Manchester, NH. The Neighbors Were Right: Wal-Mart Store Is A Traffic Disaster
City officials in Manchester, New Hampshire are dealing with heavy political congestion from city residents who are angry about the traffic created by a Wal-Mart that everyone warned would create a traffic headache.
Now it has. And City Aldermen who approved the Wal-Mart superstore have no easy solution.
“The city of Manchester has ruined our neighborhood,” one resident told the Alderman. “The only answer to our problem is a gate.”
Local residents have spoken out routinely about the high traffic volume since Wal-Mart opened its store about five months ago. The alderman voted to install a gate on one street to force a different traffic pattern. But residents on President Road, which has felt much of the brunt of the traffic, said car trips had gone from 1,675 trips per day before Wal-Mart, to 4,980 trips after the store opened---roughly triple the car trips. That’s 3.5 car trips per minute assuming 24 hour store operation.
“I think this has been going on way too long,” one neighbor complained. “I don’t believe that gating President Road is going to be the answer, however that is my choice.” Another resident submitted a petition from 75 homeowners against the gating of their road.
This store went through lengthy hearings. Sprawl-Busters has written 7 earlier stories about this contentious project. Here’s what we wrote in November of 2010:
“In Manchester, residents on Gold Street and surrounding streets were not pleased with the prospect of thousands of new cars on their small streets. Wal-Mart proposed a makeover of Gold Street that added a traffic light, and put in speed bumps. One neighbor told the media, "The majority of the neighbors said the only thing that will work for us is if you dead-end President Road, Sewall and Gold streets so no one will use our street as a short cut. We are not opposing Super Wal-Mart at all, but we do not want the traffic."
The fact is, city officials ignored the warnings from their residents, and approved a project that had an unsolved traffic problem. Now that the store is open, the problems have gotten worse, and there is no easy fix in sight. Wal-Mart always tells residents that its traffic plans will work, because they do not want traffic jams getting to their store either. But Wal-Mart's traffic consultants clearly sold the city on a plan that could not work.
What you can do: Here is the proof that Wal-Mart, with the complicity of city officials, approved a plan that never should have gotten a green light. If the city had done an independent traffic impact study, instead of relying on Wal-Mart’s hired traffic consultant, they would not have angry neighbors and a traffic nightmare to deal with today.
To see the recent Manchester Union Leader story go to: