The future of transportation improvements around Berkshire County rests in the hands of DLE member Nick Russo and his colleagues at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC). As the senior transportation planner for the Western MA-based organization, Nick is leading a major fact-finding mission to determine priorities for driving, walking, biking and mass transit.
His new role is project manager for a Transportation Community Survey now underway county-wide. “The survey is one piece of a year-long process of updating our Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which takes a long-range view of the investments we should make in our transportation infrastructure in Berkshire County,” notes Nick, a familiar face and voice at DLE programs, serving on event planning committees and participating in community outreach projects.
Nick has been creating the survey for much of this year, working closely with colleagues to develop questions to best capture the ways that the public views and utilizes the region’s transportation network. “We want to know how people travel around the county, whether they have difficulty accessing places via transit, foot or bike, where they would like to see investments targeted and how we can keep our infrastructure in a state of good repair,” Nick explains. “Updating the RTP is vitally important as it allows the region to remain eligible to receive much-needed federal transportation dollars.”
As a prelude to the survey, Nick facilitated a series of public meetings to collect feedback in person from interested residents. That feedback, in addition to survey results, will be cataloged and reported in the final RTP document, which will be released in spring 2023.
The project has been a boost to Nick’s professional development. “It has really put me out there as a leader and manager,” he admits. “Hosting and organizing public meetings, conducting outreach via email, press, radio, in-person and by phone to spread the word about the study, and keeping pace with the data we need to research and include in the final report, have been challenging new experiences for me.”
Nick invites DLE members with Berkshire roots to share their opinion on travel challenges and needed improvements by clicking here to take the survey by December 31.