Improve Connections

Goal 3: Improve Connections

We recognize that a community that is connected is safer, stronger, and provides more opportunities for meaningful interaction. We envision supporting these connections through physical means including sidewalks, bike paths, trails and public transportation to connect people and places, and to support independent and safe travel for all. We also envision open communication as a means to further connect residents (e.g. through the web, cable TV, community bulletin boards, etc.).

Make walking and biking easier and safer

Objective 3.1: Make walking and biking easier and safer

Build appropriate sidewalks

Strategy 3.1.1: Build appropriate sidewalks

Maintain sidewalk priority list

Action Item 3.1.1.1: Maintain sidewalk priority list

Continue to update the Sidewalk Construction Priority List. Emphasize projects that provide safe access to schools, recreation areas, the train station, and the villages, particularly the designated growth centers. As public transportation options grow, provide sidewalk access to transit access spots.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
No

Construct more sidewalks

Action Item 3.1.1.2: Construct more sidewalks

Construct new sidewalks according to the priority list. Follow the Guidelines for Acton Sidewalk Design when constructing new sidewalks or updating existing ones.1
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Municipal Properties
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

CPA funding for some sidewalks

Action Item 3.1.1.3: CPA funding for some sidewalks

Investigate opportunities to use CPA funds for some sidewalk connections. Consider historic characteristics or recreational opportunities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Sidewalk Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Community Preservation Committee
Land Stewardship Committee
Open Space Committee
Recreation Commission
Selectmen

Increase opportunities for safe biking

Strategy 3.1.2: Increase opportunities for safe biking

Planning for bicycle improvements

Action Item 3.1.2.1: Planning for bicycle improvements

Develop guidelines for bike lanes and off-road paths. Identify locations and develop a construction plan for off-road multi-use paths and bike lanes to improve the ability of people to bicycle to destinations in Town.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Planning Department

Assabet River Rail Trail

Action Item 3.1.2.2: Assabet River Rail Trail

Complete the construction of the Assabet River Rail Trail. Need to influence MassDOT and Boston MPO.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Action Item 3.1.2.3: Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Complete the construction of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Need to influence MassDOT and Boston MPO.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Connect ARRT and BFRT

Action Item 3.1.2.4: Connect ARRT and BFRT

Explore ways to connect the Assabet River Rail Trail and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department

Bike racks

Action Item 3.1.2.5: Bike racks

Locate bike racks where feasible and where they will be used.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Health Department
Municipal Properties
Recreation Department
School Committees
Transportation Advisory Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Multi-use path planning

Action Item 3.1.2.6: Multi-use path planning

Identify locations for off-road multi-use paths, bike lanes, and wider shared lanes and shoulders where appropriate to improve the ability of people to bicycle to destinations in Town. Prepare town-wide recommendations for locations, and construct improvements.1
  • 1. The primary purpose of these improvements is transportation rather than recreational cycling.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Capital?: 
No
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Open Space
Planning?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Highway Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

Multi-use paths through open space

Action Item 3.1.2.7: Multi-use paths through open space

Consider making some paths in town open space usable by bikes, wheelchairs and strollers, in order to create safe bicycle paths between neighborhoods and other destinations.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Open Space
Capital?: 
Yes
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Natural Resources Department
Engineering Department
Land Stewardship Committee
Open Space Committee
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee

Developers provide off-road multi-use paths

Action Item 3.1.2.8: Developers provide off-road multi-use paths

Increase the requirement in the subdivision regulations for developer contributions to off-road multi-use paths and sidewalks.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Regulatory?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Planning Board<i> </i>
Planning Department<i> </i>

Improve communications about walking and biking paths

Strategy 3.1.3: Improve communications about walking and biking paths

Pedestrian and bike maps

Action Item 3.1.3.1: Pedestrian and bike maps

Keep maps current showing sidewalks, bike paths and hiking paths. Make these available on the town website. Consider providing updated information to Google Maps for incorporation in their database.
Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Land Stewardship Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Information Technology Department
Natural Resources Department
Sidewalk Committee
Ripe?: 
Yes

Non-car access requirements in commercial development

Action Item 3.1.3.2: Non-car access requirements in commercial development

Consider incorporating requirements for pedestrian and bicycle accommodation in new commercial development.1
  • 1. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodation includes safe walkways from the public sidewalk to building entrances and bike racks.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Land Use
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Planning Board
Selectmen
Sidewalk Committee
Transportation Advisory Committee

Pedestrian safety at town facilities

Action Item 3.1.3.3: Pedestrian safety at town facilities

Improve accessibility and safety at Town facilities, particularly the libraries and schools, for pedestrians, people with wheelchairs, and bicyclists.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Other Inventory Elements: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Municipal Properties<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Building Department
Commission on Disabilities
School Committees

Increase awareness regarding sharing the road issues

Action Item 3.1.3.4: Increase awareness regarding sharing the road issues

Provide outreach to drivers and cyclists to increase awareness of their responsibility to share the road safely.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Ripe?: 
Yes

Improve transportation around town

Objective 3.2: Improve transportation around town

Provide and encourage public transportation

Strategy 3.2.1: Provide and encourage public transportation

Expand MinuteVan

Action Item 3.2.1.1: Expand MinuteVan

Expand the MinuteVan shuttle system with more vehicles, more frequent service, and longer service hours. Provide more options for the disabled community. Consider making it a fixed route system.1
  • 1. The system could have stops but also route deviations on either side of the fixed routes. Stops could include the train station, the schools, Kelley’s Corner, West Acton Village, Acton Center, East Acton, and the proposed community center. The CoA shuttle can specialize in demand-responsive service and destinations outside Acton.
Priority: 
Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Capital?: 
Yes
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Finance Committee
Health Department
School Committees

Coordinate MinuteVan and CoA Van

Action Item 3.2.1.2: Coordinate MinuteVan and CoA Van

Coordinate the MinuteVan and Council on Aging shuttles, and consider combining them into a single system with both fixed route and demand-responsive capabilities.1
  • 1. The expanded MinuteVan could become a scheduled fixed route system with limited deviations from the route in response to customer requests; the CoA shuttle is a door-to-door on-request service.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Management?: 
Yes
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Health Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Coordinate shuttles with neighboring communities

Action Item 3.2.1.3: Coordinate shuttles with neighboring communities

Consider opportunities to work with neighboring communities to expand ridership of the shuttles.1
  • 1. Coordination can include high traffic destinations such as the commuter rail station and Emerson Hospital.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Commission on Disabilities
Health Department

Public/private funding for shuttle

Action Item 3.2.1.4: Public/private funding for shuttle

Explore public/private funding opportunities for the expanded shuttle system1.
  • 1. An example is the joint funding of Lexington’s Lexpress shuttle by the town and developers (including Avalon)
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Health Department
Manager Department
Planning Department

Increase resident use of commuter rail

Action Item 3.2.1.5: Increase resident use of commuter rail

Increase the number of Acton residents who use the commuter rail system1
  • 1. Ways to encourage commuter rail ridership include:
    • Complete the connection of the Assabet River Rail Trail to the commuter rail station to encourage commuting by bicycle.
    • Consider guiding growth to South Acton near the station (see Objective 1.1)
    • Develop partnerships with local businesses to provide van shuttles to the train station.
    • Facilitate car-pooling to the station.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Land Use
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Influence?: 
Yes

Consider ways to increase the amount of parking at the train station

Action Item 3.2.1.6: Consider ways to increase the amount of parking at the train station

Priority: 
2nd Highest
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Transportation Advisory Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Historic District Commission
Selectmen
South Acton Train Station Advisory Committee

Improve traffic circulation and reduce traffic impacts

Strategy 3.2.2: Improve traffic circulation and reduce traffic impacts

Traffic and parking in centers

Action Item 3.2.2.1: Traffic and parking in centers

Address local traffic circulation and parking in planning for key centers.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Other Inventory Elements: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Design Review Board
Economic Development Officer
Engineering Department
Fire Department
Historic District Commission
Planning Board

Reconfigure street layouts

Action Item 3.2.2.2: Reconfigure street layouts

Consider reconfiguring specific street layouts to provide alternate routes for congested areas and/or one-way streets to improve traffic flow.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Engineering Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Traffic calming

Action Item 3.2.2.3: Traffic calming

Consider traffic calming at locations where speeds are inconsistent with residential areas and village centers.
Timing: 
Medium-Term (complete by 2020)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Engineering Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Board

Improve business access.

Action Item 3.2.2.4: Improve business access.

Continue to make improvements to business access and transportation safety.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Economic Development Committee
Economic Development Officer
Planning Department
Transportation Advisory Committee

Work with MassDOT to improve access to and from Acton

Strategy 3.2.3: Work with MassDOT to improve access to and from Acton

Concord Rotary improvements

Action Item 3.2.3.1: Concord Rotary improvements

Work through the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization to promote the completion of planned improvements at the Concord Rotary.1
  • 1. The Boston MPO process for updating the regional transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program is one means to increase priority for the Concord Rotary project. The project would reduce cut-through traffic caused by back-ups as well as provide the access needed for economic development.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Planning Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Improve commuter rail

Action Item 3.2.3.2: Improve commuter rail

Work with the MBTA and surrounding communities to promote continued and improved commuter rail service.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Regional public transit

Action Item 3.2.3.3: Regional public transit

Work through the Boston MPO to explore regional public transportation options.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Planning Department<i> </i>
Selectmen<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Manager Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

New Regional Transit Authority

Action Item 3.2.3.4: New Regional Transit Authority

Work with MassDOT and surrounding communities to explore the formation of a Regional Transit Authority.
Timing: 
Long-Term (complete by 2030)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Transportation
Lead Owner: 
Manager Department<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Finance Committee
Finance Department
Health Department
Planning Department
Selectmen
Transportation Advisory Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Promote communication among town government, citizens, schools, and the business community.

Objective 3.3: Promote communication among town government, citizens, schools, and the business community.

Promote citizen engagement in town government

Strategy 3.3.1: Promote citizen engagement in town government

Promote active engagement of citizens and the transparency of town government. Improve communication and centralized information regarding existing resources and events.

Publicize town information sources

Action Item 3.3.1.1: Publicize town information sources

Continue to disseminate information about existing Town resources and services, such as Dial-a-Ride and Social Safety Net, using the Town Website, mailings, and posters/flyers at locations such as the Senior Center, libraries, and on shuttle vehicles. (See also Objective 5.2 and Objective 5.3)
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Lead Owner: 
Memorial Library<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Council on Aging
Community Services Coordinator
Information Technology Department
Transportation Advisory Committee
West Acton Citizens' Library

Citizen's academy

Action Item 3.3.1.2: Citizen's academy

Encourage citizen education efforts such as the formation of an Acton Citizens Academy providing classes, information, and events, where participants (both newcomers and established residents) learn about the different functions of local government including volunteer opportunities. 1
  • 1. The League of Women Voters has been doing education in this area for some time.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Cultural Resources
Other Inventory Elements: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department
Community Education
Community Services Coordinator
Memorial Library
Selectmen
Volunteer Coordinating Committee
Influence?: 
Yes

Usable video archives of key meetings

Action Item 3.3.1.3: Usable video archives of key meetings

Broadcast meetings of key boards (Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Finance Committee, Planning Board) and place copies of these broadcast videos on the Town website.
Timing: 
Ongoing (existing actions or efforts to be continued and expanded)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Acton TV <i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Clerk Department
Information Technology Department
Ripe?: 
No

Attract more volunteers to help with town affairs by conducting broad-based outreach.

Strategy 3.3.2: Attract more volunteers to help with town affairs by conducting broad-based outreach.

Publicize volunteer opportunities

Action Item 3.3.2.1: Publicize volunteer opportunities

Use town website and other Acton media to publicize volunteer opportunities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Volunteer Coordinating Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Human Resources Department
Information Technology Department
School Committees
Ripe?: 
Yes

More flexibility in volunteer opportunities

Action Item 3.3.2.2: More flexibility in volunteer opportunities

Provide flexibility in scheduling/timing of volunteer opportunities and consider creating opportunities for shorter-term volunteering (single event, single task, etc).
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Volunteer Coordinating Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Human Resources Department
School Committees

Support and strengthen neighborhoods.

Objective 3.4: Support and strengthen neighborhoods.

Encourage private efforts to organize neighborhoods

Action Item 3.4.1: Encourage private efforts to organize neighborhoods

Encourage private efforts to organize communication among neighbors and group activities.1
  • 1. Communication and interaction among neighbors might include email lists, Google groups, newsletters, etc. Group activities might include block parties, neighborhood books groups, walking groups, etc.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Lead Owner: 
Citizens and citizen groups<i> </i>
Influence?: 
Yes

Provide contact info for new residents to connect with organized neighborhood groups

Action Item 3.4.2: Provide contact info for new residents to connect with organized neighborhood groups

Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Facilities
Lead Owner: 
Memorial Library<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Clerk Department
Information Technology Department
Ripe?: 
Yes

Encourage the business community to organize providing new residents with business information

Action Item 3.4.3: Encourage the business community to organize providing new residents with business information

Such as provided by Welcome Wagon (tm) in other communities.
Timing: 
Short-Term (complete by 2015)
Primary Inventory Element: 
Economic Development
Lead Owner: 
Economic Development Committee<i> </i>
Other Owners: 
Citizens and citizen groups
Economic Development Officer