Governor Baker announced today that the Town of Amherst had been awarded a $1.5 million grant under the MassWorks program. This competitive grant was awarded to the Town to enhance traffic and pedestrian safety at the main intersection in the burgeoning village center of Pomeroy Village in South Amherst, specifically the intersection of West Street (Route 116) and Pomeroy and West Pomeroy Lanes.
This area has been identified in local and regional plans as a priority development area and aligns with the Town’s Master Plan to concentrate development in the Town’s village centers. The infrastructure improvements described in the application will directly support private development, including a proposed apartment building on West Street and future developments along the 150-acre golf course frontage soon to be acquired by the Town. Other parcels will also benefit from these infrastructure improvements.
“MassWorks grants are highly competitive,” said Town Manager Paul Bockelman. “It took a real team effort by the Planning Department and Department of Public Works to conceptualize the improvements, develop plans and cost estimates, and reduce a complex initiative to a compelling grant application. Congratulations to our team for pulling this all together.”
The project is a four-way intersection where two major thoroughfares intersect – Pomeroy Lane/West Pomeroy Lane, and important east-west road, and West Street (Route 116), a major north-south road connecting to downtown Amherst. West Street is a vital transportation corridor with three local and regional PVTA bus routes running along it and many cyclists using the road. Currently, this intersection is lacking the safety measures one would expect in a burgeoning village center. There are only two painted crosswalks, but no crosswalk signals or ramps to step down from the sidewalk to the street. There are no bike lanes on either of the roads at this intersection making biking unsafe and undesirable. There are no turning lanes, which causes extensive queuing on West Street. Overall, in addition to being unsightly, this intersection is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists and inefficient for buses and automobiles, making improvements highly necessary to support economic development.
The improvements proposed for this intersection will encourage multi-family housing, economic development and enhance pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular safety in this important hub in South Amherst.
A thorough, inclusive public engagement process will include members of the public, local property owners, and key users of the area.
The announcement was made Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The 2020 MassWorks Grant Round supports projects across the Commonwealth that will support economic recovery, generate local development, create jobs, and build new housing.