Master Plan Group “Walks” Through Options for Town

The Master Plan Implementation Committee is focused on a more walkable Londonderry.

In the Feb. 22 quarterly meeting of the group, Chairman Ted Combes and staff representative John Vogl led a discussion on extending current walking trails and sidewalks and creating new ones, with the goal of eventually linking them all in a town-wide loop.

The group built on work done by Sandy Lageux, Londonderry Trailways’ representative to the group, when she led a workshop this past October. In that workshop, Lageux asked members to rank options for trail and/or sidewalk priorities. The committee’s top picks were Moose Hill to Wilshire; Pillsbury/ Mammoth Road to Mack’s Apples; Mammoth Road/ Pillsbury to Woodmont Commons; and Londonderry Middle School to Shasta Drive.

In the Feb. 22 meeting, members refined those options and came up with more.

One of the tools Vogl brought before them was a “Bike and Pedestrian Improvements” map created in Bedford, which used a map legend to identify bike lanes, shared use lanes, curbed sidewalks, widened shoulders, existing sidewalks and existing trails.

While there are walking options at the Town Center at Pillsbury and Mammoth Roads, Vogl urged the committee members not to stop there. “Continue your reach,” he said. “Look for areas that are ‘connectionary.;'”

Member Kyle D’Urso has looked at the Master Plan and found at least five neighborhoods that are “up and coming” and could use a pedestrian option.

Member Martin Srugis asked about North Londonderry, and Vogl said that would be a good place to develop trails or sidewalks because of its proximity to the Rail Trail.

“It would also reach a large number of people,” Combes said.

Vogl warned the members that anything involving a sidewalk, especially on a state road, would be a “major project.”

And, he said, the state would not look kindly on a request to narrow the lanes to accommodate walkers.

Vogl drew the group’s attention to Old Kelley Road, an abandoned road and right-of-way across from Dunkin’ Donuts. “It could be reactivated,” he said.

Mike Speltz, a member of the Conservation Commission attending the meeting, observed that the town hasn’t done much with South Londonderry in terms of walkability, and Combes suggested they could ask the town to extend the sidewalk, not only to Mack’s Apples, but all the way to the Crossroads Mall.

They also discussed finding a way to connect to the Kendall Pond trails.

The group identified several areas including Kendall Pond/South Londonderry, North Londonderry/Rail Trail, the Old Kelley Road area, Pillsubry Road east to Woodmont, and south on Mammoth Road. They asked Vogl to come back with a map, after which they will gather more data and seek professional opinions before next year’s budget process.

There may be grants available for various projects, members agreed. And there are other options.

“It will take a lot of work,” Combes said of the ultimate goal of connecting all the trails.

“No, it will take an Eagle Scout,” Vogl quipped.