Putting the “T” back into the City’s TOD is critical to downtown success

Putting the “T” back into the City’s TOD is critical to downtown success

September 2019

Attleboro is fortunate to have a designated area in the downtown that is zoned for Transit Oriented Development (TOD). I was proud to be part of the Council in November, 2015, when we amended the City Ordinance creating the TOD

(https://www.cityofattleboro.us/DocumentCenter/View/1044/Transit-Oriented-Development-Zoning-District-Ordinance-PDF) .

Some of the advantages of a TOD include urban revitalization, local economic stimulus, carbon footprint reduction and improvements to quality of life by allowing residents to live, work and play in the same area. These have all been a cornerstone of my campaign for Mayor and will continue to be a priority of my administration. I have attached a link to provide more information on how a TOD is beneficial. http://www.tod.org/ .

The two main elements to a TOD are obviously Transit and Development. Paramount to both of these and the driving force behind them, is the COMMUTER. To have a successful TOD, it needs to be a desirable place for commuters to live. By simply focusing solely on the existing transit and  development options without considering a comprehensive strategy to improve all modes of transit in this area throughout our region, we run the risk of neglecting the people who rely on these services and ultimately make family and lifestyle choices based transportation.  I have spoken frequently about the relationships I have established with several developers that are ready to work with my administration and transform our downtown into a vibrant and bustling center of commerce that attracts commuters from both Boston and Providence.


The state line that separates our neighboring community of Pawtucket must become blended. We need to bring a new meaning to our status as a gateway city in such that we open the gates to Rhode Island and facilitate ease of access through public transportation between our great City and our neighboring  cities. 

We need to start this conversation now. The Governor of Rhode Island has announced plans for implementation of high-speed train service to Boston (https://boston.cbslocal.com/2019/08/28/boston-providence-mbta-commuter-rail-plan/ ). Unless Attleboro is included in these discussions, it will absolutely have a negative impact on our Attleboro Commuters, as if things were not challenging enough. 

Some in Rhode Island have even discussed proposals for expanded rail service in their state (https://www.abc6.com/story/40449182/new-private-commuter-train-service-would-link-providence-woonsocket-worcester-and-more ).  We need to inspire and work with our local leaders in Massachusetts, as well as the Mayors of Pawtucket and Providence to develop an effective plan that includes Attleboro and benefits our mutual commuters. Collectively, we will be able to advocate for our Plan with the Governor’s office in Massachusetts and the Governor’s Office in Rhode Island. Attleboro should be actively engaged in these efforts to ensure that we are a priority of each state’s transit plans. We need to highlight the fact that Attleboro is quickly becoming a destination for people to work, live and play.

We are fortunate that the City has the existing infrastructure with a four- rail section at the Attleboro MBTA Station stop.  This can be an important logistical component in having trains stop at the station without tying up other train traffic on the main rail corridor.  Utilizing our existing infrastructure, Attleboro should be included in any transit improvements to this corridor, including Rhode Island’s proposal for high-speed service to Boston and any rail transit expansion in Rhode Island.   Capitalizing on increased transit opportunities provides more choices for people, making the Attleboro TOD a more attractive option.  


The MBTA, GATRA and RIPTA are all critical and key components to ensuring success of an economic revival here in Attleboro.   Expanding transit service to neighboring communities will be a priority of my administration.   I have spoken many times about how Attleboro is in a prime location to be a perfect blending of cultures from Boston and Providence. However, if we do not foster the proper relationships with public transportation providers, we will not achieve our goals. 

It all starts with being the bridge between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Blending the two states here in Attleboro, becoming the destination. Fostering a relationship with our Governor and state delegation will make sure that we are not just a whistle stop on the way to Boston and Providence, rather we are the point of the spear, the hub, the shining jewel of Southeastern Massachusetts once again.

Beyond the Pretty Pictures

Beyond the Pretty Pictures

Millions of dollars of much needed revenue is heading north to the City once most famously known for hosting “The Sport of Kings”, the site of Rockingham Horse Track where in the 1930s the famous Seabiscuit galloped the dirt oval to the cheers of thousands. Salem, New Hampshire

STORY OF SALEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

Salem, New Hampshire is on the verge breaking ground on an enormous multi use redevelopment plan that will bring in millions of dollars of revenue to the city. The plan attracts thousands of professionals working in the Boston market in technology and medical industries with the expansion of urban housing development. The plan garners the attention of these professionals employers to explore the million square feet of Class A Commercial Space and bring their companies out of the highly congested and expensive locations available in Boston. Also taking note are the retail, hospitality, restaurant and entertainment industries. With 800,000 square feet of prime retail space, thousands of employees during the week and hundreds of households living, working and playing in the city, the interest in high for the most sought after retailers in the market place. Salem has marketed itself as located 30 miles from Boston Common, with no income or sales tax. https://www.chainstoreage.com/real-estate/will-salem-n-h-be-the-site-of-bostons-best-new-town-center/

ATTLEBORO HAS SO MUCH MORE TO OFFER

Attleboro may not have been host to the sport of kings, however, the former Jewelry City’s potential sparkles far brighter than Salem could ever dream. 40 miles south of Boston, 10 Miles north of Providence, the commuter train running straight through our downtown connecting both capital cities. Interstate 95 providing multiple exits and hub routes of 495 and 295 ringing the suburbs around Boston and Providence respectfully, we are positioned in the sweet spot for a revitalization that will set our community on a path for economic growth and financial independence.

We have to think and, more importantly, act bigger. We are not going to get this done with spotty purchases of parcels of land that are dependent of federal, state and local grant money (tax payer money) and will take years before the first shovel even goes into the ground and years after that to actually produce the much needed tax revenue for our city. A new restaurant here, a brave entrepreneur there is not going to bring us to our fullest potential.

Multi-use development in a big broad stroke is the key. Multi-use supports each other. Commercial development along with urban housing units support that new restaurant and brave entrepreneur, without it the cycle of empty store fronts will continue. We have the ability to bring together the two rich cultures of both Providence and Boston, we have an awesome opportunity to create a community of such incredible diversity, a beloved city of vast backgrounds, heritages, food, art, education, culture, history, commerce and most importantly community.

HOW DO WE GET THIS DONE?

Vision, Determination, Growth Mindset, and Relationships. My plan for a $ 1 BILLION economic revitalization plan is real, it is achievable and it is within our grasp. We need to reach beyond our comfort zones and allow ourselves to want this, to go get this, to feel worthy of it. I will lead us to this place, to this goal, to this success. I have the relationships and the support and the vision to get us there. You won’t have to look far to find me, I will be right there with you, it will take all of us pulling in the same direction, working, grinding, never giving up or giving in. In the end we will all stand on the mountain top, all of us will be successful and we all share the credit. Nothing can be accomplished alone, it’s our time Attleboro.

#whynotus