Showing posts with label transportation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transportation. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Strong Towns Event @ THE BLACK BOX - 11/15/21 (audio)

FM #661 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 661 in the series. 

This session of the radio show shares the Strong Towns Town Hall event with Congressman Jake Auchincloss, State Rep Jeff Roy, Franklin Town Councilor Cobi Frongillo, and Charles Marohn from Strong Towns. 

The event was held at THE BLACK BOX and broadcast via Franklin TV and Zoom. 

After a round of opening remarks, there is a question and answer period with audience participation. Each question asker identifies themselves so you should be able to follow along.


The recording runs about 1  hour and 14 minutes, so let’s listen to the Strong Towns Event on Nov 15, 2021. Audio file ->


My notes from the session 

More about Strong Towns can be found online ->


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Friday, July 16, 2021

MA Legislature Passes Bill Authorizing $350 Million in Funding for Transportation Infrastructure

MA Legislature Passes Bill Authorizing $350 Million in Funding for Transportation Infrastructure



Massachusetts Legislature Passes Bill Authorizing $350 Million in Funding for Transportation Infrastructure

The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday passed a bill that will invest $350 million in municipal transportation and selected statewide transportation infrastructure projects.

The bill, An Act financing improvements to municipal roads and bridges, authorizes $200 million for municipal roads and bridges through the chapter 90 program and $150 million to support statewide projects to address congestion, support electric vehicle infrastructure, prioritize bus infrastructure, and improve public transit.

"As travel returns to pre-COVID levels, our transportation system has a vital role to play in getting us back to better," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "The Chapter 90 proposal advanced by the Senate and House today authorizes $200 million for roads and bridges across our state and makes additional investments in emerging electric vehicle infrastructure which will greatly benefit the Commonwealth's residents. Passage of this legislation is critical to maintaining a transportation system that is sustainable, reliable, accessible and climate resilient. I am grateful to Senators Rodrigues, Boncore, and Feeney as well as Speaker Mariano, Rep. Michlewitz, Rep. Straus, Gregoire and their staffs for their collaboration."

"I would like to thank Chairs Michlewitz, Straus and Gregoire, as well as Senate President Spilka and her colleagues, for their work on the Chapter 90 bill," said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "This bill not only authorizes $200 million for roads and bridges but advances our priorities by investing in projects that municipalities will use to improve our transportation system, such as increased access to transit and specifically buses."

"As we continue building back to our new better, Chapter 90 funding remains an important mechanism through which the state can directly support cities and towns in Massachusetts," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D -Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "Thank you to Senate President Spilka and Senators Boncore and Feeney for their leadership, and to my colleagues in the Legislature for their urgency to direct funding to projects that will make a real difference in their communities and strengthen our local infrastructure across the Commonwealth." 

"These critical funds will ensure that our transportation needs are addressed all across the Commonwealth" said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). "I want to thank the Speaker, Chairs Straus and Gregoire, and our colleagues in the Senate for the hard work they put into this legislation, and for continuing to prioritize out transportation system". 

"Public transportation is a public good. The $350 million investment is among the largest Chapter 90 bond bills to date and represents the Legislature's commitment to safe roads, reliable bridges, and modernized transit infrastructure," said Senate Transportation Committee Chair Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop).  "In addition to funding shovel-ready projects, the Chapter 90 bond bill makes statewide investments support public transit, address traffic congestion, and advance electric vehicle infrastructure and fleets." 

"This legislation recognizes that in addition to the backlog of local roads in need of repair, there is an unmet need  for local projects that benefit all modes of transportation, and I am pleased that the legislature was able to provide municipal assistance for road work and expanded funding for towns and cities to advance public transit and reduce congestion," said Rep. Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett), House chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. 

"The funding provided through this critical legislation allows our cities and towns the ability to move forward on the necessary repairs and improvements to keep our roads, bridges and infrastructure safe for the residents of our communities," said Representative Gregoire, co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets . "I am grateful to Speaker Mariano for the opportunity to play a small part in its passage."

"Today's final enactment of $350 million in Chapter 90 bond authorizations is a smart investment for the Commonwealth," said Senator Paul R. Feeney (D-Foxborough), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. "There is no question our local infrastructure is in dire need of repairs and upgrades. As we recover from the pandemic and businesses and offices re-open, more people are hitting the roads and commuting once again. This comprehensive investment in our transportation infrastructure will put people to work and allow our city and town officials to forge ahead with the critical projects necessary to keep our communities moving along safely."

"The members of the Senate Republican Caucus are pleased to join with our colleagues in passing Chapter 90 legislation that will provide valuable resources to our cities and towns to construct and maintain the roads and bridges all of us depend on every day. Road paving, bridge construction and repair, and similar projects are important to our economy, our safety, and our quality of life, but their costs can be a major challenge for municipal budgets," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). "The spending authorizations contained in this bill will provide the resources and support needed urgently to respond to that challenge and make those projects possible this year."

"The long-standing state-municipal partnership established under the Chapter 90 program is critical to helping cities and towns meet their transportation infrastructure needs. Today's agreement continues the House and Senate's ongoing commitment to support this important road and bridge program. Combined with the funding increases for targeted municipal transit-related grants, this bond bill will allow cities and towns to focus on addressing some of their most critical transportation needs," stated House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

The bill includes the following components:

  • $200 million in chapter 90 funding for cities and towns for projects to maintain, improve, and repair roadways, bridges, sidewalks, and bikeways.
  • $25 million for the Municipal Small Bridge Program to support replacement or preservation of structurally deficient local bridges critical to local communities and not eligible for existing federal aid programs.
  • $25 million for the Local Bottleneck Program to address localized traffic bottlenecks and invest in infrastructure to reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and reduce idling and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • $25 million for Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure to support municipalities and regional transit authorities in their efforts to install EV infrastructure and purchase EVs and zero-emission vehicles. 
  • $25 million for Transit-Supportive Infrastructure to create dedicated bus lanes, enhance bus stops and train stations, support passenger safety, upgrade technology and modernize infrastructure to meet demand and increase frequency of public transit services, and improve access to public transit.
  • $25 million for Bus Prioritization and Enhancement Projects to support municipalities in their efforts to create bus rapid transit lanes, construct catenary wires for electric trolley buses, purchase equipment for transit signal prioritization, and make improvements at bus stations and stops.
  • $25 million for Enhancements at Transit and Commuter Rail Stations to support municipalities in their efforts to construct parking lots and structures, drop-off and pick-up zones, electric vehicle charging stations, park-and-ride locations, bicycle parking or bicycle cages, and accommodations for micro-mobility devices.

The bill also includes language clarifying that transportation infrastructure projects are an allowable use of American Rescue Plan Act funds, consistent with U.S. Treasury guidelines. Having been passed by the House and Senate, the legislation now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Releases Future of Work Report

Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) tweeted  on Tue, Jul 13, 2021:
To address key findings, our plan proposes support for several critical areas, including:

🏘️ Housing
🛠️ Workforce Training
🏙️ Downtown Development
🏥 Substance Use & Behavioral Health Programming
🚸 Child Care
🚗 Transportation Flexibility & Improvements

Full press release link ->

The report provides eight core insights:
  1. Demand for office real estate may fall as workers spend more time in residential areas due to hybrid work.
  2. Hybrid work will likely drive demand for flexible childcare options, requiring childcare business models to evolve.
  3. Public transit ridership is likely to fall, with the steepest decline likely in commuter rail.
  4. Business travel may be structurally reduced from pre-pandemic levels.
  5. Workforce training may be required at an unprecedented scale and pace.
  6. The Commonwealth population is likely to grow, albeit more slowly than pre-pandemic
  7. Existing equity challenges will intensify.
  8. Equitable housing opportunities will be key to retaining and attracting people.
Download the full report here to read:

Shared from Twitter:

Commonwealth Magazine coverage:

Boston Globe coverage

Future of Work Report
Future of Work Report

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Sign up for these virtual events -> learn about microcars, tour the Wang Theatre

Those Fabulous Microcars - Monday June 14 at 11 AM via zoom  

Whether you think they are hilarious or amazing, the array of ultra-tiny cars popular in the decades after World War II (especially in Europe and Japan) are visually intriguing mechanical marvels. Parodied as “bubble cars” or refrigerators on wheels, these 1-6 passenger vehicles with tiny engines were engineered to get an impoverished, war-ravaged world back on the road. Alan Earls, local historian and microcar aficionado (the first car he ever drove was a micro) will share slides, stories and insights for “car geeks” or anyone with an interest in the unusual…


A Night at the Theatre: Tour of the Wang Theater - ZOOM-June 17 at 6 PM “A Night at the Theatre” - Experience the beauty and wonder of the historic Wang Theatre live in your home through our Virtual Tour!

Go behind the scenes of one of Boston’s most prominent landmarks! Guests will go behind the scenes and see hallways walked by entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Ella Fitzgerald, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Queen, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli and more! This is not a prerecorded video; each tour is led by a trained guide that will take viewers through the building and backstage and answer questions about its unique history; from its roots as a hotel and glamorous days as a movie “cathedral”, to today’s role as an impressive venue for performances and events. Please register for this zoom event by emailing  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

MA state news: "Want a cleaner, more prosperous, more equitable region? Upgrading commuter rail would unlock all those benefits.

"We’re fortunate in Greater Boston to have the foundation for a strong regional transit system — a subway system in the city, well-established bus lines, and an extensive commuter rail network covering everything from diverse midsize cities to tony suburbs.

The system yearns for a range of improvements, however, like more regular service outside rush hour so that it better serves residents who don’t work traditional 9 to 5 schedules. Here we’ll focus on one exciting model for change: the promise of transforming our commuter rail system into a “regional rail” system. That is to say, a more equitable, modern, fast, zero-emissions rail network that responds to how people live today and will live in the future."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

This map, created by the advocacy group TransitMatters, envisions the first phase of improvements that could turn our existing commuter rail network into a “regional rail” system. It expands on a plan for upgrading commuter rail that the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved in 2019. TransitMatters’ executive director, Jarred Johnson, says regional rail would function more like a subway system does, with shorter trains that run more frequently and at higher speeds. Some stations and tracks would need to be added.TRANSITMATTERS
This map, created by the advocacy group TransitMatters, envisions the first phase of improvements that could turn our existing commuter rail network into a “regional rail” system. It expands on a plan for upgrading commuter rail that the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved in 2019. TransitMatters’ executive director, Jarred Johnson, says regional rail would function more like a subway system does, with shorter trains that run more frequently and at higher speeds. Some stations and tracks would need to be added.TRANSITMATTERS

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Franklin Public Schools, MA: Reopening Update - March 12, 2021

Franklin Public Schools, MA (@FranklinPSNews) tweeted on Fri, Mar 12, 2021:
Please find the latest update from Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern here

Dear Franklin Families,

This week marks the year anniversary of our school closure and pandemic response and it is not lost on me. I want to begin this very important informational e-mail acknowledging the collective efforts across Franklin. First, I am incredibly proud of the efforts of each administrator and educator in the Franklin school system and all of our staff. Our employees are serving students in ways we never could have imagined; we’ve learned along the way and there has been much adaptation and growth. I also want to recognize your efforts and resilience as Franklin families. Without a doubt, school closure, remote learning, and hybrid instruction has been very difficult on family life. Community organizations deserve our acknowledgment as they have mobilized to support families including the YMCA, Adirondack Club, and the Franklin Food Pantry, among others. Throughout the entire pandemic, there has been strong collaboration between my office and that of the Town Administrator. I feel so fortunate to be the Superintendent in a town with excellent collaboration and I am grateful for the support from the Health, Technology, Facilities, DPW, Fire, Police, and other town departments. I hope everyone in the Franklin community takes a moment to reflect on the year and pat yourselves on the back for the collective effort. We are not out of the woods yet, and continued diligence is important. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I outlined a framework for a return to in-person school for grades K-5 (date: Monday, April 5) and grades 6-12 (target date: Monday, April 12) at the recent School Committee meeting. The presentation can be found on our reopening site:

In summary:
Hybrid instruction is being phased out in Districts across the state.
Students in grades K-5 will begin full and in-person instruction five days a week on April 5.
Our target date for students in grades 6-12 to begin full and in-person instruction five days a week is April 12.
The Wednesday schedule is still being worked out but will no longer be fully remote.
Parents/guardians will continue to have a remote learning option (see below for level-based information).
Students will be in school at distances between 3-6 feet, which will depend on classroom square footage and class size. There will be distancing of 6 feet for faculty and staff whenever possible.
Distancing during lunch will be 6 feet. 
All health and safety practices will be in place: mask-wearing, hand hygiene, symptom screening, ventilation strategies, and daily disinfecting/cleaning. We are also continuing our pool testing pilot; new participants are still welcome to sign up. Please inquire with school buildings on how to do this.
Physical distancing restrictions have been lifted on buses, expanding bus ridership capacity. All riders must be masked, hand sanitization will be in place, and windows will be open at least two inches.
Attendance requirements will be strengthened and students will be required to be in school for in-person learning. More information will be coming soon.
Instruction will be provided for students needing to quarantine. We anticipate larger numbers of close contacts being identified as the standard for close contacts will continue to be based on 6 feet of distance. Cases within the community are trending downwards, however.

K-5 Families

We are not going to survey K-5 families. If your child is in the hybrid learning model and you would like to request Virtual Learning Academy for remote-only instruction, please submit a request in writing to your child’s school principal. If your child is in the Virtual Learning Academy and you would like to request a seat for in school learning, please submit your request in writing to the VLA administrator ( Seats in both our current classes and the VLA are limited. Large numbers of requests in either direction may be difficult to accommodate and may require an adjustment of teachers. The deadline to submit a request is 5 PM on Monday, March 15.

Grades 6-12 Families

The middle schools principals are currently collaborating on a survey and will send it to families next week. This survey will ask for a commitment to in-person instruction or remote-only instruction for the remainder of the school year.

High School Families

At this time, the high school is surveying families (  about commitments to in-person instruction or remote only instruction for the remainder of the school year.  Returning full and in person with our current schedule is dependent on a percentage of FHS students remaining remote. We appreciate you taking another survey under a new model. Please complete this survey by Wednesday, March 17 by 5 PM. Mr. Hanna will be holding a Q and A session on Monday, March 15 at the PCC meeting 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm. 

At this time, we are holding our plans to collapse the 3 cohorts to 2 so that we can focus on a full and in-person return in April.


If you have questions about District policies/practices about reopening, please email our reopening email account:  There will be a virtual “coffee” with the Superintendent at 6 PM on Wednesday, March 17 to answer questions about the overall framework. A link will be sent next week.
Building-based specifics are best addressed by the school administration. They will continue to communicate with you through their regular avenues such as their newsletters and personal communications with you.

To sign up for busing, please visit our website:

More information will be forthcoming about options for childcare through our Solutions program.


Sara Ahern, 
Superintendent of Schools
Franklin Public Schools

Franklin Public Schools, MA: Reopening Update - March 12, 2021
Franklin Public Schools, MA: Reopening Update - March 12, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

FM #487 - School Committee Mtg - 03/09/21 - P3 of 3 (audio)

FM #487 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 487 in the series. 

This session shares part 3 of the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, Mar 9, 2021. 

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: some of the School Committee members, Central Office personnel, and key guests were in the Council Chambers; the remainder, along with the public, were remote via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

I’ve split the just almost three hour meeting into three logical segments:
  • First - covers the opening through the Keller Elementary presentation (approx. 39 minutes)
  • Second - School Budget - first view- Supt Ahern and her staff walk through the budget highlights (approx. 53 mins)
  • *** Third *** - from the return to in person learning plan through to the end of the public meeting (approx. 85 minutes)
The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to my notes. The meeting packet folder will hold the other documents released for the meeting.

Let’s listen to this segment of the School Committee meeting of Mar 9, 2021



We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.
How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.
For additional information, please visit or

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters" 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

“We are colliding with a future of extremes”


"Even as Texas struggled to restore electricity and water over the past week, signs of the risks posed by increasingly extreme weather to America’s aging infrastructure were cropping up across the country.

The week’s continent-spanning winter storms triggered blackouts in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and several other states. One-third of oil production in the nation was halted. Drinking-water systems in Ohio were knocked offline. Road networks nationwide were paralyzed and vaccination efforts in 20 states were disrupted.

The crisis carries a profound warning. As climate change brings more frequent and intense storms, floods, heat waves, wildfires and other extreme events, it is placing growing stress on the foundations of the country’s economy: Its network of roads and railways, drinking-water systems, power plants, electrical grids, industrial waste sites and even homes. Failures in just one sector can set off a domino effect of breakdowns in hard-to-predict ways."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Help determine the future of MA mass transit


"SOME OF THE MOST encouraging news coming out of the pandemic has been the ability of Massachusetts companies to quickly pivot and meet suddenly changing needs.  Shoe manufacturers are making face masks. Distillers are producing hand sanitizer.  A greeting card company is using it’s die-cutters to produce face shields.  Companies quickly pivoted, found ways to utilize their assets and kept their skilled employees working.

Commuter rail needs to follow the example of these firms and pivot by finding new uses for the skilled workers and the equipment that are being made surplus by the reductions in service currently taking place.  Commuter rail should be experimenting with new services, particularly with extending service to additional communities outside its current service area."

Continue reading the article online

"The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will hold a virtual public hearing Feb. 24 to discuss temporary schedule changes that will go into effect in March and April, the agency said in a statement

The meeting, which will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., will allow participants to ask questions and give feedback on the changes, according to the statement."
Boston Globe coverage (subscription may be required)  

Monday, February 15, 2021

What's with Complete Streets?

The memo to the Franklin, MA Town Council and the "Complete Streets" presentation document scheduled for discussion at the Feb 17, 2021 meeting.

Link to the doc on the Town of Franklin page

Full agenda for the Town Council meeting Feb 17, 2021

Friday, February 12, 2021

DESE Updates Transportation Guidance

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has just updated their transportation guidance, which can be found online here:
Quoting the key operational change (red text):
•    Distance
As of February 2021, physical distancing guidelines and resulting bus capacities have been updated per the below. Districts may adopt these updated standards only when the required mitigation measures outlined in the rest of this guidance document (wearing masks, opening windows, etc.) are followed.

In all cases, maximum distance between students should be maintained during boarding and transportation.

o    Elementary schools:
o    Capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on buses are lifted.

o    Middle and high schools:
o    Capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements for students on buses are lifted, except for middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence.
o    For middle and high schools in districts with high community prevalence, capacity limitations and physical distancing requirements on buses are amended to allow 2 students per bus bench.
Download the full guidance document from DESE (Word doc)

DESE Updates Transportation Guidance
DESE Updates Transportation Guidance

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Davis Thayer Facility Analysis Subcommittee to recommend closure of building to full School Committee

Quick Recap:

  • Review of the 5 options as discussed at the meeting last week. Committee should have had time since then to review and prepare, final questions, clarifications asked of each option as they went through each one
  • The three members got to outline their background and approach to decision and what the factors were for them; Superintendent and Business Administrator also asked for their views
  • Consensus across the group for recommending to close in September, acting now to start planning for a good transition. Recognizing not an easy decision to close, or even in the pandemic period, but it is the best for the students across the district
  • Next meeting to work on the proposal and outline of decision factors for the full committee to decide at a future meeting (time TBD, could be as early as the Feb 9 meeting - stay tuned.)

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one folder

The audio recording of this meeting will be available soon


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #DTFA0128 

Davis Thayer Facilities Analysis = DTFA

  • Davis Thayer Facilities Analysis SubCommittee Meeting - Jan 28, 2021 about to begin at 6:00 PM Full agenda (including connection info) 
  • #dtfa0128 getting ready for real time reporting of this meeting (what is the difference between ‘real time’ vs. live reporting’? Glad you asked - I did prepare an answer "Live" reporting is used when I am in the room. "Real time" is when I report via the live cable or internet feed.
  • Meeting opens, minutes from prior meeting approved 3-0 via roll call. #dtfa0128
  • Protocol and process for meeting reviewed, status of where they are in the process grounds the start #dtfa0128
  • Recap of the 5 options under consideration, three shown here #dtfa0128
  • #dtfa0128 graduation of about 150 more students than are entering the district that year, hence the enrollment decline. Study of 2013 had touted renovation costs of $23m and build new at $28m, clearly dated numbers but for reference. BTW approx. 60+ participate via zoom
  • #dtfa0128 decision needed sooner than later for budget planning as well as planning for the transition to Keller. Moving boxes, changing bus routes, 'easy'; the soft and fuzzy stuff also done regularly, getting ahead of it can better ensure success of the transition
  • #dtfa0128 schools are buildings but there is much more to the building too! Keller built with 5 classes/grade, plans show use of 4 per with some exception but middle school population declines and rooms from Annie Sullivan would be used to assist.
  • Concern of new housing project to tax school population, not really, it is a phased project if it comes to fruition. (Numbers should already have been included in overall forecast). Capacity is not the issue at Keller. (Over capacity is what we are trying to solve) #dtfa0128
  • #dtfa0128 there is a policy on attendance area, a request form is also available, serious consideration is done in case of an exception. Traffic issue? Keller used to have more students several years ago, so it has been seen before (as did Sullivan)
  • #dtfa0128 could be a potential issue with staffing if kept open another year, not to say the existing staff is not dedicated, it is. But the longer the decision, the more uncertainty, the more likely a problem with staffing.
  • #dtfa0128 if keeping open next year could some students/families now rather than later to avoid multiple transitions (K, VLA, etc. )? Would already cover this scenario in Option 4, hard to do for efficiency and cost perspectives esp if for a small #of students
  • #dtfa0128 by staggering the transition, could also make the cultural adjustments more of a challenge; bus routes could get complicated with routes going to a street and students going two ways.
  • K registration is ongoing, it usually is from Feb to May but do get movins over the summer, and after September starts. This year had increase in two schools in K and added staff accordingly. Q on siblings during staggering xfer, transportation would be a factor
  • #dtfa0128 there are many options when you consider the permutations, need to reduce change and simply not increase complexity and increase expense. Option 5 close DT  and redistrict. Summary was to look at the stand alone schools (Parmenter and Kennedy).
  • SchComm needs to look at developing a master facilities plan, and down the road possibly look at redistrict. #dtfa0128 the master plan would likely begin after the DTFA work is done (at least decided).
  • #dtfa0128 Judy for closure in Sep, provides brief history of Franklin roots including graduation from DT earlier in her life. MJ only in Franklin 31 years. SchComm 97-2007, and then re-elected 6 years ago, involved with youth soccer. "Compensated so well for it" (actually $0)
  • #dtfa0128 the benefits are not financial. Making a good decision for the community. We simply can't afford it. Or fix it. 1st to close DT in Sep, 2nd to close and consider redistricting. Can't wait longer? Chair asked Superintendent and Business director for their (views) before her…
  • #dtfa0128 other member objected, so Chair provides her analysis, get ready it will be long (her words) thru lens evaluated the options (will need to listen to the recording, not going to do justice to this)
  • #dtfa0128 so bottom line, chair is on closing train for Sep. 
  • Superintendent, some facts are hard to overlook, decisions do need to be made, facts align support closure of DT, same footprint with 20% less students, an opportunity to invest in the kids of the district
  • #dtfa0128 if decision made soon, we could make a thoughtful transition. We have a structural deficit to address and hard to avoid. Not an easy decision, difficult time in pandemic, but not any easier later.
  • #dtfa0128 Goodman; accessibility, budgeting, facts are what others have referenced and I agree to close sooner than later to be most helpful for everyone. Chair to put together draft recommendations for review next meeting (Feb 3).
  • #dtfa0128 reminder 7 people with 7 votes. Opening up for citizen comments. 1 optics on bullets and negativity apparent and from parent point of view most depressing. 2 question on staffing (raised from someone who hasn't heard the answer in prior meeting) oh and yes, staff …
  • Would move as much as possible to support the students in the combined building. #dtfa0128 3 - kids haven't been in school for a normal day for a year. (Also answered in prior meeting; recordings available) 4 - to ask to close and pack up a building at this time?
  • #dtfa0128 5 - so conflicted right now, agree with decision but things to be explored in depth to make this happen. Support may need to be increased to help the kids. 6 - a Keller parent says the community is welcoming 7 - we have little bandwidth, so how can it be a …
  • Thoughtful transition? #dtfa0128 8 - could you consider keeping DT kids in their own classrooms to help the transition? 9 - came in from another school, not easy but it has moved on, interesting to see that none of the options kept DT open. Email to subcommittee an option
  • #dtfa0128 motion to adjourn, second, passes via roll call 3-0,
  • That's all for tonight, catch you next time!

Davis Thayer Facility Analysis SubCommittee

Jan 20, 2021 recap =  (audio)  = 

Jan 14, 2021 recap =  (audio) =

My meeting notes for sessions during 2020 can be found here

The Davis Thayer Subcommittee page also has the link to send a question to the subcommittee

Davis Thayer Facility Analysis Subcommittee to recommend closure of building to full School Committee
DTFA Subcommittee to recommend closure of building to full School Committee

Saturday, January 16, 2021

"Most surprising .. was the governor’s rejection of the Legislature’s increase in fees on ride-hail trips"

"Baker vetoes key policy initiatives in transportation bond bill
New Uber, Lyft fees and Spilka toll restriction scrapped"

"GOV. CHARLIE BAKER signed the Legislature’s transportation bond bill into law on Friday, but used his line-item veto to remove proposals raising fees on Uber and Lyft rides, establishing means-tested fares on public transit, and an initiative pushed by Senate President Karen Spilka that would prohibit increases in Turnpike tolls to help pay for the Allston I-90 interchange project.

The $16 billion bond bill authorizes the state to borrow money to finance all sorts of ongoing transportation projects, including bridge repairs, road improvements, and public transit initiatives such as the Green Line extension and South Coast Rail. The bill passed by the Legislature in the wee hours of January 6 also contained a number of new policy initiatives that Baker decided to scrap. Because the Legislature that passed the bill is no longer in session, the governor’s vetoes cannot be overridden. "

Continue reading the article online 
The Boston Globe version of this story (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Boston Globe highlights housing changes coming if Gov Baker signs new law

The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) tweeted on Mon, Jan 11, 2021: "New law would require high density housing near T stations"
"For years, housing advocates have argued that one of the smartest ways to tackle Greater Boston’s housing crisis is to make cities and towns that are served by the MBTA build more housing near subway and train stations.

Last week, their wish was granted. At least for now.

Tucked into the 101-page economic development bill passed by the Legislature at the end of its session in the wee hours of Jan. 6 was a measure that would require municipalities served by the T to allow denser housing in at least one district near a station. It’s a measure that could eventually create thousands of apartments and condos in Boston-area suburbs, if it gets Governor Charlie Baker’s signature."
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Direct link to legislation document awaiting signature

The move should be approached cautiously to avoid unintended consequences (like gentrification). This was highlighted at least in 2014 with this Boston Globe article:
"Trains can make neighborhoods, by connecting residents to jobs and enabling an intensity of development that isn’t possible in places where residents are handcuffed to their cars. But trains can also break neighborhoods, because gentrification often comes hitched to the back of a rail car. If a city greets new transit with indifference, the most vulnerable residents around a new station don’t stand a chance of remaining in their neighborhood.

Boston is facing that dynamic because subway-like rail service will soon come to the Fairmount Line. The city is scrambling to find a way to harness the Fairmount’s economic potential without triggering runaway gentrification."
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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

MA House, Senate finish session by moving finish line past midnight


"The Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday morning passed long-awaited agreements on a $627 million economic stimulus bill and a multibillion-dollar transportation borrowing package, but only after bending its own rules — and the calendar — to finally get the proposals to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

        Despite giving themselves five extra months to hash out major bills, lawmakers toiled until 4:42 a.m. in a chaotic end to their two-year session. It came well past what was supposed to be a deadline of midnight Tuesday to complete their work, and hours into the same day the new legislative class will be sworn in.

        The last-minute deal on the economic development package featured a measure Baker has long sought to help speed housing production, and it would unlock hundreds of millions in borrowing, including relief for businesses battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers said. The 101-page bill did not include, however, language legalizing sports betting that had passed the House but ran into opposition in the Senate."

"WITH SOME LEGISLATIVE sleight of hand, the House and Senate extended their sessions from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and succeeded in passing most of the major pieces of legislation still pending on Beacon Hill.

A trimmed down transportation bond bill, an economic development bill without sports betting, legislation dealing with college campus sexual violence, and a handful of other measures all made it to the finish line by moving the finish line from Tuesday at midnight, when the legislative session was scheduled to end, to the wee hours of Wednesday morning."
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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine: "Mass., NH, RI, DC sign transportation climate pact"

From CommonWealth Magazine:

"MASSACHUSETTS, CONNECTICUT, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia signed on to a pact Monday to put a price on the carbon contained in vehicle fuels sold within their borders and leverage the revenues gained and the resulting higher price of gasoline to cut transportation emissions 26 percent by 2032.

The group of initial participants is far smaller than Gov. Charlie Baker had been hoping for, but officials said other states in New England and down the East Coast have committed to staying at the table and possibly joining the so-called Transportation Climate Initiative in the future.

The emission reduction goal released Monday is higher than states had been talking about a year ago, but the forecasted impact on gas prices is expected to be smaller. A year ago the Transportation Climate Initiative looked at carbon dioxide cap reductions ranging from 20 to 25 percent by 2032, with gas prices rising 5 to 17 cents a gallon in 2022 depending on the size of the cap reduction. Now officials are calling for a 30 percent cap reduction (which translates into a 26 percent reduction in actual pollution) but saying gasoline prices will rise only 5 cents a gallon – 9 cents at the most – in 2022.

Katie Theoharides, the Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said there are price protections built into the current proposal that didn’t exist with the earlier versions."

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