One-lane traffic downtown is a bad idea

Posted: 7/12/2021 14:32:08 PM Modified: 12/07/2021 14:31:41 PM I would like to echo a concern expressed in a Monday guest column by...

Posted: 7/12/2021 14:32:08 PM

Modified: 12/07/2021 14:31:41 PM

I would like to echo a concern expressed in a Monday guest column by Dr. James M. Ault Jr. about the Main Street redesign. (“Concerns over police reform, downtown overhaul”, December 5)

In particular, I am puzzled by the proposal to make Main Street a single lane on each side. I have lived in downtown Northampton for 17 years, and I commute to work or travel along Main Street almost every day at various times of the day.

During office hours, traffic is often slowed down at the intersection of State / New South and Main Street, as well as Pleasant / King and Main Street. Even though I am not an engineer or a town planner, I know that making the main street one way on either side will make getting around downtown very inconvenient, if not hellish, not only for visitors but also for residents, delivery vans, ambulances, etc. .

Before moving to Northampton, my colleagues at UMass informed me that the drive from Northampton to Amherst (where I work) would not be as bad as they had doubled the tracks on Coolidge Bridge. They said it took people 45 minutes to travel that distance and some had to use Interstate 91 to find an alternate route to head to Amherst. Now it takes me 20 minutes.

I think the same principle applies to Main Street: Single lanes will slow down traffic and make traveling in and through downtown downright unpleasant. If one of the goals of those investing in the Main Street redesign is to get people back downtown, then this plan to create single lanes on Main Street on either side will deter people instead.

When I asked a member of the board of the Main Street Redesign for Everyone group how Toole Design Group, a company the city commissioned with the design of Main Street, aimed to keep traffic flowing, he said the company assured him and his band that the traffic lights at Pleasant / King and the Academy of Music will determine traffic. I have to admit this is second hand information but if this is the assurance given by Toole Design then I am not convinced.

Also, as Dr Ault points out, unless “we can ensure that the steady growth in the number of cars per capita in the valley and the ever-increasing traffic congestion they create is reversed and diminished.” , then the plan to reduce the number of lanes along Main Street is ill-conceived, but well-intentioned.

I know there are a lot of those defending this plan are hoping that people will be forced or persuaded to take their bikes or public transport to downtown Northampton, thereby reducing the carbon footprint we leave on land, but I think people will continue to use cars in 10 or 20 years (no pun intended and hopefully in more fuel efficient models). In addition, the creation of traffic leads to idling, which in turn produces more pollution.

I support Dr Ault’s point of view that it is better to keep the two lanes on either side of Main Street as well as the bicycle lanes, but not to increase the space on the sidewalk in order to allow such a redevelopment. .

Richard T. Chu is a resident of Northampton.

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Newsrust - US Top News: One-lane traffic downtown is a bad idea
One-lane traffic downtown is a bad idea
Newsrust - US Top News
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