Concord has hired Stantec, a Canadian infrastructure engineering firm, to provide a holistic plan for Concord’s transportation and mobility needs. An important goal, but Stantec’s proposal is focused on engineered infrastructure solutions — Complete Streets including such elements as roadway widening, intersection improvement, parking, sidewalks and access to the Commuter Rail.
A glaring omission is the simple provision of shared transportation services, including expansion of Concord’s Tourism Trolley Pilot from last summer and ideas that have worked in other towns. These service solutions include Boston’s hop-on/hop-off trolley, Acton’s Cross-Town Connect shuttle, and perhaps an Uber-like service to allow residents to offer rides on-the-fly.
Such services can be more responsive to resident needs than a fixed infrastructure solution and can be adjusted to support a town event or even ramped up when bad weather discourages walkers and bike riders.
I live in West Concord and walk to medical appointments at Emerson or Baker Avenue but drive if I must cross Route 2. Likewise, I walk to shops in West Concord but must drive if I want to drop something off at Goodwill, cash in my returnables, or buy a few bags (recyclable, of course) of groceries at Crosby’s. A shared trolley could easily address my need. No amount of roadway or crosswalk improvement would allow me to carry all this stuff in my backpack (if I were to walk) or inside baskets (if I took my bike).
Let’s ask Stantec to widen their lens to weight transportation services equally to transportation infrastructure.