Technical Advisory Committee [TAC]
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
Somersworth City Hall
Thursday, April 5th 2007
[Download PDF of this Agenda]
2. Staff Communications (Informational).
3. Draft February 1st 2007 Minutes [Attachments 1].
4. Bi-State Economics Summit-Transportation Focus Group
5. Seacoast MPO Realignment Process.
6. Revisions to the Draft Seacoast MPO Public Participation Plan (45-Day Review).
7. Ten-Year Plan Project Solicitation Report.
8. UPWP 2008-2009 Draft Contract Scope of Work and Budget.
9. 2007-2026 Long Range Transportation Plan Progress Report
10. Project Updates.
US 1 Corridor Study: The US 1 Corridor study has made some significant progress in the last few months. Work on Phase I and II is essentially complete as are the development of alternatives for improvements along the corridor. The concepts that have been established for the corridor have been generally well accepted and work is completed on developing specific improvements and determining costs. Staff has tuned recommendations for specific areas and is working on the draft of the Corridor Plan. The Corridor Study Committee will be meeting at least one more time to review public input and prioritize projects along the corridor. The current timeline will have a draft of the plan available this winter.
Exit 9 Park and Ride: The project is currently scheduled for construction in 2007 pending resolution of the Right of Way process. NHDOT is currently negotiating with a property owner to secure the necessary right of way to begin the project.
Newmarket #13499: Project is scheduled to advertise in February 2007. Project involves reconstructing Main Street to improve pedestrian facilities. CMAQ project selected in 2000.
Northwood MOU:SRPC staff presented the NHDOT MOU to the Northwood Board of Selectmen at their January 23, 2007 meeting. The Selectmen present voiced their support for signing the MOU, developing procedures for review with DOT for review of applications (as outlined in the MOU) and for potential development an Access Management Plan for key intersections, road segments and parcels in the Town. The Selectmen will consider the MOU for signature at their next meeting in February 2007.
Lee Zoning Proposal:The Lee Planning Board held a hearing January 25, 2007 for their proposal to expand the commercial zoning district, which is located along Route 125 near the traffic circle, to include properties on Old Mill Road and Newtown Plains Road south to the Barrington town line. The area along Old Mill Road and Newtown Plains Road was selected based on three issues: easy access to/from Route 4 for trucks, keeping the commercial zone contiguous, and making sure the land is suitable for building. Planning Board members and the Director of Planning and Zoning contend that the existing commercial is nearly built-out and that the proposal will provide development opportunities for a timeframe of about 30-50 years. The expansion would increase the size of the commercial zone by about approximately 50 percent or 380 acres, from its current area of 360 acres.
Route 125 Transportation Land Use Study – Phase II: SRPC staff developed a scope of work and sent out an RFP for phase II of the project. The deadline for submitting proposals was January 31, 2007. Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc (VHB) completed Phase 1 of the transportation and land use study of the Route 125 Corridor between Route 101 in Epping and the Spaulding Turnpike in Rochester. Both Phase 1 and II were funded through the State Planning and Research grant program (SPR). SRPC successfully secured $100,000 for Phase II of the project
Farmington-Rochester #14575:NH DOT held a Public Officials/Public Information Meeting at the Rochester Public Library on Tuesday, January 30, 2007. The project involves paving, guardrail repairs, drainage improvements and upgrading traffic signs on a 3.8 mile section of NH Route 11 in Farmington and Rochester. The project also involves adding right turns lanes at major drives in Rochester.
Transportation Guidebook for Local Communities: This project was funded via the State Planning and Research grant program (SPR) is progressing with cooperative work between land use and transportation planners at RPC. Much of the research has been completed and sections of the guidebook are being drafted at this time. Expected completion date is June, 2007.
Transportation Assistance for Seacoast Citizens (TASC): TASC began operations in early December 2006, and currently has a corps of approximately 25 volunteer drivers drawn from local churches in the six communities south of Portsmouth (Hampton, North Hampton, Seabrook, Greenland, Stratham, Exeter). To date TASC has been funded through a pair of grants from the United Way of the Greater Seacoast along with contributions from six participating congregations. TASC is actively seeking additional volunteer drivers as well as supplemental funding.
Alliance for Community Transportation (ACT) – COAST has been actively involved over the past year and a half in working with the Strafford Network and numerous other health and human service agencies in the MPO region to develop a regional transportation brokerage to centralize and coordinate scheduling and dispatching of vehicles for multiple agencies to improve efficiency of operations for these agencies and expand regional capacity to provide demand-response rides for transit-dependent individuals such as seniors, people with disabilities, low income residents, and others with limited access to transportation. This group has recently adopted the name “Alliance for Community Transportation” or ACT. ACT recently secured a second round of planning funding from the Endowment for Health, and has applied for a three year Theme Grant from the Endowment for Health to support the startup of brokerage operations.
Implementation Study for the NH Segment of the East Coast Greenway – The RPC has secured two grants to support planning for the NH Segment of the East Coast Greenway. These include a State Planning and Research (SPR) grant from NHDOT, and a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service (NPS) Rivers and Trails Program. Key partners in this project include Seacoast Area Bicycle Routes (SABR), the East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), the Eastern Trail Management District (ETMD), and NPS.
Portsmouth-Manchester Airport Bus Study – RPC is continuing work on the NHDOT/SPR-funded feasibility study for intercity bus service between the NH-ME Seacoast and Manchester Airport. Southern NH Planning Commission is a partner in this project. The planning commissions have contracted with the Manchester Airport Authority and RKM Associates to add several questions related to transit onto the Airport Authority’s monthly enplaning passenger survey. Thus far we have five months worth of data, which suggest a strong interest in transit service on the part of passengers, though also the need for such a service to feature relative high frequency (hourly buses), and a fare in the range of $20 round trip. We anticipate the need for another 4-5 months of survey data to capture a sample of 300 responses from passengers residing in the Seacoast study catchment area.
Downeaster Passenger Survey – During December MPO staff collaborated with representatives from the Downeaster Station Committees in the towns of Exeter, Durham, and Dover to complete a survey of passengers on the Downeaster. While the surveys gathered a range of useful date, the central purpose of the survey was to quantify the percentage of passengers using the train who live in communities other than the three station communities. Currently the station communities absorb the full costs of platform maintenance, lease from Pan Am Railway Systems, and liability insurance. These costs, especially the liability premiums, have increased significantly in recent years as ridership has increased, such that Exeter, for example, pays over $60,000 year in station costs.
While full results are still being tabulated, preliminary results from Exeter found that only 37% of boarding passengers were in fact Exeter residents, while 63% traveled to the station from other communities. These data, showing the regional nature and benefits of the service, should be useful in building a case for state funding assistance to the station communities.