NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- In Northampton, the city has implemented changes to Main Street in an effort to help businesses and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New bike lanes and more walking space for pedestrians are some of the new changes on Main Street in Northampton.

The city received a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's shared streets and spaces program to support expanded temporary improvements in downtown Northampton.

“This was a grant that was rolled out specifically to support economic recovery for cities and town and, specifically, in the area of creating safer spaces downtown for better social distancing, better pedestrian clearance, better bicycling,” said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz.

Narkewicz told Western Mass News that the city worked on the new design of Main Street over the weekend.

As part the changes, there is now a bicycle lane on both sides of the street and additional space for restaurants that may want to apply for outside dining permits.

Narkewicz said the initiative behind the changes is two-fold: to ensure visitors have more room to be socially distant while visiting downtown, but also to help businesses stay afloat.

As part of the changes, a portion of Main Street has turned into one lane for traffic.

“There is still two lanes at the main intersection, but through the span of this section of Main Street - basically from the Academy of Music down to the main intersection of King and Pleasant Street,” Narkewicz added.

The new changes are designed to be temporary.

“A lot do the lines you see are actually taped…They are not actually painted and even the parking spaces that we took away, we were careful to paint between the lines, so the lines are still there for parking,” Narkewicz explained.

Right now, the changes are to set to be in place until November 15, but Narkewicz said there is talks for these designs to be in place permanently for the future.

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