Dublin Lake parking plan gets support

  • Signage near the public access to Dublin Lake. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • The Pumpelly Trailhead on East Lake Road along Dublin Lake. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • The public access to Dublin Lake. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

  • Roadside parking on East Lake Road along Dublin Lake. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/20/2021 4:33:07 PM

Attendees largely supported a proposal to ban parking on the lake side of East Lake and West Lake Road, which encircle Dublin Lake, at a public hearing on Monday night.  The group also discussed enforcing the ordinance, which areas needed a full parking ban and which areas could have the shoulder widened on the landward side of the road, and mitigating crowds at the Pumpelly Trail terminus.

The purpose of the ordinance change is to keep the roads safe for all users: emergency vehicles, visitors, residents, and pedestrians, Select Board Chair Chris Raymond told the 32 virtual participants to the meeting. Parking issues were especially serious last summer, he said, which spurred the hearing.

Some attendees felt that more restrictions were necessary, beyond the lake side parking ban. “Pumpelly Trail parking is still a disaster,” resident John Morris said, recounting days with more than 70 cars along a half mile stretch of road last summer. He called for further restrictions to ensure the area was safe and passable, particularly during emergencies where the road receives rerouted Route 101 traffic.

Resident Donna Garner asked if the town could limit the time frame people spent parked in certain areas. She described families parked on a section of road by the lake for most of the day, picnicking and with kids running into the road, “using the lake in ways that I’m not sure are appropriate.”

Others were interested in clarifying where visitors could park, and where more accommodations were possible. Road Agent Roger Trempe said the Highway Department was willing to increase the road’s shoulders where it was safe to do so to allow more room for vehicles. Areas of the road with unstable shoulders would have parking banned on both sides, Raymond clarified.

Resident Steve Baldwin said he’d prefer to see signage explaining where visitors could park in addition to any “No Parking” signs that might be required in order to enforce the town’s parking ordinance, and reminded that the town’s deed to the public access along the lake requires Dublin to provide 100 yards of parking there. Existing parking at the public access fills up with just two or three trucks with big trailers, Margaret Blackburn said. Blackburn frequently uses the access for kayaking and would like to see additional parking there, she said.

Last year, Dublin “got nowhere” with the state after reaching out for help repeatedly, Raymond said. The state’s been discussing whether to implement a reservation system for hiking Monadnock, and could put rangers at the Pumpelly and Dublin trailheads, a resident said. Lucy Shonk suggested publicizing Dublin’s new ordinance on any website that details the Pumpelly and Dublin trail. “People are coming to those trails because they are free,” she said. Dublin could create a culture of carpooling to the trailhead and using overflow parking in the town center, Traceymay Kalvaitis suggested. So far, there is no available land suitable for a dedicated parking area at the Pumpelly Trail, Raymond said.

Members of the Dublin Lake Preservation Committee said the parking ban suited their goals well, as it would reduce impacts to the shoreline. Dublin Lake has good water quality, member Katy Wardlaw told the assembly, but there was a recent spike in phosphorus that could have come from sand and gravel, she said, although phosphorus is more typically associated with sewage and fertilizer runoff.

Parking is allowed on town roads so long as the road remains passable, unless an ordinance is in place, Officer Brandon Blair said in response to a resident’s question about whether vehicles have to be completely off the road along the lake.

Police focus on the lake throughout the summer and may continue conducting extra patrols on weekends as they did last year, Blair said. The town’s next steps are to post the roads to clarify where visitors can and can’t park, Raymond said. The Select Board would have further discussions with the Police Department with regards to how to properly enforce the ordinance with fines, Select Board member Carole Monroe said.




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