Have you driven through Northampton’s new-ish roundabout at the intersection of Pleasant and Conz Streets in Northampton or over the soon-to-be completed I-91 viaduct repair project?
Have you taken a Hartford Line train south to New Haven or a PVTA electric bus north to Holyoke from Springfield’s fully restored Union Station?
If you said ‘yes’ to any of these, you have personally experienced the results of our most recent Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) - the Pioneer Valley’s blueprint for maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system for all modes of travel. It is updated every four years and identifies the region’s goals, strategies, and projects to both enhance and maintain our transportation system.
Whether it’s one of the examples above, a shared path expansion like the current Colombia River Greenway Rail Trail project in Westfield, or many other important regional endeavors, they all share one thing in common - they would not have happened in the last four years without first securing a place in our RTP - making them eligible for the state and federal dollars that ultimately made this work possible.
While transportation improvements - with their required planning studies, environmental permitting, and project designs - are not famous for their speed by any stretch of the imagination, we know a lot can happen in four years. The continued growth of shared mobility services like Uber and Lyft, maintenance needs of roadways and bridges, the impact of self-driving vehicles, and expansion of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are just a few of the transportation issues that must be addressed in the latest update to the RTP for the Pioneer Valley.
Staff at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) are currently working on the 2020 Update to the RTP. Over the next few months, draft versions of the RTP will be available for public review and comment. This process will begin in November with the convening of focus groups and continue into May of next year when a draft plan will be available for public review and comment.
Your feedback is an important part of this process.
For more information on the RTP and how to submit feedback, please visit http://www.pvpc.org/projects/2020-rtp-update.
-Gary Roux, PVPC Principal Transportation Planner