That’s a long way to take Route 20 or other secondary roads to destinations in Otis, Beckett, Blandford, Montgomery and other towns in between.
It also means a lot of traffic gets off at Westfield’s Exit 3 to head to those destinations.
A Massachusetts Department of Transportation study is evaluating the feasibility of adding an exit between Westfield and Lee, and the business community in Westfield is considering the implications of a new exit.
Even after the elimination of toll booths, Exit 3 in Westfield still backs up at certain times of day. Westbound commuters sometimes back up as far as the Massachusetts State Police station on the Pike, Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kate Phelon said. Cars northbound on Elm Street sometimes back up at the Friendly’s Way jug handle leading to the exit.
But would today’s Westfield business community like to see fewer, not more, vehicles coming through the city’s downtown?
The chamber sent a blast email to its members asking them to send feedback to MassDOT project manager Cassandra Gascon through the study’s website, Phelon said.
A member of MassDOT’s advisory board on the study, Phelon wants her members to tell the state to think about a new exit and its possible placement. She’s also curious about the commuting habits of her member’s employees — such as when and where the workers come from — as well as the routes and timing of trucks making pickups and deliveries.
Would the trucks use a new exit, or would they take Route 20 anyway to make stops in the towns in between?
MassDOT officials unveiled seven possible sites for a new exit Monday at an open house in Blandford. Residents were asked to vote on their favorites in an informal straw poll, a vote that favored converting the Blandford Service Center plaza into an exit. That plaza is about 11 miles west of Westfield.