2023 Safe Road Construction
There are four important reasons why Hollis should not allow hammerheads on any roads as turn turnarounds:
Firstly, they are dangerous. If any of you have driven a truck or pulled a large trailer, you know that visibility to the rear is limited. Imagine being and Amazon driver and needing to reverse a 30 foot truck in a residential neighborhood with small children playing out side. Situations like that are dangerous and can be avoided easily by designing subdivision roads with Cul-De-Sacs
Secondly, because of this danger school buses do not service roads with hammer heads. This creates a secondary danger and a huge problem for families who will live in these subdivisions. The present policy for busing is not to service dead-end streets directly. However construction of hammerhead turnarounds will preclude bus service even if the desire is to change the policy in the future.
Next, the post office is advocating to have mailboxes located in a group on the through street. A cluster of mailboxes can hardly be considered to complement rural character. Again, both users of the through road who must avoid stopped mail trucks and the new residents suffer when mail delivery is forced to the end of the road by the construction of a hammerhead. Construction of cul-de-sacs will allow the town to push back on this misguided effort by the post office.
It should be obvious that delivery of town services are more dangerous and difficult as well. Consider the visibility of plow truck drivers in a snow storm. Here again, the hammerhead is dangerous and complicates snow plowing.
The visual appeal of a cul-de-sac with a center of trees provides a fitting view as one drives down the street. The vegetation hides the houses from the roadway traffic. Hammerheads provide no such visual appeal.
So what are the possible benefits of hammer heads?
One argument has been that they reduce impervious surface. Although this may be true, for the reasons above, I submit that the additional roadway surface and accompanying drainage outweigh the benefits it provides. In fact, I think our present and future residents deserve nothing less.
I have heard that it is more expensive to construct the proper cul-de-sac terminations. Again, this argument does not make sense. Hollis residents should not be adversely affected so that a development can be built more cheaply. Hollis is our town and I believe its roads should be built in a way that maximizes the quality of life for us residents.
The obvious benefit is to developers who have reduced cost of road construction and drainage. In addition, the reduced foot print of hammerheads allows more land to be dedicated to house lots. This certainly does not benefit current residents of Hollis.
I have heard comments like, “This must be addressed on a case by case basis”. I hold that there is no good justification for hammerheads in residential subdivisions of Hollis. In fact, I propose that the language of our ordinance should be followed in all cases. It is not clear to me why so many hammerheads have been allowed. Item 4.d. of our rural character ordinance already says, and I quote,
The text of the proposed change is shown below: