Commuters heading east on Massachusetts Ave will be seeing red.
Hopefully, that will only be because the town’s new bus-only lane has been painted bright red, officially marking the town’s commitment to improving its public transportation system. After a successful pilot program that began last year, Arlington has installed permanent markings for the bus-only lane.
The bus lane runs east on Mass. Ave. from the intersection of Varnum Street to the intersection of Alewife Brook Parkway, and serves MBTA routes 77, 79 and 350. The lane will be in effect only during peak commuting time, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. During that time period, what would normally qualify as a parking lane will be open to bus travel only; removing the buses from the general flow of traffic and providing for faster commutes for both bus passengers and drivers.
Outside of the designated commuter time, the lane will be utilized for parking as it was previously designed for.
The pilot program began last November, and after a successful test run, the Select Board approved a permanent installation of the bus lane in February. (read more)
The city of Medford recently announced the launch of the Medford Community Electricity Aggregation program for residents and businesses beginning in December 2019 and going through December 2022.
Community aggregation is a bulk energy purchase program that can save residents money while increasing the amount of renewable energy used.
The primary goals of the program are to provide a cost-effective, stable and responsible alternative to utility electricity rates for participating consumers. The program will also offer participants renewable energy options from which to choose. Various public meetings are scheduled where the program will be discussed. Residents can visit http://medfordCEA.com to learn more about the program and to answer any questions they might have.
Following authorization from Medford City Council on Feb. 6, 2018, the city began to research, develop and implement a Community Choice Electricity Aggregation program. The residential rate received through a competitive bid is $0.115075 per kWh over the 36-month term from December 2019 to December 2022. The announced National Grid rate for the six months beginning Nov. 1, is $0.13982 per kWh. (read more)
Climate Change Is an Issue for the Town; Faison Addresses Concerns, Future at Meeting (Winthrop Transcript 10/4/19)
What will climate change look like in Winthrop’s future? It looks like what the town has been experiencing with flooding along Morton Street, Pico, Ingleside Park, Shirley Street near the marina, Coughlin Park or other areas either effected by 100-year storms that seem to come every other year.
Last Wednesday night about 30 people packed the Hazlett Room at the Library to hear about “Winthrop Engages: Climate Change” from Town Manager Austin Faison, Julie Wormser of the Mystic River Watershed Association and Leah Robbins of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Last June the town received a municipal vulnerability program designation, which provides support and grants for cities and towns in Massachusetts to plan for resiliency and implement key climate change adaptation actions for resiliency.
Faison said climate change even plays a factor into where the town can build a public safety building.
“It will have to be the best building in the whole town,” Faison said.
SHARON - Local officials are moving forward with negotiations for several solar sites throughout Sharon, in the hopes of putting an agreement up for Town Meeting approval this fall.
The Select Board voted to pursue the matter at its Sept. 10 meeting, after hearing a report on the Energy Advisory Committee’s efforts.
Committee Chairman George Aronson said the town had received 11 proposals for a set of solar projects in town, including panels at the landfill and East Elementary School. The committee recommended the town award the rights to Distributed Solar Development.
Timothy Magner, of Distributed Solar Development, said the firm was excited to be working with Sharon, and hoped to move forward quickly without sacrificing attention to detail. The East Elementary project, he said, would consist of solar canopies above the school’s parking spaces.
“We did a site walk of the property last week,” he said. “We engaged with the principal there.” (read more)
Over the next year and half, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council will develop a series of resources to support local net zero planning while helping the city of Melrose and towns of Arlington and Natick identify the actions each community will need to take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As a part of MAPC’s Zero to 101 initiative, this project will lay the foundation for communities across Massachusetts to set ambitious climate goals, and take action.
Municipal staff and volunteers will be present at Arlington Town Day on Saturday, Sept. 14 with a net zero action table with information about the importance of the community’s net zero plan and how residents can get involved. Details are available at http://mapc.org/resource-library/planning-for-net-zero-by-2050. (read more)
Local leaders recently gathered to celebrate the inclusion of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Wayland and Sudbury in a new Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center report on innovative clean energy programs at the municipal level.
“The best ideas for clean energy often start at the local level,” said Ben Hellerstein, state director for the Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center. “If we want to have cleaner air, healthier communities and a safer future for our children, we need to move rapidly toward 100% renewable energy from sources like the sun and the wind. These communities are showing how to make it happen.”
The report, Renewable Communities, features these five communities alongside 19 other Massachusetts cities and towns that are leading the way toward 100% renewable energy. The report discusses renewable electricity, energy efficiency, clean transportation and heating and energy storage programs, including Lexington’s 100% renewable school projects, Concord’s electric school bus pilot and the Lincoln-Sudbury-Wayland Solarize Mass Plus campaign. (read more)
CHATHAM – Wind, waves, currents and erosion will combine to turn Chatham’s barrier beach, North Beach Island, into a boomerang-shaped spit of sand by 2045, a study by Applied Coastal Research predicts.
It was one of the findings that John Ramsey, of the Mashpee-based environmental consultancy firm, explained at a June 27 public forum following completion of a $250,000 study of the east-facing shoreline the town had contracted.
Using present and future condition computer modeling, Applied Coastal was able to review what is going on now and predict what will happen in the next 25 years.
The north inlet, separating North (Nauset) Beach from North Beach Island, has been migrating south since it was created by a breach in 2007, said Ramsey.
“The North Beach Island is basically falling apart as we see it and that inlet just starts migrating to the south because it has nothing holding it in place,” he said. (read more)
WESTPORT — Two more large scale solar energy farms are nearing the end of the special permit and site plan approval process by the Westport Planning Board, which has seen a flood of applications for extensive solar energy arrays in the last few years.
With these pending approvals, the town will hit double digit numbers for operational and permitted solar farms in all parts of town.
At its July 16 meeting, the Planning Board reviewed revised plans for two new energy facilities — a 4.5 megawatt solar farm proposed Soltage Westport Route 88 Solar 1, LLC on leased hayfields and vineyard at the end of Sullivan Drive — and a 4.2 megawatt solar farm off Sanford Road.
The Soltage project would be accessed by a private lane off Briggs Road, created to give landowners access to land beside Route 88 when the highway was built decades ago. The board has been reviewing site plans and revisions since February, and have been working with the applicant’s engineers on revisions to the project at four subsequent meetings. (read more)
The town of Watertown announced that it has entered into a contract to buy electricity for the Watertown Electricity Choice program, which will launch in September 2019.
Watertown Electricity Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a group buy program for electricity supply. Massachusetts state law allows cities and towns to aggregate electricity customers within their borders and select an electricity supplier on behalf of those customers, rather than having Eversource buy their electricity. Municipal aggregations are heavily regulated by the state and offer many consumer protections not available with private for-profit programs.
Watertown Electricity Choice will increase the amount of renewable energy in Watertown’s electricity supply, providing an additional 35% renewable electricity over and above the state-required minimum amount. With the increasing state renewable energy requirement Watertown Electricity Choice will provide over 50% local renewable energy in its first full year going up to 53% in the last year of the contract. (read more)
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