South Hadley receives pedestrian safety grant

Photo by Izzy Burgess ’19  South Hadley was one of 22 towns awarded a grant to improve street safety for walkers, bikers and drivers.

Photo by Izzy Burgess ’19

South Hadley was one of 22 towns awarded a grant to improve street safety for walkers, bikers and drivers.

BY MELISSA JOHNSON ’20

South Hadley is one of 22 local communities to which the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded funding to be part of the Complete Streets Program. According to the Massachusetts government website, “a Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all modes of transportation — walking, biking, transit and vehicles — for people of all ages and abilities.”

General projects for the town include repaving local roads, improving street lighting, improving local sidewalks and filling in sidewalk gaps, according to South Hadley’s Complete Street Prioritization Plans Project List, which was created on March 20. In addition, the plan includes specific bike projects that will involve wider bike lanes and the expansion of the local bike share program. One recent change already impacting community members and Mount Holyoke students is the brand new shared bike station next to the Village Commons across from Mount Holyoke.

“I am 100 percent supportive of making South Hadley more bike-friendly. The roads are narrow and curvy and it can be terrifying to bike, especially if there is bad weather,” said Abby Tuckett ’20.

Under the plan, various streets close to campus will be undergoing changes as part of the Complete Streets Program. Specifically, on College Street — Route 116, the road between campus and the Village Commons — the town will be implementing separate and wider bike lanes, new bike route signs and a bicycle turn box at the Park Street intersection.

In addition, streets around the College such as Morgan Street and Park Street — which connect the two sides of campus via back roads — will be undergoing their own projects more centered around pedestrian safety. These projects consist of new sidewalks and speedometers reminding drivers to travel carefully on the two roads surrounding campus and other residential areas.

There are also projects slated for College Street and Morgan Street sidewalks and crosswalks. Construction on College Street is not scheduled to start until August 2024 and the Morgan Street sidewalks and crosswalks start date is August 2025.

The changes implemented by the Complete Streets Program are intended to make the South Hadley community a more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly area and will make streets safer for drivers, students and community members.