The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 14, 2001


Transportation improvement funds miss Carlisle As traffic mounts, no improvements here for another three years

The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list of projects to be funded in the next three-year period holds little hope for Minuteman Area Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) towns whose residents cope with congestion on Routes 225, 111 and 117 daily, and who struggle to get through at both Crosby's Corner and the Concord Rotary. Only two area projects were approved for this year. The South Acton-Maynard commuter rail station shuttle will be funded for a second year with $96,642 in combined federal and state funds. The Monument Street bridge over the Concord River will be upgraded using $502,000 in state funds. An improvement on Route 2 at Sudbury Road is slated for 2003.

The TIP is a staged, multi-year, intermodal program of transportation improvements. It describes and prioritizes transportation projects expected to be implemented during a three-year period and describes proposed revenue sources. The Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) produces a TIP list annually, though it is required to do so only once every two years. There is public involvement in this process through the Joint Regional Transportation Committee (JRTC) which is involved with agencies that plan and program transportation services. Comments and input from citizens and officials may be made at the MPO Web site, Federal monies are available for projects that conform to federal requirements. During the peak construction years of the central artery, additional monies were slotted for local projects, but the peak construction funds will not be available this coming year.

MAGIC Carpet on hold

The MAGIC Carpet study was requested by MAGIC to identify opportunities to expand shuttle transit services within the area. The rapid expansion of the I-495 corridor has added to the need for additional transportation options. The study has been conducted by Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) and has accumulated vast amounts of data on population figures and forecasts, work trip estimates from various employment sites and traffic figures for various major roads and so forth. Draft resumes have been presented at MAGIC meetings since the study's inception. The CTPS staff drew up a list of potential projects and studies, which were revised and ranked in July of this year by MAGIC members. There is no time limit on the study, but there is a need to negotiate the differences between MAGIC and CTPS priorities in order to meet the goals of the study.

Mass Transportation weighs in

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) representative Stephen Woelfel presented a "long-range vision for regional mass transportation" at MAGIC's September meeting in Lincoln. These included a Capital Investment Program and a three-part action program articulated as maintaining the existing infrastructure, adding system enhancements and providing for system expansion. Neither commuter rail nor bus and rapid transit systems appeared to address the transportation needs of MAGIC towns. Woelful asked for input and was questioned about the possibility of a reverse commute program and a monorail in the area. His response was "MBTA is going to consider how to support regional concerns."

Other regional news

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is sponsoring a conference on climate change on October 1 in Boston. Speakers include Mayor Mauro of Marlborough, Senator Susan Fargo, Joy Conway, meteorologist Bruce Schwoegler, Representative Jim Marzilli and others. There is no charge for the workshop and reservations may be made at MAPC, 1 617-451-2770.

Hanscom Field anti-expansion activities continue. MAGIC is drafting a letter and e-mail drafts are being circulated to area members.

Barriers to housing

Gordon Feltman of Bedford reported on the Barriers Commission. The goal is to remove any barriers to any housing, and the talking points are home rule and local jurisdiction; the effect of any legislation will be to encumber zoning. The national homebuilders association is supporting barriers legislation Two subcommittee reports are expected by the end of the month, and will be at meetings open to the public and held at the Department of Housing and Community Development Offices. Feltman said he did not know of any legislator who supported a barriers bill, but stated it was important to keep an eye on possible legislation.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito