CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It got heated at Chicopee City Hall Wednesday, as residents and downtown business owners brought their concerns about a new bike lane straight to the Mayor and the planning department.
The state’s Shared Streets and Spaces Grant funded the pilot project to improve public safety on the roadway, as well as the overall look of downtown. If you weren’t able to attend the public meeting on Wednesday, you can provide feedback on this “Center Loop” on the city’s website.
“That’s what Mass Development and our planning department is doing, trying to create a renaissance, a rebirth of our downtown, said Chicopee Mayor John Vieau.
“You do this to increase public safety where there is a lot of vehicular traffic, and to get people on bicycles but I don’t know if this fits this downtown,” said State Rep. Joseph Wagner.
The bike lane, known as the Center Loop, is designed to protect bicyclists and pedestrians in Chicopee center. However, some business owners have brought up issues with it. There have been drivers that have hit the barriers and its taken away street parking.
“There were 6 to 8 spaces lost in front of the building as a result of that, and we have a lot of disabled, elderly clients,” said Stanely Szlachetka, an attorney in Chicopee Center.
The Center Loop is temporary, but it will remain installed until July of next year, when the city plans to make a decision on whether to keep it.