LUDLOW — Lindsey Abbott and Brandon Kunkel from Weston and Sampson met with the Board of Selectmen at its Jan. 9 meeting to discuss the final conceptual design for East Street.

Kunkel said the goal since last spring was to make a revitalization master plan for the overlay district for Ludlow.

“The goal is to return pedestrians to the street. We want to get them out of their cars, onto the sidewalks, activate the streets and ultimately, we really want to get them into the businesses that are there,” Kunkel said.

He added, “Some potential improvements included expanding the width and length of certain sidewalks, additional parking, more distinct crosswalks, traffic signs, art sculptures and murals, trees for shade, sidewalk furniture and outdoor dining areas.”

The presentation focused on East Street and split them into three key areas they want to focus on improving as well as two areas in between that connect these areas together.

Kunkel added, “It doesn’t mean the rest of it isn’t important or taken into account. There’s three key areas and we’ve taken a couple of typical sections of those areas that bridge those key points.”

The areas include the intersection by Sewall Street, the Winsor Street intersection, the area by the Polish America Citizen’s Club and two more street sections.

The corner of Sewall and East streets is a key piece of the project, according to Kunkel by utilizing the area to create some outdoor dining, have parking and showcasing the beginning of East Street.

He added, “We think this is a key intersection to really set up the framework for this revitalization of East Street. If we can take a little bit of that parking to act as a gateway or node to really announce the revitalization of East Street to create some public space with public art or sculpture or signage with some shaded seating.”

Parking has been identified as a key concern by residents based on surveys Weston and Sampson gathered and recommended some ideas to add parking.

There are currently no parking markers on East Street which means there are no set places to potentially parallel park.

“There are no set parallel parking lines that show where spaces are. Like typically at an intersection, you shouldn’t park 20 feet from the intersection or driveways but there haven’t been marked out so people can really park however they like to park,” Abbott said.

The idea to add more trees would cut the amount of spots available in half but Abbott said if you look at the proposal and potentially enter in agreements with businesses, there would be 81 on street parking spots and a total of 335 parking spaces during off hours.

“That is also before the Planning Board continues their work on adding new lots,” Abbott added.

Kunkel added, “These are ideas we have found to be successful and provide the greatest opportunity for early action and doesn’t involve big dollar investment. If we take any away, we want to make sure we are adding it back. I think there is some opportunity for off business hours or on the weekend to come to an agreement with some of the businesses or the polish club or school to leverage their existing parking lot.”

There are currently 25 trees on East Street and the proposal calls for 134 street trees.

“It substantially transforms the area in terms of adding shade, gathering particulate pollution, capturing stormwater, reducing eat island so the temperature you feel out there and helps getting people get back on the streets,” Abbott said.

The proposal also shows adding street furniture like benches, garbage cans, different tables and bike racks.

“We took into consideration some comments and we scaled back the color. People were interested in having a neutral and more natural pallet so we included timber which is lovely and warm to sit in the winter and stays cool in the summer time,” Abbott added.

Board of Selectmen Chair James Gennette said the board will begin discussing the next steps the town will take with this project like pursuing grants for the work.

Town Administrator Marc Strange added, “We did something similar to this in Agawam when I first started, and this is a really nice job. A lot of this stuff comparatively to digging up asphalt and laying down pipes, this is relatively inexpensive. You’re talking about materials, you’re talking about lighting and we can phase it and I think it can make a difference.”

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