Thursday, June 25, 2015

North Amherst Center Reboot

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:"

 Option #1

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)

Option #3

Option #4

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.


Anonymous said...

As someone who has travelled this intersection many times I the past 30 years I vote for option 4.

Anonymous said...

Option #4 has two very good reasons. It takes the traffic away from the playing field, which Town Meeting just voted to improve and increase usage, and keeps the traffic near the commercial district.

Anonymous said...

Were the nattering nabobs of negativity there? We know who they are.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Spiro Agnew.

Anonymous said...

It's not THAT BAD, people... Kelly Square (Yes, named after Larry) in Worcester for example:

Anonymous said...

I like option 2 (and have also traveled there for 3+ decades, by car, bus, bike and on foot):

• it's the simplest and most elegant

• it gives the gem of the area - the N. Amherst Library - a better setting (a bit of breathing room/green space)

• it avoids control lights like a roundabout might, but has straighter, clearer sight lines

My second choice would be option 4, for the reason 11:45 articulated….

Anonymous said...

I also like option 2 the best for the same reasons given by 1251.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... 2 or 4m definitely. 8:08, curious why the preference of 2 over 4.

Anonymous said...

Raze the library and put in a roundabout. Option #5

Anonymous said...

Build a subway under North Pleasant St from the Mill River bridge-crossing (Sunderland road) past the apartments and UMass into Amherst Center, then under the north end of the Town common where it bends to the east and follows Spring St until it bends to the south and re-emerges to connect with the active rail line. Option #6

Anonymous said...

Now THAT I like !

Anonymous said...

Of course - if we are serious - first we need to build that additional rail tunnel under the Hudson River that Gov. Christie (ham-handedly) nixed 6 years ago, and also the NorthStation-SouthStation rail tunnel under the Charles River that would finally connect the east coast passenger rail corridor (former Gov. Dukakis and I discussed that nearly 20 years ago, but it was nixed because of "Big Dig" cost over-runs).

Anonymous said...

Option 4 looks good, but it looks like there is enough room to construct a rotary instead of placing a traffic light at the intersection. Traffic lights seem to back up traffic during high-use periods of time. A well constructed rotary might keep the flow moving more efficiently.