Ipswich Livable Community planning

The Ipswich Planning Department held a meeting on Wednesday September 3, 7:00 pm at the Ipswich Town Hall, second floor, in the Town Manager's meeting room, for persons who are interested in helping move our Livable Communities program forward.

Beth Isler, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and Livability Program Manager for the Central Transportation Planning Staff (an arm of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization) met with us. Beth visited the Town in late May and met with the Assistant Planner Kathy Connor, Carolyn Britt and Brian Hone. Discussion was followed by an hour walk around the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Beth also bicycled to various locations throughout town as part of her research that will be presented at the September workshop.

In early spring, a Livable Communities technical assistance grant was brought to the Planning office’s attention which staff subsequently applied for. The Planning Department’s application asked for assistance regarding improved ways to walk and bike from destination to destination in town and the need for wayfinding aimed at the visiting bicyclist/pedestrian community (see grant narrative below).    Here is a link to the Central Transportation Planning Staff’s website: http://www.ctps.org/Drupal/ctps  and from there you can also explore the Boston MPO’s entire website

Grant narrative

Ipswich is experiencing a surge of interest from residents who want improved ways to walk and bike from destination to destination in town. In addition, bicycling and walking tour groups are pointing out the need for a wayfinding system that is aimed at the visiting cyclist/pedestrian community. Due to this increased interest, we seek suggestions on how to improve the user-friendliness and accessibility of Ipswich for all pedestrians and bicyclists in the following ways:
a)       design and placement of wayfinding signs (likely locations include the Visitor’s Center, the commuter rail station, and downtown)
b)       recommendations for creating places to sit outdoors in the town center (useful for the pedestrian and the bicyclist patronizing local businesses)
c)       recommendations for optimal group bicycle rack locations in the town center (perhaps sharing a space with benches for sitting)
d)       establishing better connections between places within the town center such as the Visitor's Center, Riverwalk, commuter rail station, outdoor spaces, and historic neighborhoods.

The next meeting of the Ipswich Livable Community planning workshop is Monday September 15, 6:30 pm at the Ipswich Town Hall, Room C


Complete Streets meeting, April 17

April 17th for Complete Streets, Peabody Institute Library, 15 Sylvan Street, 8:30 a.m., as MAPC staff present our latest research, case studies, and policy guidance on Complete Streets in the MAPC region

The meeting will be discussing what Complete Streets look like, current and proposed MA legislative activity re CS, how to write and adopt a policy or bylaw for your community and most important—how to get start getting those Complete Streets built. Please forward this to any interested party—Task Force meetings are free and open to the public. http://www.mapc.org/complete-streets-roll

Comlete Streets Grahic
  • Learn more about Complete Streets from a public health perspective here.
  • Learn more about Active Streets legislation, an MAPC legislative priority, here.
  • Download a PDF of Complete Streets Roll On here.


Safe Roads to Schools Program

The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program helps to reduce congestion, air pollution, and traffic congestion near schools, while increasing the health, safety, and physical activity of elementary and middle school students. The SRTS program promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents in their travel to and from school. It educates students, parents and community members on the value of walking and bicycling for travel to and from school. It is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). In 2005, following a successful pilot project developed by WalkBoston, an expanded program was established under MassRIDES.
getting started
To participate in the Safe Routes to School program, a school or community completes the Massachusetts Safe Routes to Partnership Enrollment Form.

SRTS partner schools can qualify for local infrastructure improvements around their school to help improve safety and access. Massachusetts Safe Routes to School infrastructure funds are used to make operational and physical improvements to the roads and walkways surrounding schools. Safety enhancements may include speed reduction improvements, pedestrian and bicycle crossing improvements, on or off-street bicycle facilities providing school access, secure bicycle parking, and sidewalk improvements. An on-call team of engineers, planners, and pedestrian/bicycle experts will assess, plan, design, and construct these improvements for eligible MassRIDES partner schools.

Schools who identify their interest in collaborating on Safe Routes to School initiatives should contact MassRIDES via email or phone. MassRIDES coordinators meet and brief school stakeholders on the Safe Routes to School program and can work with schools and communities to implement education and encouragement activities to become eligible for infrastructure projects specifically targeted to enhancing safe access to schools.

Interested? Send the completed Partnership Enrollment Form to:

Safe Routes to School
c/o MassRIDES
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2180
Boston, MA 02116


The Rise of The North American Protected Bike Lane

The Rise of The North American Protected Bike Lane 


Cross-country Ski Report

We finally have a great base of snow on the ground, and the cross-country skiing this February is the best we've had in the area since the snowy winter three years ago. Temperatures have stayed below freezing but the strong February sun has made for three great days of skiing since the February 5th snowstorm.

I've been out to Appleton Farms Grass Rides twice and did a couple of loops through Bradley Palmer State Park today. After parking your car look for trails that have not been packed down by walkers. In some places you will need to take the main path to find undisturbed ski tracks, but even the packed main paths are still in excellent condition for easy skiing.

The following recreational areas are in Ipswich with the exception of the beautiful Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield, an extraordinary property owned by Mass Audubon.  All offer excellent natural cross country skiing on miles of marked trails. Click on the images for trail maps.


Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day is organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day.

See which towns are already hosting Walk to School Day in Massachusetts.

High Street Reconstruction Project

MassDOT has completed the design process for reconstructing High Street (Rt 133 / 1A) from the Kimball Ave. (railroad overpass) to Mile Lane. It was sent out to bid on October 5, 2013. The close date for bidding is February 4, 2014.  The project number is 606271. Estimated Construction Cost: $737,873.00.

Work on this project includes roadway resurfacing, edging resetting, sidewalk repair, and wheelchair ramp construction.  We have been assured that it also includes a 4' paved shoulder on either side of the road, although that is not shown on the DOT site.

Keep up with the status of this project at the MassDOT  site