MBTA Piloting Bus App for Blind Riders Developed by Perkins School, Raizlabs

The following information was provided by Perkins School for the Blind:
Perkins School for the Blind has enhanced its groundbreaking micronavigation app, designed to help commuters with visual impairment find their bus stops, by bolstering it with new technology that makes traveling even easier. Still free to use, BlindWays 2.0 now alerts riders along select MBTA bus routes when they’ve found their outdoor stop via signals from bluetooth beacons, installed in bus stop signs, that trigger iPhone vibration. “Perkins continues to foster innovation by working collaboratively, as we are with the MBTA and developer Raizlabs on this initiative, to solve challenges for people who are visually impaired,” said Luiza Aguiar, executive director of Perkins Solutions. “We’re motivated to help create a transportation infrastructure that is equally accessible to all riders. Augmenting BlindWays to leverage beacons speeds us along that path.”
The first iteration of BlindWays was released in fall of 2016, providing users with crowdsourced landmark clues to help them navigate the last 30 feet of frustration standard GPS models leave between users and their exact destinations.

Charles River Road to Close Overnight, Again — See Which Days

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) closed Charles River Road last week and will close again for two nights this week. The DCR sent out the following information:
On Thursday, May 10, 2018, and Friday, May 11, 2018, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement a roadway closure along Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to accommodate paving work. Additionally, traffic patterns will be clearly marked and a police detail will be on site. WHERE: Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square
WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 2018, and Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Leo Roy, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources.

Charles River Road Being Closed Temporarily, See When

The Department of Conservation and Recreation announced Charles River Road will be closed overnight for two evenings.DCR officials sent out the following release:
DCR Traffic Advisory: Charles River Road in Watertown
WHAT: Tonight, May 2, 2018, and tomorrow, May 3, 2018, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement a roadway closure along Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to accommodate milling operations work. Abutters will be allowed access to their property. Additionally, traffic patterns will be clearly marked and a police detail will be on site. WHERE: Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square
WHEN: Wednesday, May 2, 2018, and Thursday, May 3, 2018, 8:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.

Traffic Patterns Changing to Speed Up Buses on Mt. Auburn St. During Pilot Program

Some changes to traffic patterns on Mt. Auburn Street will be tested during a Bus Priority Pilot in effort to speed up buses on the roadway through Watertown and Cambridge. A community meeting will be May 1, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Tufts Health Plan (705 Mount Auburn St., Watertown) to discuss the Bus Priority Pilot, but Watertown Department of Public Works officials gave some details prior to the meeting. The pilot will test ways to get buses down Mt. Auburn Street faster, Shuman said, because so many people use public transit to commute.

MBTA Seeks Public Input on 5-Year Spending Plan, Hosting Series of Meetings

The following was sent out by MassDOT and the MBTA:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that public meetings to present and discuss the Draft MassDOT and MBTA Capital Investment Plan (CIP) Update for Fiscal Years 2019–2023 will be held in May and that the public comment period for the draft CIP will open on May 15 and close on June 4.  Public comments may be submitted by email to masscip@state.ma.us. The draft CIP is multi-billion dollar investment portfolio  and includes all MassDOT highway and bridge projects, regional airports, rail and transit, including MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities as well as the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Public participation is essential to the success of the CIP. The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, May 15, 6:30 p.m.Boston, Auditorium, BCYF Mildred Ave, 5 Mildred Avenue
Wednesday, May 16, 6:00 p.m. Worcester, CMRPC, UNUM Building, 1 Mercantile Street
Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. Barnstable, Hyannis Transportation Center, 215 Iyannough Road
Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. Springfield, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress Street
Monday, May 21, 6:30 p.m. Framingham, Nevins Hall, 150 Concord Street
Monday, May 21, 6:30 p.m. Quincy, Auditorium, Quincy Central Middle School, 875 Hancock Street
Tuesday, May 22, 5:30 p.m. Pittsfield, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, 1 Fenn Street, Suite 201
Wednesday, May 23, 6:30 p.m. Peabody, Selectman’s Conference Room, City Hall, 24 Lowell Street
Wednesday, May 30, 6:30 p.m. New Bedford, Auditorium, GNB Voc-Tech, 1121 Ashley Boulevard
Thursday, May 31, 6:30 p.m. Fitchburg, Fire Station, 33 North Street

Locations are accessible to people with disabilities. MassDOT provides reasonable accommodations and/or language assistance free of charge upon request (including but not limited to interpreters in American Sign Language and languages other than English, open or closed captioning for videos, assistive listening devices and alternate material formats, such as audio tapes, Braille and large print), as available.

Two Watertown Companies Honored for Efforts to Provide Commuting Options

Two Watertown companies received awards for their efforts to provide commuting options besides driving the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced. 

Athenahealth received a gold medal in the Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards and Tufts Health Plan got a silver medal. Nearby Mount Auburn Hospital also got a gold medal. See the whole list of medal winners here. MassDOT sent out the following information:
The Baker-Polito Administration today celebrated the efforts of more than 200 Massachusetts businesses, colleges, and universities in promoting active, healthy and sustainable travel options at their worksites. At the eighth annual Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards ceremony at historic Fenway Park, the honorees were cited for their work to improve air quality and decrease traffic congestion by providing programs and resources to encourage employees to commute by public transit, carpool, vanpool, bike, on foot, teleworking, or working a compressed work week.

See How the 2018 Boston Marathon May Impact Your Day, Find Info for Spectators

The 2018 Boston Marathon will once again draw thousands of spectators to the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton to Copley Square, and the race may impact how you get around on Monday. See info about the T, spectator rules, street closings and more. To accommodate the race, the T will make some changes to its normal service, including altering some routes, closing some subway stations. In some cases the T has added more service to move the crowds around the area. CHANGES TO MBTA SERVICES

The MBTA provided the following information:

Due to safety concerns, Copley Station will be closed for the entire day on April 16.

State Rep. Hecht Advocates for Electrical Vehicles at State House

On Tuesday at the State House, Representative Jonathan Hecht joined his colleagues, Representatives Smitty Pignatelli, Joan Meschino, Solomon Goldstein-Rose and Jack Lewis to host an Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive, Hecht’s office announced in a press release. The day began with a morning briefing, which highlighted the benefits of electric vehicles, showcased the enormous advancements made in electric vehicle technology over recent years, and addressed the future of electric vehicles in the Commonwealth. Attendees also learned about Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles, which are expected to hit the Northeast car markets soon. The briefing brought in a diverse set of speakers, including Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Alli Gold Roberts, State Policy Director at Ceres; Basim Motiwala, Government Relations at Honda; and Karsten Barde, New Customer Offerings at National Grid. After the briefing, legislators, State House staff and media were invited to test drive a host of electric vehicles, including a BMWi3, a Nissan Leaf, a Chevy Bolt, a Mini-Cooper Plug-In, a Hyundai Ioniq, a Tesla Model X, and a hydrogen fuel cell Honda Clarity.