Greenfield’s Court Square pilot project concludes

  • A vehicle navigates Court Square in Greenfield, which is open to vehicular traffic again. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Court Square in Greenfield is open to vehicular traffic again with some barriers. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The tables and chairs are gone from Court Square in Greenfield, but a few remain on the common. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Court Square in Greenfield is open to vehicular traffic again with some traffic barriers left set up to slow vehicles. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Court Square in Greenfield is open to vehicular traffic again with some barriers. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/24/2021 4:15:13 PM
Modified: 11/24/2021 4:14:58 PM

GREENFIELD — The city reopened Court Square to vehicular traffic on Wednesday after five months of piloting it as a pedestrian plaza.

To reopen Court Square, staff at the Department of Public Works removed the temporary planters and street furniture; re-established one-way, southbound-only traffic on Court Square from Main Street to Bank Row; and re-established short-term, handicap and loading zone parking spaces on Court Square.

Additionally, the Court Square travel lane was narrowed using Jersey barriers, while still ensuring it is wide enough for a firetruck.

“We tried to change people’s behavior so they didn’t use it as a cut-through … so we want to preserve that,” noted MJ Adams, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Department. “We want to discourage any use of Court Square as a cut-through.”

A new stop sign was also installed on Court Square at the intersection with Newton Place — another effort to slow traffic to create a more pedestrian-friendly area.

The pilot project, which was implemented with funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Shared Streets and Spaces Program, contained aspects of the Court Square conceptual design from 2017.

In June, the city launched the pilot program, and since then has encouraged comments and feedback.

“It got off to a slow start, and it was clunky,” Adams recounted. “I think when the food truck went in, people really saw the possibilities there. That was sort of late in the season.”

Cocina Lupita, a food truck serving authentic El Salvadoran cuisine, opened in July in the parking lot behind Wilson’s Department Store before moving to Court Square in September. According to a post on Cocina Lupita’s Facebook page, the truck has been put into storage and the restaurant has moved into Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center. Food is available for dine-in or takeout, depending on the event schedule at the venue.

Early next year, the city plans to hold a community design process, or “charette,” to consider the feedback and comments from the pilot project, and to advance it to the next phase of design.

“Clearly in 2017, it was a very robust and extensive community process to talk about doing this,” Adams said. “Then it took a couple years — we didn’t actually own the road back then. We had the road transferred over to us from the county. Now that we own the road, the idea is, ‘What can we do to make downtown Greenfield an attractive place for people to work, live and visit?’”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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