Archive | October, 2020

Trail Improvement Work Completed on the Mahican Mohawk Trail

As part of a MassTrail Grant being managed by the FRCOG, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) completed trail improvements on a section of the Mahican Mohawk Trail. These trail improvements were completed this fall.  The improvements are one of four trail improvement projects funded through the grant award.

Photo showing trail work to clear fallen trees from the Mahican Mohawk Trail

A section of the Mahican Mohawk Trail where fallen trees were cleared as part of trail improvements.

A photo of a newly constructed trail crossing on the Mahican Mohawk Trail

A new crossing of Wheeler Brook was constructed on the Mahican Mohawk Trail as part of a MassTrails funded improvement project.


Erving is Awarded Complete Streets Funding

The Town of Erving has been awarded $399,596 for the construction of five pedestrian and bicycle mobility projects through the MassDOT Complete Streets Program. The grant is the culmination of close work between Erving and the FRCOG Transportation Planning staff to prepare a successful Complete Streets application. The awarded funds will be used for sidewalk rehabilitation and improvement projects on Central Street, Gunn Street, Park Street, Pratt Street, and River Street. Congratulations to Erving for their support of safe and healthy transportation options.

A picture of the existing sidewalk on Gunn Street in Ervingside.

Complete Streets improvements in Erving include restoring sidewalks on Gunn Street.


New grant program for small businesses – deadline extended!

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has launched two new programs to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide grants of up to $75,000 to eligible small businesses (businesses with 50 or fewer employees) and grants of up to $25,000 to eligible microenterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees) to fund certain activities.  The application round opened on October 22 and was scheduled to close on November 12. However, the deadline has been extended to Tuesday, November 17 at 11:59 pm. For details, go to:

This program as well as information about other programs and resources to support businesses and community economic development are posted at:

MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Program Funds Projects in Franklin County Towns

The FRCOG assisted several Franklin County towns to apply for funding through the MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Program. The program provided funding for communities to quickly implement improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. The FRCOG assisted the Town of Gill to secure $20,023 in funding for temporary pedestrian accommodations in the town center, and the Town of Montague to secure $35,300 for temporary traffic calming and pedestrian facilities on Third Street, L Street, and at Unity Park. Additional Shared Streets and Spaces grants in Franklin County were awarded to Buckland, Greenfield, Orange, and Shelburne.

A photo to show the delineators installed to narrow the intersection and create more space for crossing pedestrians on Third Street.

Delineators were installed to narrow the intersection and create more space for crossing pedestrians on Third Street in Turners Falls.

To show the newly painted sidewalk area on Third Street in Turners Falls

As part of the Shared Streets and Spaces Program, an area for pedestrians was delineated with colorful paint on Third Street in Turners Falls.

Fluvial Geomorphology in Action! Connecting Point episode highlights the habitat restoration and flood resiliency project on the North River in Colrain.

The FRCOG’s 2014 Fluvial Geomorphic and Habitat Assessment of the North River in Colrain, funded by a grant from the MassDEP’s 604b Program, has led to the construction of a river restoration and flood resiliency project that is highlighted in this September 10, 2020, episode of Connecting Point.  The video is a great chance to see fluvial geomorphology in action.  We are happy to see the preliminary design funded through the MassDEP grant being implemented.
For further information please contact Kimberly Noake MacPhee at

Northfield Awarded Complete Street Funding

Congratulations to the Town of Northfield for receiving a MassDOT Complete Streets Construction Funding award. The $372,620 grant will be used to construct nine mobility and safety improvement projects in Northfield. The FRCOG Transportation Planning staff worked closely with the Town on their Complete Streets applications and we are happy to announce this award for improvements on Moody Street, Highland Avenue, Winchester Road, Gulf Road, and Mt. Hermon Station Road, along with crosswalk upgrades on side streets in the town center and installation of Franklin County Bikeway signs.

The Moody Street and Highland Avenue intersection will be reconfigured to improve safety and pedestrian mobility as part of the Complete Street Program funding award.


Millers River Watershed in Critical Drought Condition

Due to five months of below-normal rainfall, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Kathleen Theoharides declared a Level 3 – Critical Drought in the Southeast Region of the Commonwealth and in the Millers and Charles River watersheds. The other six regions across the state — the Western, Connecticut River Valley, Central, Northeast, Cape Cod, and Islands regions— remain at a Level 2 – Significant Drought.

For more information on the current drought conditions, and technical guidance regarding drought management actions, please visit

Draft East-West Passenger Rail Study Released in advance of Final Online Public Meeting on October 22, 2020, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has released the Draft Report for the East-West Passenger Rail Study and is hosting the final public meeting online on Thursday, October 22, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be hosted online on zoom and the link to the meeting can be found on the MassDOT’s website.  The meeting agenda includes a presentation of the analysis of the final three alternatives, draft recommendations, next steps, and feedback on the Draft Final Report.

The Draft Report is available online through this link East-West Passenger Rail Study Report.  Comments on the Final Report will be accepted at the public meeting on October 22nd, and also may be submitted online through the East-West Study comment form by Thursday, November 19th, 2020.

The meeting will be recorded and posted online for those who cannot attend.  For more information, please visit the study website:

MassDOT East-West Rail Meeting Flyer 10-22-20

For accommodation or language assistance, please contact MassDOT’s Office of Diversity and Civil Rights by phone (857-368-8580), fax (857-368-0602), TTD/TTY (857-368-0603), or by email

Halloween During COVID: Spooky and Safe!

In response to requests from town administrators and board of health members in a number of towns, the FRCOG has pulled together a Halloween COVID safety poster with tips for both trick-or-treaters and those they visit.

Communities can request hard copies (11×17) by calling 413-774-3167 extension 1 and leaving a message or download it here: FRCOG halloween safety tips poster

Helpful links:

How to make a candy chute for safe dispensing of candy.


tips for safe trick or treating and celebrating