Public Service and Transportation Liveblog

Thanks to Jack for going to Bennett Field so that I can cover this meeting (Public Service and Transportation, which will be discussing the CMRPC Worcester Regional Mobility Study among regular street light business).

Handling street lights first.

7.09pm – will be getting a street light at 243 Stafford (or thereabouts).

7:11 – McKeon Road – city will construct new sidewalk and lights in 2012, feds will be paying for it.

7:11 – 137 West Boylston – Fiore recommends installing light there.

7:12 – Fiore says that there is a gap in lighting on Stockton Street from Ames Street to Vernon Street.  He thinks it will be pretty expensive, and to install would require digging and trenching.  Recommends hold pending a report.

7:15 – on to the main item on the agenda…

Mary Ellen Blunt (sp?) from CMRPC is here to make an opening statement.  Funding for the study came from federal and MassDOT.  They hired VHB to perform the study.  They’ll be doing a presentation tonight.  “This is the master-level plan”; still looking for input at this level.

7:17 – Donald Cook from VHB.  Will give quick overview, draft recommendations, next steps, and answer questions.

The study area started as a circle around Worcester, and expanded to an “amoeba shape.”  Various areas were expanded to include an interchange or particular roadway.  Some of the goals were reducing congestion, improving safety and economic development.

They had four public meetings, 17 technical and advisory group meetings, and some other small group sessions.  Process began in November 2008.

7:21 – The website contains everything he will be discussing tonight.

Now he’s heading into the Draft Recommendations section of the presentation.  “Understanding the limited financial resources that the state … is experiencing right now…” all recommendations would be overwhelming to existing funding resources.

The timelines listed are not in any way supposed to represent a prioritization.  The timelines represent a reasonable estimate in how long they think it would take to go through a process, get funding, etc.

“An attempt to make sure this was not just about cars.”  A number were related to pedestrians, bicycles, transit; “idea of enhancing east-west mobility through” the area of the study and Worcester in particular. Continue reading

Coming soon: Aldi

German supermarket chain Aldi is well on its way to completing construction soon on its new store at 500 Lincoln St., across Lincoln Street from Lincoln Plaza, on the site of the former Holiday Inn & Conference Centre.

Aldi has leased 2.25 acres at the corner of Lincoln & Country Club Boulevard for its new 16,650-square-foot supermarket; there are an additional 8 acres of land available in what will become Worcester’s newest shopping plaza.

Plans are also underway to open an Aldi market in Leominster.  Currently the closest Aldi is located in Milford, and one was also recently built in Hadley.

Like rival Price Rite (which has locations on Gold Star Boulevard and Southbridge Street), Aldi offers a smaller range of brands at prices that usually beat those of other chain supermarkets.

I have no firm date yet when they might open here in Worcester — if you have some inside information, please pass it along.  Word has it that we’ll see a grand opening later this spring.  I’ll post a quick review of the place when it finally opens.

Time will tell whether Aldi fares well in Worcester.  They’ve certainly chosen a good location, since the Lincoln St. area doesn’t yet have any other comparable discount grocers. The only other nearby supermarket options are the very pricey Stop & Shop across the street, or the very limited grocery offerings at Target.

(You can read about the Aldi/Trader Joe’s connection here. You can also read an excellent investigation into who makes Trader Joe’s-branded products here.)