Merrimack Valley TMA

Issue: #5

May 2013

Welcome to the Merrimack Valley TMA's spring newsletter!

I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled to see green grass, blooming flowers and snow-free streets, perfect for bicycling as Bike Week 2013 arrives. This is a busy time of year, especially in communities such as Andover, where spring means Town Meeting time. The Merrimack Valley TMA urges Andover residents to learn about Articles 50-52 and vote in favor at Town Meeting this year. See the story in this edition of the newsletter.

In News from the Merrimack Valley TMA, you will find information about TMA programs, events and services, as well as transportation infrastructure improvements that will affect your commute. We look forward to assisting you with questions, comments or concerns related to your commute. We're here to help.

Andrea Leary, Executive Director
Merimack Valley TMA

Andover 2013 Town Meeting Vote May Mean Amenities for River, Dascomb Roads 

Articles 50-52 at this year's Andover Town Meeting seek to create an ID2 District that will make minor changes to the underlying zoning for the north side of River Road and for a small parcel on Dascomb Road just west of the I-93 interchange to allow new uses such as medical offices, fitness centers, small retail stores - such as CVS, and restaurants with a take-out component such as Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks or Panera.  

"The trend in commercial real estate is for businesses to co-locate in areas that provide opportunities for employees to live, work, and shop in a walkable environment," said Jeff Spagat of Brickstone Properties, who is also a Merrimack Valley TMA board member.  The Andover market has one of the highest vacancy rates and one of the lowest rental rates in the suburban Boston market.  Similar suburban communities have sought to attract business by enhancing their zoning to include vibrant mixed-use industrial districts. These communities are meeting the needs of today's businesses and are quite successful in attracting and retaining business.  


The River Road and Dascomb Road Industrial D and neighboring A District generate just about $21 million in tax revenue for the town -- about 15 percent of its annual budget.  According to Spagat, "The lack of amenities is making it harder to attract new tenants to the area and we've heard that many existing tenants are exploring their options to relocate. If this occurs, millions of dollars in revenue will be lost by the town on an annual basis."


Town Meeting is May 6 through 8. The vote to create an ID2 District most likely will take place on Tuesday, May 7.  


The Andover Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Andover Economic Development Council, The Andover Green Advisory Board, The Andover Business Community Association, and the Merrimack Valley TMA unanimously support Articles 50, 51, and 52.  


TMA Director Andrea Leary, appeals to Andover residents to support these articles to "help us make Andover the best place to live and work in America."

I-93 Salt Shed Construction Begins 


MassDOT has selected Boston Building and Bridge Corp. to construct the much discussed and debated MassDOT salt shed and depot at the River Road/I-93 Southbound interchange.  According to Massachusetts Department of Transportation District 4 Highway Division official Brett Loosian, it will take roughly seven months for the building to be substantially complete so that the facility is usable. The depot will be fully complete by December 2014.


Merrimack Valley TMA Board members worked closely with state Sen. Barry Finegold, Andover Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski, and MassDOT Highway Division officials to develop a design that is an aesthetic fit for the area and negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the state to limit the depot's use to salting and highway landscaping activities. The site has been designed so that equipment will be garaged and/or shielded from view to the greatest extent possible.

Valley board members
ECO Pinnacle Award winners at the Phillips North America table are, from left, Tom Chretien, Kathy Rogers and Pat Hunt.
TMA Businesses Among ECO Award Winners  


The third annual ECO Awards (Excellence in Commuter Options) were held on March 28, 2013 in the EMC Club above home plate at Fenway Park.


Co-sponsored by MassCommute, the Massachusetts TMA Council, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MassRIDES, the statewide travel options program, the ECO Awards recognize Massachusetts employers who have demonstrated superior efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing drive-alone trips.


Several Merrimack Valley TMA members were among the more than 130 businesses recognized for their outstanding commuter benefits provided to employees.  CB Richard Ellis - Andover, Eisai Research Institute, Emmaus, Polycom, Putnam Investments, and Vicor Corp. were recognized with Leadership Awards; while Phillips North America, headquartered at Minuteman Road in Andover moved up this year, receiving an award at the highest level of achievement - Pinnacle!


The Merrimack Valley TMA salutes these outstanding members for their exceptional commitment to providing and promoting commuting options to their employees.  Bay State businesses that encourage employees to travel to work by ride sharing (transit, carpools or vanpools), or by bicycling, walking or teleworking are eligible for ECO Awards. 



For a complete list of winners, visit the ECO Awards website.



Event1 Bike To Work MVTMA

It's here!
Bike Week
begins May 11 


Registration continues
through May 10



Saturday, May 11, kicks off The MassCommute Bicycle Challenge (MCBC), a nine-day friendly competition measuring the miles logged by employees of Massachusetts businesses and institutions and residents on behalf of their municipality who choose to bike to work or to other activities. The MCBC coincides with Bay State Bike Week, which also begins on May 11.


The MCBC, now in its 19th year is the signature event of Bay State Bike Week and the focus of the Merrimack Valley TMA's annual Bike to Work events.  Each year the TMA hosts check-in events during Bay State Bike Week where the staff meet employees who take up the challenge to travel by bike for all or part of their commute to work - chatting with them about their commute, providing a light breakfast, and distributing the "legendary" annual Bike to Work t-shirts.


TMA Executive Director, Andrea Leary suggests, "Even if you can't bike to work, why not swap a bike ride for a car trip during Bike Week and see what you're missing. All trips that you might normally take by car, but choose to take by bike during Bay State Bike Week count and help your company boost its totals." Check-in event dates and locations can be found at the Merrimack Valley TMA website.



This year the MCBC Bike Bash will be held at Harvard University's Queen's Head Pub on June 4.  The Bike Bash, a thank you party for all participants, is a great opportunity to commemorate your company's accomplishments (and your own as well!).  MCBC Awards and prizes will also be distributed during the bash. 


Following the MCBC Bike Bash, on June 6, the TMA will host our annual Bike to Work Celebration at the Fountain Plaza, 200 Minuteman Road at 12:00 Noon.  This annual event celebrates MVTMA companies and their employees for their efforts to achieve a healthier commute, support reduced congestion, and improve air quality by biking to work.  The event features a FREE barbecue lunch, loads of great raffle prizes, and tables staffed by companies/organizations with information and goods that support biking. The Bike to Work Celebration is open to all Merrimack Valley TMA Bike to Work participants - Join us!


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News in this Issue
Andover 2013 Town Meeting Vote May Mean Amenities for River, Dascomb Roads
I-93 Salt Shed Construction Begins
TMA Businesses Among ECO Award Winners
Events in this Issue
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