Rte. 27 roundabouts?

Medfield has a few intersections that could perhaps benefit from roundabouts, and I am especially thinking of ones along Rte. 27.  Click the title to see the article online.

A Chat With the Mayor of Roundabout City, USA

Why is Carmel, Indiana, planning to build as many as 40 more roundabouts on top of its existing 102?


Carmel’s 100th roundabout, opened this year. (City of Carmel)

 

In Carmel, driving around in circles isn’t a symptom of being lost; it’s a way of life. Despite its small size, the Indiana city has more roundabouts than any other burg in the U.S. Much of that has to do with its Republican mayor, Jim Brainard, who has seemingly waged a campaign to pave all of Carmel with these traffic-calming, accident-reducing rings.

Given that Carmel installed its hundredth roundabout this November—and has since debuted two more—CityLab thought it’d be good to query Brainard about his roundabout obsession. Here’s the (slightly condensed) interview:

What initially got you interested in roundabouts?

I first encountered roundabouts during a graduate-school trip to England. I watched how efficiently traffic flowed through the intersections. Drivers were yielding to traffic and to bikes and pedestrians. No unsightly traffic signals and no long lines or congestion. It made me wonder why the U.S. had not built more roundabouts.

Will Carmel ever have enough roundabouts?

We plan to add 28 more in 2017 and 2018 and then our long-range plans also have several more. All told, we probably have another 35 to 40 roundabouts to build before we finally are finished.

What do you think is a common misconception about roundabouts?

The most common misconception is that motorists will be so confused by the rules of roundabouts that they will make mistakes and the roundabouts will become unsafe. But the facts prove otherwise. At most all times of the day, motorists simply slow down as they approach a roundabout. They look to the left, and they yield to traffic that is already in the roundabout. It is that simple.

Studies show a 90 percent reduction in fatal accidents, 80 percent reduction in accidents with serious injury, and 40 percent reduction in all accidents at these intersections when a roundabout replaces a traffic signal. When there are accidents, they are typically low impact, at an angle (rather than a deadly T-bone crash), and result in mostly minor damage.


City of Carmel

What do you think is their most unheralded benefit?

The thing most people don’t know is how much money is saved by converting traffic signals into roundabouts. Our city engineer’s office has found that on average, roundabouts in Carmel have cost $250,000 less to build than signalized intersections and they are much less expensive to maintain than signalized intersections, saving our taxpayers $5,000 per intersection per year in electricity costs.

And because we have eliminated most all of our traffic jams, we spend much less time sitting in traffic and idling our engines, which is saving about 24,000 gallons of gas per year per roundabout, based on federal highway studies, which also leads to reduced vehicular emissions and improved air quality. With 102 roundabouts and the cost of gasoline at $2 a gallon, the public is saving about $4.9 million per year.

Do you expect the Trump administration to have an impact on Carmel in terms of infrastructure, climate change, or any other issues you’ve been passionate about?

I have heard that our president-elect is planning to boost spending in infrastructure, and that is a good thing for cities across the nation. It is important that local and state governments spend their money wisely by not building sprawl that is environmentally or financially unsustainable. The funds should be spent on repairs, safety improvements, public transit, and completing existing highway grids. Many of our roundabout projects—and other projects—have benefited from federal support over the years. We have a number of projects on our long-term plans that would be excellent candidates for that.

On climate change, I am hopeful that we continue to improve our drinking water, air quality, and work toward energy independence thereby avoiding costly involvement in maintaining the Middle East oil supply. There are multiple reasons to support the reduction of fossil fuel usage that will improve our quality of life and make our country more resilient and safer.

MEC recommends buying streetlights & installing LED’s

MEC

Select Board & Town Administrator,

 

The Medfield Energy Committee has been investigating the benefits of converting the Town’s 347 streetlights to LED technology for the past few years.

 

The economics are compelling.  Currently, the Town pays Eversource $41,000/year for the operation and maintenance of the lights.  A conversion to LED would reduce the cost of operation and maintenance to $8,300/year.

 

A newly announced program from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) would provides a  grant to take 30% off installation costs.  The $105,000 total cost of installation would fall to $68,000 after factoring in  utility incentives and the 30% DOER grant.  The return on the investment would be 48%, a 2.1 year simple payback.

 

The Medfield Energy Committee supports the conversion and urges the Select Board and Town Administrator to take the steps necessary to allocate the funds to accomplish the project as soon as possible.  Jerry McCarty, Director of Facilities and Maurice Goulet Director of the Department of Public Works are both in support of the project.

 

We recognize there is a concern about maintenance.  Contacts with suppliers and municipalities are in progress to address these concerns.  Also the visual impact of the change to LED may be a concern.  The Town of Westwood has converted to LED so a drive east on Route 109 might answer questions about the visual impact.

 

There is urgency to this request as the DOER grant program was just announced and the funds may be limited.  There are many interested towns, so the Energy Committee would like to see Medfield apply as early as possible.

 

A financial analysis of the conversion is attached.

 

The Medfield Energy Committee is ready to meet with the Select Board at the earliest convenient time.

 

Respectfully,

Fred Bunger

Chairman Medfield Energy Committee

MEC annual report

MEC

Medfield Energy Committee 2016 Annual Report

 

To the Honorable Selectmen and residents of Medfield

 

The Energy Committee was chartered by the Select Board in 2008 to help the Town reduce energy consumption and reduce operating costs.  We have been making steady progress on reducing energy use and supporting generation of renewable energy.

 

The Town of Medfield used 48,966 MM BTU of energy costing $762,000 in calendar year 2016.  Partially due to a milder winter, energy usage was 24% lower and costs were 23% below 2015.

 

In April 2016, the Solar Array at the Medfield Waste Water Treatment Plant was completed and put on-line.  Since June, the panels have generated 181,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, saving the Town $19,000.  The panels have provided about 58% of the WWTP electricity.  The Solar project, approved at 2015 Town Meeting, was budgeted at $700,000, but with the continuing fall in the price of solar panels, was completed $240,000 under budget.  The surplus was set aside and included in funding of $390,000 for a 155 KW solar panel installation on the Town Garage.  The project, planned for 2017, was approved at the 2016 Town Meeting.

 

 

A 60KW solar panel installation on the new Public Safety Building was completed in December as a change order on the project, which is under budget.  These panels are expected to generate 20% of the building electricity.

 

The Energy Committee has been working to qualify Medfield as a Green Community since 2011.  In 2014 the adoption of the Solar By-Law accomplished the first two of the 5 elements necessary to qualify as a Green Community.  In 2015, the Energy Efficient Vehicle policy was adopted.  The final two elements were achieved in 2016:

  • The Stretch Energy Code was adopted at the April 25, 2016 Town Meeting
  • A plan for 20% reduction in Town energy use from a 2015 baseline was developed by the Energy Manager and the Energy Committee and was adopted by both the School Committee and the Select Board in November.

 

 

The Energy Committee completed the Green Communities application and submitted it to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources November 21st.  The review of the application went well, and the Town is expecting to be notified of acceptance in January.  At that time, the Town will receive a grant of $148,000 for energy improvement projects.

 

The Energy Committee said goodbye to Andrew Seaman who served as Energy Manager since 2014.  Andrew saved the Town many thousands of dollars by renegotiating power contracts, completing energy improvement projects and pushing through the installation of solar panels.   Jerry McCarty, the Town Facilities Director has taken on the role of Energy Manager in addition to his other duties.

 

Medfield was accepted into the Solarize Massachusetts Solar Challenge program in May.  Solarize Medfield encouraged homeowners to install solar panels by offering lower installation costs as more installations were signed-up.  New England Clean Energy was the selected vendor.  At the completion of the program at the end of November, 91 homes were assessed for solar panels and 89 were considered feasible.   16 homes totaling 155.86 KW of generating capacity signed contracts for installation of solar panels.   The program achieved tier 4 of 5, which provided an estimated savings of $900 per installation.  The Energy Committee continues to encourage homeowners and businesses to consider installing solar panels.  Return on investment for home solar generation exceeds 10%.

 

In 2017, the Energy Committee will be working on energy improvement projects as outlined in the Green Communities 5 year plan.   Projects for 2017 will be identified to that make the most effective use of the $148,000 initial grant.

 

Conversion of the 347 streetlights in the Town to LEDs is under consideration.  The lights are currently owned by Eversource, but they have agreed to transfer the lights to the Town for $1.   With a potential DOER grant & Eversource incentives, the net installation cost of $68,000 would be paid off in 2.1 years by the $32,600 annual energy savings.  A  maintenance contract acceptable to the Town is currently being sought.

 

The Medfield Energy Committee usually meets on the second Thursday evening of the month in the Town Garage.  The public is invited to attend the meetings, participate in the discussion and offer help in reducing energy consumption in the Town.  Residents interested in becoming a member of the Energy Committee are encouraged to contact the Town Administrator for consideration.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Fred Bunger, Chair

Lee Alinsky

Penni Conner

Fred Davis

Paul Fechtelkotter

Cynthia Greene

Maciej Konieczny

Marie Nolan

Jerry McCarty, Facilities Director, Ex-Officio

Osler Peterson, Selectman, Ex-Officio

Michael Sullivan, Town Administrator, Ex-Officio

 

 

BoS agenda for 1/17

Oops, the actual agenda page did not get included –

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Warrant articles for ATM (to date)

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 11 12 13 14 15 DRAFT 2017 Annual Town Meeting Warrant Articles Town Election of Town Officers (Operating Override ?) Accept Town Reports Reimburse Stabilization Fund for Ambulance Loan ($70,000) Appropriate additional funds to FYl 7 Reserve Fund? (for current year but only if necessary) Adopt by-law to regulate Revolving Funds & Authorize Amount (G.L. Chapter 44, Section 53El/2) Fire Alarm Revolving Fund ($32,000.) Ambulance Revolving Fund ($70,000) (Amount to reimburse Stabilization Fund for loan to purchase ambulance) Advance Life Support Revolving Fund ($75,000.) (may change depending upon resolution of ALS service) Community Gardens Revolving Fund (Town Administrator) ($1,500.) Building Maintenance Income Revolving Fund (Council on Aging $30,000) Library Revolving Fund ($5,000) Respite Care Revolving Fund (Council on Aging) ($125,000) Transfer Station & recycling SW AP Area Fund ($10,000) Authorize deferral of water and/or sewer betterment assessments Adopt dog regulations (Hospital, Cemetery, Wheelock School, other sites???) Bylaw re Water Dept. access to water service and water meter (See Franklin bylaw) Authorize Board of Selectmen to lease space on Hospital water tower for Wireless Communications Facility Fix salary and compensation of Elected Officials Amend Personnel Administration Plan-Classification of Positions & Pay Schedule. Add funds for Beaver trapping and dam removal to Operating Budget?? Where? Operating Budgets (for now see tax levy sheet) $ Capital Budget ($400K from tax levy?) By-law to regulate private wells??? (water ban) DRAFT 16 Street acceptance for portions of Erik Rd & Quarry Rd (fourth time) 17 Appropriate funds for Maintenance of State Hospital Property 18 Create Revolving fund for MSH (was set up as stabilization and should be revolving) 19 Appropriate funds for State Hospital Consultants 20 Appropriate funds for Design (and Construction) of Iron/Manganese Treatment Facility (Water enterprise) (authorize bonding?) 21 Authorize the Board of Selectmen and/or Affordable Housing Trust to lease/dispose of Lot 7 for senior housing. 22 Appropriate funds to the OPEB Trust (should we put in insurance budget?) 23 Appropriate to Sewer Betterment Paid in Advance to Sewer Betterment Stabilization Fund (Town Administrator) 24 Appropriate to Sewer Betterment Paid in Advance to Sewer Betterment Stabilization Fund (Town Administrator) 25 Appropriate Funds for Phase II Parking Study (EDC/Downtown) 26 Appropriate Funds to prepare Master Plan (Master Plan Committee/Board of Selectmen) 27 Appropriate funds for Downtown Improvements (portion of local meals tax receipts) 28 Accept portion ofVinald Road from Cottage Street to Mitchell St as a right-of-way 29 Appropriate funds and authorize bonds for Park & Recreation Facility including project manager & architect 30 Vote to increase amount of tax work-off program to $1,000 (Council on Aging) (increases amount of overlay) 31 Supplement each prior vote Authorizing borrowing to pay costs of capital projects (Treasurer/Collector) 32 Amend Zoning Bylaw (Planning Board) 33 To mitigate impact oflarge single, two and multi-family dwellings (at least 11 amendments) 34 To provide for inclusionary zoning 35 Amend Code of Medfield Regulations by adding a new section establishing the Medfield Affordable Housing Trust DRAFT 36 Amend the Table of Area Regulations for Retail sales of recreational marijuana 37 Amend Code of Medfield Regulations by adding a new section regulating and/or taxing recreational marijuana 38 Vote to name the bridge crossing Mill Brook at Elm Street the "Colonel Douglas C. MacKeachie Bridge 39 Rail Trail Study Committee 40 Authorize Board of Assessors to use Free Cash to reduce tax rate20170113-ms-warrant-articles-for-town-meeting-draft_page_220170113-ms-warrant-articles-for-town-meeting-draft_page_3

BoS on 1/17

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MFi Volunteer Award nominations

The Medfield Foundation volunteer awards for volunteers of the year are open through January 31.  Fill out the nomination form at www.MedfieldFoundation.org to give your extraordinary volunteer the recognition  he or she deserves.

All nominees with be celebrated at the Volunteer Awards reception at 3PM on March 19 at The Center.

brothers-marketplace-jgp

Brothers Marketplace generously sponsors the MFi Volunteer Awards, and support is also received from The Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation.

These were our residents nominated in 2014:

voty-20140227-poster-nominees