Tag: MassDOT (page 1 of 3)

MassDOT announce High School Video Contest to promote “Safe Streets. Smart Trips.” Initiative

MassDOT Secretary and CEO, Richard A. Davey announced a statewide high school video contest to promote the Safe Streets. Smart Trips. initiative at an event on Thursday, May 15h at Somerville High School. The initiative is a multiagency and multidisciplinary effort within the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Program, and part of the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan to promote safe walking, bicycling, and driving behaviors within the Commonwealth.

MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard Davey announces "Safe Streets. Smart Trips." Video Contest

MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard Davey announces “Safe Streets. Smart Trips.” Video Contest on Thursday, May 15.

The video contest is open to all high school students across the Commonwealth. Contest rules and guidelines will be sent to high school principals and can also be found here.  A grand prize and runner-up winner will be chosen in October, 2014 and their contributions will be premiered at MassDOT’s annual active transportation conference, Moving Together. The grand prize winner will receive an iPad, a $300 cash prize, and a prize packet of sponsor prizes, while the runner-up winner will receive an iPad and a prize packet of sponsor prizes.

The contest is designed to raise awareness of each traveler’s behavior within the transportation system. In order to prevent accidents on our roadways, drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians must exercise care and caution for one another. The contest will also draw on the benefits of healthy and active transportation options.

For more information about the 2014 Moving Together healthy transportation conference, please visit this link.

Green Line Extension: Community Path Meeting

The Green Line Extension (GLX) Project Team will hold a public meeting to review the latest design plans for the Community Path on Wednesday, May 14 at the Holiday Inn in Somerville on 30 Washington Street from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey announced on April 30th that as part of the Green Line Extension project, the project team will both design and construct the multi-modal Community Path to be built along the GLX in Somerville and Cambridge. The 1.9 mile path will connect four GLX Stations: Lowell Street, Gilman Square, Washington Street and the relocated Lechmere. When complete, the path will provide a connection that will give pedestrians and bicyclists a continuous route from Bedford to Boston. More information about the project is available on the Green Line Extension website. If you have any questions on the Green Line Extension Project, please email info@glxinfo.com.

For more information or to request reasonable accommodations and/or language services for the Community Path Meeting, please contact Joe Sgroi at jsgroi@gilbaneco.com or 617-996-0771.

Tim

Everything You Need to Know About the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Curb cuts, median removals, and traffic mitigation have already begun on the Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project. The project is extremely complex, involving the reconstruction of a century-old bridge and the brick-by-brick refurbishing of its iconic salt-and-pepper-shaker stone towers. Over the next three years, construction on the Longfellow is going to have a major effect on how all of us get around town. With that in mind, I’ll do my best to keep you up to date through this blog, and to answer some common questions.

Last night, MassDOT held a public meeting regarding the project in general and traffic detours specifically. You can see the presentation from last night’s meeting here. As you might expect, there’s a lot of information in that presentation, so I’ll try to highlight the key points:

  • Red Line train service will be replaced by buses running from Kendall to MGH and Park St. on five weekends in 2013: August 10-11, August 24-25, October 19-20, October 26-27, and November 2-3. During these weekends, the Longfellow’s cycle lanes will be closed to accommodate two-way bus traffic, and traffic patterns around the bridge will change significantly. To receive real-time updates and alerts about Red Line service by phone or email, sign up for the MBTA’s Rider Alerts. There are a total of 25 planned “weekend diversions” over the project’s three-year lifespan.
  • The project includes several features to make the Boston and Cambridge sides of the bridge more pedestrian-friendly, including a new footbridge connecting the Longfellow to the paths on Memorial Drive.
  • The first phase of construction requires closing the western lanes of the bridge. Boston-to Cambridge traffic will be detoured until September of next year. You can find a full-color map of the detour on page 18 of MassDOT’s presentation.
  • Striping of new lanes on the Craigie Bridge/Charles River Dam Rd. begins this Saturday.
  • MassDOT and the project’s contractors will be intensely monitoring data from the first two weeks under the new traffic patterns, and will make adjustments as appropriate.

MassDOT is operating a dedicated hotline for comments and concerns related to the Longfellow project, and they intend to answer every call within two hours. You can reach MassDOT’s hotline at (617)-519-9892, or just send them an email at longfellowbridge@state.ma.us. MassDOT’s Stephanie Boundy is also keeping neighbors up-to-speed with regular email blasts. Over 700 people receive these helpful email alerts now, and you can sign up by contacting Stephanie at (857)-368-8904 or stephanie.boundy@state.ma.us.

Major Traffic Changes on Longfellow Bridge Expected to Last Until September 2014

Cambridge-bound traffic will be rerouted to the Craigie Bridge and Land Boulevard during the Longfellow Bridge's rehabilitation. Image via MassDOT.

Cambridge-bound traffic will be rerouted to the Craigie Bridge and Land Boulevard during the Longfellow Bridge’s rehabilitation. Image via MassDOT.

Beginning July 20, traffic patterns on the Longfellow Bridge will be dramatically changed to accommodate construction on the 107-year-old structure. The new traffic patterns will only affect motorists: cyclists and pedestrians will continue to be able to cross the bridge in both directions. The new traffic patterns are expected to persist until September 2014.  Click here to see a larger map of the new traffic patterns.

Boston-bound traffic will be reduced to one lane, while Cambridge-bound traffic will be diverted to the Craigie Bridge. You can learn more about the project and traffic changes at tomorrow night’s public meeting at MIT.

Medford St. in Somerville to Close for Three Weeks

Beginning this Friday, as part of Phase I construction of the Green Line Extension, Medford St. between McGrath Highway and Ward St. in Somerville will be closed for three weeks. This closure is expected to create significant traffic impacts, and you can learn more about detours here.

A map of the detour routes is below. As always, if you have any questions, you can email info@glxinfo.com or contact the Green Line Extension Project at 855-GLX-INFO (855-459-4636).

Detours for the Medford St. bridge construction. Image via MassDOT.

Detours for the Medford St. bridge construction. Image via MassDOT.

Learn More About the Longfellow Bridge Construction

An aerial view of the Longfellow Bridge. The 107-year-old structure is undergoing major repairs beginning this summer. Image via MassDOT.

An aerial view of the Longfellow Bridge. The 107-year-old structure is undergoing major repairs beginning this summer. Image via MassDOT.

With rehabilitation of the historic Longfellow Bridge set to begin soon, MassDOT invites neighbors to attend one of two meetings in East Cambridge:

  • Monday, July 1, 6pm — Cambridge Police Headquarters (125 6th St.)
  • Wednesday, July 10, 7pm — MIT Building E 25, Room 111 (45 Carleton St.)

Representatives from both MassDOT and the bridge’s construction company will be in attendance to answer questions about traffic changes, pedestrian and cyclist access, Red Line service, and more. MassDOT will present their plans and then open up a question-and-answer session with the public. If you live or work nearby, or if you regularly use the Longfellow, I encourage you to attend.

A Big Step Forward for the Community Path

A map of some of the existing and proposed multi-use paths in Greater Boston. Image via Friends of the Community Path.

A map of some of the existing and proposed multi-use paths in Greater Boston. Image via Friends of the Community Path.

Those of us who have supported the construction of the Community Path along with the Green Line Extension (GLX) recently received some really good news. At issue was the question of what’s known as “the Fitchburg crossing,” the section of Somerville in which the GLX will bridge the Fitchburg Commuter Rail line. At a meeting last week in Medford, we were delighted to learn that MassDOT has committed to designing a way for the Community Path to bridge this gap and connect Somerville with North Point in Cambridge. This is an exciting announcement for a number of reasons.

Designing the Fitchburg Crossing section of the Community Path means that we are closer to seeing a single, continuous mixed-use path stretching from central Somerville to the Charles. Moreover, since the Community Path will run without breaks for rail or street crossings, the larger regional network of mixed-use paths—including the proposed Grand Junction Rail Trail—will finally be seamless. The Community Path is the critical link between paths on the Charles, like the Esplanade, and the eleven-mile-long Minuteman Commuter Bikeway. With the new design of the Community Path at the Fitchburg crossing, a commuter living in Bedford can get to work in North Point without ever leaving a designated bike path, and families living in Cambridge and Somerville can cycle safely to Lexington Common for a picnic.

I want to thank Governor Patrick, Secretary Davy, and the staff at MassDOT and the MBTA for seeing the long-term value in designing a complete community path. They have shown a commitment to listening to and engaging with the many advocates, residents, and neighbors who want to see the Green Line Extension and Community Path be the kind of projects that we can all be proud of. There’s still lots of work to be done on this project, but last night, we took an important step forward.

Tonight: Public Meeting on Ethanol Traveling Through Our Communities

A map of the proposed ethanol transportation routes. Image via MassDOT.

A map of the proposed ethanol transportation routes. Image via MassDOT.

MassDOT is undertaking a study of the feasibility of transporting ethanol by rail through several Greater Boston communities, including Somerville and Cambridge. The next public meeting is scheduled for tonight, March 11, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Argenziano School in Somerville (290 Washington St.).

I encourage you to attend tonight’s public meeting to share your perspective and to learn more about the proposals put forward by MassDOT. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.

Longfellow Bridge Construction to Begin This Summer

An artist's rendering of the revitalized Longfellow Bridge. Image via MassDOT.

An artist’s rendering of the revitalized Longfellow Bridge. Image via MassDOT.

It’s one of the signature architectural elements connecting Cambridge and Boston—and it’s finally getting some much-needed TLC.

The Longfellow Bridge was built in 1906, and in its 107 years, it’s only been repaired twice. The bridge carries not only pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, but also Red Line trains connecting North Cambridge to downtown Boston, Quincy, Mattapan, and more. It is a critical thread in the fabric of our larger community, and I’m absolutely thrilled to hear MassDOT’s announcement.

I see the final design as emblematic of what government and community leaders can do when they work together. The project will cost $255 million over the next three years, eighty percent of which will be paid for by the federal government, and the final agreement includes measures to hold construction companies responsible for keeping the project on track and on time.  The new bridge will be even more pedestrian-and-cyclist friendly and the Longfellow’s gorgeous views of the Charles River Basin will remain unchanged. The big change will be for motorists, as outbound traffic will be confined to one lane to make room for pedestrians and cyclists.

Needless to say, this will be a big, complex project: MassDOT will keep the Red Line running by laying temporary tracks during construction, but on 25 weekends over the next three years, shuttle buses will replace Red Line trains between Charles/MGH and Kendall Square (there are no scheduled weekday service disruptions). Some motorists will be diverted to the Craigie Bridge during the construction. But this is a small price to pay in order to safeguard both an important piece of infrastructure and a part of our cultural heritage.

Before the Longfellow Bridge, there was the West Boston Bridge, which inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to write a poem. The final lines of that poem still ring true, 168 years after they were written:

Yet whenever I cross the river
   On its bridge with wooden piers,
Like the odor of brine from the ocean
   Comes the thought of other years.

And I think how many thousands
   Of care-encumbered men,
Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
   Have crossed the bridge since then.

I see the long procession
   Still passing to and fro,
The young heart hot and restless,
   And the old subdued and slow!

And forever and forever,
   As long as the river flows,
As long as the heart has passions,
   As long as life has woes;

The moon and its broken reflection
   And its shadows shall appear,
As the symbol of love in heaven,
   And its wavering image here.

Changes to MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program

MassDOT’s Community Transit Grant Program is undergoing some important changes. The program allows organizations to apply for funding to better serve low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals, and the Department of Transportation wants everyone to be aware of the changes, including a migration to an online application.

What sort of changes? That’s a little complex for a single blog post, but that’s why MassDOT is holding training sessions throughout the state. Residents of Cambridge and Somerville should attend an informational meeting on January 31, from 10am-11:30am in Suite 2150 of the State Transportation Building (10 Park Plaza, Boston).

You can find application guidelines and the application itself here, and all applications must be received by 5pm on March 1, 2013. If you wish to apply for a grant but are unable to attend a training session, please contact Kyle J. Emge at 857-368-9555. One additional web-based training session will be provided for applicants that are unable to attend one of the three scheduled sessions.

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