MAPC Matters
A monthly newsletter from the
Metropolitan Area Planning Council
April 7, 2022
COVID-19 Resources
Should your city or town be concerned about the BA.2 variant of COVID-19?
MAPC is following recent reports regarding the Omicron subvariant BA.2. In a recent email, we outlined five ways to build on our region's strengths to protect our communities, especially those facing greater risk from COVID-19. Cities and towns should communicate with their residents about the latest data, isolation and quarantine guidance, and the importance of getting boosted. Municipalities should also ensure that residents have access to high-quality masks and COVID tests and support those who continue to take extra precautions.
Free-to-Use COVID-19 Communications Materials
Last year, MAPC hired local artists and designers to produce creative, culturally resonant graphics, posters, videos, and other communications materials encouraging people to get vaccinated and take other COVID-19 precautions. Now, we've worked with those artists to update materials to reflect the latest recommendations, including getting boosted and wearing high-quality masks.

These materials are available to download and use for free. Municipalities, health agencies, community groups, and members of the public can freely use the posters, social media materials, and more, available in seven languages.
Upcoming Events
Creating an Equitable and Resilient Region: MetroCommon 2050 Launch
Thursday, May 5, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Join us—in person!—for the launch of MetroCommon 2050: Greater Boston's regional policy and land use plan. At this launch, you'll learn about the plan, meet and hear from inspired leaders, and learn what you can do.
Municipal Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned from COVID-19
Tuesday, April 26, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Massachusetts municipalities created strong partnerships across their governments and communities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this webinar, hear from emergency preparedness experts, municipal leaders, and emergency management directors on how to apply lessons learned to other emergencies. Learn more about this webinar here.
MAPC's Annual Council Meeting
Wednesday, May 25, 9:30 a.m. on Zoom
News, Updates, and Opportunities
COVID-Safe Cooling Grant Program

COVID-Safe Cooling Grants fund direct cooling relief, support efforts to build equitable, resilient community support systems, and help communities invest in strategies that will protect residents from extreme temperatures. Eligible applicants should serve communities in Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, and Revere.

Awards are expected to range from $25,000 to $50,000. Applications due April 15.
Artists and Cultural Organizations: Share Your COVID Story

Are you an artist, cultural sector worker, or cultural organization? Mass Cultural Council wants to hear about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic between March 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022.

Not an artist or cultural organization? Share the survey to make sure that your community's artists are represented in the data.
MBTA Communities/Section 3A
In January 2021, the Massachusetts Legislature adopted an Economic Development Bond Bill that made changes to the state's Zoning Act. Among other pro-housing changes, the law created a new section—Section 3A—of the Zoning Act and required each municipality in the MBTA district to zone for multifamily housing by right.

MAPC's Implementation Recommendations
On May 5, MAPC submitted public comments on the Executive Office of Economic Development's draft guidelines for implementing these multifamily zones in MBTA Communities.

Section 3A Interim Compliance
MBTA communities that are not in compliance with Section 3A will be ineligible for select state grants in 2022, including the Housing Choice Initiative, the Local Capital Projects Fund, and the MassWorks Infrastructure Program.

To remain in compliance while DHCD is finalizing the Section 3A Guidelines, an MBTA community must:

  1. Submit the MBTA Community Information Form by 5 p.m. on May 2, 2022.
  2. Hold a briefing of your City Council, Town Council or Select Board on the Draft Compliance Guidance no later than May 2, 2022 and attest to that on the MBTA Community Information Form.

Municipalities must now apply for Housing Choice and MassWorks funding via the Community One Stop for Growth application. If you are a MBTA community and intend to complete a One Stop application for consideration for these grants, due June 3, please be sure to complete the above steps. MAPC is ready to provide support to municipalities with their applications.
Local Rapid Recovery Plan Support

MAPC is offering additional support for Local Rapid Recovery Plan (LRRP) communities in implementing equitable Main Street recoveries. We will provide information and support to municipalities looking to access state funding and implement LRRP recommendations. Projects could include parking studies, signage and pathway improvements, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, facade and storefront improvements, efforts to activate under-utilized space, zoning updates to encourage commercial development, and other place-based projects.

MAPC will hold an information session on April 28 at 1 p.m. focused on accessing funds for LRRP recommendation implementation. Cities and towns within the MAPC region that completed LRRP studies in December 2021 should have received an invitation. All other municipalities should reach out to their subregional coordinator if they are interested in attending. Please contact Raul Gonzalez at with any questions.
Government Affairs Update

Municipal leaders join Work & Family Mobility Act briefing
MAPC's Government Affairs team worked with the Driving Families Forward Coalition to coordinate a legislative briefing for Massachusetts Senators, who are expected to debate the Work and Family Mobility Act in the coming months. Speakers included Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson, Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan and Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino, as well as organizers and activists from the Coalition. 

The bill, which would allow all residents to apply for a standard driver's license regardless of immigration status, passed the House with a veto-proof majority in February, and is currently before the Senate for consideration.

E-bikes bill reported favorably
On Friday, April 1, the Joint Committee on Transportation favorably reported S.2309, An Act relative to electric bicycles. This bill would create a new statutory definition for three different classes of e-bikes and clarify operating regulations for these vehicles. This change would align Massachusetts laws more closely with federal standards, as well as standards in 42 other states and the District of Columbia. The bill would establish the statutory clarity needed for communities to proactively plan for how we integrate electric bicycles into the broader transportation network. 
The bill’s favorable report comes just after a rally organized by the Boston Cyclists Union at the State House calling for swift passage of the bill. In coordination with this event, MAPC released a letter from 20 local officials expressing support for this bill. The bill is now with Senate Ways and Means. 

Stay tuned for budget advocacy opportunities!
Governor Charlie Baker filed his FY23 budget, H.2, on January 26. Appropriations in the proposal total $48.5 billion, a 2.6 percent increase from FY22.

The Governor funded the District Local Technical Assistance program at $3 million, and the Shannon Community Safety Initiative at $12.3 million. MAPC is asking for $4 million and $13 million for these programs, respectively. Please stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in on these and other key programs as the House takes up the budget next week!
MetroCommon 2050 to YOU

How does your city or town want to put MetroCommon to work? We'd like to come to you and discuss just that!

Sign up today for a MetroCommon presentation and conversation in your city or town. We'll tailor the content to your needs, schedule, and priorities. Public or internal meetings, governmental or non-governmental bodies—everyone has a role in making our region more equitable and sustainable. Questions? Please email Eric Hove.
Call for Project Concepts

Interested in working with MAPC on a project? We are currently soliciting ideas for projects that will commence in the winter and spring of 2022. MAPC recently released a Call for Project Concepts that could be undertaken with assistance from our Technical Assistance Program. Municipalities can submit concepts for a diverse range of single- and multi-community projects, and MAPC will consider the submissions on a rolling basis.
Clean Energy Update

Highlights from this month's Clean Energy Update include:

  • Job opportunities at MAPC
  • Blog post highlighting the need to protect workers from extreme heat
  • Update on FY23 MVP Grants
MPO Corner
Events and news from our partner in transportation planning
The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is Boston’s regional transportation planning agency. MAPC is one of 22 voting MPO board members. Subscribe for updates and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @BostonRegionMPO.
Changes to the MPO Capital Plan Available for Review Until April 27

The MPO has proposed an amendment to the FFYs 2022-26 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Amendment Three proposes the removal of the MPO’s funding for the Green Line Extension project in FFY 2022, as these funds are no longer needed to complete the project.

The Amendment also proposes the addition of project #607670 in FFY 2022 (Superstructure Replacement on Maffa Way and Mystic Avenue in Boston). The amendment proposes that this project be funded with the MPO’s reallocated Green Line Extension funds, new funds available to the MPO from the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and MassDOT funding through the statewide highway program.

The 21-day public comment period for TIP Amendment Three extends until 5 p.m. on April 27, 2022. The MPO is expected to vote on Amendment Three on April 28, 2022. Questions and comments may be submitted to Matt Genova, TIP Manager, at, or 857.702.3702, or via the feedback form.
Recent Work:

The Transportation Recovery Guidebook For Commercial Business Districts (CBDs) recommends strategies for responding to the transportation impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on CBDs in the Boston area.
Managing Curb Space in the Boston Region: A Guidebook highlights best practices on issues important to curb management in the Boston region, providing planners with recommendations to begin and improve their curb management practices. Read more.
A Decade of Bluebikes in the Boston Region traces the history of bikesharing in the Boston region and the distribution over time of Bluebikes stations in environmental justice communities. Read more
Accessibility, Translation, Interpretation
Your participation is important to MAPC. Call 617-933-0700 for accommodations. Advance notice (10 days) is necessary for certain accommodations. 
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