Friday, March 24, 2000
State drafts transportation plan for the next 25 years
The Metropolitan Planning Organization's Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) presented the draft of its new 25-year transportation plan for local comments at the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) legislative breakfast on March 14.
The draft is a 96-page booklet which is the first phase of a three-part transportation plan. CTPS plans to return to MAGIC at its April 13 meeting to hear suggestions from area towns. CTPS will then prepare a revised draft, hold a second hearing and have a final draft out in September. With this new plan, the state transportation planners appear to have turned a corner in their relations with local planning units. This new stance was welcomed by MAGIC members who have wanted to have input on a variety of local transportation matters ranging from Hanscom use, Route 2 congestion, park and ride locations, commuter rail train schedules, bike/foot paths and parking availability.
In the 25-year traffic plan, the CTPS is attempting to link a land-use plan with a transportation structure. Their goal is to improve regional transportation in a way that does environmental justicethat is, review plans so they will not adversely affect the surrounding communities. The plan considers trends within the community, such as employment trends. They are also looking at a community's limits, such as water and sewer capacity, and using existing permit levels in their assessments. Districts have been mapped with respect to water and sewer, rapid transit, suburban/rural and concentrated development centers.
Noting that "growth will happen where you put the infrastructure," the MAGIC speaker who presented the plan spoke of a scenario where a new plan would be implemented locating growth where capacity exists. An additional alternative for implementing the plan is Metro Plan Plus, developed by Mass Bay Commons working with the Harvard Graduate School of Design toward a proposal for land use in Eastern Massachusetts. Statistics used in their projections come from the 1990 census, which is what is currently available. That raised some concerns about areas around Route 495 that are experiencing a burst of development.
MAGIC representatives planned to review the new transportation plan, and to discuss it further at their April 13 meeting. A Lexington representative commented on the idea of environmental justice with a baseline determined by economic distribution, minority distribution and transportation dependency. If the question boils down to whether a given transportation project is good or bad for the neighborhood, he added, "No one in the country has done it right yet."
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito