How will tourists get to New Hampshire?
To the editor:
You did a great article on New Hampshire tourism (“Branding New Hampshire: State tourism agency’s beefed-up marketing efforts begin to pay off,” May 12-25 NH Business Review). However, the question remains how does one get to New Hampshire?
I am president of the NH Railroad Revitalization Association, (NHRRA). Founded in 1992 its mission is the restoration of rail service from Boston to New Hampshire for passengers and freight service. I also served and currently serve on the boards or two regional planning commissions so I approach rail and public transportation as a tool of economic development.
I currently live on Canobie Lake in Windham, where I grew up. I developed this interest when I lived in Boston. Being on a subway line, I gave up my car. My family was from Lawrence. I learned later that to get to Canobie Lake my grandparents would take a trolley and be picked up by a steam launch and dropped of at their camp. They would also take a train to Salem. Up to the early 1930s, public transportation was so prevalent that every town that had a stop became a tourist destination. Farmers rented rooms.
I wanted to get to New Hampshire. I could not because there were little or no public transportation connections to New Hampshire tourist destinations, so I took the train to Rockport, Mass.- where I spent money.
That is how it remains. There is not a tourist destination in NH accessible from the Boston area by public transportation
This is problematic on a couple or reasons. There is massive new residential construction happening is Boston.
Many of the new complexes are cutting back on parking because of the availability of transportation options in the city.
So how does one get to a New Hampshire tourist destination? You can rent a car. However, if all this additional traffic is put on New Hampshire roads does getting to a tourist destination become so intolerable that people will stop coming?
The second reason is a problem that so many of the tourists coming into Boston are from countries that have spent billions on public transportation. Many of these people do not even own a car. How does one attract these tourists?
The Downeaster service (Boston to Brunswick) provides the only rail connection to tourist destinations north of Boston. In late 2015, I served on a panel established to explore the feasibility of high speed ferry service from Portsmouth to Provincetown, Mass. The panel included representation from the two communities. The dialog was very positive. The next step would have been a feasibility study.
The process was stopped by George Bald, chairman of the board of the Pease Development Authority, the entity that controls the port. However, what are they doing for the port?
If accessibility is not addressed than only a fraction of tourist potential will be accessed.
Peter J. Griffin