Temple residents review town center suggestions

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-03-2023 2:51 PM

Temple residents got a first look at ideas that have been generated for shaping the Temple center, including items concerning lighting, parking and traffic-calming on Route 45, and were able to give feedback during a forum on Thursday evening.

Residents contributed ideas on what the town should focus on for its center, which includes the Town Hall and Town Common, during a planning charrette in October. Preliminary ideas that came from the charrette included defining the existing parking around the Town Hall and Common, and possibly adding parking. Jessica Hipp, vice chair of the Community Advisory Committee, presented the possible configurations based on early input.

Hipp estimated that there are eight potential angled parking spaces in front of the Town Hall, with room for two accessible spaces; three spots behind Town Hall; six to seven in front of the library; and seven parking spots in front of the Common. Hipp said that if the town decided to formalize those spaces, it would likely not be with painted lines, but something similar to cobblestone pavers that would be embedded in those spots, while maintaining the historical character of the center.

The next possibility is creating additional parking, which could be used for recreation events like Harvest Fest or Easter. Proposals include creating an event parking area at the lower section of the Common, which could add as many as 20 spots, or reducing Firehouse Lane to a single lane with street parking. If the town decides to relocate the highway garage, a matter under consideration, there could be room for as many as 60 spots behind Town Hall.

Hipp said if there was additional parking created behind Town Hall, there would be an option to create a footpath between the Town Hall and church, to keep those walking from the parking lot off the roadway.

Other options for behind Town Hall include moving the Historical Society to the area, bringing it into the town center and in close proximity to the library. There is also the option of creating a courtyard area behind the library.

There was also discussion of traffic-calming in the area, including narrowing the roadway and adding lighting in the common crossing area across Route 45.

Those in attendance on Thursday were given pennies as markers to lay on ideas they supported or were interested in hearing more about, including an option to do nothing.

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Several members of the community who attended the forum said they were in favor of only light changes, if any at all. Peggy Cournoyer, owner of The Temple Store, said she has not seen a need for major increases in parking, even during special events.

“People come into the store and say, ‘We don’t know where to park.’ I say, ‘You can park any place you want,’” Cournoyer said.

Cournoyer said the population of Temple has not grown significantly, and that she was not in favor of lined parking or adding parking to the Common. She did acknowledge the speed of traffic through Route 45, and suggested installing electronic speed signs on either end of the town center to encourage drivers to slow down as they entered.

Vivian Wills, a member of the Community Advisory Committee, said she wasn’t opposed to some aspects of outlining current parking, such as cobblestone pavers or crossing indicators.

Resident Amy Cabana said that some of the “less-intrusive options,” such as formalizing the existing parking, made “good sense,” but said she didn’t support larger adjustments.

“It doesn’t make sense to change the character of the town for those occasions,” she said. “Let’s not do more than we need, and let’s not make it something we don’t want it to be.”

Some residents questioned reducing access to Firehouse Lane, as it is a common detour when the road in front of Town Hall is shut down. Others suggested that even if it is generally a one-way lane, traffic could be directed down it in the event of a needed detour.

A video copy of the charrette presentation, maps, report and notes, are available on the Temple town website at templenh.org/home/news/charrette-presentation.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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