Rural Public Policy Plan Released; Examines the Needs of Rural Massachusetts
As a member of the Commonwealth's
Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC)
, SRPEDD assisted other partner Regional Planning Agencies in the creation of the state's first
Rural Policy Plan.
Massachusetts' 170 rural towns and cities face challenges different from larger metropolitan areas. Recognizing these unique challenges, the Rural Policy Plan identifies key issues; highlights best practices underway in Massachusetts and beyond; and puts forth a series of action-oriented policy, investment and regulatory recommendation
SRPEDD took a leadership role in the effort of developing the Rural Policy Plan, hosting two specialized focus area workshops; one on climate change and resiliency, and another on land use and working lands. The agency also designed and executed the graphical layout of the plan. The Rural Policy Plan itself is organized around five focus area categories - Infrastructure, Economy, Community, Governance, and Climate. As a result of months of stakeholder outreach, the plan contains a range of policy recommendations on broadband and cellular service, transportation mobility and infrastructure, water and sewer, economic and workforce development, land use, population trends, education, housing, public health, municipal boards and staffing, shared services, and climate change and resiliency as these components of community development and quality of life are experienced in rural Massachusetts. The main findings of the plan recognize that its implementation would be best served by the creation of an Office of Rural Policy, and by focusing on expanding diversity and boosting population in rural Massachusetts, developing a statewide growth management strategy, and determining a rural factor to adjust state funding formulas.
To complement further work at the state level, as well as to implement applicable strategies and continue to help address rural issues here in Southeast Massachusetts, the SRPEDD Commission will be considering the formation of a Rural Caucus to prioritize, exchange ideas, discuss strategy and monitor ongoing Rural Policy Plan implementation across the region.
For more information please contact Helen Zincavage at
Design Schedules To Be Required in 2021-2025 TIP Process
Design schedules will be required with the upcoming next federal fiscal year (FFY) 2021-2025 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP will be out in draft form in April and endorsed in May of 2020, and a design schedule will need to be submitted to SRPEDD for a project to be considered and included for funding in any of the TIP's eligible federal fiscal years.
Communities and/or their consultants will now be responsible for submitting the schedule to SRPEDD prior to programming and funding consideration. These schedules are currently required by MassDOT and will now be required by SRPEDD as well. Any updates or changes to design schedules that are forwarded to MassDOT should also now be forwarded to SRPEDD.
The overall goal of this change is to prevent delays in project delivery. Issues encountered during the project's development, most often related to land takings and unexpected cost increases, can lead to delays in the project and subsequently, to unspent target funds for the region.
SRPEDD staff will be reaching out to communities to request design schedules for projects currently programmed in FFY 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 of the FFY2020-2024 TIP, and also for projects in the future element that are advancing and wish to be considered for inclusion in FFY2024. (Projects in FFY2020 are exempt.)
SRPEDD Complete Streets Program Update
Since 2016, made possible with MassDOT Complete Streets funding, SRPEDD has been able to assist a growing number of member communities (Dighton, Norton, and North Attleborough) make Complete Streets a part of their planning practice. Whether it is guiding a community through adopting a Complete Streets Policy or helping craft a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan - SRPEDD's staff is ready and able to assist. This year, SPREDD's Complete Streets work continues in Plainville, Middleborough, and Carver.
On September 16, SRPEDD presented the results of the Existing Conditions analysis to the Board of Selectmen, outlined potential projects and recorded public input. SRPEDD is currently developing projects with the town's Complete Streets Committee. Click the project title above to visit the project webpage for more information.
On October 8, SRPEDD facilitated the Existing Conditions and Project Development public meeting and is now beginning to develop projects with the town's Complete Streets Working Group.
On November 5, SRPEDD presented the Draft Complete Streets Policy at a Joint Select Board and Planning Board meeting. Once the public and municipal officials have submitted all comments, SRPEDD will finalize the policy and assist the town with the submittal process.
SRPEDD is also available to answer any questions you may have about participating in your community, and to provide you with the necessary technical assistance to get your municipality started in the Complete Streets program. For more information please visit our
or contact Jed Cornock at 508.824.1367 x 213 or
Mattapoisett Industrial Park Expansion
The Town of Mattapoisett, with SRPEDD assistance, has been moving forward with a project in the Mattapoisett Industrial Park that promises a host of expanded economic development opportunities. The project consists of intersection improvements at Industrial Drive and North Street, drainage improvements, installation of guardrails and curbing, roadway repaving, flashing beacons, and enhanced signage. Improvements also include the construction of a shared use path extending from the Marion line running along Industrial Drive, to the park-and-ride lot on North Street.
Anticipated, upon completion and with the project serving as central catalyst, are the development of 350,000 to 400,000 square feet of new space for light manufacturing, assembly, warehouse, distribution and office, along with an estimated $35,000,000 in private investment, creation of a projected 350 new employment opportunities, and over $460,000 in additional tax revenue.
Currently, Mattapoisett is pursuing Economic Development Administration (EDA) and Massworks Infrastructure Program (MWIP) funding for the roadway portion of the project as well as other state sources for the shared use path. Total project costs are estimated at $3.6 million with construction, contingent on funding, expected to start in mid-April 2020.
With the recent kick-off of the
2020 Norton Master Plan,
SRPEDD is happy to announce that the agency has launched its seventh master planning initiative. The town of Norton now joins the communities of Berkley, Carver, Dartmouth, Lakeville, Marion, and Wareham, each of which is either currently partnering, or has recently completed work with SRPEDD on their own vitally important
In coming months, Raynham and North Attleborough are also shortly slated to be kicking off their respective Master Planning efforts with SRPEDD in 2020.
Why so much enthusiasm and interest in master planning these days? Well, matching grant funds from
DLTA and the Community Compact Cabinet
certainly don't hurt. But more than that, we think that SRPEDD's team-based, collaborative approach is also a key to the successful formula.
In fact, communities can think of SRPEDD staff as members of their own customized Master Plan team, each experienced and committed to making the entire process as easy and effective as possible. To this end, we gather and analyze information that is presented at a series of initial public workshops with local residents, business owners, and officials.
And it is then, based on our experience, that the effort really takes off.
Sure, the data is informative and presentations from SRPEDD staff can help set the table for substantive and meaningful discussion. But it is the participants from each community that are the true experts. In other words, we attend these events to learn from you - not the other way around. Your ideas, hopes, and aims for the future are what ultimately shape the Master Plan and its "Vision."
"Discovery" Workshop in Norton
is but one example of this type of information-gathering and momentum-building event, where Master Planning goes public, and where local champions emerge.
Next, after consensus is reached on your Master Plan's Vision, SRPEDD ensures, among other things, that the document will be user-friendly, beautifully designed, and ready to implement by the community. For example, most of our recent Master Plans include a handy "Implementation Guide" that almost reads
like a recipe. These Guides clearly outline every strategy needed to put the plan into action. They list responsible parties, necessary steps and resources, performance measures, and model success stories. In a way, they are your Master Plan "cheat sheet."
As we look to 2020 and beyond, we hope to continue Master Planning with and learning from all 27 communities in the SRPEDD region.
Only twenty more Master Plans to go!
SRPEDD's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program has recently acquired three new bicycle and pedestrian counters. The counters, manufactured by TRAFx, use infrared technology to collect volume counts for bicycles and pedestrians on bike paths, rail trails, separate use paths, informal beaten paths, and sidewalks. The counters are small in size, and can be easily and discreetly placed while gathering data throughout the region.
SRPEDD plans to use the data collected to better inform an array of planning needs. The data will assist in the analysis of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure use and demand, including seasonal usage, and tracking trends over time. The data can be shared to assist communities with their data collection needs, as well as contribute to statewide and national data efforts. Finally, it can be utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and facilities, and inform regional project decision making.
We are actively seeking pilot locations to extend our data collection efforts. If your community includes a bike path, rail trail, a separate use path, informal beaten paths or sidewalks you would like to have counted, we look forward to coordinating efforts to gather and share that data with you.
Please contact Jackie Jones at
for more information and to begin counting "wheels and heels" in your community!
SRPEDD Homeland Security Program Active Shooter Exercise
Preparing for the threat from an active shooter is a concern for schools, universities and communities across the country. And in that spirit of regional preparedness, 37 participants from 16 agencies and departments came together in August, 2019 at Bridgewater State University for a tabletop active shooter exercise.
Working closely with police, fire, and university staff, SRPEDD Homeland Security personnel helped design and direct an exercise to facilitate a discussion of tactics, protocol, and procedures when responding to an active shooter on campus. Other objectives of the exercise were to identify the strengths and areas of improvement of initial responders and mutual aid partners, and improve coordination and communication between agencies.
Throughout the four-hour exercise, many strengths were identified, including a strong unity of priorities during all phases of response, excellent cross discipline discussion and communications, and cooperation between agencies. Areas for improvement were also identified including a need for more detailed and robust dispatch policies and procedures, communications equipment, planning, and procedures, as well as further joint exercises and training.
A functional exercise is being scheduled for 2020.