Planning Board Looks at Regional Commission’s Street Program

The Planning Board considered a new project of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) for 2016 aimed at making more efficient use of existing roadways for all users.

SNHPC Deputy Executive Director Sylvia Von Aulock said their “Complete Streets Pilot Program” will provide three communities in the region with a variety of project and program opportunities, with the potential for projects as substantial as narrowing streets and painting bike paths to smaller efforts, such as painting pedestrian crossings so they are more visible.

According to Von Aulock, the Complete Streets program, which has been implemented in Concord, improves the safety of all users, encourages economic development and quality of life, provides choices, increases the attractiveness of the community and improves health by engaging walkers and bicyclists.

For example, Concord painted a line to create a shoulder for jogging and biking, which it expanded twice.

“They have really widened their sidewalks. It’s a safety feature for pedestrians,” Von Aulock said, noting their goal is to accomplish a pilot project in at least one urban, one suburban and one rural community.

The SNHPC is in the process of considering federal regulations, local allowances and challenges to the various types of communities to participate in Complete Streets.

Member Jim Butler recommended the Board and SNHPC consider drawings the SNHPC completed for the section of Route 102 (Nashua Road) from the Derry town line, extending down Mammoth Road.

“That would be a great project to revisit,” he said.

Aulock said the Town could also participate by implementing policies that further the mission of the Complete Streets program.

“We just want everyone who uses the road to be safe. That’s the goal,” Aulock said.

The SNHPC is preparing a Complete Streets toolkit over the next several months, which will include planning and policy guidance and design and engineering standards and regulatory land use guidance.

If the Town does decide to pursue a Complete Streets Project with the SNHPC, its application is due at the beginning of June.

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