Easthampton begins work making crosswalks, sidewalk safer

  • Elison Fernandes, an employee of Detour Construction, works on setting a curb for a side walk being built on Cottage Street in Easthampton. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Cesar Faustino, a forman for Detour Construction, and Rui Almeida, the owner driving, work on setting a curb for a side walk being built on Cottage Street in Easthampton. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Elison Fernandes, an employee of Detour Construction, works on setting a curb for a side walk being built on Cottage Street in Easthampton. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/11/2019 5:44:02 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The city Department of Public Works has begun construction to improve crosswalks across the city, including two on Cottage Street where a sidewalk is also being widened.

The crosswalk being updated at Cottage and Adams streets was the site of where 63-year-old Denise Herzog, a local potter and ceramicist, was struck and killed by an SUV while crossing the road last December.

“We were already in design for improvements when that happened,” said Diane Rossini, a staff engineer with the city.

The main projects aim to widen the north sidewalk from 15 Cottage St. to the Nashawannuck Pond spillway and update a crosswalk at the intersection of Holyoke, Clark and Cottage streets along with the one at Cottage and Adams streets. Construction is partially funded by a 2018 Massachusetts Department of Transportation Complete Streets grant of $217,445.

Rossini said the city’s plan is to install lighted signage for both crosswalks, so oncoming traffic will be better able to see if someone is crossing.

“The city did a study a few years back for pedestrian safety,” Rossini said, noting that this study identified places for the city to make improvements to crosswalks.

Originally, the city was planning to put only signs at the crosswalks, but that fatal incident pushed the town to consider lighted beacons.

When the city began work on implementing those crosswalks, Rossini said they decided to also widen the north side of the sidewalk since it was narrow.

Although some of the construction is being funded by the grant, she said, paving associated with the construction is being funded by the state’s reimbursable Chapter 90 road funding program.

“This project and the focus of pedestrians is an issue of safety and access,” said Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. “It’s a longstanding commitment of the city and one of my top priorities.”

Rossini said they hope to have Cottage Street construction finished by the time school starts in September.

Other projects are also being completed around the town, Rossini said, including implementing an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant crosswalk at Glendale and Main streets, along with adding signs to other crosswalks around the city.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.


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