State to spell out redesign for downtown Northampton at April 26 forum


Staff Writer

Published: 04-17-2023 10:37 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will host a virtual design public hearing on April 26 to discuss planned reconstruction of downtown set to take place late next year.

The series of “Picture Main Street” projects, known as the Complete Streets Corridor and Intersection Improvements, is meant to improve accessibility for Northampton’s downtown. The MassDOT defines a “complete street” as one that accommodates all forms of transportation, such as walking, biking, vehicles and public transit. The city is expected to receive $16 million in state and federal funding to help meet that definition, with construction set to begin sometime in late 2024.

According to an announcement of the hearing by MassDOT and posted on the city’s website, the first project will begin west of the intersection of Elm and West streets and extend to the intersection of Market and Hawley streets.

“The proposed design provides one travel lane in each direction with a center running flush median that will afford space for turning vehicles at key locations,” the announcement states. “Separated bike lanes are proposed on both sides of the roadway for the entire project, including as part of the proposed widened sidewalk facilities.”

Enhanced lighting, streetscape amenities, tree plantings, bus stop accommodations, reconfigured parking and dedicated space for loading/deliveries are part of the proposed design that will be presented.

The city first announced the project in 2016, with a final update to the proposed project plans submitted in April 2022 by the engineering consulting firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin. The report prioritized the creation of bike lanes along several downtown streets such as New South, Bridge and Elm streets, along with bicycle parking around the downtown area.

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Wednesday’s meeting will take place between 6-8 p.m. Those interested in joining may do so by registering on MassDOT’s website under “Upcoming Events” on the website’s Highway Division page.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at]]>