January 5, 2011

Where the Streets Have No Name

Fire officials in Londonderry and Derry say new names for streets in Whispering Pines Mobile
 Home Village will make it easier for responders during an emergency.
Union Leader Correspondent
With street names like Lane 3A and Lane 3B
and lots on both sides of
 the Derry/Londonderry town line, fire
 officials can't pinpoint residences in Whispering Pines. 

DERRY -- Today Sandra Glennie and hundreds of other residents of Whispering Pines Mobile Home Village were supposed to be coming home to new street names and ZIP codes.
Whispering Pines is a maze of like-sounding street names — Lane 3B, Lane 3C — winding across the line between Derry and Londonderry.
Glennie, who has lived on Lane 3C in Londonderry for 14 years, gets her mail through the Derry Post Office and has a Derry ZIP code. Her street address is set to become Norwich Place in Londonderry.
Fire officials say the confusing street addresses can impede emergency responses.
All that was supposed to be
 solved on Tuesday, but fire officials say delays at the United States Postal Service have forced the towns to hold off on changes. 

“Most people in the park are preparing for the change and just waiting for notice,” said park resident Glennie. “I just want them to give us an answer one way or another. Just let us know, and we’ll deal with whatever hassle we have to in the changeover.” 
Londonderry town officials first began looking into renaming confusing town roads about a year and a half ago, after firefighters from other towns had trouble finding a fire on Spring Road, which was broken into three, unconnected sections. 
“That was the catalyst to say, here’s something we’ve looked at, but we need to give it a harder look before something serious,” said Londonderry fire Chief Kevin MacCaffrie on Tuesday. 
After the Spring Road incident, MacCaffrie said the town reached out to the state Bureau of Emergency Communications Mapping GIS/Addressing for help in identifying confusing road names in Londonderry. So far eight roads have been renamed, he said. 
Whispering Pines was quickly identified as an issue, he said. 
All residents of the park have Derry ZIP codes, as the park’s entrance and mail boxes are on the Derry side, regardless of where the home is physically located. 
Of the 252 homes in the park, 215 are technically in Londonderry, said MacCaffrie. Working with the state Bureau of Emergency Communications, the two towns asked the Postal Service to issue accurate ZIP codes to residents on the Londonderry side, said Timothy Scott, data operations manager with the state’s 911 program. 
In other local instances, the Postal Service has updated ZIP codes while continuing to use the same delivery routes, Scott said. In this case, that would mean Londonderry residents would be issued Londonderry ZIP codes, but mail would still be delivered through the Derry system. 
But Scott said the Postal Service recently rejected the proposal, citing “significant delays in delivery times” if changes were made, he said. 
“This is really the only time we’ve had any problem with the Postal Service in resolving issues like this,” he said. 
Scott said Postal Service representatives have said they will consider updating the ZIP codes of Londonderry residents and then rerouting their mail service through Londonderry but have made no commitments nor given firm timelines. 
“We’re disappointed that we’re not going to meet the deadline for conversion that the towns had set months ago,” Scott said. 
Calls to the Northeast Area division of the Postal Service were not returned on Tuesday. MacCaffrie said town officials have decided to hold off on the street name conversion until the ZIP code issue has been resolved so that residents will only have to go through the changeover once. 
While the delays have left Whispering Pines residents waiting for answers, Glennie said it doesn’t make much difference either way. 
“I don’t know what the big fuss is,” said Glennie. “When you’ve lived here for years, you’re used to it. It’s just a mailing address.” 
Though split between Derry and Londonderry, Glennie says she doesn’t feel like she lives in one town over the other. 
“Derry and Londonderry have been my homes for so much of my life, I don’t even think about it in that way,” she said. “I’ll let them figure it out and they can tell me where I live.” 

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