TSO Sends New Waste Hauler Bylaw to Town Council. Endorses Changes for West Street and University Drive–Amity Street 


Photo: Nareeta Martin / Unspalsh

Report on the Meeting of the Town Services and Outreach Committee, June 27, 2024

This meeting was held over Zoom and was recorded. It can be viewed here.

Andy Steinberg (Chair, at large), Bob Hegner (District 5), George Ryan and Hala Lord (District 3), and Jennifer Taub (District 4)

Staff: Guilford Mooring (Superintendent of Public Works) and Athena O’Keeffe (Clerk of the Council)

Waste Hauler Bylaw Referred to Town Council
The Town Services and Outreach Committee (TSO) has been working on changes to the town’s trash collection system for over two years. A proposed bylaw change would have the town contract with a waste hauler through a competitive bidding process instead of the current arrangements,where residents contract individually with a hauler. The town’s contract will include municipal curbside compost pickup as well as refuse collection and recycling. The draft bylaw was included in the TSO packet from February 1, 2024.

Councilor George Ryan stated that the bylaw has been in TSO long enough, and that he wanted to forward it to the full Town Council, as well as direct the Town Manager to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) from waste hauler companies. He realized that the Town Manager would need to hire a consultant to draft the RFP, since the town does not have staff available to do so.

TSO voted unanimously (5-0) to recommend that the council advise the Town Manager to develop and issue the RFP.  The item will be on the July 15 Town Council agenda.

The committee felt that the bylaw proposal could be refined with community outreach as the RFP was being developed. Former Town Councilor and a sponsor of the waste hauler/composting proposal Shalini Bahl-Milne said that she developed a table of information in the draft bylaw including questions that needed to be answered from the requests for information from the area haulers that the town had received last fall. These included whether the new system would be required or optional, who would administer it and do the billing, and how it would be phased in. The bylaw recommends “pay as you throw” pricing, where those who produce more trash pay more. She also recommended that outreach to residents be conducted soon.  She offered to help develop questions to be discussed at listening sessions.

Former Town Councilor Darcy DuMont, representing Zero Waste Amherst, urged the town to issue the RFP to area haulers to get answers about how much the program would cost. 

Ryan suggested that the town hold listening sessions in the next few months while waiting for the RFP to be developed. The input from residents will help frame the bylaw. Bahl-Milne noted that there is a federal grant available for communities that want to move to municipal composting.

Safety Changes Proposed for West Street Between Potwine Lane and Longmeadow Drive
Superintendent of Public Works Guilford Mooring presented a plan to modify West Street between Potwine Lane and Longmeadow Drive by adding two crosswalks, a sidewalk on the east side of West Street, bicycle lanes, and two traffic islands for traffic calming. He said that residents expressed concerns that there are no crosswalks to cross West Street to and from the existing bus stops on West Street. They were also concerned about the speed of vehicles traveling on West Street where the speed limit increases to 50 mph south of Potwine. He hopes that work on this plan will begin in September or October. Caracas Construction, which is doing the North Common renovation, will also do the West Street project.

TSO members expressed favorable opinions on the project. Chair Andy Steinberg said he will ask the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Disability Access Advisory Committee (DAAC) for their suggestions, and TSO will discuss the plans again on July 11 or July 25, so they can be forwarded to the Town Council for the August 19 meeting. TSO will also schedule a listening session for area residents to give input on the project.

Map of proposed bus pull-outs, traffic islands and cross walks for West Street. Photo: amherstma.gov

Roundabout Planned for Amity Street and University Drive
Mooring also presented plans to replace the traffic light at Amity Street and University Drive with a roundabout that would also serve as an entrance to the town and to the University of Massachusetts. UMass has funded the design work and will contribute to the cost of the project. No timeline has been set yet for this project, which will also involve a sidewalk all around the intersection, and additional lighting. The interior of the roundabout will be landscaped. Mooring said that with the additional development planned for University Drive, it is important to improve traffic flow and to prevent vehicles from speeding through the intersection and endangering pedestrians.

This proposal will also be forwarded to TAC and DAAC, although Steinberg noted that the DAAC has been critical of roundabouts in the past. Ryan suggested that the listening session for this project be combined with the West Street one. Both projects are in District 3, so he and Hala Lord will elicit comments from residents at their district meeting on June 29. Jennifer Taub said she will also notify District 4 residents in the newsletter that she and Pam Rooney send out.

TSO will next meet on July 11.

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1 thought on “TSO Sends New Waste Hauler Bylaw to Town Council. Endorses Changes for West Street and University Drive–Amity Street 

  1. As homeowners on the corner of Amity and University Drive, we’d love to see a roundabout as it would help to reduce the vehicles impetuously speeding down Amity towards the University Dr. intersection.

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