NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) -After an hours-long meeting between the Northampton City Council and residents on Thursday, a resolution supporting Picture Main Street was adopted.
An unanimous vote led the council to approve its original, “Picture Main Street” redesign plan despite pleas from an advocacy group called “Save Northampton Main Street” opposing it to pick an alternative design.
The original $21 million project called for three 11-foot-wide lanes, one of them a turning lane. Along with expanded sidewalks, fewer on-street parking spaces, dual bike lanes, and trees planted throughout the downtown area.
The renovations had been met with both excitement and concern from the community. Residents expressed their worries about the impact on local businesses, traffic, pedestrian safety, and the overall aesthetic of the area. “The current Main Street plan what is so wonderful about it, is it gives everybody a form of mobility that best suits them to have a choice to get to where they need to be,” said Benjamin Weil of Leeds.
“Why are we going for a plan that will increase congestion? There’s research that shows when you add bike lanes on busy streets accidents actually go up, they are not safer,” added Steve Herrell of Northampton.
It’s been four years since the City of Northampton planned to redesign Main Street. It is scheduled to be constructed between 2025 and 2028, but traffic flows and safety concerns remain.