Main & King Streets Design Charrette: Final Report

Here is the final report from March’s Main & King Streets Design Charrette as released today by Nelson\Nygaard, the transportation consultants, and Northampton’s Office of Planning and Development.
Northampton Main King Charrette v61511
Master Plans Main King Charrette v61511 Tabloid Size

See also:

Videos and Slides: Main and King Street Transportation Charrette, Final Presentation and Q&A (3/17/11)
Many of the ideas for enhancing the pedestrian and bicyclist experience were appealing. They enjoyed a generally positive reception from the audience. NSNA was less convinced, however, by assertions that increases in urban density in the areas around Main and King Streets could result in less car traffic. The consultants provided these charts (see pages 19 and 20) but the data relates to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, much larger and denser urban environments than Northampton, with much more extensive systems of mass transit. With smaller towns, some evidence suggests that residents might respond to higher density by moving away (increasing sprawl) rather than by giving up their cars.

Gazette: “Northampton residents support narrowing of streets” (3/16/11)
On King Street, the recommendations call for narrowing King Street from four lanes to three, with a central lane serving alternately as both a turning lane and a median. On-street parking would also be established on King Street in the areas closest to Main Street and between the intersections of Finn and North streets. North of King Street a bicycle track would be installed.

On Main Street, between the intersections of King and State streets, the number of lanes would be consolidated from four to two and the sidewalk widened by approximately 15 feet and reverse angle parking installed.

Videos and Slides: Main and King Street Transportation Charrette, Introduction and Goal Setting (3/14/11)
The consultants’ overarching philosophy is informed by New Urbanism and makes a priority of building mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly urban environments. It is reminiscent of proposals made during the Notre Dame Urban Design Studio and stands in contrast to more car-oriented preferences voiced by some members of the business community at recent King Street zoning workshops.