The 100% plans filed with MassDOT at the end of April include some hints about how construction will be managed.
For instance, sidewalks will precede street. Most work is restricted to 9 am–3 pm. Sidewalk work will be staggered within each block so that there will be parking on one side of the street even during sidewalk construction.
Will this be fun? No, it will be hell. But organized hell.
An MBTA bus shelter is in the works for the inbound Thorndike Street stop despite being omitted from the latest plans for the Mass. Ave. project.
At least 3 of the town’s new bus shelters are planned for East Arlington, inbound between Elmhurst and Orvis and at Linwood and outbound across from the Capitol Theater. These shelters are indicated in the 100% plans filed with MassDOT last week.
However there is no sign in the plans of the planned shelter at Thorndike St. The bus stop there will be relocated to the sidewalk in front of JN Phillips Auto Glass.
Only regulatory approvals stand between the Mass. Ave. project and reality, as the Town has posted 100% plans on its web page for the project and submitted them to the Mass. Department of Transportation.
Those plans, which could still change in response to technical criticism, fill in many small details needed to specify the construction work for bidding.
More-substantive decisions were made during the 25 and 75% design phases. However, the 75% design still awaits final approval by the Federal Highway Administration.
Monday’s letter from the Board of Selectmen Selectmen to the Mass DOT did not skirt Question 1, the nonbinding referendum that asked about lanes on Mass. Ave.
In the letter, the Selectmen took aim directly at the measure, which passed by a vote of 4,334-4,097 on April 6.
The letter, signed by all five selectmen and Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, calls the referendum a “false choice” that does “not have any legal effect” and achieved “a very narrow victory.”
Consequently, the signers say they “do not consider this to be a meaningful result.”
The Board of Selectmen voted last night to recommend strongly the Mass. Ave. project to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, a recent close nonbinding referendum on the project notwithstanding.
The vote, like all of the Board’s votes on the project since 2012, was unanimous. In her remarks Selectman Diane Mahon, who had dissented in some earlier votes, praised the design as it has evolved over time.
Only one person sought to address the Board about the letter, a supporter making a technical point.
The vote is no suprise given the history of the project, the requirements for state and federal funding, and the many defects of the recent nonbinding referendum.
Also: More on the letter, including a link to a scan, here.
I have been wondering about all the plantings made last year along the Alewife Greenway.
It’s a big transition to be dug up and stuck in the ground and then left untended for the winter. Some of the shrubs looked nearly dead to begin with.
I took these photos yesterday on the small path segment that is right near my house on Cottage Ave. in East Arlington.
The landscape architects deliberately chose only North American plants for the Alewife Greenway. For trees, we got about 6 oaks on our little path segment.
These are less demonstrative than the maples planted in other locations, but as you can see the oaks are budding.
The same electorate also returned Kevin Greeley, running on a pro–Mass. Ave. platform, to the Board of Selectmen over Mass. Ave. opponent Maria Romano by a more-decisive 4,626–3,355.
The narrow 51–49% referendum result probably clears the project to move forward in the coming months.
Disgruntled critics of the Mass. Ave. project stoop, sometimes, to dark mutterings. They say that corruption, collusion, and conspiracy have foisted special-interest street design upon a hapless Arlington.
To be sure, transportation planning, like other disciplines, has developed an entrenched consensus about many things, based on law, habit, and experience.
However, corruption involves a betrayal of trust or responsibility, usually in return for money.
Other than vague handwaving about secret meetings, opponents have never bothered to show any such thing.
This despite having shopped their accusations to law enforcement in several venues.
I however have found the smoking gun. I can identify the date and place of the 1996 meeting that made a significant decision about bicycles.
And, I can name names, or at least one of them.
Follow the money with me to see the extent to which the conspiracy theories are true—and are not.
Read more »
The Arlington Advocate yesterday posted online Senator Ken Donnelly’s big red flag about Question 1, the anti–Mass. Ave. referendum. It also posted five other recent Advocate commentaries.
Senator Donnelly warns, among other things,
If we do not move forward now, the town would once again have to apply to place the project on the state project list, which is a process that takes years…. If we do not meet the September deadline, it is most likely that we will lose the 100-percent funding—$6.8 million—that has been allotted to fix Mass. Avenue in East Arlington.
Read Donnelly’s “It may be Now for Mass Ave Corridor Project in Arlington, or Never.”
Foes of the Mass. Ave. project do not address the funding issue at all, but would like you to vote for Question 1 to stop the project from going forward.
Other Mass. Ave. and referendum commentary is as follows:
Here’s what one Grafton Street resident told the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about crossing Mass Ave.:
I am an extremely safety conscious person and yet, at the other end, as we were approaching Sabatino’s, it just so happened that one of the three boys who was with me was hit by a car.
Read more »
MassDOT will hold a 25% hearing next month on Arlington’s plan to add bike lanes and make other changes to the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Route 60.
The newest version narrows parking and travel lanes to shoehorn seven parking spaces by Cambridge Savings Bank and beyond. It retains a proposed new traffic signal on Mass. Ave. at Swan Place.