Archive for the ‘75% plans’ Tag

Mass. Ave. old and new

Phil Goff, a professional transit planner who served on the design committee for the Mass. Ave. Project, gave the following remarks about the new Mass. Ave. versus the old at Saturday’s ribbon-cutting.

The ceremony was held at the foot of Grafton Street, site of one of East Arlington’s most improved pedestrian crosswalks. Click any photo for a larger view.

BEFORE: The crosswalk at Grafton St., where Lucy delGado was fatally struck in 2013.

BEFORE: The crosswalk at Grafton St., where Lucy Delgado was fatally struck in 2013. The crossing had long been troublesome.

Today the crosswalk features curb extensions, a safety island, and a lane reduction. View SW towards Orvis Rd; both photos by permission of Phil Goff.

AFTER: Today the crosswalk features curb extensions, a safety island, and a lane reduction. View SW towards Orvis Rd; both photos by Phil Goff.

As you look around, take in the new Mass Ave.

For the past 50 years, cars dominated the old Mass Ave but no more. For the past 50 years, walking across the old Mass Ave was like playing Russian Roulette but no more. For the past 50 years, bicyclists have had no space to ride on the old Mass Ave but no more.

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What a difference a year makes

A year ago tonight, hundreds of Arlington residents gathered for what seemed like the umpteenth hearing on the Mass. Ave. Project.

HearingCrowd

The view from the back of the hall at the February 26 hearing (2013).

A year later, the sturm und drang have receded. The Commonwealth is quietly checking the credentials of constructions firms who have bid to break ground on the project this spring.

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Mass. DOT justifies Mass. Ave. design

The design for the Mass. Ave. project in East Arlington meets state and federal requirements for bicycles and pedestrians and satisfies other other criteria, according to a May 28 letter from Thomas Broderick of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Broderick, the chief engineer of MassDOT’s Highway Division, made his reply to written comments on the plan filed in conjunction with last February’s hearing.

The letter shows a state agency that has fully embraced the Town’s design. Federal review, however, is still pending.

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Selectmen’s Mass Ave letter rebuts, rebukes Question 1

letterheadMonday’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.”

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Selectmen’s vote to advance Mass. Ave. is unanimous

Left to right are Selectmen Joe Curro, Steven Byrne, Dan Dunn, Diane Mahon, and Kevin Greeley, at last night's meeting.

Left to right are Selectmen Joe Curro, Steven Byrne, Dan Dunn, Diane Mahon, and Kevin Greeley, at last night’s meeting.

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.

Update: Here’s the story at YourArlington.com. Further: and at the Globe.

Also: More on the letter, including a link to a scan, here.

Many stories in fire hose of Mass. Ave. public record

Here’s what one Grafton Street resident told the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about crossing Mass Ave.:

student_crosswalk_sign_2I would like to tell you a true story of crossing that street with my son when he was nine, and two other boys as I was taking them to the Hardy School in the morning.

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.
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Senator warns ‘Now or Never’ on Mass. Ave. funding

Senator Donnelly warns "we will lose this project" to other communities if we do not act this year.

Senator Donnelly, at February hearing, warns “we will lose this project” to other towns if we do not act this year.

Further delays in the Mass. Ave. Project could cost Arlington $6.8 million, State Senator Ken Donnelly warned today.

That alarm, two weeks before Arlington will vote on an oddly worded ballot question on Mass. Ave., was also sounded by the town’s Transportation Advisory Committee.

Writing in today’s Arlington Advocate, Donnelly lays out the worst-case scenario: an eleventh-hour attempt to revisit the design for Mass. Ave. would “leave insufficient time to redesign and meet the September deadline.”

In that case, Donnelly warns, “it is most likely that we will lose the 100 percent funding—$6.8 million—that has been allotted to fix Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

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23 seconds

StopwatchTrips along the Town’s 3-lane design for Mass. Ave. in East Arlington will take about as long as on a 4-lane alternative, according to a controversial new software model.

The Town’s consultants performed the analysis even though the Mass. DOT has found 4 lanes to be unsafe and unacceptable.

Safety aside, both designs perform similarly in terms of average trip times. That is what you would expect based on the traffic data, which show that the 3-lane design meets peak traffic as well as a 4-lane design.

Bu that’s not what you might have thought from reading the January 23 letter from the Federal Highway Administration to MassDOT.

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March 12 is deadline for written comments to MassDOT

Last week’s public hearing also comes with a period for written comments that ends on Tuesday, March 12.

Full instructions and addresses are included in the official hearing notice.

A-Town to Feds: We really, really want it

Senator Donnelly warns "we will lose this project" to other communities if we do not act this year.

Senator Donnelly warns “we will lose this project” to other communities if Arlington does not act this year. Also shown at right: Arlington Selectman Joe Curro.

Amidst warnings that Arlington stands to lose more than $5 million in highway funds, a lively public hearing broadly endorsed the Mass. Ave. project by a margin of  nearly 4 to 1, extending a trend of growing support for the plan over time.

The hearing was convened by MassDOT at the request of the Federal Highway Administration, which however was not present.

The crowd, though slightly thinner than the turnout for a similar hearing two years ago, still spilled into the galleries.

The first speaker following presentations from state officials and the project engineers was Senator Kenneth Donnelly, who said that if the project does not move forward Arlington would lose funding for the project to other communities.

Donnelly’s warning was cheered by opponents of the project.

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Yet another public hearing challenges critics’ priorities, residents’ stamina

They shoot horses, don't they? Library of Congress photo

They shoot horses, don’t they? Library of Congress photo

Mass. Highway, at the request of the Federal Highway Administration, will hold another public hearing on the Mass. Ave. project to take comments on changes to the plan made since the 25%-design hearing of April 12 2011.

The scope of the hearing, 7 pm Tuesday February 26 at Town Hall, confronts both pro-safety and anti-safety critics of the plan with uncomfortable choices: a safer design that will delay the project by as much as a year, or one with an extra lane at its western end that is ready to go out to bid this spring.

The hearing also challenges weary Arlingtonians to turn out yet again for a process that has included more than a dozen public meetings over more than four years.
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Perhaps 80 view and comment on Mass. Ave. plans April 4

No microphones, no testimony, and very little shouting were in evidence at the open house to present the latest plans for Mass. Ave., held at the Hardy School on the night of April 4.

A lively crowd at the open house.

This was not a hearing but an open house, drawings and photos spread on on tables and folks from the town available to answer questions. Participants were encouraged to write comments on little yellow cards but it is unclear how those comments will weigh on the result.

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