City Accessibility Improvement Projects

Under Construction

Accessible Outdoor Trails & Recreation 

Wheelchair Curb Cuts 

In the summer of 2020, the City had begun work creating much needed wheelchair curb cuts and installing tactile warnings that were identified in the 2018 study from Alta Planning + Design. The 2020 curb cuts were installed at the the Northampton Bikeway at the Keyes & Chestnut Street crossings in Florence, the intersection of South Main Street and Pine Street in Florence, the crossing at Northampton High School and Woodlawn Avenue, and at two sections of Center Street.

Accessible Parking 

City Accessibility Improvement Projects 

In October 2020, Mayor David J. Narkewicz accepted the update to the City's ADA & Self-Evaluation Plan and Section 504 Plan. This plan looked at the polices and infrastructure regarding disability access in the City, making 10 priority recommendations.  A glossary of ADA terms may be helpful for people to familiarize themselves with accessibility and the ADA.

The City has also committed to accessible recreation areas and transportation going beyond ADA standards:

  • Recreation facilities (see Parks and Recreation Department)
  • Shared use paths (over 11 miles of trails that are accessible) - full map is forthcoming
  • Universal accessible trails in conservation areas (e.g. Connecticut River Greenway access to the river, Broad Broad-Fitzgerald Lake Greenway access to the lake, Barrett Street Marsh access to a boardwalk in the marsh, Mill River Greenway-Leeds with an extension of the bike path into the conservation area, and Burts Bog Greenway with a paved trail into a previously inaccessible greenway).

City Accessibility Grants 

On January 12, 2021 Mayor David J. Narkewicz announced that the City of Northampton received two grants to improve accessibility in the city, $95,710 from the Massachusetts Office of Disabilities and $15,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards.

“We are committed to improving accessibility to all populations in Northampton,” said Mayor Narkewicz. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into tragic focus the unequal health outcomes of our residents with disabilities, our aging residents, and our traditionally underserved residents. We know these folks are all at greater risk of COVID-19, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other health challenges, so now more than ever we need to address their needs.”

The $95,710 grant will fund assisted listening systems at the City Hall Hearing Room, City Council Chambers, and the Great Room at the Senior Center. Assisted listening systems will provide enhanced sound for all, and accommodations for those with hearing loss and impairments. A $2,000 match from the city’s disability revolving fund, funded by fines from parking in handicap-accessible parking spaces without proper tags, helped leverage this grant.

The $15,000 grant will fund a study of how to improve accessibility to the city’s Connecticut River Greenway, especially to the new beach there that formed just a few years ago. The city saw a dramatic increase in public use of river swimming areas, including at the Connecticut River Greenway. This project will help the city manage the use to serve all populations. The project is in conjunction with a larger Community Preservation Act funded project to examine five river swimming areas, four on the Mill River and one on the Connecticut River.

Both projects were recommended during the City’s Americans with Disabilities Transition planning and were recommended by the City’s Disability Commission.