Modern Roundabouts in the Berkshires

Modern Roundabouts in the Berkshires

In October 2021, the City of Pittsfield’s first-ever modern urban roundabout became operational at Tyler Street and Woodlawn Ave. The only other modern roundabout currently in the Berkshires is in Adams, constructed in 2016 on Route 8 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Pittsfield’s roundabout is built entirely on city-owned roads in one of the densest neighborhoods of the city: no small feat.

UMass Study Outlines Municipal Impact of Climate Change

UMass Study Outlines Municipal Impact of Climate Change

A report conducted by UMASS Northeast Center for Coastal Resilience and Massachusetts Municipal Association offers insight into how municipalities perceive climate change’s challenges and impact. The study heard from 111 municipalities and ten planning agencies, including four Berkshire municipalities and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC). 64% of respondents represented inland communities. Larger cities were better represented in this survey than rural towns, as those communities are more likely to have staff who can respond to surveys. That said, the needs of inland and rural communities came through, particularly in the comments. It is helpful to see the overlap in concerns when considering how climate change will affect our region.

Williamstown – Birch Hill Brook

Census 2020

The Census Bureau has released the initial results from the 2020 Census. The official population for Berkshire County in 2020 was 129,026. This population represents a loss of 2,193 people since 2010 or -1.7%. The Census Bureau had estimated that the county’s population would drop to below 125,000, so the region did substantially better than estimated.

Preparing for the Future of Work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

New Report Charts Path for the Post-COVID Commonwealth Workplace

A July 2021 study commissioned by the Baker-Polito administration, Preparing for the Future of Work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, seeks to help town leaders understand how workplace shifts begun during COVID-19 could impact their communities in years to come.  Conducted by McKinsey & Company, the report explores near- (2025) and long- (2030) term trends and suggests how towns can prepare for them to support residents’ and economies’ success.

Berkshire County Education Task Force (BCETF) Secures Funding

The Berkshire County Education Task Force (BCETF) is pleased to announce that it has secured funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Barr Foundation to continue efforts into 2021 and 2022.   BCETF is a non-partisan group of committed community members dedicated to strengthening public education in Berkshire County, in light of shrinking enrollment, stretched resources, and constrained educational opportunities.  

Marijuana Delivery Update 2021

On November 30, 2020 the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) voted 3-1 in favor of creating two classes of adult-use marijuana delivery licenses. These regulations were promulgated on January 8, 2021. Previously, Marijuana Transporters were utilized to transport, temporarily store, sell, and distribute marijuana from one marijuana establishment (ME) or medical marijuana treatment center (MTC) to another. The newly enacted legislation permits the delivery of marijuana and marijuana products directly to the consumer’s residence.

Berkshire County Home Sales January – October 2020

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 Engagement in the Time of COVID-19: A Look at Otis

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.

Good Deeds Recognition in response to COVID-19

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:

Berkshire County Unemployment during COVID-19

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.