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

Enter your artwork representing your vision for the JFH Corridor and the innovative ideas you have for making it climate resilient. Prizes will be awarded for several categories based on age and medium! Submissions can be hand-made or computer-generated. Full submission guidelines can be found in English and in Spanish.

There are two ways to enter the Envision JFH Artwork Challenge: 

1. Online Form: Entrants may submit entries via the online Application Form: https://arcg.is/SqTn80. One form is required per entry. Entries submitted via the online form must be in .jpeg, .jpg, .gif, or .png file format. 

2. Dropbox: Entrants may submit a hard copy piece of artwork or sketch page along with a completed Application Form (see download links below) in a sealed envelope at the City Hall outdoor red mailbox at 718 Main Street. Address the envelope to DPW re: JFH Challenge. Hard copies of sketch pages and forms are also available at the Fitchburg Public Library (610 Main Street) at the curbside pickup counter. One form must be submitted for each entry.

All applications must be received by March 12, 2021 to be entered into the Envision JFH Artwork Challenge!

Have an idea, but don’t want to submit artwork for the challenge? No problem. Use the form to submit a comment (can include a photo).

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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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