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Chapter 90 and "Unaccepted Streets"
The Randolph ARPA Community Survey identified repaving streets as the overwhelming #1 priority for Randolph residents (along with water infrastructure). Here's the policy response to that survey so far....
How come it takes 30 years to get my street repaved?
Responses for prioritizing street repair:
- Proposed Resolution and Order 6/6/2022: New program for accepting "unaccepted streets"
- Pothole Challenge: Will DPW fix 100+ listed potholes?
- Repaving schedule: estimating what year your street will get repaved
- Unaccepted Streets: All of the above applies only to "Accepted Streets"...?
Let's deal with those in reverse order -- but in summary...
Details on each of the above....
- Town Council will vote on Order #2022-018 on Monday, April 25, 2022, Zoom call starting at 6 PM. Please come and support THIS $2 million and ANOTHER $2 million for the rest!
- Pothole repair is an "FY23 budget" item, not a Capital item. Let's push for more DPW budget for that too! The budget is finalized in June 2022.
- Doubling the budget means a street that would have waited 18 years for repaving now only must wait 9 years. Better, but...
- We need a plan to improve our "Chapter 90" funding for "Unaccepted Streets" -- let's start!
4. Unaccepted Streets
Take a look at the Road Improvement capital budget -- it includes $700,000 from "Chapter 90". That is a state program that provides state money for street repair. "Chapter 90" uses an "apportionment formula" to determine how much state money goes to each town. Councilor Gordon says, "The Chapter 90 formula is an important way to get our fair share of state money for street repaving -- and Randolph is NOT getting our fair share!"
The formula accounts for three factors: miles of "Accepted Streets"; population; and employment. it's that first factor that cheats Randolph out of our fair share -- we have 97.89 miles of "Accepted Streets" and we could double that! With the current formula, Randolph will get $695,399 in 2022. If we doubled the miles of "Accepted Streets", we would get nearly $1.4 million a year! No legislative action needed, no special request to the state -- it's automatic! If we increase the miles of "Accepted Streets" and we get more money next year -- and EVERY year after that!
What are "Accepted Streets"? Well, there are two types of roads in Massachusetts -- those that are "accepted" as official responsibility of the Town, and those that are "unaccepted." The two maps below show our situation -- we have a LOT of "Unaccepted Streets." Maybe as many miles as we have for "Accepted Streets". The "map legend" is shown above right -- and on the bottom right of the South Randolph map -- if a street is colored in, it's "Accepted", and if it's left with just border lines, it's "Unaccepted."
An "Unaccepted Street" doesn't mean a "private road" -- these are all public streets, where we all drive and walk. "Unaccepted Streets" means "The Town and State do not take responsbility for repaving the road" (for reasons we'll explore below). The state responsibility would include "Chapter 90" funding -- which is for periodic repaving -- so having "Unaccepted Streets" cuts our state funding a LOT. The Town responsibility includes all Town services like snow plowing, leaf pickup, trash pickup, and everything else -- and the Town of Randolph does those anyway! So by NOT having "Accepted Streets", we lose state funding, without any real savings to regular Town budget expenses.
So why don't we make all our roads "Accepted Streets"? Well, it costs money. Accepted streets have to be surveyed, with an engineering plan, and have to be full width and meet other design standards. That money can be substantial -- for some roads, it might take several years of receiving extra Chapter 90 funding to reimburse the expenses for that road. Councilor Gordon says, "This is an investment -- we spend some money now, and Chapter 90 pays us back over several years -- and then after that, we get extra funding EVERY year!"
There's another reason to convert from "Unaccepted Streets" -- they will NEVER get repaved by the town if we don't "accept" them! The developer, or the people who reside on the street, are on their own to repave their road -- filling potholes and fixing cracks, as well as repaving the entire surface and adding sidewalks. The entire repaving schedule -- the big book with every street in it, that prioritizes when every street gets repaved -- that big book is only for "Accepted Streets"! "Unaccepted Streets" are not in the big book at all! If you try to apply Councilor Gordon's repaving estimate method for your street -- it doesn't work for "Unaccepted Streets" at all!
Take a look at the maps below. There are "Unaccepted Streets" near you -- because they're in every neighborhood! Then take a look at Councilor Gordon's "Three Phase" plan to accept ALL of the unaccepted streets -- and double our chapter 90 funding for years to come!
Some unaccepted streets (some are near you!) from northwest to south...
- Canton Street for the part nearest the Canton border (Maybe map is wrong!?)
- Concetta Sass (both halves of the loop, plus Cunningham cul-de-sac)
- Himoor Circle (both halves of the loop, and Himoor Lane in between)
- Old Street (not near the new Lyons School, but several cul-de-sacs too)
- Pacella Park Drive (the part near Dennis Ave, plus the other end near the new apartments)
- Newcomb Street, Julian Road, and a half-dozen streets off those two
- Pond Lane (except the part near Oak Street)
- Sunshine Avenue (plus the circumferential road at Senior Housing)
- Orchard Street (at both the Oak Street end and the North Main Street end)
- Chestnut Circle (residents petitioned Town Council to repave their potholed street -- but we can't until it's "Accepted"!)
- Gold Street (plus that entire corner abutting Stoughton)
- Old West Street (plus three more cul-de-sacs off West Street)
- Bittersweet Lane (both halves of the loop, but not the apartments -- that part is accepted)
- Lancaster Road (plus the 6 side streets off Lancaster Road)
- Lantern Lane (off South Street, except the part touching South Street)
- Lou Courtney Drive (the street leading into the Young School)
- South Sherwood and North Sherwood Ave, and many other streets off of Woodlawn Road
Councilor Gordon's Three-phase plan to accept unaccepted streets:
- Phase 1: Immediately: Prioritize those streets which are still owned by the original developer, with good engineering plans in place. These are the "low-hanging fruit" that are the least cost to "accept" -- we should identify these and convert them immediately. ARPA money applies here. The Chapter 90 payback period on these might be 2 to 3 years.
- Phase 2: This year: Streets with good engineering plans in place, but no longer owned by the original developer. These streets are "owned" by each resident, to halfway across the street -- so the title deed work will cost more. ARPA money applies here, too. The Chapter 90 payback period on these might be 3 to 5 years.
- Phase 3: Next year: Streets that are below the accepted street standard -- which need to be widened or other construction work -- should get the needed construction done with funding coming from the federal infrastructure bill. That means pressuring our state legislative delegation to allocate money for Randolph, or seeking direct grants for this purpose. The Chapter 90 payback period on these might be over 5 years.
3. Repaving schedule
Estimating what year your street will get repaved
How to estimate when your street will get repaved, Sept. 8, 2021
2. Pothole Challenge
Will DPW fix 100+ listed potholes?
The Pothole Challenge, June 21, 2021
1. New program for accepting "unaccepted streets"
Goal is to double "Road improvements" to $2 million by this time next year, by reporting on our "unaccepted" streets and creating as many as possible as "accepted" each year.