Subregional Age-friendly Communities Planning

As part of a joint effort by the MAGIC subregion of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Bedford declared itself an Age-friendly Community (a member of the World Health Organization’s network of such communities) in 2018 and has been participating in discussions focusing on housing and transportation. A set of goals and potential strategies for these two topics has now been produced and is attached below. The work has benefitted from assistance from Massachusetts AARP staff and experts on senior housing and service delivery.

On the transportation side, Bedford had already been involved in the DASH pilot project and a tri-town transit coordination study, and therefore is not directly participating in MAGIC’s own microtransit pilot based in Sudbury. However it will be interested to follow the findings of this project, which is concentrating its efforts on improving access to medical appointments. The listed range of transportation goals and strategies includes Complete Streets and other measures to improve paths and transit stops, support programs for safe driving and information/education on transportation options.

On the housing side, several of the suggested strategies echo ideas in Bedford’s Comprehensive Plan and Housing Study. The Planning Board’s current proposal to amend the Zoning Bylaw on Accessory Dwelling Units aligns well with strategies 1.7 (to remove regulatory barriers to development of ADUs) and 1.10 (to encourage development of accessible and adaptable units). Other housing strategies support exploring additional relevant housing types, as well as addressing home maintenance issues and integration of services with housing.