Swasey Parkway in Exeter will reopen to vehicles for the first time since 2020 on Tuesday, but only to one-way traffic.
The board closed the road along the Squamscott River under emergency orders from Governor Chris Sununu during the pandemic. It allowed access to the Parkway area while respecting social distancing. The promenade was kept closed even after the order expired due to public safety concerns.
The chairman of the board, Niko Papakonstantis, at the August 23 meeting said that, based on the advice of the town’s lawyer, a decision was needed regarding the reopening of the road. The Select Board was appointed by the Swasey Family Trust in the early 1930s to oversee the Parkway.
The council voted unanimously to open the one-way road starting Tuesday from Water Street at the south end to Newfields Road. Parking along the Squamscott River will be permitted.
“To keep it shut down even for public safety at this point, we’ve kind of hit the road as a sign where we have to either open it fully or, within our authority, open it one way. “said Papakonstantis.
The president encouraged further discussions on the future of vehicular traffic on the promenade leading to a vote at the municipal assembly in the spring.
“It gives people the opportunity to continue enjoying it. I see this as a resolution to keep people safe, to keep people happy while we continue to chat,” Papakonstantis said.
Exeter Police have advised pedestrians to use caution when crossing the promenade.