Pine/Meadow/North Pleasant streets (middle). Sunderland & Montague Road slightly north
About 75 residents and town officials packed into the new Amherst Survival Center building directly opposite long-time anchor business Cowls Building Supply for a public hearing on what to do with the intersection of Montague and Sunderland road that meet directly in front of the North Amherst Library.
North Amherst Center public forum was standing room only
The Cecil Group study completed four years ago identified the somewhat complicated meeting of five roads within the circumference of a rotary as a prime candidate for being "reconfigured and redesigned."
And since then the general area has only become busier with The Mill District coming on line, the Survival Center moved into their new building on Sunderland Road, and the PVTA increased bus service to that location.
Town officials presented four options, one better than "Let's Make A Deal:"
Door #1 would be only the slightest of changes, making the right onto Montague Road (going north) a little more than just a swoop where you can take it at warp speed, and making it a little more like a 90 degree intersection to slow you down.
The next three options would all require taking/buying property immediately behind the North Amherst Library. And since that property has a long history of association with automobiles, there are probably brownfield concerns.
Option #2 (green space indicates taking out concrete replacing with grass)
The Planning Board, Public Works Committee and Transportation Plan Task Force will all come up with "recommendations" but the Amherst Select Board, as "keepers of the public way," have final authority.
But obviously they will take into consideration the desires of those who live in the neighborhood and commuters who routinely travel through the area.
Downside of offering four choices, however, is that it's all but guaranteed the final choice will not please everyone.