PITTSFIELD -- Phase 3 of the city's Streetscape project for the downtown will include upgraded crosswalks, new street lighting and sidewalks, bike lanes, new traffic signaling and 33 new trees, among other improvements.

During a public presentation of the plans, project director Jon Dietrich and project manager Kristen Solloway of the firm Fuss and O'Neill, said an 1,100-foot section of North Street from Madison Avenue to Burbank Street is the focus of the project's next phase.

The work is expected to go out to bid in April and construction could begin in late May. Most of the project, which will be funded through a $2 million Massworks Grant from the Department of Housing and Economic Development, should be completed this year, Dietrich said, with finishing work in spring 2015.

Public input still is sought by the Community Development office on aspects of the project, which also will include complete reconstruction of the pavement and work to reduce the street grades in the area.

In addition, five-foot bike lanes are in the design for each side of North Street, which will eliminate about a dozen parking spaces, and the textured crosswalk at Madison Avenue will have rounded extended sidewalk surfaces at each end, reducing the crossing distance by 10 feet.

Burbank Street is scheduled to become a two-way street, and there will be a new traffic signal installed at the intersection with North Street. A narrow island also is planned for North Street, just north of the Burbank Street-Wahconah Street intersections.

Displaying a street-level view of the new streetscape design, Dietrich said a row of trees will be planted on each side of North Street, and a second row of smaller trees -- likely cherry trees -- will line a section along the inside of the new westside sidewalk.

Currently, there are "zero trees" along that section of North Street, Dietrich said.

Planting containers also will be added, and public input is sought on their placement. Also planned are benches, bicycle racks, rain gardens and a section of ornamental fencing.

The new street lighting will match that of previous phases of Streetscape work.

The Streetscape project in phases 1 and 2 improved South Street from West Housatonic Street to Park Square and from there to Columbus Avenue on North Street. The next phase, pending funding, is expected to improve North Street from Madison Avenue to Columbus Avenue.

For further information on the project, the public is asked to contact Comm
issioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood, at (413) 499-9330, or Douglas Clark, director of Community Dev-
elopment Department, at (413) 499-9449.

To reach Jim Therrien:
jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien