Ward 2 News & Notes from Alderman Will Stewart: Feb. edition

In talking to residents along Maple and Beech streets (and cross streets) during my campaign for alderman in 2017, I heard one thing loud and clear: people don’t feel safe living, driving, walking, biking, or letting their children play in front yards along these one-way, two-lane “urban highways.”

Traffic is too fast on these streets, I heard, and there are too many preventable, severe crashes, and a lot more near misses. Backing out of a driveway onto Maple or Beech feels like you’re taking your life into your hands, and even pulling out from a cross street can be quite stressful, I was told.

Parents said they don’t feel safe letting their kids ride their bikes on these streets, or even letting them cross the street on foot to access Oak Park and Wagner Park, or to get to a friend’s house.

Soon after taking office last January, I worked with the Department of Public Works to study safety issues along this corridor, looking at the causes of crashes there. This past summer, a number of small, but important, improvements were made, including improving visibility at the cross street intersections along Maple and Beech, and adding street markings on some particularly dangerous intersections. But to slow down traffic and really improve the quality of life in this residential neighborhood, I believe the design of Maple and Beech themselves must be improved.

To this end I asked the Department of Planning & Community Development to propose several design concepts to improve safety along this corridor. Several of these Maple-Beech street redesign concepts — and that’s all they are at this point: concepts — can be viewed here.

These concepts, which include doing nothing, were shared at City Hall February 5, at a meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Committee on Public Safety, Health, and Traffic.

No decision of how, or even if, to redesign Maple and Beech streets here in Ward 2 will be made any time soon. More study and consideration, which most certainly would include public input, is needed. But now is the time to begin the conversation on how it might be accomplished.

As part of the conversation, I would love to hear what you think about these options, or any other ideas or questions you might have. Feel free to email me or call/text me at 603-361-1379.

More News and Notes

Gas station case delay

Citing an alleged outstanding discovery issue, the developer of a gas station proposed at Edward J. Roy Drive and Wellington Road has requested a scheduled Feb. 14 Superior Court hearing on the development be postponed to an as-yet undermined date.

Free night at Currier

Looking for something special to do with your kids during vacation week? From 5-8 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 28, the Currier Museum of Art will have art activities, a community mural project, games, raffles, film shorts, and more. Also enjoy a lively show from a children’s performer. FREE for all. Learn more.