The intersection of Wahconah, Burbank and North streets will be renovated with landscaping, new traffic signals and an island.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — North Street from Madison Avenue to the Wahconah Street intersection is next on the docket for reconstruction.
Designers presented the plans for Phase 3 of the North Street reconstruction project, which has already been completed from West Housatonic Street, down South Street and concluding at Columbus Avenue. The third phase is expected to be put to bid in April and begin in the late spring.
"The blueprint for this is exactly the same as Phase 2," Jon Dietrich, project manager from the engineering firm Fuss and O’Neill, said Tuesday night when the plans were presented.
The plan is focused on traffic and pedestrian safety, improving traffic functions and sprucing up the overall appearance. The project, being paid through a $2 million state grant, was originally intended to go from Linden Street but had to be scaled back somewhat because reconstruction is projected to be more expensive than previously thought.
According to Director of Community Development Douglas Clark, the road and sidewalks slope so much to the west that entire sections need to be dug up, which added to the cost.
"We have it designed to Linden Street but don't have the money," he said, later adding that the department will continue to seek grants to finish off the section.
When Phase 3 construction starts, the Community Development Office will turn its attention to seeking funds and designing the fourth phase, which will connect where Phase 2 ended on Columbus Avenue to Phase 3. After that, there are side roads identified as needing improvement.
"While we construct one section, we design the next," Clark said.
Phase 3 is expected to be mostly completed by the fall with workers returning the following spring for finishing work. The plan will add bicycle lanes, trees and planters along the road, a curb extension for the crosswalk at Madison Avenue, adding an island near the Wahconah Street intersection and new lighting. Burbank Street is turning into a two-way street and additional signalization will be added there.
"There are no new crosswalks, we're just improving the ones that are already there," Dietrich said.
The crosswalks will be more visible and the bumpout at Madison Avenue will shorten the length pedestrians need to cross. The roadways will still have two-lane traffic in both directions but the lanes will be narrowed by about a foot.
Jon Dietrich presented the plans to a crowd of city officials and press Tuesday night.
With bumpouts, sitting areas, tree plantings and the bicycle lane, about a dozen parking spaces will be removed.
"Overall we're going to be losing 12-13 spaces in this area," Dietrich said, adding that the majority will come from the section between Madison Avenue and Orchard Street.
Losing the spaces will direct people to off-street parking lots, Dietrich said.
A total of 33 trees will be placed on the roadside between Madison Avenue and Burbank Street. Meanwhile new lighting poles will improve visibility, according to Dietrich. As drivers approach North Street from Berkshire Medical Center, ornamental poles are being placed as a "gateway" where the city can hang Christmas ornaments or banners.
The sidewalks all will be replaced with concrete and a brick paver border, like the sidewalk renovations in Phase 2.
More benches, sitting walls, bicycle racks, rain gardens and ornamental fencing will be placed in various places along the strip. Exact placement of some of those items will be decided through public comment.
Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood added that the improvements "dovetail" into a signalization project at Berkshire Medical Center.