Bike lane, concrete barriers removed in Northampton after businesses file petition

Hampshire County

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Main Street in downtown Northampton is back open after it was shut down to be reconfigured Monday night.

While many businesses are happy with the layout, others are fighting for more change. The concrete barriers were removed by the Department of Public Works along with a temporary bike lane.

After receiving mixed feedback on the project aimed to support local businesses during the ongoing pandemic, Northampton’s Mayor David Narkewicz last weekend ordered the removal of the city’s Shared Streets and Spaces Project.

“They were all trying to help the businesses but all we’re asking for is… to keep the bike lane, that’s the main thing,” said Northampton resident Billy Park.

He says having a bike lane downtown helps with pedestrian safety. Now, that bike lane has been removed after just several weeks.

“They haven’t even had a just amount of time to get data to see if it even works,” said Park. “The merchants were complaining understandably, but give it more than a week before you complain.”

More than 50 downtown business owners signed a petition expressing their opposition to the Main Street project because they say the layout was not helping their business. Massachusetts recently announced $3.9 million in funding for its Shared Streets initiative to help with street and sidewalk reconfigurations.

Springfield and Greenfield are two cities receiving the funding. Northampton did not receive any funding this round for the state’s initiative.

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