accommodate the roundabout. Both of the options described below are for
two-lane roundabouts. Roundabout Alternative A Alternative A creates a first roundabout by the
existing Town Hall and Gibson Drive, the one-way cut-through road from Marsh to Old Bridge Street. The entrance into the Village Green for Town Hall and the Library will be reconfigured to allow entry from the roundabout.
A second roundabout will be created in the
existing Town Center area. The actual center, with the Butler Memorial and Gazebo, will remain in place.
pavement. A “boulevard” will be created, with a sidewalk, a planting strip for trees and bushes, and a shoulder along Marsh Road. This option was the preferred one, but it assumed that the current fire station has been relocated. With the voters’ refusal to support the new fire station by the required 60 percent in March 2011, it really left only one option. Roundabout Alternative B Much of Alternative B incorporates the concepts of the Alternative A, including the boulevard approach. However, in this option, the roundabout at the Town Center is designed around the existing fire station. This option forces the front doors to the fire station to be permanently closed. All of the emergency vehicles will have to exit from the back doors. Fire Chief Midgley has already expressed that
the vehicles will only fit into the existing station in a certain configuration. Thus, to get the vehicles out of the station in an emergency, they will have to be shifted, thus causing delays in response time. Alternative B will require 120,000 square feet of
pavement. The final article in this series will discuss Roundabout Alternative B in more detail, the bid and construction process and how the Town Center will look when the project is completed. If you have questions regarding the roundabout project, contact Jeff Gowan at the Pelham Planning Department, 635-7811, or the Board of Selectmen, 635-8233.
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