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Amherst may make part of North Pleasant one-way



Staff Writer
Monday, December 06, 2021

AMHERST — A section of North Pleasant Street at the north end of downtown Amherst could be turned into a one-way road and accommodate more parking, if the Town Council agrees with changes being proposed by the Department of Public Works.

The Town Services and Outreach Committee meets via Zoom at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to evaluate the idea of turning a portion of North Pleasant Street, on the west side of Kendrick Park between Hallock Street to the south and Triangle Street to the north, into a northbound-only road.

The meeting will also be an opportunity for the town, in partnership with researchers at the University of Massachusetts, to test one of two new online participation tools.

Known as Community Click, this participation tool allow anonymous feedback in real time. Viewers will be able to access it via a link and a QR code, both of which will be displayed on the screen as the meeting is taking place, and will also be available in the online meeting posting and packet materials.

The other participation tool is called Amherst Talks, at amherst.publicinfrastructure.org, where people can offer comments about matters related to Kendrick Park.

Town communications manager Brianna Sunryd said both tools are being tested to supplement conventional ways of getting feedback, including people offering written and oral comments. The effort is a collaboration with the Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure and the HCI-VIS lab at UMass.

Sunryd said all information gathered will become part of the public process.

The idea for changing the road configuration and adding parking arises from an anticipated increase in families visiting downtown for the new playground at Kendrick Park that opened earlier this year, said Town Manager Paul Bockelman.

Over the summer, Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring presented the plan to the council.

“Making North Pleasant Street one-way from McClellan Street to Triangle Street will provide for the opportunity to introduce traffic-calming measures, reduce traffic and create additional parking,” Mooring and Bockelman wrote in a memo to the council.

Under the plan, there could be an addition of 32 new on-street parallel parking spaces in the vicinity, seven of which would be on the west side of the road.

The Transportation Advisory Committee is instead advising that angled, possibly back-in, parking be used on the Kendrick side and the parallel parking on the west side of the street be eliminated. It is also advocating for a new sidewalk to be built on the western perimeter of Kendrick Park.

Bockelman said the back-in parking could be safer for families, as children exiting the vehicles would be able to quickly get onto the greenspace.