EASTHAMPTON — A brand new, momentary bike lane — opened to be used final week on Williston Avenue — is a part of a collection of modifications coming to metropolis streets because of $160,000 in grant cash from the Massachusetts Division of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Areas program. The bike lane runs down a part of Williston Avenue to the highschool, the place a second a part of the grant supported paving a connection to Nonotuck Park.
“After we began this dialog, it was going to be an alternative choice to get children to the highschool,” Metropolis Planner Jeffrey Bagg mentioned of the brand new lane.
And whereas college students in Easthampton at the moment are beginning faculty remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bagg underscored that the lane nonetheless gives a devoted bike path to the park.
The grant will even be used to put in everlasting security enhancements at a crosswalk on Nice Avenue and to create a handicapped-accessible crosswalk on Williston Avenue.
Moreover, the sidewalk close to the brand new Williston Avenue crosswalk might be prolonged. Whereas the bike lane is about to be in place for only a 12 months, the opposite initiatives funded by the grant cash might be everlasting.
“We picked ones that construct on different initiatives,” mentioned Bagg.
He additionally famous that when making use of for the grant cash, candidates bought extra factors within the utility course of towards momentary initiatives that might grow to be everlasting.
Bagg mentioned that public response to the bike lane has been typically constructive. However metropolis resident Faune Alexander wasn’t completely happy about it. She mentioned town could be higher served by lowering the velocity restrict for the road, as an alternative of making a brand new bike lane, and she or he expressed concern concerning the narrowing of the drive aisle.
“Bigger autos come down the road,” mentioned Alexander. “I want that that they had consulted extra folks from the neighborhood.”
Bagg mentioned that the 10½-foot diameter of the narrowed drive aisle is wider than a few of Cottage Avenue’s drive aisles, that are 9½ ft in diameter.
“It’s not overly slim,” he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned that town is exploring lowering the velocity restrict on Williston Avenue throughout this system.
“We expect it might be vital to contemplate that,” he mentioned.
Some neighbors have reached out to town and praised the bike lane for slowing visitors down on the road, Bagg mentioned.
“It’s had a chilled visitors impact,” mentioned Lauren Faulkner-Duncan, who lives on Williston Avenue and has loved using within the bike lane.
Marvin Ward, who lives close to the bike lane and serves as MassBike’s consultant on the Joint Transportation Committee of the Pioneer Valley Planning Fee, is all for it.
“I believe there must be one thing everlasting,” Ward mentioned of the bike lane. “A lot of children wish to go to highschool by bike.”
On Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m., there might be a ribbon-cutting and bike-riding occasion to have fun the brand new lane. ValleyBike Share will even be there, giving out free trip passes for many who qualify.
“We’re hoping to get somewhat bike parade,” Bagg mentioned.
Westhampton discovered final week that it had acquired a $61,100 Shared Streets and Areas grant, which it is going to use to enhance pickups and drop-offs at Westhampton Elementary College.
“The much less folks you possibly can have strolling across the faculty buses … the safer it’s going to be,” mentioned Cheryl Provost, the city clerk and administrative assistant.
Provost mentioned the grant will assist pave an space off of Hathaway Highway that’s steadily used as a drop-off level for the varsity, on Kings Freeway, which has adopted a hybrid mannequin for the autumn.
“The thought was to enhance that,” Provost mentioned of the location, which would supply a second pickup and drop-off location for automobiles on the faculty. Moreover, the grant will fund including a motorcycle rack and a pavilion to the realm.
Provost mentioned having two pickup and drop-off places for varsity will assist with social distancing and reduce visitors.
Westhampton Choose Board Chairman Philip Dowling utilized for the grant. He mentioned that his first try was unsuccessful, however he succeeded a second time with the assistance of two consultants from the state Division of Transportation.
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