Archive for the ‘funding’ Tag

$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.

Mass DOT takes comments

Advocates for and against the rebuilding of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington went into overdrive, and comments from the public went into overtime, at a sometimes-raucous project hearing at Town Hall on April 12.

Some 400 people came to the Department of Transportation hearing on the Town’s proposed design. 79 gave comments, and many more were turned away when the hearing adjourned at 10:40.

Arlington Town Hall on Tuesday night. Not quite to capacity, but very full.

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For the record at Mass. Highway

Mass. Highway, the state agency that will decide (after next month’s hearing) whether to fund the reconstruction of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington, has its own bare-bones web page for the project.

My experience watching similar pages for other projects (all of Arlington is here) is that these reports are abbreviated and often lag behind developments on the ground (or the meeting rooms, as the case may be.) But for Mass. Ave. watchers, it’s another data point.

As of this writing, the most recent activity reported is some paperwork on March 9 about securing rights of way.

My slightly cynical crystal ball

Concentrate and ask again

Though I am hardly shy with my opinions, the focus here has been reporting on news of the Mass. Ave. projects and what others are saying and doing.

I depart from that for this post to make some outright predictions.

First, I think the state will approve the project, which will be built very much along the lines of the plan submitted. (My magic 8-ball is still cloudy about when.)

Second, Mass Ave. will neither become a paradise nor a parking lot. With a few important exceptions, the effect of the new design on traffic and safety will be small — for good and for ill. Here’s why.

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The face of a new Mass. Ave.

Never mind the sausage factory of process and meetings and interim drafts.

If Mass. Highway approves the 25-percent plans as submitted, what will we get? What will be different?

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Mass. Ave. questions answered — sort of

Question markAt the start of June, when the Town announced a public meeting about the Mass. Ave. plan, I posted a list of five questions I hoped the Town would answer about the project.

The meeting answered some questions at least in part. The fullness of time, and the filing of a final revised design, has shed further light on each of them, as follows.

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Functional Design Report connects data to plan

The Town’s planning department today made its Mass. Ave. Functional Design Report available at its web page for the project.

This technical document is the bulkier, gnarlier accompaniment to the drawings that have been available for about a month.

All were filed with Mass. Highway last month, setting the stage (eventually) for hearings here in town on the broad parameters of the plan.

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Mass. Ave., Alewife path, schools down for improvement funds

Mass. Ave. and other Arlington projects, including paths along the Alewife Brook, are listed in state planning documents as recipients of millions of dollars of state and federal transportation grants.

At the Board of Selectmen’s August 10 meeting, Laura Wiener, the Town’s senior planner, told the Board that funding for the Mass. Ave. project was “on the TIP for 2012” after missing its 2010 deadlines. The TIP is the Transportation Improvement Project, which despite its name is a running list of many projects that is maintained by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In addition, the MPO recently added millions of dollars for other projects in Arlington. Continue reading

Selectmen approve 25% plans, 4-1

With the approval of Arlington’s police and fire chiefs, the Board of Selectmen last night voted to send so-called 25% plans for Mass. Ave to the state for review.

Arlington residents listen to the discussion of the 25% plan on Monday night.

Arlington residents listen to the discussion of the 25% plan on Monday night.

The vote was the next step in a process that could net $4.5 million in state and federal funds for Arlington. Construction could begin as early as Spring 2012.

About 90 people attended the meeting in the Town Hall Auditorium.

The plans are not final, but describe such contentious issues as lane configuration and the location of traffic signals. Continue reading