Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Million Here, A Million There

Intersection of Sunderland and Montague Roads just before North Amherst Library

Option D turns end Sunderland Road into green space

In addition to the four major building projects costing upwards of $100 million in town funds in our near and intermediate future, Amherst is also undertaking costly infrastructure improvements all over town.

Last night the Select Board unanimously approved a Town Meeting warrant article calling for $660,000 to purchase the gas station behind the North Amherst Library to coincide with intersection improvements to the North Amherst Center intersection known as Option D.

Last month the town applied for a $1.1 million MassWorks Grant to cover the actual cost of the construction but last year a grant request to improve traffic signals at that intersection was turned down.

As was (twice) a $4 million request to reconstruct Pine Street which the town later did on its own.

Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek told the Select Board last night the town will probably know by the November 14th start of Town Meeting if a $400,000 PARC grant for the Groff Park spray park is approved.
The spray park will replace the ancient wading pool

Town Meeting already approved $550,000 from Community Preservation Act funds and if the PARC grant doesn't materialized the other $400,000 will be requested during the upcoming CPA funding cycle to be voted on this spring by Town Meeting.

And still no word how the town will fund the much talked about and much protested roundabout at Triangle and East Pleasant Street, a main gateway to our beloved flagship of higher education UMass/AMHERST.

Work has been ongoing around this intersection since late Spring

The current construction project in the north downtown that seem to be taking forever is the result of a $1.5 million MassWorks grant for removing ugly utility poles by placing wires underground.  But that money can't be used for the roundabout itself, which is sure to cost over a million.

And then there's that $17 million backlog in road repairs town wide ...


Anonymous said...

it should be a round-about

Anonymous said...

Why should it be a roundabout?

Larry Kelley said...

More efficient, safer and looks better from the air.

Anonymous said...

Does all this money just fall from the sky?

Anonymous said...

Well, then why wasn't that option chosen?

Larry Kelley said...

Sorry thought you were talking about Triangle/East Pleasant.

The area in question is too small for a roundabout in North Amherst.

Anonymous said...

That makes sense, thanks. Re: Triangle/E. Pleasant - has that configuration been decided? Is rotary still on the table? Is that why they're burying lines in that area now?

Larry Kelley said...

Yes Select Board and Public Works Committee have signed off on it being a roundabout but nobody is talking about how to pay for it.

Line burying is somewhat not associated, but on the other hand is somewhat associated.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

North Amherst needs a ROUNDABOUT - they should do it today - while space and undeveloped land afford -what a pleasant way to prepare dangerous divers entering a residential commercial pedestrian zone-40 years ago-nothing but meadows -but fast becoming an urban hub- with night foot traffic to boot-very heavy-and minors -an attractive nuisance-no one should dispute the facts!!!

Anonymous said...

With the Commonwealth of Massachusetts having its own "money troubles," whatever would make one think that there will be money available for this proposal? Heads up, Amherst taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

Waking up from your long snooze? You didn't exactly play the role of fiscal hawk the last four months.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:11...urban hub?

Anonymous said...

"Heads up, Amherst taxpayers!"
Do your homework!
The town is in a spending mode- The select board and school administration need
to stop approving projects we don't have money for!

Speak loud and clear on Election Day-
Vote "NO" on the School Project- We need more time to develop a plan that works for the children -and our household budgets!

Anonymous said...

That intersection in North Amherst is well overdue for an overhaul. Heading south on Montague road and trying to continue down North Pleasant is far from pleasant, and borders on unsafe. Its simply not built for the amount of traffic that goes through there.

I'm excited for the roundabout at Kendrick. The one near Lederle works so well, and in a area heavily trafficked by cars, busses, bikes and pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:54...BS....you must own a blacktop company...stop spending my money...and it does not border on unsafe...!!

Anonymous said...

This is a town land grab to connect the library with the school and with Stan Ziomek's ball field. It's against all practicality and against the wishes of every North Amherst stakeholder. The residents on Montague Road are not happy that a traffic light will cause traffic to be stopped and started in front of their houses. The businesses on Sunderland Road are beyond pissed that it will be absolutely difficult for customers to get to their stores and shops.

A rotary absolutely would fit. The town would rather just take/own contiguous open space than do the right thing for residents and businesses and traffic flow in North Amherst.

All this town effort and expense and road configuring is in effort to protect the location of a one room part time library without space enough for handicapped access or a bathroom. Why not move the library or the library function to a more reasonable location?

BEYOND these facts, the town's "Solution" does not address the real Problem. The REAL PROBLEM is the four way INTERSECTION which jackknifes tractor trailer trucks many times when they come down Route 63 **soon to be jake break stopping and starting up in front of the residents' homes for the new light at Riverside** and the trailers attempt to get on 116 by taking a right onto Meadow Street.

What has to happen to FIX the REAL problem is for the town to buy the former Bates Store now rental house on the corner of Meadow/Pleasant St, remove it, and widen the right turn radius for trucks to get from highway 63 to highway 116. A rotary before this four way intersection would be most efficient to get folks where they want to go and to not piss off stakeholders.

It's unfortunate that this important land purchase won't likely be approved at town meeting because nobody is in favor of the solution proposed. It's an important acquisition if the stakeholders can have a say in how it's used.

Anonymous said...

Land grab my ass. @9:12, you are absolutely wrong that the "stakeholders" don't want this layout. You obviously skipped the public process, opting instead to spread lies on Larry's blog. The proposed reconfiguration was selected by a large majority of stakeholders as the most practical solution at public meetings. The rotary was preferred by a small number, but ultimately most of us thought it was impractical because it would cut off access to the Riverside shops.

Speaking of which, those of us who live on Montague Road have been cut off from the rest of town by the closure of the Mill River bridge by the owners of the new mansion there. Our only route anywhere is through this intersection and it is horrible. In wet or snowy weather, the stop sign southbound requires an uphill start with a steel manhole cover located directly in the path of the wheels. It's even more infuriating because people like you cut through to Sunderland Road behind the library, cutting the line and skipping the stop sign.

So please take your CAPITAL LETTERS and CONSPIRACY THEORIES and go back whence you came.

It's true that the former Bates store also needs to be razed but it wouldn't solve the Y-intersection problem at all.

Anonymous said...

Seems every issue in town is handled in a rush without looking at the full picture and without obtaining (and appreciating) input from residents/taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

@10:37 you have got to be kidding. This town's administration has so much public process/input that it can barely get out of its own way.

Not so with town meeting though. Each "representative" member, is free to ignore its electors, deliberate in secret, make last minute legislative amendments, and act in pure self-interest.

Anonymous said...

How about a "menu" option, with only the amount of money available to spend without an override, put before the taxpayers! Kind of like spending your own money in the real world! Perhaps this could be considered????

NOT new multi-million dollar mega-school, new library expansion, new public works building, new water park, new intersections....and new, whatever else! All this while our roads are falling apart, the schools are a mess and the general plight of the American economy is in question?

Are the people of Amherst thinking they are isolated from all of this and we are in some kind of a "safe space" where the money grows on trees?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:12

You're wrong.

A rotary at Pine/Meadow and North Pleasant would not fit. A rotary at the Monatgue/Sunderland/North Pleasant would still be behind the library and an awkward spot.

Furthermore, the backup at the light won't likely stretch back to the houses that often.

Anonymous said...

12:45- You forgot south fire station!
At the library the plan is to dismantle a fairly recent renovation -proving the need to think things through...

Isolating our youngest students at Crocker Farm and then thrusting them into the Wildwood/ Fort River expanse for 2nd grade is a mistake! It will disrupt the acquisition of reading skills for many of our students. (Reading is fundamental to all learning!)

In addition, many surveyed parents wrote about the value of the reading buddy program in our current K-6 structure. A tradition that will be lost with the grade 2-6 plan.

Anonymous said...

Boy liberals love to spend money, as long as it isn't theirs. I sure hope the DPW doesn't do the work on anymore of these projects. It only took them all spring, summer and now into the fall to put a few pipes in the ground. A absolute shame.. It would be cheaper to pay them to stay home and contracted the work out.
Triangle street just got repaved and now because of poor planning for the new building on the corner we are going to dig it up and build a round about. A traffic light works fine with a little thought about using the existing roads as one ways would solve the problem nicely.
North Amherst just got paved and new sidewalks now we plan on digging that up also. We paid for that road to be paved twice thanks to Mr. Mornings screw ups.
Does anyone have a long range plan or are we just shooting from the hip.
How much more do you think the taxpayers can afford? Spend, Spend, Spend.

Anonymous said...

"How much more do you think the taxpayers can afford? Spend, Spend, Spend."

I hope you are voting "NO" on Question 5!


Anonymous said...

Pinhead I vote no on 95% of the idiot spending in Amherst! How about you?

Anonymous said...

Glad we can count on your vote!

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher and you can count on my NO vote! This idea is a nightmare for the children.

Anonymous said...

If you want to keep your taxes down I surely hope you vote no for Hillary on Nov.8th.

She is such a lying cheating thief... Most corrupt candidate to run for the office.. She will raise your taxes big time.. She is scary!!

Just think about where we want to go as a country, this is a very important election.

I am a teacher, Union member and Democrat but realize she is not good for our country!!

Anonymous said...

With all the BIG brains around here, can't some engineer volunteer to redirect traffic flow, with one way streets and right turns only, to improve this intersection? That would cost very little. Maybe a class or middle school class could devise an acceptable plan? Or even some individual just looking at the photo!