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Public Review of the Draft Massachusetts State Bicycle Plan until January 31, 2019

The Massachusetts State Bicycle Plan is currently out for public review and is accepting comments until January 31, 2019.  Please visit the MassDOT website for further information and links to the full version of the Plan.

MassDOT is focused on making the Commonwealth’s transportation system more sustainable – to make it safe for people to choose to walk, bike, and take transit for more of their daily trips.  The Plan is important because residents, members of the business community and visitors choose to use a bicycle for daily trips, choosing bike to work, to school, to run errands, for recreation or to reach transit locations.

The Draft Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe and comfortable cycling option for short trips.  The goal is to have a plan which presents an action-oriented strategy which will lead to increased use of trails for short trips made by bicycling.  Travel on designated bike and pedestrian thoroughfares will also lead to safer conditions, helping to prevent injuries and fatalities.  The draft plan goes into further detail about the state of biking today.

In addition to the Plan, a companion document was created, called the Municipal Resource Guide for Bikeability, in recognition of the important role local cities and towns play. The purpose of the guide is to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve bikeability as the vast majority of roadways and shared use paths statewide are under local ownership. A draft guide was released in November of 2018 and an updated version will be published with the final Bicycle Plan early next year.

For more information on the Bicycle Plan and to provide feedback: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/bicycle-plan.

Notice of Public Comment regarding Transportation Enhancements Funding

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) intends to use a portion of Transportation Enhancements funding originally approved in the 2009 Transportation Improvement Program for the Mohawk Trail and the Connecticut River Scenic Byway, on the Route 112 Scenic Byway instead.  The funding will be used for land protection as originally intended. This notice invites all interested parties who wish to comment on this change to submit them to the FRCOG during the public comment period running from December 21, 2018 to January 14, 2019.  For further information, or to submit comments, please contact the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, located at 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield, MA, by calling (413) 774-3167 ext. 125, or emailing giannini@frcog.org.

Reports of High Risk Stream Crossings in the Deerfield River Watershed are now available.

Reports of High Risk Stream Crossings in the Deerfield River Watershed are now available. The information in the reports and maps is from a pilot project completed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) that assessed the vulnerability of road-stream crossings to precipitation events. FRCOG planning staff compiled this information for each Franklin County town within the watershed as part of the FY18 Franklin Region Unified Planning Work Program. The purpose of the maps and reports are to help municipal officials and public works staff prioritize bridge and culvert upgrades in their town. The reports also provide information on how to make road-stream upgrades more resilient to current and projected precipitation conditions, and lists potential funding sources for upgrading crossings. The town reports are available here.

FRCOG Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Transportation in the Region!

The FRCOG is currently updating the Regional Transportation Plan.  This plan is updated every 4 years and examines the current state of the transportation system in the region, including all modes of transportation – such as driving, walking, biking, and riding the bus or train.  The plan also identifies the long-term transportation needs of the region and prioritizes projects and activities. This plan will give Franklin County the opportunity to identify needed projects; address environmental and safety concerns; and meet the growing economic development needs of the region.

As part of the planning process, the FRCOG wants input from Franklin County residents and employees.  There will be 4 public meetings around the County to get feedback on transportation needs and priorities (see dates below). If you are unable to attend a meeting, please take our survey to let us know your thoughts: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019RTPsurvey.

  • Tuesday, December 11th ( 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.) Town of Colrain Highway Garage, 55 Main Road, Colrain, MA (snow date December 12th)
  • Tuesday, January 8th (5:30 – 7:00 p.m.) Erving Senior Center, 1 Care Drive, Erving, MA (snow date January 9th)
  • Wednesday, January 9th (12:00 – 1:30 p.m.) John W. Olver Transit Center, First Floor Meeting Room, 12 Olive Street, Greenfield, MA (snow date January 10th)
  • Wednesday, January 16th (5:30 – 7:00 p.m.) Sunderland Library, 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA (snow date of January 17th)

Regional Transportation Plan Outreach Meetings Flyer

For more information, please contact Megan Rhodes, Senior Transportation & Land Use Planner at mrhodes@frcog.org or (413)774-3167 x 132.

2018 Evaluation of Franklin County Park and Ride Facilities is Completed

The FRCOG Staff evaluated the existing park and ride facilities in Franklin County to determine how well they are being utilized.  In addition, FRCOG Staff conducted surveys of the park and ride users to better understand where people were coming from and how they were using the lots.  The study shows that the use of the Whately and Sunderland park and ride lots continue to increase in popularity and that many users of the Sunderland lot are parking there in order to access public transit. For more information, contact Megan Rhodes, Senior Transportation and Land Use Planner, at mrhodes@frcog.org.

Park and Ride Study 2018

Shelburne Falls Receives American Planning Association (APA) Great Places Designation

The Franklin Regional Council of Government is thrilled to celebrate the designation of the village of Shelburne Falls as one of the American Planning Association’s 2018 Great Places and congratulates the Towns of Buckland and Shelburne.  The village of Shelburne Falls is a 19th-century industrial village that spans the Deerfield River in the towns of Shelburne and Buckland, Massachusetts.  While industry is no longer a significant part of the economy of Shelburne Falls, it remains the historical backdrop of this culturally and community rich village. Shelburne Falls has the structures and layout of a well preserved 19th-century industrial village with a mix of commercial, institutional, and residential land uses. The village has a strong sense of community (the estimated population of the village of Shelburne Falls is 1,632), and a well-established business and cultural center and a destination for visitors to the area. The village is located in Franklin County, a rural region of Massachusetts that is characterized by its scenic landscapes and quality of life. Shelburne Falls is being recognized by the APA as a great neighborhood.  It has been shaped and maintained by many proactive and positive planning initiatives involving both of the towns that share the village. While Shelburne and Buckland are separate towns, in many instances the planning initiatives are completed collaboratively.

For more information on the APA’s Great Places program and Shelburne Fall’s designation see the links below:

https://www.planning.org/greatplaces/

https://www.planning.org/greatplaces/neighborhoods/2018/shelburne/

Public Comment Period for the Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan is now Open

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that the Draft Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan is now available for public comment. You can review the plan and provide feedback online here.  

MassDOT is focused on making the Commonwealth’s transportation system more sustainable – to make it safe and comfortable for people to choose to walk, bike, and take transit for more of their daily trips. The Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe and comfortable walking option for short trips.  For more information on the Pedestrian Plan and to provide feedback:  https://www.mass.gov/service-details/pedestrian-plan.

In addition to the Plan, a companion document was created, called the Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability in recognition of the important role local cities and towns play. The purpose of the guide is to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve walkability as the vast majority of roadways and sidewalks statewide are under local ownership. A draft guide was released in September of 2017, and an updated version will be published with the final Pedestrian Plan later this year.

 

 

Erving Residents Invited to Attend Climate Resiliency Planning Workshop

The Town of Erving was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program to complete a climate change vulnerability assessment, develop resiliency strategies, and update the town’s FEMA-approved Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The town will be working with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) on this project.  Communities that complete the MVP designation planning process become certified as an MVP community and are eligible for MVP Action grant funding to implement priority projects.

Erving and FRCOG are hosting a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Community Resilience Building Workshop to help town staff, volunteers, residents, and businesses define top local natural and climate-related hazards of concern, identify existing and future strengths and vulnerabilities, and identify and prioritize actions and projects the Town can implement to increase climate change resilience.

The MVP Workshop will be held on Wednesday, October 3rd from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Erving Senior & Community Center, located at 1 Care Drive in Erving.  Residents, business owners, and stakeholders are invited to attend.  Refreshments and lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP to Bryan Smith, Erving Administrative Coordinator at admin@erving-ma.org by September 26th.

For more information regarding the MVP planning process contact: Evan Abramson, Land Use & Natural Resources Planner, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, eabramson@frcog.org or 413-774-3167 x131

Erving MVP Meeting Flyer 100318

Look Who’s Walking!

The FRCOG is thrilled to announce that we have updated our popular Walk Franklin County maps! Every Franklin County town has its own map that highlights scenic walking routes ranging from one to four miles with points of interest marked along the way.

In celebration of these new maps, we are challenging you to grab a map, take a walk and tell us about it.  We will be raffling off great prizes to participants who tell us about their walk.  The prizes include a Fitbit and great accessories to keep you walking into the Fall and Winter seasons.  See the attached flyer with details.

Look Who’s Walking Flyer

Digital versions of the new maps are posted at the link below.

Walk Franklin County Maps

 

21- Day Public Review and Comment Period for the 2016 Long Range Transportation Plan’s Air Quality Conformity

The FRCOG will open a 21-day public review and comment period for an amendment to the 2016 Long Range Regional Transportation Plan’s Air Quality Conformity. Comments will be accepted from Monday, August 6, 2018, until Tuesday, August 28, 2018.  A copy of the draft amendment is available for review here.  A hard copy can be requested by emailing mmullaney@frcog.org or calling (413) 774-3167 x 129.