Friday, November 28, 2003
Carlisle invisible in regional transportation planning
Although the meeting was held at the Carlisle Town Hall, Carlisle's
transportation needs were largely overlooked at a MAGIC meeting on November
13 that focused on transportation needs within the 151-town area that
comes within the purview of Metropolitan Area Planning Council. MAGIC
(Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination), a subregion of
MAPC, consists of officials from Carlisle and 11 neighboring towns.
MAPC's Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) studies regional transportation needs and bottlenecks, and works with other groups on potential solutions. Routes 2, 2A, 4, 27, 62, and 117 were included in tallies of traffic speed, traffic delay and difficult intersections, but neither Route 225 nor Lowell Street was included in the study. CTPS does not monitor any routes in Carlisle, as they are not considered major commuter routes, although morning and evening drivers can testify to substantial traffic congestion.
In towns bordering Carlisle, Route 2A in Concord and Lexington, and Route 4 in Lexington and Bedford were noted as two of the most congested routes in the area. A Congestion Management System study supported the Concord rotary project and realignment of Route 2 at Crosby's Corner. No high priority projects were proposed for any of the MAGIC communities, and a Red Line extension to Lexington and a circumferential bus service on Route 128 were considered low priority. For little Carlisle, there is small solace in the fact that there just isn't the money to fund projects that have already been approved for other towns.
$$ for suburban transportation
Carlisle got a faint glimmer of hope for easing its transportation needs in the recently available funds for communities unserved or underserved by existing T routes. That hope came from the Boston Metropolitan Planning Office (MPO) Suburban Mobility Subcommittee, which has $500,000 per year available for the next three years. MPO dollars will not replace local or state funded programs. In response to a question from Carlisle Selectman Vivian Chaput, these funds could be used to provide connections to existing routes, such as the Lowell system. A community, regional transit or regional housing system is eligible to apply. Barbara Lucas, MPO Chief Planner and acting chair of the new subcommittee, says she wants something "on the street" by January but admits that this may be "only a hope." No applications for local projects have been received according to Lucas.
An unripe plum was offered bicyclists in the form of support for the Lowell-to-Sudbury Bruce Freeman Trail, and a new — but as yet unapproved and unfunded — bicycle path connecting the Bedford-to-Cambridge Minuteman Bikeway with the Bruce Freeman Trail.
Your input into regional planning
Residents with thoughts about transportation and other issues affecting the future of the region, are invited to a MAPC meeting entitled "Focus on the Future: Your Vision and Values" on December 11, at Littleton High School Cafeteria , 56 King Street (on Route 110, 3/4 mile west of I-495). Additional information is at www.MetroFuture.org.
Community news notes
· Boxborough. The Town of Boxborough sponsored a meeting of 8-9 regional towns to talk about the possibility of sharing services, e.g., dispatching, and the money such a collaboration would save.
· Maynard. The Maynard Police will install global positioning
systems in all their vehicles that will not only enhance emergency service
in Maynard but in communities such as Carlisle that receive mutual aid
© 2003 The