WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The State Department of Transportation will seek input on Wednesday from residents about ways to improve Route 43 from Latham Street to the Five Corners intersection with Route 7.
The project — or potential projects — are in the very early design stage, and it is a good time to provide local feedback to the state agency, Town Manager Jason Hoch said on Monday.
"Unlike some of the meetings that we see, none of this is: 'We're at 90 percent design. What do you think?'" Hoch said. "It's very early in the process.
"To their credit, this meeting is outside the normal DOT regulatory design process. Normally, those [meetings] happen when the clock is ticking. The clock isn't ticking on this. This is conceptual."
And this will happen at 6 p.m. at the Williams Inn on Wednesday.
The MassDOT flyer promoting the event makes it clear that the agency is looking to both educate the public and learn from it.
"Public participation is encouraged at this meeting to help MassDOT identify design features that will be appropriate for the community and the characteristics of this local roadway," the flyer reads in part. "The goal of this project is to provide facilities that will safely accommodate all modes of transportation: motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians."
Like the recent project to improve the northern — Water Street — end of Route 43, the winding stretch of Green River Road is the responsibility of the commonwealth. So Hoch was not able to go into too much detail about the agency's thinking.
He does know that MassDOT has engaged a consulting engineer on the project.
And, like most Williamstown residents, he understands the issues involved with the scenic stretch of road well used by runners and cyclists.
In 2017, Hoch, working with the Williams College Council's Great Ideas Committee, conducted a townwide survey. Out of 624 respondents, more than half — 326 — reported running or biking on Route 43 at least three times per week.
Hoch said MassDOT is looking at addressing the road through two different funding streams. One would deal strictly with resurfacing. The other would take a more "complete streets" approach to the road, addressing things like shoulders and/or sidewalks, if appropriate.
Respondents who biked or jogged were asked to name their destination on Route 43, checking all the applicable cross roads that they hit in their routine; 364 reported going as far as Blair Road (just north of Mount Hope Park), but 236 said they routinely go as far as the Five Corners.
Only 1 percent of respondents reported feeling "not concerned" about their safety when they share the highway with motorists. Part of the concern stems from the narrow and sometimes virtually non-existent shoulder on the road.
"The challenge of all of this is it's narrow, there's slope, there are bridges, there are houses, there are trees," Hoch said. "It's not an easy task to slap out one solution, and no one has an interest in massively changing the corridor."
While the town has survey data and plenty of anecdotal evidence of fears about safety, to date there isn't data showing those fears have been realized. Hoch could not point to any numbers showing that accidents are more common on Route 43.
"A lot of it — which is good — is a lot of near miss data," he said. "I think anybody who used the road in any manner probably has a story to tell, whether it's a runner, a driver or a cyclist. We've all been in one or more of those moments."
Wednesday's meeting at the Williams Inn is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. The snow date is Thursday at the same time.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The Williams College women's tennis team ended the Middlebury Invitational and its fall season on a high note, beating Brandeis University in both doubles matches played Sunday.
Junior Rachel Cross and senior Chloe Henderson defeated Brandeis’ Diana Dehtehrevich and Lauren Bertsch in a close tiebreaker 8-7 (6). Senior Emily Zheng and freshman Katherine Orgielewicz soundly beat Isabel Cepeda and Ana Hatfield 8-2.
Sunday’s action concludes an up-and-down fall season for the Ephs. They’ll have plenty of time to train and get even better for their next match at Skidmore on March 7, which is followed by a swing through California.
Mount Greylock's director of academic technology reported on results of a survey to gauge support for revising the school calendar to consolidate the February and April vacation weeks into a single week off in March. click for more
Last week, the poured rubber surfacing was scheduled to be laid at the new playground at Linear Park, off Water Street, and one of the volunteers helping lead the project said the hope is that the site will be ready for youngsters before the end of the fall.
click for more