Homeless in the Rain

On August 18 Christian MilNeil told the Valley Post his thoughts about Northampton's plan to re-design Main street. He works for a group that has a web site at www.streetsblog.org. MilNeil said, “I encourage people to take a look at Concord, New Hampshire's Main street redesign, which was done about a decade ago. It's very similar to what Northampton is contemplating: they went from a four-lane roadway with fairly narrow sidewalks and diagonal parking to a two-lane street with diagonal parking on one side and parallel parking on the other, with much wider sidewalks and shorter crosswalks.”

He continued, “Like the Northampton proposal, the Concord redesign did reduce the amount of on-street parking available on Main street. But in the years since that project was done, there's also been a boom in new development, a huge reduction in vacant storefronts, and a lot more foot traffic and outdoor dining.”

MilNeil said, “Northampton has about 1,400 parking spaces within a five minute walk of Main street, which is roughly four times as many parking spaces in the massive Big Y strip mall parking lot on the north end of Northampton; this project is going to remove 57 on-street parking spaces, which is about 4 percent of what's available in the area. So from the perspective of someone driving, it's a very minor change; from the perspective of people who walk on Main street – which incidentally includes all of the people who park their cars there – it's going to be a huge benefit.”

The Gazette published an article full of business owners complaining about the loss of parking.

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On August 19 Brattleboro's town manager told the Valley Post he will provide a more substantive quote in October about the Brattleboro Home Depot. It has been vacant for 14 years.

Meanwhile dozens of homeless people slept in tents in Brattleboro in one of the rainiest summers ever.

According to the group Americans for Tax Fairness, billionaires in 2010 had about $1 trillion. Now they have about $5 trillion.

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The Valley Post thanks Mike Rispoli of the Northampton-based group Free Press, and former Amherst resident Stefanie Murray of Montclair (NJ) State University, for their help with a forthcoming Valley Post article. Please visit www.FreePress.net and https://collaborativejournalism.org/democracyday.

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