Concepts for Further Development of the Access to Commercial Business Districts, Phase 2, Study

MPO staff have developed two concepts to adapt the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) discrete study Access to Commercial Business Districts, Phase 2, to the realities of the emergency situation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to better serve the public in this time of need.


1. Central Business District (CBD) Access Recovery Guidebook

This project would focus on developing a guidebook to help municipalities in the recovery planning for their CBDs in the time following the COVID-19 pandemic. The study would focus on the transportation needs required to support various recovery scenarios. MPO staff would interview selected municipalities to learn about their recovery plans and expectations. MPO staff would then develop transportation guidelines for various types of CBDs for quick, medium, and slow recoveries. Input from public health professionals and economic development officials would also be sought in determining milestones for recovery scenarios.


Possible Project Tasks

Task 1 Interview municipalities and CBD businesses about their recovery expectations and recovery milestones.


Task 2 Describe types of recovery scenarios and associated types of transportation needs for three alternatives: rapid, medium, and slow return of demand.


Task 3 Develop a guidebook or toolbox for supporting the transportation and access needs of each recovery scenario, and timelines for implementation and further analysis.


2. Access to CBDs for Essential Business Workers and Customers

This project would focus on helping municipalities plan for access to their CBDs for essential workers and the customers of essential businesses and services. Recent events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2013 marathon bombing, and the February 2015 snowstorms, have shown the need for municipalities to plan for the access needs of their essential businesses and services. MPO staff would interview municipalities about the types of essential businesses and services in their CBDs. Staff would also interview those businesses and providers about their transportation needs, including for freight and delivery of goods. Staff would also contact emergency management organizations to ensure that access plans are coordinated with emergency plans. The final product of this project would be a guidebook on essential business access strategies for CBDs.


Possible Project Tasks

Task 1 Identify the locations and types of essential businesses and services and interview municipalities and essential businesses and service providers about access needs and strategies. Essential businesses and services would include hospitals, grocery stores, and municipal services. Businesses and services would be classified by whether they are located in a CBD or not.


Task 2 Summarize access strategies for workers, customers, and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, weather-related emergencies, and safety lockdowns.


Task 3 Create a toolbox or guidebook for access to essential businesses and services in CBDs.