Public Comment: Address Traffic Safety Before Beginning Project On Ball Lane


Intersction of Rt. 63 and East Pleasant Street/Sunderland Road, near Pine Street. Photo: Google Maps

The following public comment was submitted to the town’s web site on April 11, 2023.

I personally welcome housing that will be accessible and affordable to a wider range of homeowners and believe that our North Amherst center can accommodate this development well if the following are addressed by the town in advance of the completion of the project. 

As a neighbor to this planned development my concerns are:

1. The increased traffic that this development will create at the intersection of Pine Street, Route 63, Meadow Street and Sunderland Road. 

2. And the increased usage of the Mill River Park will require an uptick in the town maintenance budget in terms of the trails, the picnic area and the playground. 

3. Safe pedestrian crossing and sidewalks for the increased pedestrian (and young children) traffic. 

4. Increased use of Puffer’s Pond – as a convenient and beloved swimming and gathering place one can assume that the increase in local families to the immediate area will also increase the use of the pond and surrounding area. There needs to be a plan in place to address the pedestrian traffic to the pond from the development – as well as any health and safety concerns adding more young families to the mix brings. 

The North Amherst intersection is already struggling to accommodate the traffic flow at rush hour and at regular University of Massachusetts event times, causing backups at all of the converging roads at the light and with a particularly challenging traffic crossing at the Rt 63/Sunderland Road split. 

This will only become more difficult once the new library addition is open and we have more pedestrian traffic and parking for the library entering and exiting onto Route 63 and Sunderland Road. 

The town’s plan to address this traffic issue that has been presented in various forms in years past has stalled without any confirmed dates for completion. Without a commitment from the town to thoroughly address the already challenging traffic back up my concern is that this will only become worse with the increase in population of cars and pedestrian traffic. 

I feel that it’s important for the safety of all concerned that the town of Amherst first address the traffic flow issues that currently exist as well as the increased traffic this development and the library expansion will bring BEFORE the development moves forward. 

With regards to the Mill River Park & Puffer’s Pond: The pond, playground and surrounding trail system will see an increase in use. There needs to be a plan in place – and a budget – to ensure that this park and the pond remain safe, clean and accessible.

Robin Jaffin is a resident of District 1.

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