Southern Massachusetts TTOD Regional Forum
Last week, MassINC kicked off ourTransformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum Series at the Whaling Museum in New Bedford. The event was co-sponsored by the City of New Bedford, the SouthCoast Development Partnership, and the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
The Southern Massachusetts TTOD Regional Forum allowed for community leaders and the civically-engaged to gather for a conversation about the advancements, challenges, and visions of transit-oriented development in Gateway Cities and nearby communities, including New Bedford, Brockton, Fall River, Taunton, and Attleboro.
The event started off with optional half-hour walking tours of downtown New Bedford. Luckily the rain died down just in time, allowing for guide Derek Santos of the New Bedford Economic Development Council to show off the downtown’s most recent additions and improvements.
Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford then opened up the forum discussion by highlighting the importance of rail and the promise of bolstering developmental aims.
Dr. Corley reviewed seven rail system improvement options being explored by the MBTA’s Rail Vision project (click here for Dr. Corley’s presentation). Rail Vision which aims to transform the existing Commuter Rail system in the Greater Boston Region, helped introduce Jean Fox, Project Manager at MassDOT, who walked the audience through the recent developments in the South Coast Rail project (Click here for Jean’s presentation).
Tony Sapienza, chair of the New Bedford Economic Development Council, then moderated a discussion about how southern Massachusetts regions are planning for TOD near their rail and intermodal stations.
Rob May, the Director of Planning and Economic Development in Brockton, brought tortilla chips to illustrate how his “seven-layer dip” of tools have accelerated and fostered mixed-use development near the city’s rail stop (Click here for Rob’s presentation). Angela Constantino, Senior Transportation Planner and Mobility Manager at SRPEDD, highlighted several exciting projects in Attleboro and surrounding communities through the lens of interconnected bus and rail service (Click here for Angela’s presentation). Ted Carman, President of Concord Square Planning and Development Inc., focused on the myriad of strategies that must be employed to structure a real estate deal for downtown revitalization. Kirsten Bryan, Assistant City Planner in New Bedford, demonstrated that though the city does not yet have a rail stop, its plans anticipate the coming rail service and city officials have actively engaged local businesses and residents in the planning process (Click here for Kirsten’s presentation).
The forum ended with a brief Q & A; however, many attendees joined the co-sponsors for informal networking at Moby Dick Brewery. Everyone enjoyed to the opportunity to meet with peers in surrounding communities and discuss strategies for making South Coast Rail and robust TOD a reality across Southern Massachusetts.
MassINC would like to thank Mayor Mitchell, our partners from the City of New Bedford, the SouthCoast Development Partnership, the New Bedford Economic Development Council, and everyone who participated in our first Transformative Transit-Oriented Development (TTOD) Regional Forum.