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This newsletter is a resource for organizations working to create a safe, well-maintained and integrated transportation system that gives people options for getting around.
 

Table of Contents

The NH Statewide Transportation Initiative

Monthly News and Call for Action

Can you picture New Hampshire as a state in which transportation drives a vibrant economy and supports healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy environment?  We can!

We're a network of organizations that sees New Hampshire with a modern transportation system, one that attracts businesses and skilled workers, provides access to employment opportunities for those entering or re-entering the workforce, increases public health through active living and access to healthcare, connects seniors and people with disabilities to their communities, and protects the environment by reducing sprawl and cutting pollution.

Our job is to broaden the conversation about transportation to include all modes, then build the public support our representatives need to invest in transportation options by demonstrating the return on this investment.

Our thanks go to the Endowment for Health and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for believing in this process and funding our work.

 

Things to celebrate!

Berlin improves roads for all users


The City of Berlin just completed the reconstruction of a portion of Hutchins Street (pictured on the left), which serves as the primary north-south arterial road on the East Side of Berlin.  The reconstruction included reducing lane widths to increase the western sidewalk as the street is part of a popular walking route as well as a truck route.  Creating a more comfortable buffer for pedestrians was a goal for the City, and engineers were able to make adjustments within a narrow right of way to lessen the conflict between heavy traffic and pedestrians.
 
Also currently underway is the complete realignment and reconstruction of a 1.2 mile segment of NH Route 110.  This is a project several decades in the making!  The new roadway includes large sidewalks, planting strips and wide shoulders to allow for room for both pedestrians and bicyclists as well as vehicular traffic.  Route 110 is also part of the City’s truck route and is the gateway to Jericho Mountain State Park.  This construction will not be complete until 2015, although it is anticipated the realigned portion of the roadway will be open to traffic late fall 2014.

For more information, contact Pamela Laflamme, Community Development Director.
 

New Executive Director at Community Alliance of Human Services


Liz Chipman has joined Community Alliance of Human Services as Interim Executive Director.

“We’re very pleased to have Liz step into the Interim Executive Director role,” said Community Alliance Board Chair Chris Kebalka. “She brings experience working with program management and implementation, consulting and capacity development.  I know she shares the Board’s commitment to maintaining and deepening our relationships with community partners, funders and friends to expand our impact in SullivanCounty.”

Chipman takes the helm following the departure of retiring Executive Director Barbara Brill. “Barbara has left a strong legacy at Community Alliance,” says Liz.  “I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that has such a meaningful impact on the communities of Sullivan County. Community Alliance cares for people in their homes, provides public transportation in areas where there are no other options for folks who can’t drive or don’t have access to personal vehicles, manages senior citizen housing, and provides diversion services to youth who have come into contact with the juvenile justice system. We really do believe in helping people remain independent, vital, contributing members of our community.”  Read more.

Bike Manchester starts bike rack program


Bike Manchester was awarded $3,000 by the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition’s Community Bicycle Grant Program to purchase and install bike racks at or near businesses and commercial properties in Manchester. The Manchester 50/50 Bike Rack Program will give Manchester business and commercial property owners the opportunity to purchase and install bike racks on or near their properties at 50 percent of cost.

BikeMHT is currently developing the bike rack program criteria and hope to begin business outreach in early September.  More BikeMHT news here.
 

Travel training video series


The mobility manager and travel trainer from Community Action Program Belknap & Merrimack Counties, Inc. (CAPBMCI) are currently working with Concord Area Transit (CAT) staff to complete the second in a series of Travel Training videos. The Travel Training video project is a series of educational videos that explain CAT bus lines, routes, types of vehicles, fares, rules, ticket outlets, and includes tips on boarding the bus, stop requests, and other important information for CAT riders. The video will be available on the CAT website upon its completion this fall.  For more information contact the mobility manager, Terri Paige, at (603) 225-3295 x 1190.
 

Strafford Region gains valuable skills


GIS & Technical Analyst Chris Scheiner of the Strafford Region Planning Commission attended the Tools of the Trade Conference July 21-23 in Burlington, VT. This conference was sponsored by the Transportation Research Board Committee on Transportation Planning in Small and Medium Sized Communities. The purpose of this national conference was to provide practical techniques for transportation professionals in smaller and medium sized communities. Workshops and session covered topics such as safety planning, performance-based planning, impacts of land use strategies on travel, complete streets, public outreach and other topics.

The information from this conference will be useful in Strafford MPO's transportation planning efforts, work on the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, and the Transportation Appendix for Local Solutions for the Strafford Region.
 

Nashua Regional Bike Ped Master Plan

Stakeholders from Nashua and surrounding towns have been meeting to update the Regional Bike Ped Master Plan.  The last plan was written in 2005, and much has changed since then.  Included in this plan update is an action plan for implementing the recommendations.  The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 16th.  For more information, contact Matt Waitkins at Nashua Regional Planning Commission.

Commissioner counters gas tax rhetoric


NH DOT Commissioner Chris Clement published an editorial in the Concord Monitor recently.  You can read it on his blog, New Hampshire Moves.  Contrary to what is being said in political ads, "Since a 4.2 cent a gallon increase in the State gas tax took effect on July 1, 2014, the price of a gallon of gasoline in New Hampshire has dropped noticeably in New Hampshire."  He lays out the facts, then concludes "Don’t be fooled.  Deferring critical maintenance and repairs on our infrastructure is a BUDGET GIMMICK, not a budget savings.  The costs of inaction, delays, and 'kicking the can down the road' when it comes to infrastructure means we will all be paying much more later." Read more.

Nashua gets colorful pedestrian signs


HEAL NH reports: Visualize Nashua, the Greater Nashua YMCA, and the Community Health Improvement Plan Obesity workgroup participated in an exciting event on June 13th designed to spark activity along the Heritage Rail Trail. They posted signs which encourage both visitors and residents alike to discover the great assets which exist in the Tree Streets Neighborhood.

Read more.  Next batch of signs here.
 

Four Projects Funded by Bicycle Group’s First Grant Round

A rail trail bridge, two recycled bicycle programs, and a bicycle rack program are the four applications funded for the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition’s first-ever Community Bicycle Grant Program.  More information here.
  • Winnipesaukee River Trail Association: Awarded $2,500 to fund engineering and design work for the planning and construction of Gulf Brook Bridge and associated approach trail sections in Tilton. 
  • Ashland HEAL Bike/Pedestrian Committee: Awarded $1,500 for parts and tools to repair bikes for their Re-cycle program and bike racks for around town.
  • Laconia Area Bicycle Exchange: Awarded $500 for materials about its program, bike parts, locks and helmets.
  • Bike Manchester: Awarded $3,000 to purchase and install bike racks at or near businesses and commercial properties in Manchester.

Medicaid Transportation in NH


On August 7th the Governor’s Commission To Review and Advise on the Implementation of New Hampshire’s Medicaid Care Management (MCM) Program set aside time for a short presentation on Medicaid transportation. 

The Commission invited the two remaining managed care organizations to give brief summaries of their transportation programs.  Each uses a separate transportation broker who contracts with for-profit and nonprofit transportation providers to give eligible Medicaid trips.  They both reported that all was going smoothly. 

One of the nonprofit transportation providers in the audience asked why out-of-region providers were being sent to her region to give rides, including instances where the broker's online system gave approval to her local service, but when the local driver arrived at the client's house, an out-of-region service was already loading the client into their vehicle.  There was no answer to this question, except to say that trips are assigned according to parameters of cost and appropriateness.

Transport NH asked how many transportation providers were currently contracted with each broker.  One organization was unable to provide this data, the other said they have 52 companies enrolled and a total of 782 drivers on their roster. This organization also stated that 66% of the transports that they are reimbursing are to “friends and family”, as allowed in Medicaid policy.

Transportation is only one percent of the Medicaid budget, but as NH DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas frequently says, "Transportation is the lifeblood of human services."

Future commission meetings plus minutes and meeting materials can be found here.

NH DOT Provides Transit Map


We posted this last month, but it's so useful, we decided to keep it in for another month. 

The Bureau of Rail and Transit has provided this great transit map for you to download, with clickable links to local and regional transit providers, including intercity bus service and passenger rail stations.

With this map, transit users can quickly determine which services are available at their origin and destination.
 

Consider posting this on your own website!

Transportation Alternatives Program


Fifty-six different communities submitted letters of interest to NH DOT by the August 6th deadline, requesting Transportation Alternatives funding for seventy-five projects.  This is great news, and shows there is strong interest in making our towns and cities more bike and pedestrian friendly.  Those who submitted letters have until September 26th to turn in their completed applications.

The goal of the federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is to provide choices for non-motorized users that are safe, reliable, and convenient.

TAP was created under a federal law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) to consolidate many stand-alone programs into a single, more flexible program. Programs replaced by TAP are Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancement, and Scenic and Cultural Byways. The Recreational Trails Program is administered by the Department of Resource and Economic Development.  Read more.


 

Shopper Shuttle in Manchester responds to Market Basket situation


In light of recent challenges facing Market Basket customers, MTA has partnered with Hannaford supermarket located in the Eastside Plaza of Manchester to provide free bus transportation to seniors and other members of the community.  The Shopper Shuttle, as it’s known, normally runs on Monday and Friday mornings but Hannaford has agreed to expand the service to run on all weekdays (M-F) during the morning to help folks access food shopping and other essential needs.  There is no fare for riders thanks to the sponsorship of Hannaford.  Additionally, MTA Route #2 operates hourly connecting downtown Manchester with the Eastside Plaza, including a stop at Hannaford.  The expanded Shopper Shuttle will operate through the duration of Market Basket’s current situation.  Contact MTA for more information.
 
 

Transit serves new Rochester Park & Ride


Beginning September 2nd, Wildcat Transit will offer service to the new Park & Ride in Rochester.  For more information, contact Wildcat Transit.

COAST began offering bus service to the new park-and-ride in August for its commuter express to the Pease International Tradeport and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  More information here.

For an article on the new Park & Ride facility, click here

Find other NH DOT Park & Ride lots here.
 

Got news?  Send it to Rebecca Harris at Transport NH for next month.

 

Window of Opportunity

Talk to the candidates about
transportation options
Forums have already begun

Use the background information beolow to prepare your questions for legislative candidates who are making the rounds in your area.  Check this page frequently for the latest list of candidate forums.  Watch your local paper for other venues where you can meet the candidates and find out their views on transportation.

Ask the candidates if they are aware of the facts below, then ask them changes in transportation policy they think New Hampshire needs to stay economically competitive and to provide for the basic needs of its citizens who can't drive.

Here is that background information:

CNHRPC Seeks Public Review of the DRAFT Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Send comments by 26 August 2014

Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC) is seeking public review and comment on the proposed draft Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (appendices here). Comments can be emailed to Matt Monahan at CNHRPC.

This is an opportunity for the network members in this region to widen the conversation about transportation.  In the near future, economic development will depend on providing transportation options in addition to having good roads.  There are two sidewalk projects and two trail projects in the strategy document.  Let's commend them for that, and provide them with encouragement to talk more about transportation options when talking about economic development.  You can use the background information in the item above to help you form your comments.
 

 

Connecting
the Dots

Recent studies show investing in cycling pays off around the globe - See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/recent-studies-show-investing-in-cycling-pays-off-globally/#sthash.UbtA5lQn.dpuf

Taking it to the local level


Terri Paige, the Regional Transportation Coordinator for the Mid-State Regional Coordinating Council (RCC), has been meeting with Select Boards and City Councils throughout the Mid-State RCC service area of Belknap and Merrimack Counties.  She has completed 26 presentations to date and hopes to have met with all 39 municipalities by the end of September.  Terri does a short presentation about the work of the Mid-State RCC and about existing transportation options for each of the municipalities that she speaks at.  She also talks about current gaps in transportation services across the region, gives updates on developments in transit for the state, and talks about the need for adequate funding to match existing federal grant opportunities.

Do you have a champion like her in your region?  Contact Terri to see how she does it.

 
Recent studies show investing in cycling pays off around the globe - See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/recent-studies-show-investing-in-cycling-pays-off-globally/#sthash.UbtA5lQn.dpuf

Financing transit with real estate assets


SSTI has a report on using real estate assets to fund transit: "Land adjacent to transit services, particularly fixed route rail or Bus Rapid Transit, often carries an assessed value more than 40 percent higher than land that is more distant from transit access. This provides an opportunity to generate revenue for transit improvements. Transit systems have found a range of potential approaches to capitalize on the value of land assets. Selecting between a lease or an outright property sale may reflect a transit system’s goal: an immediate capital need could be met through a sale, whereas the desire for a long-term revenue stream could be satisfied through a lease. For long-term revenue, a lease offers the added benefit of a relatively stable funding stream that does not fluctuate like sales tax revenues, the source of operating funds for some agencies."  Read more.

 


Member Profile

Advance Transit

With its headquarters in Wilder, Vermont, Advance Transit serves Lebanon, Canaan, Hanover, and Enfield in New Hampshire plus Hartford and Norwich in Vermont. The modern AT facility is on its way to LEED Silver Certification with advanced features such as solar panels for electricity generation, a system for capturing rain and snow melt for washing buses, and the ability to turn used motor oil into heat.  The solar panels tie in to the electricity grid and excess power purchased by the utility generates $10,000 a year in revenue for AT.

Van Chesnut has been Executive Director at AT since 1987.  He is also the chair of the NH Transit Association, serves on the State Coordinating Council for Community Transit, and is a member of the Transport NH steering committee.

Advance Transit has 31 vehicles in its fleet, including some hybrid buses on the Blue Route and Red Route.  All buses have bike racks on the front.

The  Blue Route is heavily utilized by Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center employees and patients.  It's actually faster to take the bus between the med school at Dartmouth and the research facilities at the hospital campus because bus service is frequent and finding a parking spot takes a long time.  The college and the hospital both contribute substantially to the operating costs of the service.  Other major supporters include Mascoma Savings Bank and Hypertherm.

As you read in July's newsletter, buses on the Green Route now arrive every 30 minutes--double their former frequency--making that a more convenient option for Upper Valley travelers.


Upcoming events

Candidates Forum State Senate Dist. 15

Monday, August 18th

This is an opportunity to ask the candidates their views on transportation, and to broaden the conversation to include options for getting around.

District 15 includes the towns of Concord, Henniker, Hopkinton and Warner.  More information here.

WHAT: Candidates Forum hosted by League of Women Voters of the Greater Capital Area
WHO: Kass Ardinger and Dan Feltes, both of Concord, candidates for the State Senate in District 15
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 18 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Sweeney Hall, New Hampshire Technical Institute, 31 College Drive, Concord, N.H.
 

Bike Manchester group ride

Thursday, August 21st

On the evening of August 21st, Paula Bedard and a couple of other League of American Bicyclists-certified Safe Cycling instructors will lead riders on a nine-mile loop of "low stress" routes and provide safety tips for getting to some of Manchester's most bike-friendly destinations.

For more information, and to read about past rides, go here.

Monadnock TMA and RCC joint meeting

Wednesday, August 20th

There will be a joint meeting of the Monadnock Regional Coordinating Council for Community Transportation and the Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association on August 20th from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. at SWRPC, 37 Ashuelot Street, Keene.
 
The purpose of this meeting will be to share information about each group’s mission/history/challenges, and to discuss potential areas for collaboration or coordination.  For more information, contact JB Mack.

Candidates Forum Exec. Council Dist. 5

Monday, August 25th

This is an opportunity to ask the candidates their views on transportation, and to broaden the conversation to include options for getting around.

District 5 map can be found here.  More information on the forum here.

WHAT: Candidates Forum hosted by League of Women Voters New Hampshire
WHO: Jennifer Daler of Temple, and Diane Sheehan of Nashua, candidates for the Executive Council District 5
WHEN: Monday, Aug. 25 from 7:25 to 8:15 p.m. Doors will open at 6:50 p.m.
WHERE: Upstairs auditorium, Nashua City Hall, 229 Main St., Nashua, N.H.

 

Bike Manchester August meeting

Thursday, August 28th

The next Bike Manchester meeting is August 28th at 6pm.  It will be held at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 54 Hanover Street.

For more information, contact Will Stewart.

Mid-State Regional Coordinating Council

Tuesday, September 9th


The Mid-State Regional Coordinating Council will be meeting on Tuesday, September 9th, 2 pm, at the Centennial Senior Center, 254 N. State Street, Concord, NH.  Contact Terri Paige for more information.

Nashua Regional Bike Ped meeting

Tuesday, September 16th

The next meeting to continue the update of the Nashua Regional Bike Ped Master Plan is scheduled for Tuesday, September 16th.  For more information, contact Matt Waitkins at Nashua Regional Planning Commission.

Healthy Eating Active Living Conference

October 16th

HEAL NH is hosting a conference in October.  Agenda items include:
  • Celebrate the accomplishments of four active HEAL coalitions creating transformative change in rural communities and urban neighborhoods
  • Brief look back at the HEAL journey to where we are today
  • Official launch of the HPHP initiative and network
  • Learn about the four broad work areas and comprise the HPHP Plan and how individuals, organizations and others can participate, contribute and support the plan through their own interests and work 
Read more.


Member exchange

This is where network members can:
  • exchange information
  • ask for help
  • get advice
  • help each other out with specific actions
What constitutes a network member?  If you are doing things which contribute to the goal of a safe, well-maintained and integrated transportation system that gives people options for getting around, you're a member of the network.

What is Transport NH?  We are the backbone organization that supports the network and helps align activities toward the common goal.  We also advocate independently for policies that advance this goal.

Send queries, answers, requests for and offers of help to Rebecca Harris, Director of Transport NH.

Help wanted: Collecting opportunities
to broaden the conversation


Do you know of an event where transportation might come up?  It could be a meeting about seniors, or public health, or the environment, or the economy, not just transportation-specific meetings.

If you know of any such events, contact Transport NH.  We will get someone to attend if possible and help widen the definition of transportation to include all modes. Send leads to Rebecca Harris, Director of Transport NH.


Policy updates

Federal response to transportation crisis


President Barack Obama on Aug. 8 signed into law a $10.8 billion bill that keeps the federal highway trust fund solvent only through May 2015.  This fund supports both highway and transit programs.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said during an online town-hall event that he hoped voters would contact their representatives in their home districts during the August recess to push for a longer infrastructure funding package like the four-year, $302 billion bill the Obama administration has suggested.  [See tips in Call for Action section below.]

This is the fifth time in the last six years that Congress has patched a hole in the federal Highway Trust Fund that pays for highway and transit aid.

"Each time the fund comes within days of being unable to make obligated payments to states or transit agencies, Congress bails it out with another cash infusion.  This pattern of behavior maximizes uncertainty – reducing the economic value of the very investments we are making – and raises fundamental questions about how federal surface transportation programs should and will be funded in the future."  See this article in The Hill.

The ramifications are laid out in this article in Bond Buyer: "Highway spending would have to be cut 30% through 2024 and transit spending by 65% if only the currently dedicated taxes are used to support federal transportation expenditures, CBO economist Joseph Kile said. If lawmakers want to match expected expenditures with gasoline tax revenues, he said, the current 18.4 cent tax would need to go up by 10 cents to 15 cents per gallon beginning in 2015."
 

Claremont bus bill signed by Gov. Hassan


HB 650, the Claremont-Lebanon bus service bill, was signed into law by Gov. Hassan on July 28th, retroactive to July 1, 2014.  Rep. John Cloutier has asked the Governor's Office for a State House ceremony in August or September to help promote the new bus service.  Contact Community Alliance for more details.



Call for action

Transit providers:  help make the case for state support


NHTA and Transport NH are working to make a solid case for reinstating state operating support for transit and community transportation.  We need your information to show what has been lost since state support went to zero after 2009 and what could be regained if the next budget includes even the miniscule 2009 level of $188,000 in state match for federal operating funds. 

Not sure what to do?  Click here to email Transport NH.  We'll set you up with a buddy at NHTA who can help you gather the right data and get it to the right people.
 

Ask candidates where they stand on transit funding


The NH League of Women Voters has a list of candidate forums on this web page.  Please go to these forums and ask the candidates if they think the state has a responsibility to support transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.  Use this infographic to show public support for greater investment in this area.

If you have the chance to talk to Congressional candidates, tell them you want a long-term solution to transportation funding.  See the articles in the Policy Update section above.

Communicate with Congress during the August recess


CTAA has developed this easy-to-use card (PDF)(260 KB) that concisely communicates the importance of community and public transportation. Schedule some time with your U.S. Senators and Representatives while they are in NH during the August recess and bring this card with you. The "Here At Home" boxes highlight what your system does and how you do it. Print out the card to bring to the meeting.

Send comments to CNHRPC


Central NH Regional Planning Commission is seeking comments on their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  See the item in the Window of Opportunity section above to see how you can use this opportunity to broaden the conversation around transportation to include options for getting around.
 

Transportation Action Plan


These are the four items that are currently in the action plan:
  • Initiate a statewide transit study to get a clear picture of where we are now. 
    Status:  Funds approved, request for quotes going out soon.
  • Develop metrics for bicycle, pedestrian and transit modes that can be used in the NH DOT
    Balanced Score Card. 
    Status:  working with bike, ped, transit groups on metrics to recommend to DOT.
  • Build public and political support for restoration of state match for federal transit operating funds.
    Status:  working with NHTA and transit providers on key points to communicate to the Governor and the Legislature
  • Hold an information session for legislators in January 2015 on the topic of safe travel in all modes.
    Status:  learning logistics from groups that have done similar
There are action teams for each of these, and we welcome you to join one or more.  Contact Rebecca Harris to offer your assistance.
Comments?  Questions?  Send us an email.
Copyright © 2014 Transport NH, All rights reserved.


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