Sent a letter to the Keene Sentinel regarding a recent visit and the status of transportation there--the City successfully fought the NH Department of Transportation $60 million bypass project with four roundabouts (one built) instead plus cutting away some of the seas of asphalt--the City has four roundabouts in place including one on Main Street and one in front of the regional medical center, one more in the planning stage and a sixth just two miles south of town on NH 12 in Swanzey.
Dear Keene Sentinel Editor:
A hometown trip last week for a school class get together, a Jon Daniels event and viewing the newest roundabout also led to the discovery--no rental bicycles available in the Elm City. This unfortunate development came while finding the new excellent bicycle route and trail map for the City.
Roundabouts aiding safety and traffic service may well be the glue enabling bikable as well as walkable downtowns and village centers. A look at the “widest paved Main Street in the world” does appear to have a good potential for the newest downtown trend—protected bicycle lanes termed “cycle track.” Chicago moves forward on their first 100 miles of cycle track forged by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Seattle just completed a lengthy Linden Avenue two-way cycle-track facility on Linden Avenue (take a ride through a UTube video). With perhaps minimal adjustment a basic six-foot cycle track may fit along each side of Main Street from Central Square to Main Street Roundabout.
Cycle track—another European import like the roundabout—gives everyone from eight to eighty of all skills the freedom to bicycle in a safe and comfortable way, particularly if key intersections feature a roundabout armed with shared or separate bikepaths so the bicyclists cross on the crosswalks thereby avoiding being forced to join the more dangerous traffic in the vehicle travelway. Cycle track may well be the street design equivalent of the Ipad and Iphone when it comes to popularity and speed of adoption.
It is good news that the dangerous Base Hill Road intersection gets a roundabout treatment in the near future and, hopefully, the rest of the bypass gets “roundaboutized” in the near future. As you know Keene is one of only a few cities of its size in the nation without a rail line—the rights-of-way to connect to Fitchburg and Bellows Falls remain ready for reactivation to enable once again passenger and freight rail service destined for Boston, New York, Montreal and parts beyond. And the City seemed to anticipate the return of rail passenger service as much of the old rail station area remains mostly open ready for its return.
Roundabouts, cycle track and rail passenger service restoration—sounds like the transportation action agenda for an all-American city!