One-way Signs Come Down at Sunapee Harbor

After an hour of public comment and discussion, Sunapee selectmen unanimously agreed Monday night to end the trial, one-way loop at Sunapee Harbor. The audience of more than 30 largely applauded the decision, which appeared to also get the endorsement of Police Chief Cahill and Road Agent Tony Bergeron.

A broadcast email sent Tuesday by the town said the loop would end effective today, Wednesday, July 1, and “the highway department will be working to remove the Jersey barrier and one way signs. Please use caution when entering and exiting the harbor.”

The decision came after several people including selectmen shared personal experiences traveling and observing the one-way loop that started June 17. It directed traffic one-way up Main Street past the old town hall and out of the harbor via River Road and the High Street Bridge.

In May, the board voted 5-0 to test the new traffic plan and “put the issue to bed, one way or another.”

Anchrage2009Harbor business owner Glenn Shaw, from the Anchorage restaurant, said the one-way loop was “infuriating” and confusing patrons and driving people away. It’s “not an easy town to do survive in,” added Shaw, who helped get 500 signatures on a petition to end the experimental traffic change.

Bob Henry, Sunapee, of Harborside Trading Company, also called for an end to the loop. He offered a “compromise,” one-way only on River Road.

Peter Urbach, Sunapee, stood and spoke against the loop. I’ve presented the selectmen a petition with 100 names, he added.

The town is “trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing,” said Artie Osborne, who then handed over the citizen’s petition containing 500 signatures gathered in less than two weeks.

“People are not happy with it,” noted Osborne.

Osborne also questioned why the sidewalk was re-installed along River Road after voters in March rejected the expenditure. Osborne has repeatedly and publicly questioned the cost and need for a sidewalk along River Road, where once existed trailer parking, but now is limited to vehicle parking only.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Steve White responded, the vote in March was about installing a permanent, not temporary, sidewalk, and there are safety factors.

“Give me a break,” responded Osborne.

Public safety was Skip Nolin’s concern when he spoke against the new traffic design and safety was the major factor the selectmen cited for ending the one-way before the end of the summer. The aesthetics and impact on the community as a whole were other factors people mentioned.

Although Selectman Fred Gallup thought the board would be open to criticism for not providing a “good enough trial” period, he with Selectmen Emma Smith, Charlotte Brown, Bill Roach and Steve White, voted 5-0 to do away with the one-way loop as soon as possible.

It’s Wednesday morning. The Jersey barriers and one-way signs at Sunapee Harbor are coming down.

Other remarks from the June 29 selectmen meeting:

  • Glenn Shaw: “No one is coming [to the harbor]…as a business owner, it is very hard to operate.” The temporary Jersey barriers make the area look like Beirut.
  • Donna Gazelle: Reversing the direction to counter-clockwise might prove to be more successful.
  • Brian Vincent: The charrette [the community visioning and planning session held in 2007] evaluated the potential for creating “a vibrant, community area and re-development of the old town hall.” It looked at future needs of the harbor including traffic and parking. [The charrette, based on community input, suggested adding more on-street parking and moving traffic counter-clockwise through the harbor.]
  • Selectman Emma Smith: “It’s awful. It’s not good….I feel we gave it a chance and we’d be wise to let it go.”
  • Selectman Charlotte Brown: 90%+ of the comments I’ve received oppose the one-way loop. It’s about “safety…I don’t think we should have the one-way loop. River Road should not be one-way either.”
  • Selectman Bill Roach: After reciting several dangerous close-calls involving vehicular traffic, “it’s time to put it to rest…It’s been in place 13 days longer than I figured it would last.”
  • Road Agent Tony Bergeron: “It has not succeeded…[I] recommend, take down the one-way, and not try any other alterations this year…It was a misinterpretation of the Charrette… [business] is 25% behind this year…” If businesses and buildings change in the future, traffic flow may need to be revisited.
  • Selectman Steve White: “The safety and welfare of the town are most important…I do it [vote] with some regret.”

3 Responses

  1. Update on petition numbers: Signatures numbered about 435, not 500, said a petition organizer. The other petition, also presented to the selectmen and opposed to the one-way loop, numbered over 100.

  2. Thank-you to all who opposed the one-way loop and to those who obtained the petition signatures. Had I been approached, I too would have signed willingly. Aside from hurting the businesses in the harbor, let’s face it, the barriers were ugly and an “un-welcome” to Sunapee Harbor, which I thought was suppose to be attracting tourists. Going to the post office became a problem for some, having to go around to the harbor instead of just over the River Road bridge, and back. Let’s put this issue to rest and move on to more important concerns that will serve the town’s needs.

  3. Good job Artie! It sounds like there are some on the board who, once again, seem to think they know what is best for the town regardless of what it wants…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s