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SRPEDD Newsletter

February 2020TOPForReal



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New Bedford Transit-Oriented Development (NBTOD) Study Update 
The New Bedford Department of City Planning (DCP), with assistance from the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD) and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), commenced work on the New Bedford Transit-Oriented Development (NBTOD) study in August 2019. The goal of the study is to analyze existing and future conditions for the two new South Coast Rail platform areas, as well as provide the City with new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) zoning and design guidelines that encourage mixed-use and pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly development.
Marking the end of the study's first phase, the project team hosted a well-attended and informative public Open House on January 14th at the New Bedford Public Library. Nearly 70 people came out to participate in the discussion and offer input. The public was provided with an overview of the study; an opportunity to voice concerns about each area, and/or identify areas for improvement; a summary of other TOD areas in the Commonwealth; and, a chance to envision future land use ideas for each study area.
The project team is interested in your input! Please take a moment to visit the project webpage ( ) for more details about the study process, upcoming events, and ways to participate.
FFY 2021-2025 Transportation Impro vement Program

The Joint Transportation Planning Group (JTPG) and members of the Southeastern Massachusetts Metropolitan Planning Organization (SMMPO) will shortly begin developing the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) which details transportation projects programmed on behalf of the region for the next five years. The TIP is the official document that lists all transportation projects in the region by federal funding category, including roads, bridges, transit and alternative projects such as bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.  A complicated and delicate balancing effort across the area's multiple and vital transportation planning needs, the projects included in the TIP cannot exceed available funding, i.e., are fiscally constrained.  However, it is equally important that critical available funding for the region not be left unused.   

Needless to say, it can be a challenge making the budget stretch as far as possible. For the next 5 years, the budget for SRPEDD's 27 communities is $110,406,436, averaging $21.5 million per year. Although $21.5 million per year may seem like a lot, only 3 to 4 projects can typically be funded on average per year. Recent projects have ranged in cost from $1.7 to $18 million each, with most of coming in between $5 and $8 million. For that reason, programming smaller projects (under $3 million each), such as signal upgrades and/or intersection improvements can help to provide greater flexibility in planning, as well as enable more projects to be completed. However, there remain communities in the region not taking advantage of these available TIP funds.

Over the past 10 years, although some communities have been extremely active and successful in pursuing and getting and getting projects funded, nine communities have yet to develop projects and take advantage of these vital funds. Among the more active communities are New Bedford, Taunton and Dartmouth, with 8, 5, and 4 projects, respectively.

The process will begin this month with discussions by the Joint Transportation Planning Group (JTPG), the advisory body to the SMMPO, with advertised meetings on the SRPEDD website. Meetings, as always, are open to the public, and feedback and comments can be offered on any of the projects or on any part of the process. The draft TIP is expected to be ready for presentation by the April JTPG meeting, followed by release for a 21-day comment period. By May, it is expected that the FFY 2021-2025 TIP will be ready for endorsement by the SMMPO.

SRPEDD staff is available to answer questions, and provide guidance and assistance to member communities seeking to make needed improvements through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) process.  Please contact Lisa Estrela-Pedro for more information at

  South Coast Bikeway Feasibility Study   ThirdA
In the latest chapter to be written of SRPEDD's longstanding and productive partnership with the South Coast Bikeway Alliance (SCBA), transportation and other planning personnel are presently preparing to kick off Phase I of a Feasibility Study later this month to study multi-modal routing options through New Bedford, Dartmouth and Westport. Phase I will examine existing conditions for all current routing options including routing potential, right of way/land ownership, environmental concerns, land use, safety and equity. Access to and from area trip generators, including Environmental Justice communities, employment centers, educational facilities and transit, will also be studied.
Please stay tuned, as SRPEDD will be looking for public input on Phase I findings over the summer! In the meanwhile, SRPEDD and the SCBA also recently submitted a MassTrails application for Phase II of the study to analyze findings of Phase I and develop routing recommendations and implementation plans. For more information on the upcoming Feasibility Study, or other bicycle and pedestrian planning projects, please contact Jackie Jones at

   SRPEDD Workshop at SEMAP's 13th Annual Agriculture & Food Conference FourthA 
Pictured from left: Paul Schmid, Jean Fox, Delia Delongchamp, Helen Zincavage, Bill Napolitano.

On Sunday, February 23rd, Helen Zincavage and Bill Napolitano from SRPEDD's Environmental Program, will be speaking at the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership's (SEMAP) 13th Annual Agriculture and Food Conference ( at Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton. Helen and Bill will be joining Delia Delongchamp, Stewardship Planner for the state's Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program (APR), in a session entitled "Land Preservation and Stewardship: Opportunities to Connect." The APR Stewardship Planning Program assists APR landowners with long-term planning for the protection of the property and retention of its agricultural viability.
SRPEDD staff has been working with our partners at SEMAP, Jean Fox of Mass DOT's South Coast Rail (SCR) Project, and State Representative Paul Schmid of Westport, to develop a pilot program based on the previous municipal Priority Protection/Priority Development (PPA/PDA) site work conducted in conjunction with the South Coast Rail Corridor Study. The new SRPEDD GIS-based story maps identify areas of prime agricultural soils and agricultural soils of statewide importance within the proposed SCR Phase I Corridor, and will be presented at the workshop. Large tracts of these soils occur in areas identified in the PPAA/PDA reports. Many of these areas are currently unprotected, and are also critical for their habitat values and carbon storage potential, which help to make our region more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Ignored or undetected, this valuable land could be lost to secondary development associated with the construction of new rail stations and housing.
For more information about SEMAP or the upcoming conference, please visit For more about SRPEDD's Environmental Program, please contact Helen Zincavage at or Bill Napolitano at

Green Community Awards 
Announced  for
SRPEDD RegionFifth
In 2019, SRPEDD helped bring more than $1 million into the region through the Green Communities Program! The communities of Attleboro, Carver, North Attleborough, Rehoboth, Rochester, and Westport recently received Green Community designation by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER). With the designation, they received initial grants, which ranged from $135,960 to $244,370, to make investments in municipal facility energy improvements and renewable energy projects.
These six communities are now part of the 271 Green Communities throughout the Commonwealth, bringing the total number of Green Communities in the SRPEDD region to 17. By participating in the program, cities and towns gain eligibility to apply for the up to $20 million made available annually through DOER. Participants commit to a 20% municipal energy use reduction goal over 5 years, enacting energy performance standards for new construction, setting energy efficient vehicle policies, and streamlining permitting for clean energy projects.
With a Regional Energy Planning Assistance (REPA) Grant through SRPEDD, communities were also able to complete the required 5-year Energy Reduction Plan and apply for the Green Community designation. In 2020, SRPEDD will be working with additional communities as they begin energy reduction planning and consider future applications for Green Community designation. SRPEDD is anticipating that REPA funding will again be available this spring for communities interested in being designated a Green Community.
If you have any questions about the Program or would like to discuss how your community can participate, please contact Eric Arbeene at For additional information about SRPEDD's work to support Green Communities, including samples of our work, please visit
Within the next few months, the Southeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council (SRAC) will initiate discussions with stakeholders and begin formulating ideas for the development of the FFY 2020 State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) grants. SRAC will work collaboratively to develop, review, and approve planning, training, exercises and specialized equipment to fill gaps with Homeland Security projects. Such examples of projects may include: the expansion of interoperable communications in the region, improvements to emergency sheltering and community preparedness, as well as the enhancements of tactical and technical rescue response capabilities, and the support of the regionalization of emergency assets.
The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) continues its support and assistance to the SRAC in their efforts to develop, review, and approve planning, training, exercising and specialized equipment projects. The SRAC serves 97 cities and towns and has provided millions of dollars in U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding to local communities since 2004. The SRAC serves as the policy making body of The Southeastern Region Homeland Security Planning Region. The Council has members representing all relevant public safety disciplines including: law enforcement, fire service, emergency management, local public health, hospitals, emergency medical services, public works, transportation, corrections, and local government administration.
SRPEDD is Hiring! Seventh  
The Transportation Department is seeking to hire two full-time Transportation Planning Technicians. A degree in Urban Planning, Civil Engineering, or closely related field is preferred. These are entry-level positions with an opportunity for advancement within the agency. These positions consist primarily of assisting with data collection activities on projects across the region. Such activities include, but are not limited to, assisting with the annual Traffic Count Program, Pavement Management surveys, and collecting data for Complete Streets, On Board Bus Counts, and Surveys for the National Transit Database (NTD). This is an opportunity to learn and grow in a fast-paced, collaborative work environment alongside committed fellow planners across a broad range of interesting projects and programs. Click here for more details.
SRPEDD is also looking to hire two summer interns likewise available to assist with data collection efforts. Click here for those details.
Toward that end, SRPEDD staff will be participating in college and university Job Fairs throughout southern New England this spring in order to meet with potential candidates. This includes events at area institutions such as UMASS Dartmouth, Clark University in Worcester and Westfield State. SRPEDD is also seeking candidates through "Handshake" (, the online early talent recruiting website that connects employers, talent, and colleges.

SRPEDD is an equal opportunity employer.
For more information on these positions, please contact Paul Mission at or Lisa Estrela-Pedro at  We invite you to come and join our team!