PVPC has completed a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the City of Northampton’s proposed improvements to Pleasant Street. The results of the HIA show that the proposed Pleasant Street Improvements would have an overwhelmingly positive health impact with local and regional significance.
Pleasant Street Health Impact Assessment (HIA)
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is working with Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and Massachusetts Department of Public Health on a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of planned street improvements to Pleasant Street in Northampton.
Significant changes are in the works along Pleasant Street. Amtrak service was recently restored to the area. Two significant mixed-use housing projects are in process. The city is taking over a portion of lower Pleasant Street from MassDOT.
With all of these changes underway, the City of Northampton has decided it is time to make significant streetscape improvements to Pleasant St. The improvements will serve existing residents and travelers and support the redevelopment of the street. The Health Impact Assessment will be conducted in parallel with design work for street reconstruction.
Based on preliminary work, we expect that the HIA will make specific recommendations that can help shape the design of the streetscape, including sidewalk design, connections to adjacent neighborhoods, and crosswalk siting and design. In addition the HIA may assess the potential health impacts of Low Impact Design stormwater infrastructure and parklets in crosswalk bumpouts. We also expect to examine broader social determinants of health that may have impact on the street's users like, housing availability, or economic opportunity.
Overall, the HIA will help the city prioritize which aspects of their project deserve the most budgetary and design attention based upon potential health impacts. The HIA will also contribute to long-range planning for revitalization of the Pleasant Street neighborhood.
News and Articles
MassLive covered a recent meeting for Pleasant Street improvements. The end of the article includes a very brief summary of PVPC's health impact assessment of this project.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette published an article following up on the Pleasant Street Walk Audit on June 25. This article may be behind a paywall:
Please come to a health-focused walk audit of Pleasant Street in Northampton on June 10 at 5:30 p.m. Join your neighbors to walk, talk, and share how Pleasant Street affects your health.
An Advisory Committee for the Pleasant Street Health Impact Assessment (HIA) has been formed. The Committee will work with the PVPC project team to steer the HIA, obtain local input, review draft documents and prioritize recommendations.