WESTFIELD- The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) will host an informational meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. at City Hall in room 201 to announce the 2020 update to the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
The meeting Thursday will be one of three hosted by the PVPC in the Pioneer Valley. The other two will be in Springfield and Northampton on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. The RTP is updated at least once every four years in accordance to federal regulations, according to PVPC Principal Planner and Traffic Manager Gary Roux. He said that the update itself is meant to provide more information in response to federal planning rules and regulations. It will show the PVPC’s intent on the progress of transportation planning and improvements up to 2040.
Roux said that part of the update will include efforts to make public transportation more accessible for the average person.
“It is always a goal of ours to identify the need for funding, and what is needed to provide safe and reliable transportation infrastructure,” said Roux. “We want to give people options other than driving a car.”
For example, Roux said there is huge interest in expanding the local passenger rail services. The PVPC wants to see more options for trains going north and south as well as expanding the options for travelling east and west. Roux added that some of the projects that may be presented at the meeting will be shown simply to demonstrate to the public that there may be a need for them, but they do not necessarily have any funding yet. In Springfield, for example, they had done a study that showed several areas for interstate-91 where traffic flow and efficiency could be improved.
As a more local example, Roux said that the PVPC does see a need for a new exit on the Mass Pike between existing exits two and three. Those two exits are separated by 30 miles, and exit three into Westfield can be observed to have heavy traffic backups during peak hours. Roux said that another exit would mitigate the traffic problems in the North Side of Westfield.
The informational meeting is free and open for all to attend.