From the Office of Mayor Narkewicz.
Mayor David J. Narkewicz is lauding a proposed expansion of Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) bus service for Northampton that includes a new Crosstown route serving the Northampton Survival Center.
At the February 26th meeting of the PVTA Advisory Board, on which Mayor Narkewicz serves, a series of final recommendations for regional transit service improvements were presented based on system-wide analysis conducted by staff and an outside consulting firm.
Under the proposed set of recommendation, Northampton's two existing primary service routes (R42 and R44) would remain unchanged but their hours of operations and frequency would be expanded.
The R42 route between Northampton and Williamsburg would expand to 60 minute frequency - it currently operates at 120 minute intervals. The R44 route serving Northampton and Florence would see its hours of operation expanded, beginning service at 6:00 AM on weekdays (currently 6:20 AM) and 7:00 AM on weekends (currently 9:20 AM).
The proposed recommendations also call for the creation of a new Northampton route providing crosstown service connecting Salvo House, the Senior Center, downtown Northampton, the Northampton Survival Center, YMCA, Jackson St., Hampshire Plaza, and River Valley Market on North King Street. This new "X98 Crosstown" bus would provide service every 120 minute from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and allow for connections with the city's R42 and R44 routes.
Mayor Narkewicz thanked PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes and her staff for their responsiveness to concerns raised by the Northampton Survival Center about the current lack of direct bus service for their clients.
Other recommended improvements include an expansion of the R41 route between Northampton and Holyoke Community College (HCC) to operate year round as well as connecting directly to the Holyoke Mall.
The B43 route between Northampton and Amherst is slated to become a Bus Rapid Transit (BRR) corridor featuring more frequent service, signal priority, dedicated transit lanes at intersections, and upgraded passenger amenities.
After reviewing all of the proposed service recommendations, the PVTA Advisory Board voted to hold a series of public hearings on them throughout the region in March and April. Two of those hearings will be held in Northampton at dates and locations to be announced soon. A final PVTA Advisory Board vote would take place in June.
Mayor Narkewicz encourages city residents to attend those hearings to learn more about these important transit service changes and provide PVTA feedback and input. More information about PVTA's Comprehensive Service Analysis Recommendations can be found at: http://www.pvta.com/csa.php
Image courtesy of Rusty Clark.