Chicopee bike lane in downtown removed after complaints from businesses

Hampden County

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – What was once a bike path in the center of Chicopee is no more. After businesses complained, the city voted to take it down.

Nearly a week after Chicopee City Council voted unanimously to remove a bike loop in the center of the city, the plastic fencing that use to protect the bike path is now gone. The Center Loop was created with a $76,000 state grant to help promote more pedestrian traffic downtown but it only caused headaches for businesses.

The downside of the installation was it resulted in the removal of 65 parking spaces that negatively impacted businesses. These are the ‘no parking’ signs that were installed for the bike loop.

Paradise Pizza on Exchange Street was severely impacted because it lost street parking. Those ‘no parking’ signs are still up across the street from the pizza shop.

Owner John Yanbul says it’s been affecting business, “People don’t want to come down here to pick up the orders because there is no parking lot after 5 o’clock. I used to have a lot more pickups than what I have now over the last month or two.”

The City Council President Shane Brooks said the council also voted to remove all those ‘no parking’ signs. The rest should be taken down in the next couple of weeks.

“We listened to the business community, we heard them loud and clear that it was impacting their businesses negatively and we voted to remove it and restore the parking spots to try to enhance the viability of downtown businesses,” said Brooks.

The bike loop was only supposed to be temporary, but remain installed until next July. That was before the city council voted to take it down.

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