People living in the residential East Hadley Road neighborhood off Route 116 south of downtown Amherst face challenges in their daily routines that are not part of the lives of many other residents.
Because of inconvenient bus schedules and tricky access to the nearby Norwottuck Rail Trail, a seemingly simple task like getting to stores in Hadley to buy groceries or prescription drugs is daunting for neighborhood residents who don’t own a car.
Those are among the conclusions drawn from a recent survey, “Getting Around Amherst,” that shines a light on health equity issues affecting many of the low-income residents and immigrants living in the neighborhood that includes single family homes and three large apartment complexes — Mill Valley Estates, Southpoint Apartments and The Boulders. An estimated 2,000 people live in about 780 housing units, and many depend on public transportation.
The Amherst Health Department commissioned the Healthy Hampshire program to research the challenges faced by residents and identify possible solutions to improve their access to food, fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Sarah Bankert, coordinator of Healthy Hampshire, said the goal is to provide people living in the East Hadley Road neighborhood with opportunities that many other Amherst residents already enjoy.
“We want to really figure out how to have this neighborhood experience the same level of abundance as others in Amherst,” she explained.