‘Save Main Street Northampton’ give alternate proposal to 19-million-dollar road project

Members of Save Main St Northampton tell Western Mass News their alternative proposal will correct the concerns of local business owners and residents.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Back in August, we told you about a proposed 19-million-dollar road project to revamp Main Street in Northampton that had some people who live and work downtown concerned but now some of those business owners and residents have come together to form an alternative proposal.

“We’re just a bunch of concerned, business owners, citizens people that travel through the community that really see because of our daily operations, the problems we’re gonna have,” said Judy Herrell.

Members of Save Main St Northampton tell Western Mass News their alternative proposal will correct some of the concerns of local business owners and residents with the current plan to revamp downtown Northampton.

One of the main issues with the city’s proposal was parking.

According to the plans for the project, the current angle parking would turn into parallel parking spaces. taking the total number of parking spaces from 1536 spaces to 1518.

With the alternative proposal, the city could potentially retain some of those lost spots, by creating parallel parking on the north side and keeping the angular parking spots on the other side of the street.

Judy Herrell, owner of Herrell’s Ice Cream and member of Save Northampton Main Street says this plan will allow them to have enough space to enlarge the sidewalks and make it handicap accessible for all of the stores that are not accessible currently on that side street. she feels the city’s current proposal does not have enough handicapped parking and relies too heavily on the parking garage.

“Think about this for a minute they’re going to have loading and unloading between Michael’s and Gallery and CVS in their design well right next to CVS is 75 Main St., which holds doctor’s offices and CVS is a pharmacy are you telling me that there are going to be people that are disabled or need help that is going to have to walk from the parking garage all the way down to CVS or park way up Main Street to get to their appointments that’s going to be a problem but there needs to be some disabled parking down there as well,” said Herrell.

Another concern is the city’s plan to convert Main Street into one lane in each direction.

“Within that two lanes of traffic, and within a two-block radius you have Route 66 Route Five, which is the corridor for Route 91 and Route Nine itself. Continuing some space needs to be made for flow of traffic and sorting so we’ve retained two lanes in each direction,” said Herrell.

She says they’ve also made some adjustments to the project’s current bike lane plans after looking at some of the safety issues that it could cause.

“In our design, we’d like to see cross traffic having actual lights at all intersections so the bikes in the questions can process and we’d also like to see speed bumps put in crosswalks in the downtown,” said Herrell.

Now Herrell says the committee is hoping to present this new proposal in front of the mayor and city council at Thursday’s city council meeting.

Northampton Mayor Gina Louise Sciarra said in a statement quote:

“Northampton is a city known for its resilience and community spirit. As we embark on the next phase of the Picture Main Street project, our top priority is to ensure that our local businesses not only endure but thrive.”