City of Melrose Complete Streets Program

The goal of Melrose’s Complete Streets program is to enhance our transportation network for all modes by safely connecting home, work, school, shopping, dining, recreation and more. In June 2016, the City adopted a Complete Streets Policy which was subsequently approved by the state. The information below outlines the purpose of Melrose’s Complete Streets program and the implementation progress to date.

Why Complete Streets?
Melrose residents place high value on the City’s vibrant, walkable downtown and neighborhood business districts, excellent schools, varied public transit options, and multitude of green space. The City is committed to maintaining Melrose’s character as a desirable community for residents of all ages, stages of life, and abilities.

By incorporating Complete Streets guiding principles, the City will advance its efforts to create a transportation network that provides safety and accessibility for all users of our roadways, trails, and transit systems, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, freight and commercial vehicles, and emergency vehicles. The City also recognizes that Complete Streets can increase everyday physical activity by enabling additional walking and bicycling by its residents and visitors. The City’s Complete Streets Policy will be applied in all decision-making for related infrastructure planning and construction.(See Brochure)

Prioritization Plan
In order to qualify for state grant funding to assist in the implementation of our Complete Streets goals, the City was required to complete a Prioritization Plan, identifying the top ranked projects recommended for construction.

Possible projects to include on the list were identified after soliciting public input, as summarized below:

1) A public hearing was held in spring 2016.
2) Public input was solicited by City staff at the 2016 Victorian Fair via an interactive display.
3) The Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (Ped/Bike Committee) used the same interactive display to solicit public input at the Victorian Fair and Farmer’s Markets.
4) The Ped/Bike Committee provided a list of their highest priority projects.
5) The Engineering Division compiled a list of project suggestions based on resident requests collected over the last year.
6) Project Consultant, BETA Group, compiled and analyzed data from a variety of sources to identify “network gaps,” where the City has insufficient infrastructure to allow people to walk or bike safely to destinations.

The results of items 1-3 listed above were summarized in a Public Input Map. After considering all possible projects from these varied sources, BETA created a list of 43 projects for the City’s Complete Streets Working Group to consider, along with a map showing the approximate location of each item. The Working Group then reviewed the list of 43 projects and narrowed it down to 25. Those 25 projects were then ranked based on factors, such as connectivity to schools and public buildings, to produce a proposed list of projects to then be evaluated in more detail to develop cost estimates. This list was presented in June 2017 at a public meeting at City Hall.

Based on all of this information, the City completed its Prioritization Plan, which can be found here. The plan was submitted to Mass DOT on August 31, 2017.

Next Steps
Now that the prioritization plan has been submitted, as we await MassDOT approval, the City can prepare to apply for grant funding to implement selected projects. Thie City plans to submit an application for grant funding by October 1, 2017 and expects to hear whether funding will be provided later this year for construction in 2018. Complete Streets construction grants can be up to $400,000 per year, allowing the City to undertake important projects to better connect Melrosians to our destinations.