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News from everywhere *but* Central New Hampshire.

Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Commission Taking Closer Look At Transportation Issues

The Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Commission will hold a public forum Monday as it begins its study of eight main transportation corridors in the region.

The commission's goal is to identify what issues exist on these roads, from drainage issues to pedestrian and bicycle safety.  

One of the first corridors the Commission will study is the northern part of Route 120, which connects Hanover and Lebanon. It's one of the most highly trafficked roads in the region, with about 20,106 vehicles passing through on average per day, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Meghan Butts, a transportation planner at the Regional Commission, says these forums are a way to get a detailed picture of what's going on town by town.

"What's really happening on these roads? Where are people going? And how are they using these major corridors?" she said. "We're also interested in the local connector roads because those intersections are important."

The commission has set up a survey for residents and a space for them to leave comments about issues they experience along each corridor.

Of the existing comments on the northern part of Route 120, most focused on congestion, increasing the speed limit and the lack of sidewalks.

“Dangerous for bicyclists,” reads one comment from February 3. 

There are also several proposed housing developments along 120, including graduate student housing, housing geared toward hospital employees and a multifamily development.

“There’s gonna be more cars coming here now,” Butts said. “Can we get more of those people out of cars and onto AdvanceTransit? Or using a sidewalk or safer bike routes to not make the problem worse.”

The commission will come up with potential projects to address issues unique to each of the eight corridors. 

"We're going to get as much information out there and studies that have already been done,” Butts said. “If there's data that needs to be collected, we'll collect it. We're also going to have in our action plan what grants these projects might be eligible for,” she said.

Monday’s public forum starts at 5 p.m. in at the temporary city hall offices Lebanon, with another forum taking place on Wednesday morning at the Howe Library Hanover.

Daniela is an editor in NHPR's newsroom. She leads NHPR's Spanish language news initiative, ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and the station's climate change reporting project, By Degrees. You can email her at dallee@nhpr.org.
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