Category Archives: Uncategorized

May 2018 Green Acton Statement on Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project

Public Statement about Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project Approved by Green Acton Directors 2018-05-18
Sent to Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Kelley’s Corner Steering Committee

Green Acton looks forward to changes in Kelley’s Corner to help it become, in the words of the Acton 2020 plan, “a busy, walkable Town center.” Green Acton advocates for sustainable, walkable, ecologically sound and human-friendly land use, consistent with the Acton 2020 plan. The Kelley’s Corner Steering Committee (KCSC), started by the Acton 2020 committee, is charged with creating and implementing a plan to achieve the Acton 2020 goals for Kelley’s corner. So, there is a great deal of alignment between Green Acton’s goals and the KCSC goals.

The directors of Green Acton have some concerns about the current 25% design for the Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project. We do not have a shared position on whether addressing these concerns will require a delay in the TIP process or can be accommodated within the current design. We do share a concern that the goal of reducing traffic wait times has been prioritized  too far “above” other goals. We plan to continue working with the KCSC to understand how best to address our concerns.

We share these concerns, and offer some suggestions on how to resolve them. We don’t have a shared understanding of which of these suggestions may represent the best ways forward. We plan to work with the KCSC to see if research and discussion will help us converge on the best ways of addressing these concerns

  1. The destruction of large trees that are sequestering major amounts of carbon and contributing to quality of life, especially the trees on the north side of Mass. Ave. between Main Street and Charter Road. Suggestions include:
    1. have an arborist report on the health and estimated remaining lifetime of these trees for use as guidance in judicious removal of any “senior” trees
    2. fund sufficient trees to match the total of diameters of any trees that may be removed in the course of the project; these replacement trees do not all need to be sited in Kelley’s corner, and probably shouldn’t be
    3. reconfigure sidewalks, traffic lanes, and bike lanes to keep the embankment as is in order to protect the trees on the north side of Mass. Ave. between Kelley’s Corner and Charter Road
    4. ensure that the landscaping for the project:
      1. responds to the need for “green visual corridors,” or vistas, along the length of the project on Mass. Ave. and Main St.
      2. is designed with human needs in mind, i.e., more natural/fluid/organic than rectilinear (note how few straight lines exist in nature)
      3. employs a diverse assortment of hardy, long-lived native trees and other plantings
  2. The wider crossing distances at the main Kelley’s Corner intersection that create extra risks and concerns for people with disabilities and children, and may threaten the viability of parking-dependent businesses by removing parking. Suggestions include:
    1. remove additional turning lanes to shorten walking distances
    2. raise and widen crosswalks to create a more compelling zone of safety for pedestrians
    3. provide additional persuasive information on how new traffic light systems increase safety for children and people with disabilities by extending the time allowed to cross — even with longer crossing distances
    4. create specific parking plans to allay the concerns of business owners
    5. lower the speed limit to that used for other arterial numbered highways in area towns (such as in Wayland at Rt. 27), and make any other “traffic-calming” changes that would implicitly communicate the new, slower limits

We urge the Committee to continue to work with concerned citizens to develop a plan that addresses these concerns, and to prioritize any “fixes” that would impact the Town’s path through the state and federal approval and funding processes. Green Acton looks forward to continued cooperation and communication with the Kelley’s Corner Steering Committee, Town Staff, and DOT and MPO officials, in bringing “a busy, walkable Town center” to Kelley’s Corner, and in finding a shared sense of priorities that center people and the environment in this critical project, which will shape our Town for decades to come.

Green Acton Position on Town Meeting Article 26: Great Road Water Supply

Article 26 for Acton Town Meeting 2018 is a non-binding resolution which asks Town Meeting to approve an inter-municipal agreement between Acton and Concord.  In this agreement, Concord agrees to continue to provide water service to customers along Great Road (Rt 2A) in Acton.  In return, Acton agrees to allow Concord to build their proposed Water Treatment Plant on Nagog Pond, and to forebear from efforts to secure water from Nagog for Acton or to limit Concord’s Nagog withdrawals.

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Green Acton supports the Environmental Justice Bill

At our December 2017 meeting, Green Acton signed on to the letter below in support of the Environmental Justice Act (H.2913 / S.426). And here is a link to a one-pager explaining this proposed legislation.

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30th Annual Local Environmental Action conference: Sunday, March 5th at Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Local Environmental Acton conference poster30th Annual Local Environmental Action conference: Sunday, March 5th at Northeastern University, Boston, MA

  • Great way to connect with other towns and see what they are working on, and gain exposure to new ideas and information on climate / clean energy issues
  • Nearly 20 workshops that cover a range of issues and skills – from the future of energy in New England, to organizing in the age of Trump, to the health impacts of fracked gas well-heads to your kitchen stove
  • Recognize our many victories over the year and be inspired to go back and continue the fight to protect the health and safety of our communities, our environment, and our climate

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

  • Kandi Mossett
    Kandi Mossett is a powerful Indigenous leader and environmental justice hero on the frontlines of the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. A member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Kandi is the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign Coordinator, leading the fight to raise awareness about the environmentally & socially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing on tribal lands. We’re so honored to have her joining us to share lessons from NoDAPL and her international and national climate advocacy work.
  • Lois Gibbs
    Lois Gibbs is known by many as the mother of the anti-toxics movement and the federal Superfund program. Lois was a housewife living in Niagara Falls, New York in 1978 when she learned that her neighborhood, Love Canal, was built on top of 21,000 tons of hazardous chemical waste. After successfully organizing her neighbors to win the evacuation and cleanup of Love Canal, Lois went on to found the Center for Health, Environment & Justice and has helped communities across the country fight to protect themselves from toxic exposures. Most recently, Lois has been working on the ground in Flint, Michigan.

Register online here and read up on the conference agenda information here.  Breakfast and lunch are included in all tickets.  Cohosted by the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and the Toxics Action Center.

Water Quantity

95% of Acton’s households get their water from the Acton Water District. This water comes entirely from shallow water wells from within the boundaries of the Town.  Only certain geological settings are suitable for extracting water, and most of the good sites in Acton have been drilled already, or are not available for drilling. Conscientious conservation measures have kept Acton’s water usage within the boundaries of the available water supply. However, should any of the wells become unavailable, or precipitation patterns change, or development continue unchecked, Acton’s need for water could exceed the  amount of water we can draw from within our borders. What will we do then?

 

2016 Green Acton comments on WR Grace cleanup plan

Below is the text of Green Acton’s 2016 letter to the EPA about the Grace cleanup site. A PDF is available here Continue reading

Six zero-waste initiatives for Acton

In 2013, Green Acton presented six ideas to the Board of Selectmen on the next best steps on how to reduce material waste in Acton, and thus move the town towards a zero-waste vision.

  1. Swap Shed,
  2. Recycling at Recreation Areas
  3. Better Communications about Recycling
  4. Require Private Haulers to Report Tonnages,
  5. Explore Trash Pricing Options
  6. Extended Producer Responsibility Resolution

Here’s what the selectmen decided in 2013 about these initiatives.

Planting Plan and Volunteer Opportunities

The garden design seeks to create a sustainable tribute to Charlotte, with:

  • flower/foliage characteristics that include drought tolerance;
  • use of native plants, herbs, daisies, groundcovers, bulbs and wildflowers;
  • easy care;
  • fragrant tall plants along the sidewalk to provide screening, and between the children’s library windows;
  • spring to fall continuum of bloom; and a
  • tapestry of varied foliage.

See the planting recommendations for a plant list, volunteer contact info, photos, and other details.

Volunteers are needed to help with:

What: Ongoing garden maintenance— (weeding, watering when needed, etc.),
When: Any two weeks over the summer and fall. Two 1-2 hour visits each week are recommended.
How: Instructions will be supplied.

Acton Climate Action Team

This now-defunct group worked on education and advocacy around climate issues. Continue reading

Hosted Charles Parker, Author of “Concord Energy Master Plan”

Hosted Charles Parker, lead author of “Concord Energy Master Plan.”  Charles talked about Concord’s energy plan, including the wider context that drives the plan (peak oil + climate change), and the specifics of how the plan envisions reducing Concord’s energy footprint via actions in all sectors: town, school, residents, businesses, and the Concord municipal light plant. Includes direct energy reduction strategies, clean energy production, and the secondary forces that drive energy use: land use, materials use, transportation planning, and more.

Link to PDF of plan: http://goo.gl/hNM19

Link to PPT of slides (19 MB): http://goo.gl/KeWC6