Northampton will undo temporary Main Street redesign

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NORTHAMPTON — Following heavy criticism from downtown business owners, Mayor David Narkewicz said Friday that the city will remove the temporary experiment to redesign a stretch of Main Street known as the Northampton Shared Streets and Spaces project.Installed in August and funded through a $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the project — which expanded sidewalks for outdoor dining and shopping, added a bike lane and reconfigured parking — was meant to support downtown businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. But business owners balked, citing traffic and parking issues among other concerns. “My goal for this project was to temporarily create more public space in order to safely bring more people downtown to support Northampton businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Narkewicz said in a Facebook post announcing that the changes will be undone. “While I am confident that this effort was beginning to have its intended effect, some 55 downtown business owners have expressed opposition to the project and asked that it be removed.”On Monday, the Northampton Department of Public Works will begin restoring the section of Main Street between the State Street and King Street intersections to its previous design. Changes made to other downtown streets — including Masonic Street, Strong Avenue, …

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