Pedistrian/bicycle bridge to be reconsidered

According to its agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting, the Bedford Town Council will reconsider its vote to provide a letter of support for the Route 1 0 1 Pedestrian/ Bicycle Bridge Grant Application that could provide as much as

eight hundred thousand state and federal grant dollars for the one point six million dollar project.  The council has identified seeking alternative funding sources for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Route 101 at the Nashua Road/Bell Hill Road/Route 1 0 1 intersection as a long range goal for 2 0 1 6.  In June, the N H Department of Transportation announced a new competitive selection round for the federally funded Transportation Alternative Program, also known as TAP.  The program provides funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects under the federal FAST-ACT, from which New Hampshire receives an annual allocation of three point two million dollars.  The proposed project meets the TAP eligibility criteria as the overpass will provide a safer route for non-drivers across Route 1 0 1 and will also connect the schools and parks on the south side of Route 101 with the Town Common and public library on the north side.  The bridge will also connect to future sidewalks on Route 1 0 1, which will lead pedestrians to retail establishments and services in the commercial district to the west.  The TAP grant typically opens for new applications every two years.  If federal funds are available, the next opportunity to apply would be in 2 0 1 8.  The town submitted a letter of interest in July, which is the first step in the application process.  If the project is selected, the full application will be due on September 2nd.  This is one of the largest grants offered by the N H D O T for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and provides an opportunity to significantly offset the cost of the bridge.  Route 1 0 1 bisects the town and has long been viewed as a barrier (a desired one by some) by pedestrians and bicyclists which town officials believe will only be exacerbated with its widening from two to four lanes in 2 0 1 8.  The town has envisioned an overpass at this location in several planning documents including the Bedford Route 101 Corridor Study done in 2 0 0 2, the town’s Master Plan in 2 0 1 0 and the Pedestrian & Bicycle Connectivity Master Plan from 2 0 1 4.

Lake Massabesic: Boat launches closed

Lake Massabesic: Boat launches closed

Due to the unusually low lake levels in Lake Massebesic, the Manchester Water Works will not be allowing trailer boat launching until further notice.  The low levels make it nearly impossible to launch a boat without the vehicle entering the lake.  This practice is unacceptable as it has the potential to seriously impact water quality.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

The men of the Dark Fiber network

(left to right) Gary Girolimon, Marc Abatiell, FairPoint Communications, Brian Balke and Steven Bourget

The Goffstown School District has completed the installation of a cutting-edge dark fiber optic-based Wide Area Network that connects all five Goffstown schools and the administrative offices at 10 gigabits per second.  With speeds 50 times greater than the network it replaced, this blazing-fast fiber optic network is allowing the district to consolidate servers and services, eliminate redundant equipment and improve the on-line learning experiences for its nearly three thousand students.  Fiber optics is the use of thin flexible strands of glass to transmit data via light signals.  With fiber optics there is very little signal loss during transmission, allowing faster speeds and longer distances.   Dark fiber refers to media that an end-user lights with its own equipment and manages itself.  Goffstown’s dark fiber project has been in the planning and development stages for nearly a year.  After careful review, the project was approved by the Goffstown School Board earlier this year.  Quote:  “The concept was proven over a year ago when we deployed dark fiber to our sports fields,” said S A U 19 Director of Technology, Gary Girolimon, who explained they used this fiber for voice and data, and for broadcasting live video of their games to the local cable access channel.  After responding to an R F P, FairPoint Communications was chosen as the fiber vendor.

Redistricting proposals whittled down

Redistricting proposals whittled down

The Manchester Board of School Committee’s Special Committee on Redistricting has narrowed more than a dozen redistrict proposals submitted for review to four.  It will begin discussing their merits at a series of meetings commencing tonight.  The finalists include:

  • Mayor Ted Gatsas’ proposal to move all fifth grade classes to the city’s middle schools and move all eight grade classes into the high schools so a redistricting of the elementary schools can take place;
  • Superintendent Debra Livingston’s plan to build a five and a half million dollar addition to Jewett Street Elementary School to centralize the district’s pre-school classes  to facilitate a redistricting of the city’s elementary schools;
  • a two thousand seven proposal revived by at-Large Committee Member Rich Girard in which district administrators then and in two thousand thirteen recommended moving grades seven and eight from Parkside to West, moving grades four and five from Parker Varney, Gossler Park and Northwest to Parkside and centralizing the city’s pre-school classes at those  elementary schools to facilitate a redistricting of the elementary schools;
  • and Committee Chair Leslie Want’s proposal to move fifth grade classes into the city’s middle schools to enable a redistricting of the elementary schools and create a seventh and eighth grade STEAM Ahead program at West where they could stay for high school or return to Central or Memorial when they hit ninth grade.