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Letter: Roundabout would work

I am writing regarding the proposed improvements to the River Street/Shelburne Road (Route 2A) intersection in Greenfield that was presented in the June 2 Recorder. The article describes the series of improvements; however the last paragraph then states “The state will also consider constructing a roundabout there in the future, if what it does next year doesn’t work.”

I am in favor of improving the intersection however I recommended that they skip the $1.35 million “trial-and-error” improvement and instead move immediately into construction of a roundabout at this location If the $1.35 million project fails, they will build a roundabout anyway so why not build it sooner rather than later? The short-term cost to build a roundabout will be higher but without expensive signals to replace and maintain, the long-term costs should be lower.

I lived in Keene, N.H., when their first roundabouts were installed and, despite initial resistance by many, the roundabouts’ ability to improve efficiency and safety of the intersections while also improving air quality through reduced idling has made them so popular that additional roundabouts have been installed there.

As Greenfield works to define and enhance the gateways into the community, the area at the center of the roundabout could become the perfect location for signs or a sculpture that welcomes people coming from Route 2 and I-91 into the downtown. The opportunity to beautify this location and make it safer and more comfortable for all users (drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.) is right in front of us. I fear that MassDOT doing the “simpler” but expensive trial-and-error project instead of moving ahead with a roundabout will delay our abilities to correctly improve the intersection for the long-term and to create a defining entrance for our community.

I have already submitted a letter to MassDOT requesting that they make the roundabout their next (and therefore only) project for this intersection rather than spending money on something that may not address safety issues at this location. If you agree, I ask you to call on MassDOT as well.



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