State grant to fund pedestrian safety projects in Amherst

  • A view of Main Street in downtown Amherst. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer 
Published: 7/15/2021 4:34:04 PM

AMHERST — For many years when the school day ends, Amherst Regional High School students make their way to town center from the Mattoon Street site by crossing Triangle Street near Pray Street and the West Cemetery.

With a $184,728 grant from the Shared Streets and Spaces Program of the state’s Department of Transportation, the town will be undertaking safety improvements to downtown crosswalks and intersections, including the Triangle Street crosswalk at Cottage and Pray streets.

Using audible flashing beacons, tactile warning surfaces and repainted crosswalk markings, the grant money will go toward upgrading the pedestrian crossings at Triangle, Cottage and Pray streets and at East Pleasant and Pray streets at Kendrick Park, as well as painting new crosswalk markings along Pray Street.

“This generous funding opportunity will allow us to safely connect key community spaces in our downtown, enhancing the overall sense of cohesion and usability,” Town Manager Paul Bockelman said in a statement.

Part of the need for the work comes from the development of a new playground at Kendrick Park, the greenspace at the northern end of downtown. The area is expected to be an attraction for families when it opens later this summer.

Amherst previously received two grants from the same program. The first, for $129,000, supported outdoor dining in downtown, added new bus shelters and installed downcast light poles.

The second, for $192,600, is being used to make improvements to pedestrian safety and circulation around the Bangs Community Center. At the southern end of the Bangs, an accessible ramp is being built from the Boltwood parking garage to the building’s lower level and the entrance to the Musante Health Center. This grant is also being used to purchase furniture for the Boltwood plaza to activate that as a gathering place.




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