Firemen Have a Ball
Put together a cold January evening, good food, friends and a celebration and you must have another jubilant Firemen’s Ball in Pelham. Once again held at the beautiful Harris Inn the evening opened with a cocktail hour that allowed participants a chance to chat.
Spouses were given a carnation to wear when they arrived.
Pelham Fire Chief David Fisher introduced guests, including Selectmen Hal Lynde and Jean-Guy Bergeron, who is also a State Representative, Charlene Taksian, Town Treasurer, members of the Pelham, New York Fire Department, Police Chief Evan Haglund, State Representative Lynne Ober and former State Representative Russ Ober.
Fisher called Lieutenant Ray Cashman, Junior and Firefighter/Paramedic James Foley to the podium to be recognized for their work. Citing a cardiac arrest incident to which they responded, the Chief told the audience that through their hard work, they were able to revive a man whose heart had quit beating. "That individual is still alive today," Fisher proudly said. "They brought the gentleman back to live."
Attendees enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner complete with soup, salad, turkey, and all the trimmings. Conversation was lively during dinner.
At each Firemen’s Ball the Firefighter of the Year award is given. Fisher called all the officers to the front to make the presentation. Telling the audience that the officers usually got together to discuss who should get this award, he surprised everyone by saying, "Even they don’t know who the recipient is. This year the award is going to two Pelham Fire Department officers, who give of themselves on a daily basis."
Fisher introduced the co-recipients, Lieutenant Jack Tirrell and Captain Alan Farwell, to a loud round of appreciative applause. Praising both men for their hard work and dedication, Fisher extolled the extra efforts of each officer over the past year.
Tirrell thanked Fisher for his award, indicating that he was just doing his job.
Farwell said, "I enjoy coming to the Fire Department. It’s my second family."
Door prizes were raffled off before the dancing began.
Traffic Problems Grow in Pelham Center
Since Pelham Selectmen tried and failed to get the Pelham Center traffic resolution added to New Hampshire’s Ten Year Highway Plan last year, there’s been no abatement in this growing problem. Although Selectmen were disappointed with the lack of state response, they have continued to be very proactive in trying to find a solution.
After a meeting with New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Carol Murray, they were encouraged to seek a resolution that would not require state assistance and they have been actively pursuing other options.
Recently State Representative Lynne Ober spoke during Public Forum and pledged her help in assisting Selectman and Representative Jean Guy Bergeron in seeking funding for a possible resolution. Ober said that she felt that all of the Representatives in District 27 should actively work to assist Pelham and promised to work to see that happens. Stating that she knew that Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) had provided some feedback and that they [Selectmen] still had to vote to pursue an option, she said, "I will be available to actively help you pursue your preferred option, to meet with you or to meet with other state or federal officials on your behalf."
Selectmen had approached NRPC to help evaluate alternatives with the hope of identifying one with relatively low cost and low impacts and to help identify funding sources for improvements. "This is definitely the right step to have taken," Ober said.
NRPC Executive Director Steve Williams met with Selectmen to discuss the results of NRPC’s analysis. "The NRPC Travel Demand Model analyzes traffic patterns based on travel time. It analyzes traffic patterns so that all drivers end up using the shortest travel time route and it is sensitive to congestion and delay so that if a roadway becomes clogged, the model finds the next shortest route and diverts the traffic realistically."
Williams said that there are two areas where through traffic and turning traffic has a conflict. This occurs at the intersection of Main Street, Windham Road, Nashua Road, and Old Bridge Street North as well as at the Old Bridge Street North, Marsh Road, and Common Street intersection.
He identified both intersections as failing to move traffic. Currently cars have a wait of over one minute per vehicle. By 2025 that wait is predicted to grow to over five minutes per vehicle.
Six scenarios, one with two configurations, were examined by NRPC and recommendations presented to Selectmen.
The first scenario proposed cutting Old Bridge Street North at the north end, converting Gibson Drive and Common Streets from one-way to two-way, and prohibiting a right turn from Old Bridge Street North to Gibson Drive.
The traffic currently using Old Bridge Street North would be split between Woodbury Avenue, Gibson Drive, and Main Street with the result that traffic will more than double on Main Street resulting in very poor traffic flow. Old Bridge Street North and Marsh Road intersections would work well, but the Marsh Road and Gibson Drive intersection will be a problem due to heavy turning traffic. NRPC felt that this scenario just moved traffic failure to other locations.
Scenario two cut Old Bridge Street North west of the intersection with Gibson Drive, converted both Gibson Drive and Common Street from one-way to two way streets and prohibited a right turn from Old Bridge Street North to Gibson Drive.
While this scenario did not impact Main Street as much, NRPC did predict that within twenty years both Main Street and Gage Hill Road would need to be widened to four lanes to handle existing traffic. Traffic currently using Old Bridge Street North would use Gage Hill Road and Main Street. NRPC predicted an increase of approximately 10,000 vehicles per day under this scenario. The Marsh Road intersection would work well under this scenario due to a low volume of traffic.
NRPC also discussed a roundabout option for scenario two, but noted that quite a bit of property would have to be acquired to make this work effectively. Acquisition of the property added to the cost of constructing a roundabout and made this an expensive option for Pelham.
Scenario 3 converted the intersection of Main Street, Windham Road, Nashua Road, and Old Bridge Street North into a four-way stop, converted Old Bridge Street North between Marsh Road and Woodbury Avenue to local traffic only, closed Common Street intersection with Main Street, converted Gibson Street to a two-way street and prohibited left turns from Gibson Street onto Marsh Road.
NRPC felt that a four-way stop sign would not be adequate and a traffic light would be needed at the intersection of Main Street, Windham Road, Nashua Road, and Old Bridge Street North. The traffic currently using Old Bridge Street North would be split between Woodbury Avenue, Gibson Drive, and Main Street. Reconstruction of the intersection of Old Bridge Street North, Woodbury Avenue and Gibson Drive would be needed in order to created a functional four way intersection. Because there would be a heavy left turn volume from Marsh Road to Gibson Road, NRPC felt that a traffic light would be required at this intersection.
Scenario four closed the Common Street intersection with Main Street, converted Old Bridge Street North between Marsh Road and Woodbury Avenue to local traffic only, converted NH 111A to one way south between Main Street and Gibson Drive, converted Gibson Street to one-way eastbound, converted Woodbury Avenue to one-way northbound, and converted Main Street to one way westbound from Woodbury Avenue to Windham Road.
NRPC felt that this scenario would result in additional traffic diversion to other town roads because of the length of some trips through town. At least a four-way stop sign at Main Street, Windham Road, Nashua Road, and Old Bridge Street North would be required, but NRPC felt that a traffic signal might be required. The intersection of Old Bridge Street North, Woodbury Avenue, and Gibson Drive would require reconstruction to create a functional three way intersection, and a stop sign would need to be installed at the intersection of Gibson Drive and Marsh Road in order to safely facilitate turning traffic.
Scenarios five converted Old Bridge Street North between Main Street and Gibson Drive to one-way traffic, closed Common Street intersection with Main Street, converted Gibson Street to one-way eastbound, and Woodbury Avenue to one-way northbound. Main Street would be converted to one way westbound from Woodbury Avenue to Windham Road.
The negative impact of this scenario was similar to that of scenario four in that traffic would be diverted to other town roads due to the length of some trips through town center. NRPC predicted that the intersection of Old Bridge Street North, Woodbury Avenue and Gibson Avenue would require reconstruction and at least stop signs would have to be installed at the other two intersections.
That left scenario six which was Option 2B from the GEOD Study. That option recommended two synchronized traffic signals be used. One at the intersection of Main Street, Windham Road, Old Bridge Street North, and Nashua Road and one at the intersection of Old Bridge Street North, Marsh Road and Common Street. This also added an exclusive left turn lane from Main Street westbound to Old Bridge Street North and an exclusive left turn lane from Old Bridge Street North northbound to Nashua Road.
NRPC felt that with these signals, both intersections would operate at an appropriate service level with an average wait time of 13 seconds per vehicle. By 2025 the average wait time is predicted to grow to 29 seconds per vehicle. All other roadways in town center area will operate well with both current and future projected traffic growth.
This alternative does require the purchase of a few feet of right-of-way to add left turn lanes. The total needed is 1,541 square feet Williams told Selectmen and the estimated cost of the project is $255,000.
Williams explained to Selectmen that they might wait for 12 to 15 years before any state funding was available for this project and suggested, as an alternative, that the town pay for all of the cost.
Bergeron plans to work with Murray to see if any federal funding would be available to Pelham for this project and said that he would contact Congressman Bass.
Selectmen voted to pursue GEOD Study 2B. Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill McDevitt commented that he hated the traffic signal option, but had said that if other options were evaluated and this was the only good option that he would "hold his nose and vote for it." He thanked Williams for the efforts made on behalf of Pelham by the NRPC.
Selectmen – 2 3-year terms Richard W Derby, Thomas M. Domenico, Edmund J. Gleason
Town Treasurer – 1 3-year term Jas Moorjani Charlene, F. Takesian
Budget Committee – 3 3-year terms Philip J. McColgan, Jr. Robert S. Sherman, Douglas Viger
Budget Committee - 1 1-year term Martha Lowe
Cemetery Trustee – 2 3–year terms Richard W. Jensen, J. Timothy Zelonis
Trustee of Trust Funds – 1 3-year term Barbara Stadtmiller
Trustee of Trust Funds – 1 2-year term
Library Trustee – 2 3-year terms Linda Kilbride, Elizabeth Carol Zemetres
Supervisor of Checklist – 1 6-year term Joyce E. Mason
Supervisor of Checklist – 1 1-year term Carol Ann Fisher School Board – 1 1-year term Michael D. Chenelle, Christine Medeiros, Robert Molloy, Steven F. Tello
School Board – 1 3-year term Adel-Marie Cerri, Timothy J. Knittel, Linda Mahoney
School District Clerk – 1 1-year term Donna M. D’Arcangelo
School District Treasurer – 1 1-year term Patricia Murphy
School District Moderator – 1 1-year term Philip R. Currier
Board of Selectmen – 2 3-year terms Alan Carpenter, Chris Doyle, Margaret Crisler, Dennis Senibaldi, Louis Hersch, Andrew Lane, Walter Kolodziej
Planning Board – 2 3-year terms Ross McLeod, Philip Lochiatto
Zoning Board – 1 3-year term Alfred Souma Mark Samsel
Planning Board – 1 2-year term Ruth-Ellen Post
Trustee/Trust Funds – 1 3-year term Mary Johnson
Cemetery Trustee – 1 3-year term Gail Webster
Library Trustee – 2 3-year terms Patricia Skinner, Paul Keller
Town Moderator – 1 1-year term Peter Griffin
School Board 2 3-year term Michael Hatem, Galen Stearns, Elizabeth Valentine
District Clerk 1 1-year term Maryann Horaj
District Treasurer 1 1-year term Maura Pennisi
School Board Moderator 1 1-year term Elizabeth Dunn