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Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Regional Reporter

Winter 2012
Table of Contents
Major Accomplishment Report
Emergency Preparedness Communication
A Pathway to Zero Waste
Public Transit Education
West Springfield Tornado Recovery
PVPC 50th Anniversary
Sustainable Knowledge Corridor
Monson Public Visioning
PVTA Paratransit Survey Results
Inaugural Leadership Class Launched
Ludlow Master Plan Submitted
Regional Traffic Counts: 2001-2011
Local Pavement Management
Joint Transportation Committee Meetings
Plan for Progress Coordinating Council Meetings
PVPC Commission Meetings
Topofpage PVPC NEWS

Major Accomplishments Report, Top Ten Resolves Released 

2011 Major Accomplishment Cover 

PVPC has released its annual Major Accomplishments

Report, which summarizes the agency's work activities over the preceding calendar year. The report, available online (click here), covers transportation and transit, municipal development and housing, historic preservation, water quality, sustainable development, master planning and zoning, economic development, Regional Information Center, GIS mapping and graphics, and other categories. The report also presents a summary of local technical assistance tasks performed for PVPC member communities and a review of the previous year's Top Ten Resolves.


In addition, the agency's proposed Top Ten Resolves for 2012 have been released pending formal adoption (click here for resolves).


PVPC Contact: Ashley Shea


Emergency Preparedness Communication Research Underway 

In the first six months of 2012, PVPC staff will be

researching and assessing the benefits and costs, strengths

and weaknesses of available tools to communicate with the public in the event of and during a local and/or regional emergency incident or disaster. The goal of this work is to prepare a list of prioritized tools for communication with the public in the event of natural or man-made disasters. This work is funded by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council as part of the Council's efforts to keep the region and its residents safe and secure.


If you have stories of either effective or ineffective communication between the public and emergency responders resulting from any of our regions' recent natural disasters, please share your experience with us. 


PVPC Contact: Catherine Ratté 


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A Pathway to Zero Waste   

Zero Waste Cover 

PVPC recently completed a report titled "A Pathway to Zero

Waste," which examines the context of the region's solid waste and recommends actions for reducing waste and increasing the efficiency of waste management operations. The report comes at a time when the region's waste management is at a watershed moment, with several area landfills scheduled to close in the next few years, waste hauling contract costs increasing, and state regulations becoming more stringent. To address these challenges, the report advocates moving towards a goal of zero waste: eliminating all waste in favor of production practices that utilize the recycling and reuse of all materials.


In order to meet the objective of zero waste, the report recommends fostering municipal collaboration, implementing a usage fee structure for waste disposal, increasing financial incentives for waste reduction and recycling practices, and encouraging education and outreach about zero waste to private businesses and the general public. These recommendations, chosen based on their feasibility and cost-effectiveness, do not require significant infrastructure or capital costs.


The project included the assembly of an advisory team of state and municipal waste management officials, private haulers, and non-profit entities. PVPC will be applying for a state Community Innovation Challenge grant in order to begin implementation efforts of the recommended actions and to initiate a more detailed examination of the region's waste.



PVPC Contact: Josiah Neiderbach

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Public Transit Education for Limited English Speakers  

PVPC recently completed outreach meetings in cooperation

with Lutheran Social Services of West Springfield to help people with limited English proficiency learn how to ride the PVTA. The event included education about reading a schedule, knowing which buses operate in different communities, fare payment options, and rules of riding the PVTA. Participants (including speakers of Russian, Spanish, Burmese, Somali, and Chinese) also were able to experience riding on the PVTA with a bus brought to the events. 




PVPC Contact: Joshua Rickman  


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West Springfield Tornado Recovery Planning Underway 

Over the next six months, PVPC will work with the town of

West Springfield on a Tornado Recovery planning project. The town of West Springfield will use this opportunity to implement zoning changes identified in the recent Master Plan to encourage mixed use development along two commercial corridors that were affected by the June 1, 2011 tornado. While mixed use development already exists along these commercial corridors, the zoning does not specifically permit it, and rebuilding these corridors into walkable, mixed use neighborhoods would be difficult without a zoning change. Funding is being provided by the MA Department of Housing and Community Development.


PVPC Contact: Jessica Allan 


PVPC's 50th Anniversary to be Celebrated in 2012

PVPC will be celebrating 50 years of planning for regional

progress in 2012. A multifaceted celebration will commence in April to coincide with the agency's first organizational meeting in 1962 and will continue with a varied menu of events, products, forums, and collaborations that highlight PVPC's past priorities and present activities and accomplishments, along with current efforts to address future regional needs and interests that will help to shape a successful and competitive 21st century region.



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Sustainable Knowledge Corridor Launches Website   

Knowledge Corridor logo
In December 2011, the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor

project officially launched its website to the public. The project is an initiative of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Hartford-based Capital Regional Council of Governments, and the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, along with other cooperating organizations, to preserve, create, and maintain a sustainable, economically competitive, and equitable bi-state region.


At, citizens can learn the latest about the project plans and initiatives, share stories, get involved, and even follow the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor through social media. Priorities for the region can be shared by filling out the interactive survey at


This project is part of a Regional Sustainable Communities Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This unique cross-border grant award, one of only 45 selected for funding from hundreds of applications filed across the U.S., marks yet another success story in a ten-year-long effort to connect and collaborate across state lines. The Corridor's three partnering agencies will work together to use this grant to create new opportunities for sustainability in housing, land use, environment, water infrastructure, transportation, employment, climate action, leadership development, and food security.


PVPC Contact: Molly Goren-Watts 


Monson Public Visioning Enters Next Stages 

In September 2011, PVPC facilitated a public visioning

workshop on rebuilding efforts for the downtown and neighborhoods affected by the June 1 tornado. Using funds from the MA Department of Housing and Community Development, PVPC will continue to work with the town to develop a more in-depth site analysis of the affected areas, including parcel analysis and dimensional standards. Staff will also conduct a zoning analysis and identify opportunities and constraints to meeting the established vision through visual preference surveys and visualizations. Final products will include an updated Master Plan chapter with a focus on the downtown area, and design standards.


PVPC Contact: Jessica Allan 

PVTA Paratransit Survey Results Are In 

A survey of PVTA's paratransit van riders by PVPC's 

Transportation Section found that van users are generally satisfied with the service. Satisfaction levels measured across ten customer service categories surveyed exceeded 90 percent for combined "Excellent," "Good," and "Fair" ratings in all but two categories. The top trip purposes were medical appointments (44 percent), shopping (21 percent), and social/recreational visits (16 percent). Overall, paratransit customer satisfaction has improved moderately since 2008, with significant gains in three categories: "total travel time," "van arriving within pick-up window," and "complaints dealt with to your satisfaction." PVTA paratransit service includes complementary service as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and "dial-a-ride" service to persons aged 60 and older. The total number of paratransit trips in FY 2011 was 318,869, which is up by six percent from FY 2008, when the last major survey of van riders was performed.


PVPC Contact: David Elvin 

Inaugural Leadership Class Launched  

In October, 43 emerging leaders met for the first time to

begin their leadership journey together as the inaugural class of Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV). These participants represent non-profits, local businesses, large corporations, and the public sector from all three counties, with a concentration in Hampden County. Over the next six months, they will participate in monthly leadership development training sessions at locations around the Valley. To date, they have participated in an overnight retreat, a Challenge Day focused on leadership skills, and field experience featuring Holyoke and Chicopee.


leadership pioneer valley 


Later this spring, Leadership Pioneer Valley will begin accepting applications for the next class . To apply or to sponsor an applicant, contact LPV Program Director  

Lora Wondolowski or visit Leadership Pioneer Valley.



Ludlow Master Plan Submitted

Ludlow MP cover 


Facilitated by PVPC, the Town of Ludlow recently completed

its Master Plan and submitted the document to the Planning Board for the adoption process. Town officials intend to bring the document to Town Meeting in Spring 2012 for endorsement. A copy of the final master plan can be found on the Master Plan website at


PVPC Contact: Jessica Allan 


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Regional Traffic Counts: 2007-2011

PVPC is in the process of updating its latest traffic count

report, which includes Average Daily Traffic data for its member communities. This information can be used as the basis for transportation studies and to identify trends in traffic volumes, which assist in the development of seasonal adjustment factors and future growth rates.


PVPC Contact: Amir Kouzehkanani


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Local Pavement Management System

PVPC, as part of its efforts to promote pavement  

management among its member communities, conducts road condition, budget, and plan analyses to aid in the effective allocation of tax dollars to road maintenance needs. PVPC staff have collected pavement distress data on all town-maintained roadways in the Town of Southampton, with a data analysis underway and a draft report being prepared for the town. The goal of the PVPC local pavement management program is to provide municipalities with the knowledge and ability to administer effectively the limited amount of available roadway improvement funds.


PVPC Contact: Amir Kouzehkanani 


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Joint Transportation Committee Meetings 

January 11, February 8, March 14, 10:15 a.m. at PVPC office

Plan for Progress Coordinating Council Meetings

January 18, February 22, March 21, 8:15 a.m. at PVPC office

PVPC Commission Meetings
Commission: February 9, 5:30 p.m. at PVPC office

Executive Committee:
January 26, February 23, March 22, 4 p.m. at PVPC office


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Pioneer Valley Planning Commission | 60 Congress Street | Floor 1 | Springfield | MA | 01104