Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack recently joined Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, members of the Massachusetts Legislature, local officials, and transportation advocates at a groundbreaking event in Natick to release the State Bicycle Transportation Plan and State Pedestrian Transportation Plan and to celebrate the start of construction on the latest segment of the Cochituate Rail Trail.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to release the final State Bicycle Transportation Plan and State Pedestrian Transportation Plan and continue implementing our vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe, comfortable and convenient option to walk or bike for short, every day trips,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The Cochituate Rail Trail is an example of our strategy to make multimodal investments to lessen the demand for new vehicle trips, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, place less strain on household transportation expenses, and promote public health.”
The final State Bicycle Transportation Plan and State Pedestrian Transportation Plan each have the goal of increasing safety and the percentage of trips made by walking and bicycling. They include the vision, goals, principles, definitions of key terms, overview of the planning process, the state of walking and bicycling today, and an action plan to achieve the Plans’ goals.
The plans recommend policies, programs, and projects for MassDOT to guide decision making and capital investments. MassDOT has a total of $60 million programmed in the FY 2019-FY 2023 Capital Investment Plan for implementation of both the State Pedestrian Transportation Plan and State Bicycle Transportation Plan.
As part of the Plans, MassDOT released two companion documents – the Municipal Resource Guide for Bikeability and the Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability – in recognition of the important role local cities and towns play. The purposes of the guides are to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve bikeability and walkability as the vast majority of roadways are under local ownership.
Meanwhile, the groundbreaking event today showcased a $12.4 million multimodal project to construct 2.4 miles of the Cochituate Rail Trail between Framingham and Natick. This project includes replacing a bridge over Route 9 and building a grade-separated crossing at Route 30. This will create a connection between the existing section of the trail in Framingham, the Natick Mall, and Route 27 in Natick. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021.
The Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board served as the steering committee for the State Bicycle Transportation Plan and the State Pedestrian Transportation Plan. Over the last two years, the plans were informed by public input and data analysis. Members of the advisory board include the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and WalkBoston.