Public input is a key component of the 2024 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) currently under development. The RTP will lay out the regional priorities for transportation investments over the next twenty years. Listening to and learning from the residents of Berkshire County helps us to gain a fuller understanding of what transportation investments should be made.
Making our roads safer is a battle that involves many strategies. Helping to plot a path toward fewer fatalities and injuries, the state Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) identifies target safety Emphasis Areas for Massachusetts.
Berkshire County public school district enrollment has been declining over the last several decades. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the question has arisen on how the pandemic has impacted the enrollment.
Existing Student Enrollment
As of October 1, 2020, the student population in the Berkshire County public school districts for K-12 was 14,258. On October 1, 2019, the enrollment was 14,748. This is a loss of 490 students, or -3.3%, in one year.
Two safe and effective COVID vaccines have been given emergency use authorization by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These vaccines, made by Pfizer and Moderna, have already been given to more than 2,000 COVID-facing health-care workers in Berkshire County, as well as more than 35,000 in the Commonwealth, more than 2 million across the United States and more than 4.4 million worldwide.
COVID-19 has impacted the Berkshires in many ways, one of which is in home sales. After a lower than the average number of completed sales in the first few months of COVID, sales have rebounded, and homes have sold at a faster rate than in previous years.
Public participation is essential to the planning practice. Without gathering community input, we can miss critical details necessary for plan success. Recognizing the importance of involving the people potentially affected by a project in the visioning and decision-making process, public outreach is often a requirement of many grants. Grants with public outreach requirements include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to complete local hazard mitigation plans, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) planning and action grants.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disaster have changed the lives of all of us. Sadly, this crisis has created untold hardships for many. It has, however, brought out the best in some people who went out their of way to help others, or made an extraordinary effort to respond to some aspect of this crisis. BRPC is recognizing those efforts and thanking those participants at our public meetings and on this page as they are nominated:
In August 2019, Berkshire County employed 65,112 people, with an additional 2,101 unemployed, resulting in a labor force of 67,213 and an unemployment rate of 3.1%. In the intervening year, COVID-19 hit. By August 2020, Berkshire County employed 54,976, with an additional 6,727 unemployed, resulting in a labor force of 61,703 and an unemployment rate of 10.9%. The number employed had dropped to a low of 48,028 in April 2020, and unemployment jumped to a high of 17.8% in June 2020. This two-month delay is likely due to people not filing initially, with an expectation of their jobs returning quickly, only to realize after two months that their layoff was going to last longer.