Complete Streets guidelines approved

  • Jaffrey's Planning Board adopted Complete Streets guidelines during its Tuesday meeting.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Jaffrey’s Planning Board has adopted recently submitted Complete Streets guidelines, which will be used in the future to ensure that streets in town are more accessible to all modes of travel.

With the guidelines adopted by the Planning Board, a resolution will now go to the Selectmen for approval. The guidelines set forth five categories of roads in town, each with its own set of criteria for potential improvements down the line. 

“Complete Streets is an approach to transportation design that balances the needs of all users,” said Mari Brunner of the Southwest Region Planning Commission, who has been working with a volunteer committee in town since November to develop the guidelines. “This doesn’t have to be one large project; these changes can be made incrementally.”

Brunner said the guidelines are non-binding, but offer numerous benefits, including improved safety and accessibility, the opportunity for additional choices for travel, decreased congestion, stimulation to the local economy, and more. 

“A resolution is not a mandate, but it does show a high commitment from the town,” said Brunner. 

Roads in town have been divided into five categories – slow, transition zone, connector, neighborhood, and rural – each with its own set of guidelines.

Slow streets, such as those in Jaffrey’s downtown, have more guidelines than rural roads, given the amount of car, pedestrian, and other traffic in those areas. 

For example, slow streets have a number of criteria to consider around street furniture, on-street parking, and bicycle lanes, all things not found in the rural section of the guidelines. 

“The idea is as you get more volume… you have more infrastructure,” said Planning Board chair Tim Gordon. 

While the guidelines do not recommend any specific projects, five priority implementation areas are listed: the five-way intersection, the Jaffrey downtown area, Main Street between Jaffrey center and downtown Jaffrey, School Street and Stratton Road, and Nutting Road between Letourneau Drive and North Street. 

“There is no funding attached at this time,” said Planning Director Jo Anne Carr. “We are looking for opportunities to implement some of these changes.”

Brunner spoke of a recent demonstration on School Street where shoulder lines and a median were taped on the street to see how cars would respond, saying that cars traveling over 25 mph were cut from 25-percent to 12-percent during the same period the previous week. 

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.