For Immediate Release: November 16, 2006
Contact: Vanessa Gulati
STATE ANNOUNCES OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
IN MIDDLESEX FELLS PARKWAYS PLANNING PROCESS
Today, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced its plans for an extensive public input process, designed to develop a vision for the parkways of the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham. DCR will work with members of the communities surrounding the Fells and other interested parties to develop conceptual plans for traffic management, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and other benefits to the Reservation.
“I am pleased to kick off this inclusive approach to crafting a vision for the parkways of the Middlesex Fells,” said DCR Commissioner Stephen H. Burrington. “The outcome of this planning process will provide guidance for future decision-making, and will help protect and improve the Fells for all users, be they pedestrians, bicyclists or motorists.”
The planning process will begin with a series of interviews with major stakeholders in late November, followed by a four-day interactive community workshop, scheduled for December 11-14. The process will conclude with a public meeting to present the concept plan for the Middlesex Fells parkways.
DCR intends to use the information gathered through this process as the basis for its further review of the Langwood Commons project, a proposed mixed-use development project on the site of the former Boston Regional Medical Center on Woodland Road. This review is part and parcel of DCR’s broader efforts to protect the historic character of its parkways throughout the Commonwealth, which have included the development of Historic Parkway Preservation Treatment Guidelines.
In January, the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs directed the project proponent, the Gutierrez Company of Burlington, to work with DCR to address concerns about traffic impacts to the Reservation. The Gutierrez Company is providing the financial support for the planning process. The consultant team includes Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin, a national leader in the field of context-sensitive transportation design, and Rizzo Associates of Framingham. The Gutierrez Company has not filed its Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report, which will provide the Secretary’s requested analysis of alternative development plans that reduce the size of the project.
“Retaining the services of an outside consultant at a developer’s expense is common practice by municipalities,” added Commissioner Burrington. “The developer will pay for the services of a consultant who has been selected by, and will work at the direction of, DCR. Our duty is to ensure that traffic the project would generate does not degrade the parkways or the Fells, and to protect and enhance public enjoyment of the parkways and Fells, particularly by non-motorized users. This process will help DCR fulfill that responsibility.”
Interested parties should contact Patrice Kish at 617-626-1378 or Patrice.Kish@state.ma.us.