$3M Mass Ave. funding approved

Representative Will Brownsberger reports,

Also approved by the MPO today [September 22] was $3.0 million in 2013 funding for Arlington’s Mass. Ave reconstruction project.

The “MPO” is the Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization,  which coordinates transportaion planning in the area.

Brownsberger’s news comes almost as an afterthought to his report on his blog about the $14.6 million approved at the same meeting to improve roads between Belmont Center and Watertown.

Compared to that, Brownsberger says the Mass. Ave. project

covers a much shorter road segment but resembles the Belmont-Trapelo road project — it is also a reconstruction of an overwide former streetcar line to make it more neighborhood friendly.

Brownsberger represents Belmont, and parts of North Cambridge and East Arlington, on Beacon Hill.

Update: Apparently, there was nearly $5.9M approved for the project at this meeting; see the comments.

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7 comments so far

  1. Mark Kaepplein on

    I was at that MPO meeting and got the handouts. Brownsberger was not there. He was likely off trying to keep casinos in other states so more fuel is consumed and green house gas produced driving to them. Nobody else from Arlington but me identified themself. One Arlington resident wrote in opposition to the Mass Ave. Project and I spoke against it, amongst other things, urging a funding delay to work out resident differences as long as federal funding was not put at risk. There was no discussion of Trapello Road. Most comments read and spoken were about the Green Line extension and the Bruce Freeman/Assabet River Rail Trails project.

    For FY2013 Arlington Rt60/Mass Ave decongesting is competing for $1,097,393 CLAM money with Brookline Hubway year 3, Cambridge Hubway year 3, and Cochituate rail trail projects. No split was given.

    For Mass Ave., Brownsberger looks to have gotten the FY13 money wrong. He only listed the first of four line items for the project. The total is $5,887,336. One line item is $750,000 under “section 129”. That might be for the landscaping, but is all fed funds no state.

    • Adam Auster on

      I’d assumed that the rest of the money, beyond the $3.0M would be in a subsequent approval process. But, you say the entire amount was actually approved at this meeting?

      I’m not seeing the most recent TIP the the MPO’s web site.

      • Mark Kaepplein on

        I am going by the sheets handed out at the meeting. The title is “DRAFT FFYs 2012-15 TIP” Our projects are on pages subtitled “FFY 2013”. I don’t know if this information is online.

  2. Mark Kaepplein on

    Another comment I made at the hearing is that decision makers have no way of knowing if projects meet their goals of reducing greenhouse gases.

    They need to do carbon footprint calculations for every project. How much greenhouse gas will be produced to make a bike traill in materials and construction? What is the payback period over its lifetime in less CO2 produced from people biking to work on it instead of driving?

    What is the carbon cost of “traffic calming” treatments, slowing down a string of cars, who then speed back up again? What accident reduction offsets that cost? These things are why EPA city mileage is worse than highway despite much higher air resistance at highway speeds. Road projects keep adding traffic calming features with no proven effectiveness that worsen green house gas, increase cost, and waste fuel. On example is narrowed street intersections that make drivers slow more and reduce visibility in winter with snowbanks. Another is converting angled intersections to square ones (recently in North Cambridge).

  3. Bob Sprague on

    Brownsberger has updated his blog to reflect almost $5.9 million approved. He also says he was present for part of the meeting and that his aide was there for it all. See http://willbrownsberger.com/index.php/archives/8679#comment-1856

    Bob Sprague

    • Mark Kaepplein on

      Actually, I missed the first 20 minutes of the meeting – I took public transit being global car-free day and all…I didn’t see Brownsberger when I came in, but he wrote that he sat behind me. Neither he, nor his aide said hello to me, so I missed them.

  4. Eric Berger on

    The four travel lanes will remain on the corridor. Two of them will never be removed. Never!
    Eric Berger


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