Depot Street re-do unneccessary
This planning commission meet ing at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 21, 2014 at the Manchester Town Office was not well advertised and not well attended; approximately 10 to 20 people were there. Mark Anders, Bennington County Regional Planner made the presentation on redesigning Route 11-30 or Depot Street from the roundabout to R.K. Miles. Basically under consideration is reducing the road from 3 lanes to 2, putting safety islands in the middle of the road for pedestrians, having a bike safety lane, improve the aesthetics (walks, curb cuts, driveways, green space). This all comes with a current price tag of approximately $750,000. Funding, hopefully, would come from the Federal Government and State. No amount was indicated as to what the local contribution would be. I asked the question as to who makes the decsion as to whether or not we do this project. No answer was given. I still would like to know the chain of command.
I have walked that area and looked at it critically many times since this topic came up some time ago, at planning commission meetings and other town meetings. I oppose any major construction or redesign of this major road of Manchester. I recognize a few businesses could improve their appearance but for the most part the streetscape looks terrific and works well. Maintenance is good summer, fall, winter and spring. Winter plowing is no problem regardless of the amount of snow. The road is wide enough to accommodate service vehicles whether they are police, fire, rescue, ambulance, tractor trailers or loggers, contrary to 7A from the Village to the center of Manchester. When I took my critical walks on 11-30 I started from the roundabout and walked the left side, bridge, park, retail stores, Marble Mill, etc. to me it couldn't be much nicer - the transfer station expensive to move probably $3 million or more. Then I came back up the same side to take another look at everything. Then I went down the right side from the roundabout and again came up. If we want a bike lane, it doesn't have to be a big deal - paint a white strip on both sides for bikers like is done in many other places. To emphasize it put slanted lines. The driveways are fine, they work well. New construction looks good. Let's preserve; why spend when it isn't necessary. Friends, citizens, let your voice be heard before it is too late. Call, write or e-mail the town. Let them know what you think. Do your homework; take a good look.
Let's spend wisely. Town - please do a better job of informing us timely of meetings. Use the Journal as one means - it is our town paper.
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