Downtown Northampton is undergoing a major, but temporary, renovation to make it a more practical place to eat, shop, and play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The work begins on Tuesday, Aug. 18 and it will disrupt traffic during construction. Work is expected to end on Aug. 22. Parts of Main Street will be closed to vehicles Aug. 20-21.
Updates will include a temporary bike lane, artwork, and a new bus stop configuration.
Construction will start next week on installing temporary measures along Main Street to improve people’s ability to social distance. Northampton has already launched a program to help eateries survive during the pandemic. Restaurants are allowed to use street space to host outdoor dining, with approval from the city.
The changes are supported by a nearly $200,000 MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces grant.
Here's what you can expect:
- A large section of Main Street will be closed to parking on Thursday, Aug. 20, and Friday, Aug. 21. The section that will be closed to traffic and parking will be on Main Street between King/Pleasant streets and New South Street.
- Among the new features will be designated bicycle lanes, new parking patterns, new open spaces, 100 planters with flowers, and concrete blocks placed strategically to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.
- Artistic painting of the new shared street space will be helmed by area artists Eben Kling, Sean Greene, Kim Carlino, and Andrae Green.
- A new bus stop will be erected outside the Hampshire County Courthouse with the intent of speeding up bus traffic and reduce bus/bike conflicts.
Northampton estimates that there are 200 bicycle trips taken through downtown every day and about 10,000 people walking around during peak times.
The temporary changes to Main Street will stay up through November.
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