Cautionary Note on Main Street Improvements

Posted: 9/27/2021 20:38:20 PM I urge city officials and residents to travel with extreme caution with the proposed changes to the M...

Posted: 9/27/2021 20:38:20 PM

I urge city officials and residents to travel with extreme caution with the proposed changes to the Main Street narrowing. As a lifetime Northampton resident and now a senior citizen, I have long enjoyed the great benefits of a beautiful, wide Main Street, a wonderful blessing that only a few towns can enjoy. It made Northampton a really special place.

A wide view of oncoming vehicles and pedestrians was a great safety benefit. Narrow, cramped streets will reduce pedestrian safety due to loss of visibility; traffic jams, loss of on-street parking, and cars and trucks using secondary residential streets to get to their destinations are other drawbacks.

Our wide main street allows continuous traffic as people back out of spaces. If Main Street is narrowed, congestion will intensify as delivery trucks currently have to park in the middle, even if there are piles of snow. Buses, delivery trucks and snow piles especially need a lot of space. Will emergency vehicles be included? Perhaps a one-way parade route should be used.

Main Street is a commercial market area for the specific purpose of buying and selling necessary goods and services. It must remain so for buyers and traders. The loss of street parking space is a critical flaw in the contemplated design planning that will send shoppers to malls where there is sufficient parking and no meter charges.

Adding street space is better planning for Northampton. Merchants face immense competition from regional shopping malls and online delivery services and need all the perks available to be successful. Cars fill up with purchases, cyclists cannot carry much as they have to steer their bikes, then park on the sidewalk; generally they are in season and I would expect to take advantage of wider streets.

The growing elderly population cannot be expected to carry packages to remote parking garages as they often use canes or wheelchairs.

There wasn’t enough talk for such a big change. Planners should present a beautification plan with minor structural changes when discussing improvements for sidewalk and lighting issues. The city helps its merchants or will lose them; traders need incentives for competition in order to pay rent, taxes and payroll.

This alert is for further study with another public meeting. The pandemic problems have consumed other thoughts than on this subject and attention must now be focused on this one. It is never too late to do the right thing, regardless of the carrot of funding available.

Jean Skibiski


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Newsrust - US Top News: Cautionary Note on Main Street Improvements
Cautionary Note on Main Street Improvements
Newsrust - US Top News
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