Friday, April 28, 2000
Comments pouring in on 25-year transportation plan
Transportation issues are "generally considered the single most vexing problem throughout the MAGIC [Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination] subregion," according to chair Gordon Feltman of Bedford. Members met earlier this month to respond to three proposals that will significantly impact transportation in the area.
Craig Leiner of Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) asked for feedback on the draft of the Metropolitan Planning Office (MPO) transportation plan for the years 2000 to 2025. In response, he received a torrent of comments prompted by the fact that, in Feltman's view, "the previous plan and its updates were essentially prepared by state agencies and were subjected to an inadequate public review through an almost ritualized, arms-length response process." CTPS is making a significant effort to do this plan differently and listen to local input.
Many comments addressed the concept of environmental justice in making transportation decisions and reflected "an anger that transportation dollars in the past have not been spent in ways that stress the concerns of the weakest among us," working populations who need public transportation or a park and ride facility to access public transportation. The lack of quantitative specifics in the proposed plan prompted a request for specific data about transit ridership, access and parking availability, age of equipment, and level of service. CTPS is still in the process of receiving public comment on the 25-year plan.
Executive order 418, issued on January 25, entitled "assisting communities in addressing the housing shortage," was a topic of general interest. Although guidelines for implementing the order have still not been issued, the availability of $30,000 grants for housing planning keenly interested MAGIC members. Carlisle selectman and representative Vivian Chaput commented that all towns are facing housing decisions and suggested the topic for a future meeting.
The "magic carpet" feasibility study requested by MAGIC was back for a final review and was accepted unanimously by the group. The congestion management system plan was praised as an excellent report. The group expressed concerns about increased congestion on local streets. There is a May 31 deadline for comments on that report.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito