Northampton officials to host tour of Pleasant Street improvements

  • Northampton Mayor Mayor David Narkewicz and other city officials will lead a tour of Pleasant Street improvements Thursday afternoon in Northampton. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2017 11:38:46 PM

NORTHAMPTON — City officials will lead a tour of improvements along Pleasant Street Thursday, which will highlight the section’s conversion into a “complete street.”

The tour will begin by the rail trail and train station at 4 p.m., and will be headed by Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz. Also in attendance will be Wayne Feiden, the city’s director of planning and sustainability; and David Veleta, the city engineer. City councilors have also been invited.

“Anyone from the public is welcome to come along,” the mayor said of the hourlong tour.

The improvements between Hockanum Road and Hampton Avenue were funded by a $400,000 Massachusetts Department of Transportation Complete Streets grant, as well as a $2.5 million MassWorks grant, of which $1.5 million went toward the Pleasant Street improvements. The remaining grant money is funding nearby infrastructure work.

Narkewicz said that the complete streets concept involves making streets friendly for pedestrians and bikers, and safer for all users of the road. The mayor said that the city is committed to the complete streets concept whenever streets are redone.

Prior to the improvements on Pleasant Street, input was sought from local businesses and residents in a series of public forums.

“We did a lot of preplanning,” said Narkewicz.

He noted that a goal of the improvements was to make the section into more of a downtown city street. Until recently the area of Pleasant Street from Hockanum Road to Holyoke Street was a state highway, which Narkewicz said was transferred to the city last year.

The improvements that city officials will show off will include bike lanes, additional on-street parking, and tree plantings, including plantings that are part of rainwater retention beds, which are designed to both beautify and perform a stormwater retention function.

“There’s a number of different features to the project,” Narkewicz said.

Parts of the street itself have also been narrowed through the use of curb extensions, which are designed to both slow traffic and decrease the distance that pedestrians have to cross. Additionally, all pedestrian crosswalk intersections have been raised, which serves to both increase pedestrian visibility and slow traffic.

The improvements are also designed to support housing and development in the area.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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