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                             6. THE I-495 TECHNOLOGY CORRIDOR

                                                                      N     either the I-495 Technology
                                                             Corridor, nor I-495 itself for that matter,
                                                                                                                  apple orchard. Nothing much had
                                                                                                                  changed, except the slow, insidious
                                                                                                                  decline of both manufacturing and farm-
                                                             existed, even on paper, until 1957, when             ing, in over 50 years.
                                                             it was laid out as part of the massive
                                                             Interstate Highway System authorized                           Between 1990 and 2000, the
                                                             by Congress in 1956. At that time, these             communities in the I-495 Technology
                                                             communities (extending from Rte. 2 in                Corridor (self-named by a group formed
                                                             Littleton to Rte. 1 in Wrentham) had                 by local businesses under the steward-
                                                             practically nothing to do with each                  ship of Senator David Magnani several
                                                             other. They were simply a collection of              years ago) grew faster, as a group, than
                                                             former industrial villages (shoes in                 any other region with the exception of
                                                             Marlborough, quarrying and shoes in                  the Cape. From 1990 to 2000 alone, the
Buildout breakdown: Corresponding to the categories of
                                                             Milford, textiles and shoes in Hudson)               population grew from about 395,000 to
the buildout map on the next page, this chart indicates in   and farming towns. What was left was                 449,000, an increase of about 13%.
pink, the percentage of currently developed or absolutely    mostly woods, small town centers, and
constrained land due to steep slopes, wetlands and other                                                          Between 1950 and 2000, available new
factors. The percentage of protected land is depicted in     the occasional dairy or vegetable farm or            commercial and industrial space grew
green and the percentage of unprotected, developable land
in brown. Below are summary statistics that outline the
demographic and service impacts to the region if all of
its remaining unprotected land were built out.

        Additional Developable Acres:

             Additional Population:

        Additional Residential Units:

     Additional Commercial/Industrial
               Floor Space:

           Additional Water Demand
              (gallons per day):
                This Buildout Summary data                                     Above are pie charts depicting land use in 1971, 1985 and 1999.
    is available for every community within this region                  Land uses for each region in this book are interpreted from aerial photography
                  at the end of this chapter.                                   taken in each of these years and assigned to general categories.
Buildout Map of the I-495 Technology Corridor                             This map shows in pink, lands that are already built out or constrained
                                                                          from development due to steep slopes, wetlands or other factors.
A window to the future: each of the regional buildout maps                Lands in green are permanently protected from development.                52
in this book is a summarized version of EOEA's five-map buildout series   The remaining lands in brown are unprotected developable lands.
created on the community level for all 351 municipalities in the state.   (See summary pie chart on preceeding page.)
      from almost nothing to about 50 million        the rub. Each new 1 million sq. ft. of        biodiversity, water assets, or                     6.
      sq. ft. Population exploded during that        commercial/industrial space houses            public access, "buildout"                              53
      50 year period as well and water and           about 4,000 jobs, which in turn generate      happens when a community’s
      sewer capacities were stretched. As the        about 8,000 people needing a place to         developable land drops below 25%.
      buildout analyses suggest, this may be         live. At that rate, the 195 million sq. ft.   That has already happened in several
      only the beginning.                            of office space will create about 1.56        I-495 communities, and will likely occur
                                                     million people looking for housing.           in all of them within the next 10 years.
               The I-495 Corridor will               The I-495 Corridor is probably the
      generate an additional 195 million sq. ft.     leading cause of housing growth in the
      of commercial and industrial space at          Blackstone River region and the Nashua
      buildout. It will also generate room for       River region.
      about 162,000 more people, about 36%                                                             Within BioMap Core Habitat Areas
      more than its present population. At                As we saw on the Cape, in terms
      current growth rates, total residential        of the usefulness of saving large
      buildout will occur by 2030. But here’s        unfragmented tracts to protect


          In an effort to alleviate the stress on water quality and quantity in this region,
 EOEA's Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) hosted workshops to bring together area
 businesses to convey the message that it is possible to maintain flexible manufacturing
                                               operations in the face of limited water
                                               resources. These workshops launched OTA's
                                               industrial water conservation and zero
                                               discharge program and enabled industry
                                               leaders like Intel Corporation, who have
                                               achieved a significant measure of water
                                               sustainability, to share their knowledge and                 BioMap Core Habitat Areas
                                               expertise so that other businesses can see                       vs.Total Area ofthe
                                               sustainable manufacturing operations in                       I-495 Technology Corridor
                                               practice and be motivated to do the same.

                                                         Intel Corporation will soon host a
                                                 water conservation and recovery seminar for
                                                 the High Tech Industry sector to demonstrate
                                                 how they have succeeded in conserving and
                                                 recovering water in their wafer manufacturing
CASTion Corporation of Ludlow (left to right):   and cleaning operations. Intel's success runs
John Gannon, CEO and Steve Brown,Vice President.
                                                 contrary to old industry practices that were
  based on the premise that water recovery processes were not possible in high-tech
  applications given the extreme sensitivity of the product.

            OTA is developing a web page dedicated to industrial water conservation.
 It will not only highlight the workshops and efforts of Intel and other industry leaders,
 it will help spread the word about new zero discharge technologies like the CAST
 Technology, a closed-loop flash distillation and vapor recovery system, developed,
 manufactured, marketed, and installed by CASTion Corporation of Ludlow, Massachusetts.            BioMap Breakdown:
                                                                                                   Corresponding to the BioMap on the next page, the
 CASTion and other innovative technologies have been identified and serviced through               lower chart indicates the percentage of the region
 the Massachusetts Strategic Envirotechnology Partnership (STEP). STEP is a collaborative          that is within core BioMap areas. Of those areas,
                                                                                                   the upper chart indicates how they breakdown by
 effort of EOEA and UMass that promotes the development and use of new environmental               percentage into buildout map categories. Pink areas
 technologies in Massachusetts. These technologies help us address today's and tomorrow's          are developed or absolutely constrained due to steep
 natural resource and economic challenges in smarter, faster and less expensive ways.              slopes wetlands and other factors. Green areas are
                                                                                                   permanently protected. Brown areas are unprotected
                                                                                                   and available for development.
BioMap of the I-495 Technology Corridor                                                                                                                   6.
A view of buildout information within BioMap areas:                           Pink areas are either developed or absolutely constrained due to steep      54
the BioMap identifies areas deemed critical to the long-term viability of     slopes, wetlands or other factors. Green areas are permanently protected.
the Commonwealth's most significant biodiversity. Consisting of both core     Brown areas are unprotected areas available for development.
and supporting habitat areas, this map was overlayed onto a buildout map      (See summary pie charts on predeeding page.)
for each region in the state. This intersection between critical biological
areas and community zoning reveals their fragility to development.
                                 ORGANIZATION FOR
                                                                                                           SHARING                              6.
                                                                                                         WATER ASSETS                            55
                                 THE ASSABET RIVER
                                                                                                            The headwaters of the
         The Organization for the Assabet River (OAR) was founded in 1986 by a group
                                                                                                   Charles River are in Hopkinton. Both
of canoeists, fishermen, and others who loved the river and were disgusted that it had
                                                                                                   the Assabet and the Sudbury Rivers
become little more than an open sewer. Inspired by Marian Stoddard (see story of
                                                                                                   begin in Westborough. Parts of the
Nashua River Watershed Association, Chapter 8) and assisted by Michele Monjeau,
                                                                                                   I-495 communities are in the Blackstone
then a staff member at the then newly created Riverways program of the state’s
                                                                                                   watershed in the south and in the
                                                         Department of Fisheries and
                                                                                                   Nashua watershed in the north. No
                                                         Wildlife, the group set out to
                                                                                                   one river defines the area. What does
                                                         reclaim the river. Initially, OAR
                                                                                                   define these communities is their
                                                         focused on annual river
                                                                                                   pervasive search for water.
                                                         cleanups, attracting more
                                                         volunteers each year. That work
                                                                                                             At buildout, the I-495
                                                         continues and in 2001, a record
                                                                                                   communities will require an additional
                                                         198 people pulled tires, bottles,
                                                                                                   26 million gallons of clean water per day,
                                                         car parts, and other debris from
                                                                                                   and will then have to treat that water
                                                         the river.
                                                                                                   once it has been used. The MWRA was
                                                                                                   always assumed to be a solution for
                                                                     While the cleanups have
                                                                                                   future water needs. The MWRA aqueduct
                                                            been very successful, the river's
                                                                                                   runs through the center of the I-495
Organization for the Assabet River members (left to right): problems persist. The Assabet is
Julia Blatt, Executive Director; Paul Blazar, Chairman of                                          Corridor. The area looks like it is covered
                                                            choked with floating and rooted
The AssabetConsortium and Hudson Town Manager;                                                     with water, from the pond at Hopkinton
and Betsy Stokey, President.                                aquatic plants during the summer,
                                                                                                   State Park to the Sudbury Reservoir in
                                                            a condition called "eutrophication."
                                                                                                   Marlborough and Southborough to the
The vegetation makes boating and other recreational activities difficult in the impounded
                                                                                                   interconnected ponds running through
stretches of the river and can harm fish and other aquatic life by creating dramatic
                                                                                                   Framingham and Natick. Most people
fluctuations in dissolved oxygen concentrations. The primary cause of the problem is
                                                                                                   do not realize that all of these ponds
excess nutrients (specifically phosphorus and nitrogen) that come from the stormwater
                                                                                                   were originally created to provide
runoff, sediments, and from the treated wastewater discharges from the seven wastewater
                                                                                                   water to Boston, before the Wachusett
treatment plants along the river. According to studies, approximately 80% of the river
                                                                                                   Reservoir was built. As discussed in
flow comes from these treatment plants. The nutrients from the treated effluent and
                                                                                                   earlier chapters, the most prudent use
other sources feed the aquatic plants.
                                                                                                   of the small MWRA projected surplus
                                                                                                   at buildout may be to set it aside as a
          In 1998, a proposal by the Town of Acton to add an eighth wastewater
                                                                                                   reserve against future drought events.
treatment plant that would discharge into the river prompted OAR to formally ask DEP
                                                                                                   We saw in Northeastern Massachusetts
and EPA to study the river's eutrophication problem and determine how much nutrient
                                                                                                   what happens when too many people
loading the river could assimilate, while remaining healthy and useful for recreation.
                                                                                                   are drawing from the same well, or
In response, DEP and the US Army Corps of Engineers funded a study, referred to in
                                                                                                   watershed. A more local example is
the federal Clean Water Act as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) analysis. It
                                                                                                   Well #5 in Franklin, where heavy
began in 1999 and will likely be completed in 2002. OAR staff and volunteers have
                                                                                                   pumping regularly draws down the
supported the study by assisting with fieldwork and conducting bathymetric and
                                                                                                   ponds in neighboring Norfolk.
sediment depth surveys for all the major river impoundments.
                                                                                                             The future area-wide challenge
          When the TMDL study began, DEP and EPA asked the six communities
                                                                                                   most consistently identified by local
served by the four largest treatment plants (Shrewsbury/Westborough, Marlborough/
                                                                                                   leaders is dealing with intercommunity
Northborough, Hudson, and Maynard) to develop comprehensive management plans
                                                                                                   sharing of water assets. These communities
both to meet their future wastewater needs and comply with stringent new nutrient
                                                                                                   are also leading the way in looking for
limits at the treatment plants. OAR is assisting with this complex planning process,
                                                                                                   solutions. Communities are working
which offers the best hope yet that the Assabet will again be a river in which we can
                                                                                                   with DEP to look at water recharge,
safely swim, boat, and fish.
                                                                                                   discharge trading, and other innovative
                                                                                                   ways to deal with intercommunity use
                                                                                                   of common resources. Like wastewater
                                                                                                   discharge capacity in the river, clean

                                                    Low tide?: Kingsbury
                                                    Pond in Norfolk is one
                                                    of many I-495 water
                                                    bodies that are drawn
                                                    below normal levels.

water withdrawal will soon become an
intercommunity issue.

          And while the search for
additional water supplies goes on,
there is a growing recognition that
conservation is a key factor in the
continued growth in this region,
particularly within the high tech industry
sector. The businesses in the I-495
region rely on access to water to produce
their products. Right now, industries
in this region are slowing down their
production as a result of water limitations.
In response, EOEA's Office of Technical
Assistance (OTA) is working with the
area Watershed Team and businesses
leaders like Intel, to provide technical
assistance to local businesses to help
them face this increasingly difficult
challenge. Workshops, training sessions,
and site visits are being conducted to
teach new water conservation strategies
and to introduce new zero discharge
technologies that allow companies to
reuse waste, eliminate environmental
impacts, save money, and continue to
grow their businesses.

                       Protecting Public Water
                       Supply Areas: This map
                       illustrates a variety of
                       wellhead protection areas
                       important for protecting
                       the recharge areas around
                       public water supply wells.
                                                                                                          PRESERVING                              57
                                                                                                        LAND, BUILDINGS,
                                                                                                       AND COMMUNITIES
          In the mid-1980s, Sudbury Valley
Trustees (SVT) was a small land trust
                                                                                                               The communities along I-495
with a 2-person office and big dreams
                                                                                                     are rapidly evolving into a continuous
of regional land conservation. Success
                                                                                                     linear city. The communities along
depended on local activism by concerned
                                                                                                     I-495 always thought of themselves
citizens working though the efficient and
                                                                                                     individually, until I-495 unwittingly tied
entrepreneurial land trust.                       Greater Callahan Working Group members
                                                  (left to right): Stephen Johnson, Sudbury Valley   them together. Now, each community
                                                  Trustees; Celia O'Brien, Framingham                wants to maintain its own special
          In a 1986 newsletter, Director          Conservation Commission; and Russ Turmail,         character, while taking advantage of
Allen Morgan sketched out his dream               Framingham resident volunteer.
                                                                                                     the opportunities that prosperity and
for land conservation, the Nobscot Plan,
                                                                                                     growth have brought.
anchored around some major
holdings in the Sudbury
                                                                                                                        What is it that makes
and Framingham area.
                                                                                                             a community special? Each
Municipal and state officials
                                                                                                             community uniquely defines
were found to be supportive
                                                                                                             itself, and what it wants to
when there was a strong and
                                                                                                             save in the midst of change.
active constituency behind
                                                                                                             In the older manufacturing
                                                                                                             communities, community
                                                                                                             activists and leaders have
          Now, SVT has
                                                                                                             worked together to restore
become the major open space
                                                                                                             and preserve downtowns and
planning and protection
                                                                                                             neighborhoods. And, as on
agency in the I-495 area
                                                                                                             the Cape and in Northeastern
with a professional staff of
                                                                                                             Massachusetts, communities
12. Recently, SVT completed
                                                                                                             are scrambling to assemble
a planning vision, or
                                                                                                             and link open space.
Greenways Plan, that would
ultimately result in the
preservation of over 20,000 acres
in the area.

          Implementation still relies
on energizing and focusing citizen
activists and enlightened local officials
working through SVT in partnership
with the state environmental agencies.
The Greater Callahan Working Group
will not rest until this corner of the
watershed is well conserved.

                     The idea of the Greater
                     Callahan Greenway Plan
                     (right) dates back to the
                     early 1980s when SVT
                     first came up with what it
                     then called the Nobscot
                     Plan, which links
                     Callaghan State Park with
                     Metropolitan District
                     Commission and other
                     SVT land (top).
           The future I-495 Corridor                                                                                                         58
                                                                          CHARM BRACELET
will be either a mixed jumble or a
community preservation quilt.
                                                         Don Burn remembers when he moved to Westborough in 1978. Don likes
Downtown Marlborough, Hudson,
                                                hiking, but when he asked new neighbors where he could go to walk, the answer was
Milord, Holliston, and Littleton, and
                                                                                         always the same: out of Town. Don started
other communities are potential
                                                                                         exploring the Town, and meeting other people
anchors, preserving their unique
                                                                                         in the community who enjoy the out of doors,
historic character while encouraging
                                                                                         which led to his joining the Open Space
the development of vibrant and walkable
                                                                                         Preservation Committee.
neighborhoods around downtown.
Innovative open space corridor plans
                                                                                                       Viewing Westborough from
like the Charm Bracelet in Westborough
                                                                                             Rte. 9 or from I-495, it looks like there is
and the Jackson Trail system in
                                                                                             no open space left to save. When the Open
Marlborough, could evolve into
                                                                                             Space Preservation Committee and the
intercommunity trail systems. The core          Westborough Charm Bracelet Trail blazers     Westborough Community Land Trust saw a
for these open spaces will probably be          (left to right): Don Burn, Westborough
                                                Selectwoman Kristina Allen and Jim Robbins,  map of the trails in town they were surprised
the vast protected open spaces owned
                                                Westborough Town Planner.                    at the number of locations with existing
by the Department of Fisheries and
                                                                                             trails, and the possibilities for making
Wildlife and located almost exactly in
                                                connections between them. One viewer said it reminded him of Boston’s Emerald
the middle of the Technology Corridor,
                                                Necklace of connected green spaces on a smaller scale, so the idea of the "Charm
just off I-495 in Westborough and
                                                Bracelet" was born. When completed, the project will be a continuous 26-mile
Northborough. From this hub, spokes
                                                circumferential trail linking the open spaces that surround Westborough and,
will probably lead to the open space
                                                additionally, a town-wide network of side trails to feed into the main loop. A total
clusters that the Sudbury Valley Trustees
                                                of two miles of the loop will be along roads, the rest will take you away from it all.
have identified and targeted. This
unusual but integrated linear patchwork
                                                          Don Burn is one of the driving forces behind the Charm Bracelet. According
quilt of land will have, as its spine, a very
                                                to Burn, last year the effort hit the halfway point with about 13 miles of the loop trail
unusual-looking Main Street: I-495.
                                                now built. How long will the rest take to complete? "I intend to walk the whole 26-mile
                                                                                                           loop in 2005," answers Burn.
                                                                                                           "Once we started, the response
                                                                                                           has been wonderful, from vol-
                                                                                                           unteers building the trails,
                                                                                                           to over 100 people coming out
                                                                                                           for the celebration walks in
                                                                                                           2001." The trail system already
                                                                                                           extends into neighboring
                                                                                                           Northborough, with plans
                                                                                                           in place to link to all the
                                                                                                           neighboring communities
                                                                                                           and beyond.

                                                                                                         A walk around town: a
                                                                                                         rendition of the proposed
                                                                                                         26-mile walking trail that
                                                                                                         would circumnavigate
                                                                                                         Westborough and connect
                                                                                                         to existing trails in
                                                           Community and business
                                                                                                BUILDING A
            TRANSPORTATION                      leaders, led by Mayor Bill Mauro of                                                           59
            AND THE FUTURE                      Marlborough and supported by the
                                                                                                SYSTEM FOR
                OF I-495                        Metropolitan Area Planning Council,
                                                                                              TOMORROW’S CITY
                                                are looking for solutions. A set of
          The I-495 area is the only            interconnected bus routes has evolved,
                                                                                                      In many ways, the "Boroughs
region in the state really defined by           practically below the radar screen.
                                                                                            Area" (Hudson, Berlin, Marlborough,
an interstate highway. Ironically,              These will increase in number and
                                                                                            Northborough, Southborough and
transportation will be one of its greatest      importance as people use the reverse
                                                                                            Westborough) is already a city, with
future challenges. I-495 within the             commute on the area’s railroads as a
                                                                                            30-million sq. ft. of commercial/industrial
Corridor, which has three travel lanes          faster alternative to an increasingly
                                                                                            space, a regional mall, a hospital in
going in each direction and which had           congested I-495, Mass Pike, I-290,
                                                                                            Marlborough, and even a new Boroughs
no automobiles on it in 1964, is already        Rte. 9, and Rte. 2. Rail links will bring
                                                                                            YMCA being built in Westborough.
at close to its peak-hour capacity in           people out from Greater Boston to
                                                                                            What it has not had, until recently, is
some stretches. Regular traffic backups         Littleton, Westborough, and Franklin.
                                                                                            a way to get around, except by car.
plague the exits and the connector roads        It will also bring them in from the west,
                                                                                            Through the leadership of local
at Marlborough, Westborough,                    from Worcester, Fitchburg, Leominster,
                                                                                            politicians and citizens, that is
Hopkinton, and Franklin every day.              eventually all the way from Orange
What should be done?                            and Athol.
                                                                                                       The I-495 Technology Corridor
                                                                                            Commission has focused on building a
                                                                                            series of interconnected bus links to knit
                                                                                            the area together. Those links will become
                                                                                            more important as proposed rail stops
                                                                                            get completed in Southborough and
                                                                                            Grafton. Overall, the communities along
                                                                                            central I-495 should become a destination
                                                                                            for increasing numbers of commuters
                                                                                            from Worcester, the Nashua and
                                                                                            Blackstone valleys, and reverse
                                                                                            commuters from Greater Boston.

                                                                                                 Sugar Road Bridge overlook onto I-495, Bolton.

Potential future public transit routes in the
I-495 Technology Corridor Initiative's High
Level of Use Scenario include bus routes and
MBTA commuter lines.
 Community      Additional
                  Acres                       Units          Industrial     Demand
                                                            Floor Space

Acton                2,229          2,528             996        928,543       259,228
Ashland              1,653          6,222           2,645      4,398,965       749,240
Bellingham           4,145          5,097           1,840     21,509,455     1,995,481
Berlin               4,634          3,705           1,338      1,125,524       362,298
Bolton               4,477          5,046           1,740        410,557       409,241
Boxborough           2,342          2,042             884      3,272,426       398,530
Carlisle             2,965          3,272           1,169              -       245,403
Chelmsford           1,756          3,326           1,053      6,070,182       704,714
Framingham           1,831          7,684           3,227      1,788,047       710,414
Franklin             4,519         12,652           4,686     11,256,556     1,793,115
Holliston            4,890          8,712           3,070     11,027,157     1,480,903
Hopkinton            7,614         12,599           4,632      4,846,298     1,308,422
Hudson               2,442          4,095           1,606     12,826,337     1,269,098
Littleton            3,733          7,249           2,854      1,866,695       683,643
Marlborough          4,144          7,267           2,918     27,041,609     2,573,148
Maynard                289          1,314             547        736,091       153,720
Medway               2,617          5,658           2,057      4,142,799       735,033
Milford              3,006          5,817           2,299      8,820,043     1,097,798
Millis               2,275          4,043           1,555      4,192,686       617,638
Norfolk              3,009          6,816           2,295      2,889,694       727,895
Northborough         4,674          7,459           2,331     18,940,147     1,482,772
Southborough         1,817          3,909           1,545      5,322,605       692,371
Stow                 2,822          3,680           1,319      3,199,294       515,915
Sudbury              3,387          4,979           2,088        542,935       483,955
Westborough          2,167          3,915           1,755     11,998,751     1,193,502
Westford             6,727         14,235           4,637     17,964,654     2,414,985
Wrentham             6,663          9,260           3,367      7,714,410     1,273,110

Total               92,827        162,581          60,453    194,832,460    26,331,572

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