John Fitch Highway: A Climate Resilient Corridor

Project Overview

The City of Fitchburg through the Department of Public Works received funding to begin a redesign of JFH between Lunenburg Street and Summer Street from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program. The Redesigning John Fitch Highway – A Climate Resilient Corridor project is part of the City’s efforts to: 

  • Provide equitable mobility and access.
  • Build a safer pedestrian and biking experience.
  • Increase tree cover.
  • Promote business. 
  • Decrease flood vulnerability. 
  • Prepare for the impacts of climate change. 

The JFH floods frequently because the roadway is located in the floodplain and in the historic path of Baker Brook. Flood reduction of Baker Brook into JFH was a top priority in the 2020 Hazard Mitigation Plan and MVP Report (/DocumentCenter/View/7566/Fitchburg-HMP-MVP-Draft-Report_2020-11-02).  The redesign of JFH will employ best practices, including nature-based solutions to reduce flooding (like rain gardens and tree planting) and Complete Streets elements (such as shared use paths and improved crosswalks) within the right of way to improve the Corridor and the city’s climate resilience. The current project will develop a preliminary design focused on the roadway’s right-of-way. This is just the first step in the process. Additional grants and various funding sources will be sought to advance to final design and construction. The project may also be a pilot for future improvements in the northern portion of the Corridor.

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How to Get Involved

Community members are invited to provide input on this project by either sharing comments/ideas or submitting a creative piece to the Envision John Fitch Highway Artwork Challenge by March 12, 2021. Click on the "Share Your Ideas" and "Envision John Fitch Highway Artwork Challenge" headings below for more information.

  1. Share Your Ideas
  2. Envision John Fitch Highway Artwork Challenge

We want your input now as we develop an initial design for the project area during spring 2021. Right now, we are asking for your vision - think long-term, what will JFH look like in 5 years, in 10 years? 

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What would make the JFH Corridor safer, more user-friendly, better for business and the neighborhood, more beautiful, and more resilient to heat, flooding, and climate change impacts? What changes to the streetscape would benefit the neighborhood and the Baker Brook watershed? Think about what would encourage biking and walking, supporting businesses, connecting with neighbors, and attracting visitors.

Submit your Ideas at https://arcg.is/SqTn80

or on a printed comment form:   Comment Form (English)   Comment Form (Spanish)

JFH improvements

For More Information

Please direct questions about this project to the Department of Public Works Engineering Department: 978-829-1915 or email JFHProject@fitchburgma.gov.

Check back here - or follow us on social media - for updates on future meetings and other ways to get involved.

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