Select Board prefers one less bike lane for Route 9 widening in Hadley

  • Route 9 in Hadley GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/25/2021 12:43:46 PM

HADLEY — Before the project to make Route 9 a four-lane road from Hadley center to the shopping malls begins, elected town officials are seeking to remove one of two proposed bicycle lanes.

The Select Board is urging the state’s Department of Transportation to have just one bicycle lane on the 2.4-mile-long stretch of Route 9 after it took a split 3-2 vote at its Jan. 20 meeting,

Board member Joyce Chunglo, who voted in favor of the measure, said bicyclists already can use the Norwottuck Rail Trail that parallels Russell Street.

“Keep the bikers off Route 9. Put them back on the bike path where they belong,” Chunglo said.

Board member Jane Nevinsmith made the motion that would encourage the state to have one bicycle lane on Route 9 on the side opposite where the Norwottuck Rail Trail runs. This means that from town center east to Mill Valley Road the bicycle lane would be on the south side of the road, and after that intersection, and to North Maple Street, the lane would be on the north side.

Board member Christian Stanley, who was joined by Chairman David J. Fill II in voting against the recommendation, said he wouldn’t vote against bicycle lanes.

The $26.2 million project, which will create a road anywhere from 52 to 82 feet wide, with 11-foot travel lanes for vehicles, could break ground later this year. In addition to the plans showing two bicycle lanes, there are also 6 1/2-foot wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of the road, even as the town and state engage in continued conversations about the responsibility for removing snow and ice during the winter months. 

Board member John C. Waskiewicz II said he is skeptical that the state will listen to the concerns also voted in favor of one bicycle lane. 

“It’s worth asking. I don’t think they’re going to acknowledge any of it,” Waskiewicz said.

The state did respond favorably to an earlier request that the shelters at PVTA bus stops along the road comply with the historic overlay district appearance and not use city-style, mostly glass enclosures. In addition, the state adjusted the improvements planned for the intersection of Route 9 and East Street, removing a dedicated left-hand turn lane from East Street south next to the post office.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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