News Briefs: Cities, towns honored for ‘Complete Streets’; League of Women Voters chapter forms again

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By Friday, Jun 9 News

Cities, towns recognized for promoting ‘Complete Streets’

Boston — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that Smart Growth America is honoring several Massachusetts cities and towns that were awarded money from the Baker-Polito administration for having “led the nation in creating and adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies last year.”

In its “The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2016” report released Thursday by the National Complete Streets Coalition, the accomplishments of numerous Massachusetts communities are highlighted for making “formal commitments to streets that are safe and convenient for everyone—no matter their age, income, race, ethnicity, physical ability, or how they choose to travel.” Since 2016, the Baker-Polito administration has awarded approximately $10 million to 26 communities across Massachusetts to assist in building “Complete Streets” infrastructure in addition to awarding approximately $2.7 million in technical assistance grants and working closely with municipalities in promoting smart designs to make streets safe for pedestrians, cyclists, transit users and drivers.

The report’s list of Complete Streets policies leading the nation includes:

Rank Jurisdiction Policy score
1 Brockton 100.0
1 Missoula, Mont. 100.0
1 Wenatchee, Wash. 100.0
2 Hull 98.4
2 Mansfield 98.4
2 Sherborn 98.4
3 Bridgewater 96.8
3 Brookline 96.8
4 Chester 96.0
4 Muskogee, Okla. 96.0
5 Ayer 95.2
5 Wales 95.2
5 Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study, N.Y. 95.2

Under the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program, to date 161 municipalities have registered to participate, 129 cities and towns have approved complete streets policies, and 60 have approved Prioritization Plans. MassDOT has engaged city and town officials in workshops about complete streets infrastructure design and has developed a full Complete Streets Funding Program Guidance document that explains the program requirements, model policy guidance and scoring system, and eligible infrastructure. A two-way interactive online portal has been developed to guide and assist municipalities through the Policy Development, Prioritization Plan and Project Approval Tiers of the program.

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Local League of Women Voters chapter forms again

Pittsfield — As of May 4, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has reformed its Berkshire chapter, the League of Women Voters of Central Berkshire County.

The LWVCBC adopted the nonpartisan policy that was written specifically for it; adopted the bylaws as written; and voted Catherine Penna as its president, Sonam Choedon as its voter services chair, and Pamela Knisley as its secretary, all for one-year terms. LWVCBC first incentives will be in two areas: membership/outreach and voter services/local elections.

First founded as a chapter for Pittsfield in the early 1960s and later for all of central Berkshire county, the local league is one of many Massachusetts chapters of the national, nonpartisan political organization League of Women Voters that influences public policy through education and advocacy by registering voters; organizing candidate forums; publishing voting guides; and disseminating general information on the legislative process and the functioning of government on the local, state and federal levels.

The original chapter disbanded in 2001. The chapter consistently served to educate the public on voter registration, the voting process, and the functioning of local and state governments. Other issues of importance included childcare and rights, prison reform, clean water and health care.

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