With less traffic than expected, 2 traffic lights on Route 302 in Littleton may be removed
By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
April 24. 2018 11:58PM
(John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)
The state Department of Transportation is considering removing two sets of traffic lights in Littleton, including on Route 302 at Home Depot/Irving Oil, shown here on Tuesday. Another set of lights, about a half mile south, at Lowe's, is also under consideration for removal.
In an unusual but not unique situation, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is weighing whether to remove two traffic signals on Route 302 because the low volume of traffic no longer justifies their use.
The lights are located at Home Depot/Irving Oil and, about a half mile south, at the Lowe’s home and garden center.
The public will be able to have its says on the fate of the signals during a meeting this Friday at 6 p.m. in the Tower Room of the Littleton Opera House.
The meeting will be conducted by the NHDOT’s Bureau of Traffic, which in a prepared statement said the two traffic signals were originally installed “to mitigate the projected traffic impact of the abutting commercial properties. …” on Route 302, also known as Meadow Street, a major north-south artery in the Upper Valley Region.
But actual traffic volumes have been less than anticipated, the Bureau of Traffic said, “and do not meet the traffic volume warrants described in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) so that the traffic signals introduce unnecessary delay on the state highway.”
The Bureau of Traffic has installed orange signs at both intersections telling drivers that the traffic signals are being studied for possible removal, something that the Bureau said would come only after receiving public input.
Anyone unable to attend the meeting may submit comments to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic, P.O. Box 483, 18 Smokey Bear Blvd., Concord, NH 03302-0483. Comments may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Boynton, an NHDOT spokesman, on Tuesday said communities, for safety reasons, generally want more traffic signals than fewer.
But having traffic signals where they’re not needed, can, ironically, create an unsafe situation, he said, by prompting some drivers who are impatient to run the lights.
Asked about the frequency with which the NHDOT has reversed or is considering a reversal on its position on traffic signals, Boynton said he knew of two: on Loudon Road at the Steeplegate Mall in Concord and now on Route 302 in Littleton.
In both cases, the traffic volume minimums were not being met, he said, “and if you’re not meeting the minimum numbers you probably shouldn’t have a signal there.”
The lights at the mall were irritating to drivers, too, because they were spaced only about a hundred yards apart, said Boynton.email@example.com
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