electrical bike Easthampton rolls out new bike lane, pedestrian security upgrades
EASTHAMPTON — A brand new, momentary bike lane — opened to be used final week on Williston Avenue — is a part of a collection of adjustments 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.
“Once we began this dialog, it was going to be a substitute for get children to the highschool,” Metropolis Planner Jeffrey Bagg mentioned of the brand new lane.
And whereas college students in Easthampton are actually beginning college remotely as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Bagg underscored that the lane nonetheless gives a devoted bike path to the park.
The grant can 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 will probably be prolonged. Whereas the bike lane is about to be in place for only a yr, the opposite initiatives funded by the grant cash will probably 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 acquired extra factors within the software course of towards momentary initiatives that would turn into everlasting.
Bagg mentioned that public response to the bike lane has been typically optimistic. However metropolis resident Faune Alexander wasn’t glad about it. She mentioned the town can be higher served by lowering the pace restrict for the road, as an alternative of making a brand new bike lane, and he or she expressed concern concerning the narrowing of the drive aisle.
“Bigger automobiles come down the road,” mentioned Alexander. “I want that that they had consulted extra individuals from the group.”
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 toes in diameter.
“It’s not overly slender,” he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned that the town is exploring lowering the pace restrict on Williston Avenue at some stage in this system.
“We expect it could be vital to think about that,” he mentioned.
Some neighbors have reached out to the town and praised the bike lane for slowing site visitors down on the road, Bagg mentioned.
“It’s had a relaxing site visitors impact,” mentioned Lauren Faulkner-Duncan, who lives on Williston Avenue and has loved driving 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. “Plenty of children prefer to go to highschool by bike.”
On Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m., there will probably be a ribbon-cutting and bike-riding occasion to rejoice the brand new lane. ValleyBike Share can even be there, giving out free journey passes for many who qualify.
“We’re hoping to get slightly bike parade,” Bagg mentioned.
Westhampton discovered final week that it had obtained a $61,100 Shared Streets and Areas grant, which it can use to enhance pickups and drop-offs at Westhampton Elementary Faculty.
“The much less individuals you’ll be able to have strolling across the college 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 incessantly 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 positioning, which would offer a second pickup and drop-off location for automobiles on the college. Moreover, the grant will fund including a motorcycle rack and a pavilion to the realm.
Provost mentioned having two pickup and drop-off areas for college will assist with social distancing and reduce site 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.
Bera Dunau will be reached at email@example.com.