It took almost exactly one year, but we finally get the follow-up MassDOT public meeting we and others requested at the 25% design hearing for this project. Join us on Wednesday, December 7, in the offices of the Central Mass Regional Planning Commission, upstairs at Union Station. The meeting begins at 6:30pm, meaning doors open at 6:00pm for the public to view the plans and pose questions to the engineers.
WBW and downtown stakeholders got a peek at the revised plans a couple months ago. The city and its designers took the public comments seriously and have made improvements (although bi-level sidewalks remain in places). At that meeting, the City Manager spoke of his commitment to downtown as a destination and the important role of the project in promoting this goal. The city recently received a MassWorks grant that will help extend the exciting changes of this project south to the Chandler/Madison intersection as well as north to Highland Street. While not the subject of this MassDOT public meeting, these extensions are another important piece of downtown revitalization and it is critical that all work be coordinated.
See you December 7!
MAY 10 6:30pm at the offices of Central Mass Regional Planning Commission, upstairs at Union Station: MassDOT will hold a public meeting on their draft 2017-2021 Capital Investment Plan. WalkBike Worcester is a member of Transportation for Massachusetts, which published this letter to MassDOT in advance of the plan’s release – check out the preliminary analysis of support for walking and biking in the CIP. Can’t attend? See this list of all hearings and dates. Public comments may also be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY 25 6:00pm at the Worcester Public Library: MassDOT will hold a 25% design public hearing on the Blackstone Visitor’s Center. You may have seen the site work for this exciting and long-awaited project as you travel along Route 146. The hearing notice includes more details than most, so we’ll let it speak for itself:
“The Project consists of the new construction of the Worcester Blackstone Visitor Center along Route 146 and McKeon Road. This building combines the visitor center with the regional offices for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The project includes construction of a pedestrian bridge, a bike path, a lawn event space, picnic terrace and outdoor event space, and educational exhibits, both indoors and outside.
The Visitor Center and DCR offices will be housed in an 11,000± square foot, single story structure located in the central part of the southern portion of the site. Directly adjacent to the building, a 12,000 square foot lawn area for events and the bike/pedestrian path are planned. The southern portion of the site also includes a seating terrace overlooking the river and parking for the Center. The pedestrian bridge will be a single span bridge over the Middle River, connecting the southern and northern portions of the site along a ‘Heritage Walk’. The Heritage Walk will include outdoor exhibits. Located on the northern portion of the site, a solar pavilion will provide a canopy for the smaller event space. An outdoor picnic terrace, plantings and parking are also located on this side of the site. The remaining project area located south of McKeon Road will be used for the bike/pedestrian path connecting to the recently constructed Quinsigamond bike/pedestrian path.“
Tuesday, March 29 there will be a MassDOT design hearing about the Harding Street Resurfacing and Streetscape Project, which will extend the features of Canal District improvements on Green, Millbury and Water Streets and make the street two-way. WBW and others submitted comments to MassDOT in February 2014 on the previous one-way design, supporting conversion to two-way.
Hearing will be at Central Mass Regional Planning Commission, upstairs at Union Station, beginning at 6:30pm. Doors open a half hour before so you can look over the plans and ask the designers any questions. See the handout for project description and a map of the project area. Per the notice, “The proposed project will consist of new roadway resurfacing, sidewalk replacement with cement concrete and stamped brick banding, minor curb realignment to install bulb-outs and recessed parking lanes, enhanced pedestrian accommodations, and period style street lighting. Other items will include minor utility adjustments, improved signage, enhanced crosswalks, street trees and landscaping and pavement delineation/striping for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians traveling to/through the Canal District. The proposed project will also include changing the traffic pattern from a one-way alignment to a two-way alignment.” (that last sentence seems like a biggie to have at the end, no?)
WBW is really excited to see the city posting all design hearing notices on its website as soon as MassDOT issues them.
We’re moving to first Thursdays as of this month. We’ll gather at The Muse, 536 Main Street in downtown Worcester this Thursday March 3 7:15-8:15pm. We’ll focus on building support for the Complete Streets policy the city is working on – we’ll need a lot of people to attend the public meetings and express their support for this exciting development.
Planning is underway for several events during Bay State Bike Week including a Tour de Taco community bike ride May 15, a Union Station bike locker launch party May 17 and Bike to School Day breakfasts at area high schools. Contact us to get involved!
It is important for supporters of improved walking and bicycling facilities along Main Street in the Central Business District to speak up. The deadline for comments to be included as part of the official record is this Wednesday, December 23.
We encourage everyone to express their own opinions, but if you’re short on time or not sure what to say you can use or adapt this template.
There will be NOT be a WalkBike Worcester monthly meeting tonight. We’ll reconvene in January to debrief on the Main Street streetscape hearing process and look ahead to the new year.
We are finalizing WBW’s written comments to MassDOT about the project, and we encourage everyone to send in their own. As stated in the hearing notice, comments must be postmarked within 10 business days following the December 9 hearing. Delivery by email is also acceptable. Not sure what to say? Shortly we’ll post a template you can use or modify.
It’s finally here.
The 25% design hearing for the Main Street streetscape project is coming up THIS WEDNESDAY, December 9, 7:00pm at the Worcester Public Library, Saxe Room (doors open 6:30 to see plans). For more details, check out our previous post on what the improvements will do for walkers, bicyclists and drivers plus our project page.
WalkBike Worcester supports the plan to reduce 4 travel lanes to 3 and improve conditions for walking and bicycling along the corridor. BUT we do have questions and suggestions (more trees!). We will bring these up at the hearing as well as submit written comments to MassDOT and the city. And we’ll push for another public meeting at the next design stage.
We are excited to see a good crowd at the hearing. We have spread the word by email, Facebook, website and foot, we spurred the city to post the hearing notice on its website, and others have shared our notices. So come on down and bring family, friends and colleagues – we all have a stake in a vibrant Main Street.