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What We Do: Arts and Culture

April 18, 2017 – 8:51 am |

In the video above, MAPC’s brand-new Arts & Culture Manager, Jenn Erickson, discusses arts and cultural planning at MAPC.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has a new service area! Last week, Executive Director Marc Draisen announced …

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Data, Public Health, Transportation »

Introducing Trailmap, Your Comprehensive Guide to Local Trails

May 18, 2017 – 11:25 am |

On the first day of Bay State Bike Week, MAPC celebrated by announcing the launch of Trailmap, a comprehensive online map of trails for cyclists, walkers, and others engaging in active transportation and looking to explore the trails and other amenities throughout the MAPC region and beyond.

Senior Transportation Planner David Loutzenheiser unveiled the tool at an event attended by local bike and transportation advocates on Monday, May 15. The data on the map comes from a number of sources, including city and town trail data, land trusts, DCR, MassDOT, and OpenStreetMap. MAPC plans to keep updating the map when towns build new trails, expand old ones, or let a network fall into disrepair.

Using Trailmap on their phones or desktops, he explained to attendees, users can identify what type of trail they’re looking for: a cyclists can search for roadways with bike lanes and shared lanes or paved multi-use paths, while a pedestrian can specify foot trails and multi-use paths. The map tool can identify a device’s GPS location to determine nearby trails. Users can also use the tool to see where trails are proposed or under construction.

The information on the map includes foot trails, bicycle facilities, multi-use paths, and the LandLine network. Foot trails are identified as areas accessible by foot that are not along a roadway – parks, open spaces, and paths through campuses are examples. Bicycle facilities include bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and roadways with shared lane markings. Multi-use paths accommodate foot, bike, and other nonmotorized uses, including rail trails, river path systems, and other similar trails. LandLine, or the Metro Greenway Network, is a project with a goal of connecting trails and paths in different communities to eventually develop a continuous greenway network in the region.

Most of the trails in the map are in the 101 cities and towns that comprise MAPC’s region. Users can help update or edit the map using an online editing tool, or they can submit location-specific feedback on the map. To find out how to access editing functions, email David Loutzenheiser at

The hope is that cyclists, walkers, and others looking for new trails will use the tool to explore new haunts and plan routes, and make suggestions to include more data in the map.

“I believe that we’re entering a period of cycling renaissance,” said Transportation Director Eric Bourassa at the launch. “I see a lot of enthusiasm for bike facilities at the local level.”

Looking to explore the local trails?

In addition to launching Trailmap, MAPC and the LandLine Network are hosting a series of bicycle rides and walking tours this summer. The rides and walks include recently-constructed trails and trails that could benefit if key gaps are closed. The first ride, along the Malden River, will take place on Wednesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. Learn more at

Heat and Cool Your Town More Efficiently with Clean Technologies

April 27, 2017 – 2:28 pm |

On Tuesday, April 4, MAPC and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) convened a workshop for municipalities on clean heating and cooling. The event was the first in a series of upcoming events and publications …

New Toolkit for School Threat Assessment and Response

April 25, 2017 – 2:43 pm |

MAPC’s homeland security team recently worked to help produce a toolkit providing schools and school districts with guidance on assessing and responding to threats and crises.
On Friday, March 17, the Northeast Homeland Security Regional Advisory …

What We Do: Arts and Culture

April 18, 2017 – 8:51 am |

In the video above, MAPC’s brand-new Arts & Culture Manager, Jenn Erickson, discusses arts and cultural planning at MAPC.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council has a new service area! Last week, Executive Director Marc Draisen announced …

How Can We Tell if Complete Streets Policies are Working?

April 12, 2017 – 10:14 am |

How do we measure what really matters? As a planner, I know the plan is important but it is not what really counts at the end of the day. It’s the changes that follow the plan …

What We Do: Legislative Priorities

April 10, 2017 – 11:06 am |

In the video above, MAPC Government Affairs Specialist Steve Byrne discusses MAPC’s legislative priorities.
Every legislative session, the government affairs team monitors legislative action on Beacon Hill, identifying, following and advocating for bills and budget items …

Convert Your Fleet to Clean Fuel: Still Time to Join Group Purchase

April 5, 2017 – 10:43 am |

Time’s running out to sign up to update your municipal vehicles to clean technology through the first round of MAPC’s Green Mobility Group Purchasing Program. Let us know you’re interested in participating by April 21, 2017 at 5 …

What Climate Change Could Mean for Your Town’s Trees

March 10, 2017 – 11:22 am |
What Climate Change Could Mean for Your Town’s Trees

Climate change is threatening many communities of Greater Boston and will only worsen over the course of the rest of the century if we don’t quickly accelerate our mitigation efforts. According to Climate Ready Boston, …

Incorporating Art Into Your Planning Process

March 7, 2017 – 1:34 pm |

Whether a colorful mural brightening an otherwise-bare wall, a trail adorned with temporary or permanent public art, or a wastewater treatment plant enhanced by interpretive arts elements, cultural resources and art improve the sense of …

Perfect Fit Parking: How Much is Residential Parking Actually Being Used?

February 24, 2017 – 4:09 pm |

In communities across Metro Boston, parking is a point of contention for initiatives ranging from zoning to housing projects: everyone needs more of it. However, there’s little hard data about how many off-street spaces are …

Newton’s Community Solar Share Initiative: Sometimes, the Answer is Hidden in Plain Sight

January 26, 2017 – 12:06 pm |

Typically, low income households pay a higher percentage of income for electricity than those in other income brackets. In Boston, for example, median-income households spend 2.8 percent of their total income on electricity on average, …