In the town I serve as a planner for in Massachusetts (Ayer), we are facing a curious but predictable situation. We have a commuter rail platform that is over a century old and was the reason the town was founded in the first place. Due to a requirement by the transit authority that we add a dedicated parking facility for commuters, a disagreement has erupted among residents split between those who wish to keep the platform in the (small but viable) downtown area and those who wish to move it out into a suburban location (some of these people have financial interests). The current platform serves over 400 riders per day including a significant walk up population. A suburban platform would be greenfield development and pave wetlands.
The task force looking to protect this (smart growth oriented) historical platform is hoping to find technical justifications and policy positions that favor in-town commuter rail platforms over new greenfield sites. We seek any siting criteria for commuter rail stations particularly state or federal criteria that would be based on
a smart growth or sustainability model. Do forum participants know of any such
information? I also am looking for studies that relate stations for commuter rail to economic or fiscal impact, both current and projected.
Finally, while it is a shot in the dark, the Town is holding a workshop/charette on May 5 (Saturday) and seeks any transportation planners or engineers who might be interested in participating as technical resources for break out groups or might even be interested to serve as group facilitators. Barring that, any advice or data you could provide our small community to save a downtown platform would be appreciated. You can contact me, Chris Ryan, at firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks...