Village Streets Study

Making the Amherst Village Safer for All

ALL information will now be found on the VILLAGE STREETS STUDY COMMITTEE page, found HERE

To view the Mobycon presentation shared at the May 15, 2023 BOS Meeting, please click here

Please use THIS LINK to view the BOS meeting recording from Monday May 15, 2023 at which the presentation was discussed.


    The Amherst Village Historic District is considered one of the finest examples of late 18th century/early 19th century colonial village architecture in New England and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The Village is also a vibrant gathering place which hosts a wide variety of community activities throughout the year including the Amherst Junior Women’s Club Easter Egg Hunt, the Town’s July 4th parade, Halloween trick or treating, December’s Tree Lighting Festival and many other community events.

    In recent years the Village has experienced a substantial increase in both traffic volume and safety complaints/incidents. The Amherst Board of Selectmen and Department of Public Works, as well as a number of Town committees have been hard at work studying this issue and there is agreement that this is the opportune time to consider making safety improvements. Public comment, input, and guidance is essential to the next steps in the process.

    Implementing safety upgrades now makes financial sense for the Town. The Town is planning to repave the Village streets in 2025. The estimated cost of the scheduled repaving project (approximately $500,000-$700,000) has already been budgeted by the Board of Selectmen. This budgeted amount can qualify as the Town’s 20% funding contribution toward a potential Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant. Therefore, the Town could potentially qualify for up to $3.5 million in additional dollars in federal funding for village safety improvements (above and beyond the amount already budgeted for the paving work) at no additional cost to the Town. The intent is to coordinate the scheduled repaving work with any additional grant-funded repaving/road work if the grant is approved. However, the SS4A grant application process is complicated and the deadline for application submission, September 15, 2023, is fast approaching.

    Public input is critical at every stage of this process, including at the Vision stage. An initial public meeting was conducted in October, 2022 and a town-wide survey is expected to be distributed in late February seeking comments related to a Village traffic safety. A second public information meeting will be held on Thursday, April 6 2023, (Doors open at 6:30 pm) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room.

    Study Timeline

    • Stakeholders' Workshop

      October 18, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
      Peabody Mill Environmental Center
      66 Brook Rd

    • Public Input Session (1 of 2)
      Tuesday, October 18 2022, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
      Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room
      80 Boston Post Rd
    • Public Survey
      Available online until Thursday, April 20 2023 at 11:59 pm
    • Public Input Session (2 of 2)
      Thursday, April 6 2023, (Doors open at 6:30 pm) 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
      Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room
      80 Boston Post Rd
    • Presentation of Public Input and Improvement Options
      Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, May 15, 2023 at 6:30 pm at Amherst Town Hall

    Submit Your Thoughts

    If you would like to participate in the public input process, please consider any of the following options:

    • Attend a public input session:
      • Tuesday, October 18 2022, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
        Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room (80 Boston Post Rd) 
      • Thursday, April 6 2023 from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
        Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room (80 Boston Post Rd) 
    • Complete the online survey, which closed on Thursday, April 20 2023 at 11:59 pm

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    The Town has created this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to provide additional details about this study and a potential SS4A grant application.

    Why are we considering making changes to streets in The Village?

    The Amherst Village Historic District has experienced a substantial increase in both vehicle traffic volume and safety complaints/incidents. We have the opportunity to use federal grant funding to address these issues and to improve safety concerns in the Village for people driving, biking, walking and running, as well as those who visit the Village for community events throughout the year.

    Daily traffic volume within the Village is substantial. Information collected by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission utilizing NH Department of Transportation traffic counters has revealed that more than 5000 cars per day travel through the primary Village arteries (Amherst Street and Boston Post Road).  For example, on December 8, 2022, 5171 vehicles traveled on the portion of Boston Post Road directly in front of Wilkins Elementary School. In addition, many village side street traffic counts (i.e. Foundry Street, directly in front of Clark Elementary School) easily exceed 1000 cars on a typical week day during the school year.

    Further, there are also two residential housing developments in the approval process, both within 1-2 miles of the Village. These developments may increase vehicle traffic volumes on Village streets.

    What type of improvements are being considered?

    No changes have yet been proposed – The Town is still collecting input from the community to better understand the safety issues facing the Town. Once changes are proposed, they will be presented to the public for comment and carefully vetted by the Town.

    In recent decades, village streets have been updated with elements from highway design that favors motor vehicles and encourage higher speeds. This has resulted in frequent complaints of speeding and left pedestrians using the roadways to face uncomfortable and unsafe conditions.

    This study intends to put safety and the preservation of the Town’s historic character at the forefront. This is an opportunity to integrate the context of our small, historic village into the design of our village infrastructure to reduce speeds and other impacts. No street widenings or private property takings will be considered.

     It is expected that based on public input, three scenarios will be produced and then a preferred option selected for a grant application. The Town will also seek public input before any final decisions are made. The Nashua Regional Planning Commission is also assisting the Town by compiling traffic counts at key street intersections.

    What does the term “context-sensitive design” mean and why is that important to potential changes being considered to the Village streets?

    Despite the unique rural, historic, and local character of the Amherst Village, the design of many of our village streets have slowly changed over the years to follow standard highway engineering principles. These general road standards are the opposite of “context-sensitive design” because they are intended to apply to a general road. These standards enable higher traffic volumes and increase the “design speed” to encourage drivers to be more comfortable operating at higher speeds. Extensive public feedback complaining of the dangerous speeds of motor vehicles, high volumes of traffic, and persistent traffic noise within the Village support exploring improvements to these outdated highway-style road designs.

    This study seeks to use “context-sensitive design” by starting the design process with the desired local outcome: offering safety for all who live in and visit our village (people walking, using mobility devices, driving and even riding horses).

    Increased safety can be achieved through adjustments to lower the design speed of village streets using traffic-calming techniques that naturally compel drivers to reduce their speeds without the need for police monitoring. These changes are neither highway-like nor urban in style and can draw directly from the historical character of the village. Implementing these changes will communicate to drivers “you are entering a special, different type of space” from the higher-speed roads that connect to our village and that they should alter their behavior accordingly. Slower vehicle travel speeds will improve safety and enhance the local ambiance by reducing road noise and allowing visitors to appreciate the Village’s unique historic character.

    These safety improvements can be rolled out at the time of already-scheduled reconstruction, to achieve safer driver behavior through changes that are consistent with the historic character of Amherst Village.

    Who is Mobycon and CMA Engineering why were they selected for involvement in this project?

    A $98,000 warrant article was approved by town voters in March 2022 to fund an engineering study of proposed safety improvements for the Village. Mobycon and CMA Engineering were hired by the Town and are well qualified for this project.

    Mobycon is an infrastructure consultant specializing in developing and implementing innovative and sustainable mobility solutions with experience in small towns and big cities; including New England, nationally, and internationally. Mobycon’s previous New England experience includes work for Plainville, Connecticut.

    As a multi-disciplinary team of traffic engineers, planners, economists, and human geographers, Mobycon’s work supports the development of healthy, connected, safe, liveable communities. Mobycon focuses on working with local partners, applying decades of knowledge and experience to help clients develop tailor-made, local solutions that maximize safety and accessibility for the mobility of all users. Mobycon was selected for its expertise in leveraging local context-sensitive designs that draw on the local character of a community as well as its safety- and people-focused approach. It is with their experience that our village streets might be made safer in a manner that integrates the town’s historic character into our local streets as opposed to detracting from it.

    Mobycon will be aided by CMA Engineers, a local New Hampshire transportation engineering firm, who can provide further local insights as well as assistance preparing a potential SS4A grant for the town.

    Why can’t these safety improvements wait until a later date? 

    The Village streets are scheduled to be repaved in 2025. While various preservation treatments may be applied to Village Streets within the next ten years, substantial repaving will not likely occur until beyond ten years. 

    The “Safe Streets and Roads for All” (SS4A) federal grant program is scheduled to expire at the end of 2027, long before another Village re-paving will occur. 

    Performing the safety upgrades now makes financial sense for the Town.  The estimated cost of the 2025 repaving (approximately $500,000  - $700,000) has already been budgeted by the Board of Selectmen and will qualify as the Town’s 20% funding contribution toward a potential SS4A grant.  Therefore, the Town could potentially qualify for up to $3.5 million in additional dollars in federal funding for village safety improvements (above and beyond the amount already budgeted for the paving work) at no additional cost to the Town.  

    Performing the safety work now also provides the Town with cost savings due to “economies of scale“.  By doing the repaving and safety improvement work at the same time, the Town will be able to utilize much of the same equipment for both projects and realize cost savings from bulk materials purchasing. 

    Therefore, the time to address the Village traffic/pedestrian safety issues is now.

    Will the public have input be in this process?

    Yes, the public will have many input opportunities through public meetings, a public survey and through various Town organizations. The Town’s initial public session occurred in October 2022 when members of the public had the first opportunity to provide written commentary about their personal experiences with village streets and sidewalks today.

    Public input meetings have been scheduled at Wilkins Elementary School, Multipurpose Room (80 Boston Post Rd) at the following times:

    • Tuesday, October 18 2022, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    • Thursday, April 6 2023 from 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

    And for those who are unable to provide their input in person, an online survey is open until Thursday April 20 2023 at 11:59 pm. Comments can, at any time, be emailed to [email protected].

    It is expected the Mobycon will have three draft scenarios to present in spring 2023 for review by the public, Amherst DPW and the Board of Selectmen.

    In addition to direct public input, the Town will be communicating with the various committees and organizations within the Town to receive input into this process including the Schools, Library, Historic District Commission, Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Heritage Commission, Planning Board as well as the Amherst Land Trust. 

    Who will have final say on what specific type of village safety improvements will be included in any SS4A federal grant application?

    The Amherst Board of Selectmen, in consultation with the Amherst Department of Public Works, will have final say on whether an SS4A grant application is submitted and if so, what specific safety improvements will be included in any application.  The BOS will also make the final decision after extensive public input, of which of the three scenarios/plans produced by Mobycon/CMA is selected. 

      Study Scope

      Village Streets Study Scope

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