Friday, June 15, 2001
Planners look at techniques for planned growth
Communities experiencing rapid growth have available tools that can help them plan. Mark Racicot, of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), and Heather Bruce, of the Sudbury Valley Authority, demonstrated the use of these tools in the "Greenprint for Growth" study at MAGIC's (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) June meeting. Using data from the buildout analysis available for all MAGIC communities, Greenprint for Growth enabled town officials from three communities to try out different scenarios to manage growth, such as the issues and impacts of potential acquisition of conservation land (in Stow), town center development (in Boxborough), and transfer of development rights (in Framingham). These three communities were used as examples of the way available data could be used in contemplating growth alternatives. The technique is available for any town with a buildout analysis and is available for MAGIC communities.
Area transportation needs ranked
The immediate needs of most MAGIC communities are closely related to transportation issues, how to get workers to their jobs in the expanding 495 development area and how to cope with increasing traffic on local roadways. The Central Transportation Planning Study has given MAGIC a list of potential transportation-related projects and studies, with a request for member towns to prioritize them. Categories for requested work are shuttle services, commuter rail-related improvements and roadway safety improvements. Since Chapter 90 funds for the coming year have been increased and more money will be available the following year, communicating local needs to the state officials who approve proposals is critical, and this list is a starting point.
At the June 7 MAGIC meeting, town representatives rolled up their sleeves and vigorously revised and reorganized the list of proposed projects for this region. The prioritized list will be submitted to the appropriate state authorities. Although one representative spoke of "a nonexistent shuttle from a nonexistent parking lot to a nonexistent site," and another quipped, "Sounds like a virtual plan," town representatives at the June meeting hoped that their efforts in ranking proposed projects would bear real fruit.
A possible strength in actualizing transportation plans is the current federal recertification of the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Office) and a federal desire to see more local input in transportation.
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