by Catherine Cagle
Manager of Sustainable Transportation
Today I'm excited to let people know that the Patrick Administration has awarded $500,000 in Transportation Enhancements funding for final design of phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will extend approximately 4.8 miles from the end of Phase 1 BFRT in Westford, south through Westford, Carlisle and Acton. The towns of Westford, Carlisle and Acton completed the preliminary design to qualify for Transportation Enhancements funding for the final design; once that is completed and approved, Phase 2A will be ready for construction.
On August 20, 2009, residents and community groups celebrated the opening of Phase 1 of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT), a 6.8 mile shared-use path that connects Lowell, Chelmsford and Westford. As someone who bikes to work and recreationally I am always excited to see paths like this open — not only because they provide great opportunity for people to excercise but also because they make important connections between communities. Since the grand opening of Phase 1 use on the path has exploded and led to many rave reviews. We hope that many of these people are excited as we are that Phase 2A design will moving forward thanks to Transportation Enhancements funding.
In case you were wondering, the Transportation Enhancements program is a federal program that funds community-based projects with the goal of increasing travel choice and improving the cultural and environmental character of the transportation system. Eligible TE projects fall into 12 categories such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscape improvements, historic transportation facilities, cultural facilities, and environmental improvements for the transportation system. Transportation Enhancement funding supports important non-traditional and innovative transportation infrastructure projects that might not otherwise obtain funding. We haven't always done the best job awarded TE funding and we're currently working to improve the program to speed up investments in critical bike and pedestrian projects. For example, the Patrick Administration recently committed to increasing TE funding from $500,000 to $3.5M and formed a joint task force with highway officials to streamline project delivery and construction timelines.
You should know that we view pedestrian and bicycling improvements are an especially high priority as the Commonwealth seeks to expand healthy travel options and sustainable transportation.
South Station Expansion: 1980s Renovation posted on Jan 31
The South Station Expansion project is about improving transportation service through more train tracks and redesigned platforms; upgraded switches, signals, and other infrastructure; and new passenger amenities. The proposed expansion will protect and prepare the station for future demand as other efforts have done over …Continue Reading South Station Expansion: 1980s Renovation
New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Public Meeting Set posted on Jan 29
MassDOT is conducting a study of the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Corridor, a bridge that spans New Bedford Harbor. The swing bridge connecting the communities of New Bedford and Fairhaven is functionally obsolete, constrains marine traffic, and its opening results in extensive vehicle delays. This study …Continue Reading New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge Public Meeting Set
Winter Storm Update: Travel Ban Lifted, MBTA Open posted on Jan 28
The statewide travel ban has been lifted as of midnight. Motorists, especially those in the City of Boston and Eastern counties, are asked to use caution as MassDOT crews continue to plow and clear state roadways and ramps. Parking bans are still in effect in …Continue Reading Winter Storm Update: Travel Ban Lifted, MBTA Open