Elijah Bacal: Youth Commission supports Main Street for Everyone

Published: 7/20/2021 4:14:30 PM

My name is Elijah Bacal. I’m a rising junior at Northampton High School, and the interim co-chair of the Northampton Youth Commission, the body of the Northampton city government representing young people.

I would like to strongly voice my support, and the support of the entire Youth Commission, for the Main Street for Everyone initiative. In this Main Street redesign we’re currently undertaking, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform Main Street and make it more welcoming, livable and sustainable for the future.

This is especially important to me as a young person. I want to ensure that however we choose to redesign Main Street, we put climate resiliency front and center. That’s what the Main Street for Everyone initiative will achieve.

Main Street for Everyone redesigns Main Street in a forward-thinking way, putting safety and people first. Implementing wider bike lanes and sidewalks will increase pedestrian frequency of downtown, and will crucially make Main Street safer; it is currently one of the top crash clusters in the entire commonwealth.

A tree canopy stretching all the way down Main Street will have positive effects on cooling, energy efficiency and public atmosphere. We can better-manage parking by replacing angled parking with parallel parking. This will increase safety, because over the past decade, there were 37% more crashes in the angled parking sections of Main Street compared to the parallel parking sections.

Fewer car lanes and shorter crosswalks will increase pedestrian safety and decrease carbon emissions. Studies have shown that measures like these, which reduce car traffic and increase pedestrian traffic, do not in fact have a substantially negative impact on business and commerce.

I want to stress that I, and the entire Northampton Youth Commission, support the Main Street for Everyone initiative due to its forward-thinking and sustainable nature, since we are the generation who will be inheriting and frequenting downtown Northampton long into the future.

Join me, the Northampton Youth Commission, four other city commissions, 1,000-plus Northampton residents, and 47 local businesses in supporting the Main Street for Everyone initiative. Go to mainst4everyone.org to learn more and take action.

Elijah Bacal


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