Active Transportation Working Group

Proposal to Sustainable South Shore bike & pedestrian group


The term “active transportation” is increasingly being used across the country to refer to transportation modes that generate more healthy physical activity, primarily walking, bicycling, and transit (but also less common modes such as skateboards, scooters, kayaks, etc.) These modes are not only healthier for individuals, but also for communities. Benefits of increased active transportation include:

  1. Reduced traffic congestion, delays, and parking requirements.

  2. Lower greenhouse gas emissions and other adverse environmental impacts (air and water pollution).

  3. Positive economic impacts, such as higher housing values associated with more ‘walkable’ neighborhoods, and local businesses benefiting from proximal foot and bicycle traffic.

  4. Businesses are looking to locate in communities with higher active transportation mode shares, as it suggests a more active, healthy, and thus less costly work force.

  5. More pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly cities and towns are increasingly recognized as providing the greatest quality of life and social connectedness. It’s one reason cities that these cities are often found on America’s lists of ‘most livable’ and desirable communities.

Current Activities: Examples from Scituate

Multi-use path development work:

  1. Driftway Trail; 8 foot side path from Greenbush station to Harbor

  2. Gannett Road side path; 6 foot path

  3. Hollett Street sidewalk; ~$500,000 Safe Routes to School grant received for construction

  4. Development of a Harborwalk, from the intersection of First Parish Rd. and Front St. along the harbor at Cole Parkway, through the wharf at the north end of Front Street. Down Jericho Rd ending with bike path/lanes to Lighthouse.

  5. Country Way multi-use path

  6. Tilden Road multi-use path

Future goals include completion of a “Grand Loop” in Scituate that creates functional multi-modal transportation links to key destinations, and as a result a marketable recreational circuit for bicycling and walking. The following segments are priorities:

  1. Pedestrian/bicycle accommodation along the full length of Hatherly Rd.

  2. Pedestrian/bicycle accommodation on Country Way, from First Parish Rd. south to Greenbush.

  3. Stockbridge Rd. from the Harbor area to the Greenbush rail station.

Increased bicycle parking.

  1. The Conway Building project required inclusion of 8 bicycle parking racks in the Harbor area (four proximate to the building).

  2. The recent update of the zoning ordinance included a bicycle parking requirement to provide bike racks equal to 10% of any motor vehicle parking spaces required.

Walking trail development on conservation land.

  1. Pathways on the Maxwell property and adjoining parcels in the West End (west of 3A). These should eventually tie to pathways along the Rt. 3A greenbelt, an undeveloped buffer along the roadway. For example, there is interest in a connection to the Old Forge neighborhood from the Town Hall/High School area.

  2. Trails on the Ellis Estate property.

  3. Trails in the Driftway Park

  4. A trail from Greenbush station along the unused rail corridor south into the N. River estuary.

Proposed Action Teams

South Shore Greenway

  1. Goal: Transform the conceptual South Shore Greenway plan developed by Conway School of Landscape Design into a real guiding, working document for the development of critical greenway linkages.

  2. Identify prioritized list of links and corridors, and a timeline and proposed funding mechanism for each

Complete Streets policies.

  1. Goal: Pass Complete Streets policies in communities throughout the South Shore

  2. Begin with a resolution or policy statement (e.g. by Select Board).

  3. Then move toward developing implementation guidelines and roadway design standards.

  4. Specific requirements of successful Complete Streets approach:

    1. All road projects (new, reconstruction, routine maintenance such as paving and painting programs) must take into account pedestrian, bicycle, transit, and motor vehicle accommodation.

    2. There are only limited, specifically defined exclusions allowed from making accommodation for all users (e.g. a controlled access highway that doesn’t allow bicyclists, such as Route 3).

  1.           Example projects:

    1. Route 123 reconstruction in Norwell

    2. Washington Boulevard “road diet” in Hingham/Hull

Multi-Modal Transportation Planning & Remediation

  1. Goal: All south shore community planning, public works, and select boards require multi-modal transportation analysis and accommodation for all relevant projects.

  2. Any project with any parking or traffic impact must require the developer to consider project impacts on all four travel modes (pedestrian, bicycle, transit, motor vehicle) and propose remediation for all modes.

  3. E.g. Require not just Traffic Impact Analysis (counting motor vehicles) but estimation of all possible pedestrian, bicycle, and transit traffic volumes, with proposed remediation to maximize these more sustainable modes.

  4. E.g. A project could ease some of the automobile parking required by providing enhanced bicycle parking and transit access.

  5. E.g. A community could launch a public/private bike rack installation program. Business owners and groups could purchase racks in bulk, at wholesale prices, and the town could install (to assure quality installation).

  6. E.g. Bicycle sharing program. Commercial bicycle sharing programs, provide bike racks with rental bikes, accessed by swipe cards, at strategic locations around the community; can be no- or low-cost to the community.

Market & Promote existing assets

  1. Goal: Aggressively promote and market the existing assets for active transportation and recreation, with two intended outcomes:

    1. Begin increasing active transportation and non-motorized recreation in the local population.

    2. Begin building a base of advocates who value these assets and will support their further development.

  2. Approaches include:

    1. Development of a South Shore Greenway website, or other on-line tools that allow users to find areas for walking and cycling.

    2. A standardized South Shore way-finding system of signs and maps that guide users for walking, cycling, and transit access.

    3. Partner with the local hospitality industry (hotels, B&Bs, restaurants), other businesses, and historic preservation groups to promote active recreation opportunities, historic walks & bike rides, supportive local businesses, etc.

    4. Examples of currently available activities: Cycling or walking the Driftway Trail to Greenbush station; riding the train to Cohasset station to access the multi-use trail to Thayer Woods and Wompatuck State Park, or to West Hingham to access Bare Cove Park.

The Scituate Historic Trails project formed from a partnership between Scituate Historical Society, People for Active Transportation & Health (PATH), and Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary to create and promote walking paths and bike routes connecting historical sites, beaches, downtown businesses and other fun places to relax, learn, eat and enjoy Scituate, a charming New England seaside town founded in 1636. Scituate is a coastal town located 25 miles south of Boston with nearly 17 square miles of history and centuries old character to be enjoyed on foot, on a bicycle or from a boat! From out of town? Hop on the Greenbush Train from South Station with your bike and enjoy a healthy, historical adventure to Scituate Massachusetts.