Amherst to close road through park for traffic study

  • A road that cuts through a portion of the South Amherst Common will be temporarily closed this fall. GOOGLE MAPS

Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2018

AMHERST — A road that cuts through a portion of the South Amherst Common will be temporarily closed this fall in an effort to improve vehicular safety.

The Select Board Monday approved allowing Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring to block off the short road that extends from the east side of South East Street just north of the Munson Memorial Library to the west side of South East Street just south of the former Summit Academy campus.

Aaron Hayden, chairman of the Transportation Advisory Committee, said committee members are concerned with how traffic flows through the cut-through, one of two short roads that bisect the Fiddlers’ Green.

“There have a been a number of scary incidents there that have been reported to us,” Hayden said.

The issue, Hayden said, is how people use the short road, which forms a connection between the two sides of South East Street and Shays Street, and is near Middle Street and Station Road.

“It’s a bit of a spider web,” said Hayden, describing the various roads near the common. He said the road has been a source of comments and concern for a number of years, with the problems identified including near collisions and drivers not stopping and yielding where they are supposed to.

Hayden said there have been a number of requests made to improve the traffic flow on all the roads surrounding the common.

The cut-through will not be closed off until the DPW has collected two weeks of traffic counts, which will happen once the fall semester begins, Mooring said. If the traffic counts begin Sept. 4, the short road can be shut down sometime between Sept. 18 and Sept. 22.

Mooring said he anticipates installing “do not enter” signs and Jersey barriers to prevent vehicles from using the cut-through.

The area has been examined in the past, Mooring said, including by a former town engineer about 30 years ago, with some traffic counts that date to the 1980s.

Blocking off the cut-through will help town officials determine if this action and others are the best ways to improve traffic, Hayden said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.