Around Amherst: Bike-sharing program remains on track

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 14, 2017

AMHERST — A regional bike-sharing program remains on track to begin by late spring 2018, with plans for Amherst and the University of Massachusetts campus to each have five stations.

The Select Board recently approved the locations for the town’s stations, which include spots on North Pleasant Street near North Village, East Pleasant Street at Kendrick Park, Main Street near the intersection with South Pleasant Street, University Drive across from the CVS Pharmacy and East Hadley Road near the apartment complexes.

Amherst Sustainability Coordinator Stephanie Ciccarello, who is Amherst’s point person for ValleyBike Share, said each station will be located near or adjacent to a PVTA bus shelter.

The bikes are known as pedal assist, with battery packs that aid the riders. The bikes can go at speeds up to 12 mph.

Ciccarello compares the program to Zipcar in that the bikes are designed to serve the last mile of a trip, and are not necessarily for recreational riding.

Bewegen of Quebec, which has installed 32 bike systems in the United States, Canada and Europe agreed to provide an additional 210 bicycles and 21 stations for the initiative, meaning there will be 500 bicycles in the system at 50 stations. Other stations will be located in Northampton, South Hadley, Holyoke and Springfield. 

The project is funded by a $1.3 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant.

Gospel performance

Traditional and contemporary gospel music will be performed by the Amherst Area Gospel Choir during its annual Black Gospel Christmas Concert Saturday afternoon.

The 90-minute concert begins at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 165 Main St.

The multi-generational choir, under the direction of Jacqueline Wallace, formed in 2009 and held its first Black Gospel Christmas that year. Audience members can join in singing along to Christmas carols.

No admission is charged, but donations support the choir's performances throughout the year. The nonprofit organization’s creation followed a tradition begun by music scholar and former UMass professor Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer to preserve and contribute to the legacy of black spiritual music in the Pioneer Valley.

For more about the event, contact Wallace at 253-5457.

More music

Flash mob carolers will perform in downtown Amherst Saturday.

At noon, the Amherst Business Improvement District is encouraging people to gather on the Town Common under the Merry Maple. Song sheets will be provided and attendees can bring instruments.

On Sunday, the Amherst Community Band puts on a free holiday concert at the Pacific Lodge, 99 Main St. starting at 4 p.m.

Drunken driving patrols

A “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” initiative by Amherst Police will run through New Year’s Eve.

A federal grant administered by the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety division will provide the money for additional patrols focused on drunken drivers.

This year, police have arrested 77 people for operating under the influence of alcohol on Amherst streets.

“Drunk driving is a choice you make, and when you make that choice, people get injured and killed,” Chief Scott Livingstone said in a statement.

Blood donation

An American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be at the Amherst Police Station, 111 Main St., Dec. 21

The blood donation opportunity will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Laundromat reopens

A renovated and renamed laundromat that offers drop-off service is open in North Amherst.

Shine Laundry, operated by Nina Mankin, replaces Cozy Corner Laundromat, at the Riveside Park Shopping Plaza on Montague Road.

Mankin said in an email that Shine Laundry features a large metal drop-off bin where customers can place their clothes, and locked cubbies where people can then pick up their cleaned clothes, usually within 30 hours.


MONDAY: Select Board, 6:30 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

TUESDAY: Public Shade Tree Committee, 5:30 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall; Amherst School Committee, 6 p.m., high school library.