The purpose of this report is to examine the feasibility of the Town of Palmer becoming a passenger stop on a proposed East-West rail line that would connect to Union Station in Springfield and South Station in Boston. The report is presented in two parts. Part one presents the primary reasons that would make the case for a stop being placed in Palmer. The second presents a series of case studies to stimulate ideas on how Palmer could promote further growth through the creation of transit oriented development (TOD) around any future stop.
The findings in this report are based on a review of Palmer’s current planning and regulatory documents, the results of a town wide charrette, interviews with public officials and business persons, analysis of publicly available data and a review of transit-oriented development projects across Southern New England. The findings are based on research undertaken from March through the end of May, 2019.
Palmer and the Lower Quabbin Region
The town of Palmer is located along the Quabboag, Swift and Ware Rivers in Hampden County, Massachusetts. Incorporated in 1775, it has a geographic size of thirty square miles and is surrounded by the towns of Ludlow and Wilbraham on the southwest, Belchertown on the northwest, Ware on the northeast, Warren on the east, Brimfield on the southeast and Monson on the south (Figure 1). It is situated on the easterly edge of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Its nearest large population centers are Springfield (pop. 154,748, nineteen miles to the west) and Worcester (pop. 181,045, forty miles to the east).