MBTA Announces Reduced Service During Nor’easter

 The MBTA is preparing for the next weather system forecast to hit parts of the MBTA service area Monday night and throughout the day Tuesday with predicted blizzard-like conditions, high snow totals, and very high winds. As this weather is expected to have an effect on service, the MBTA is taking proactive measures to protect critical infrastructure and vehicles while continuing to provide service. The MBTA Commuter Rail will operate an “Extremely Reduced Schedule” on all lines for the duration of service on Tuesday. Commuter Rail schedules will be updated onmbta.com to reflect changes in train times with schedules available in South, North, and Back Bay Stations. Customers are encouraged to check the MBTA website, sign up for T-Alerts, and follow the commuter rail on Twitter @MBTA_CR for the latest updates on service changes.

Find Out About Improvements to Public Transit Planned for Mt. Auburn Street

The Town of Watertown will host a public meeting on planned improvements to public transit on Mount Auburn Street, including new technology for traffic signals and piloting a bus-only lane for the 71 and 73 buses on a stretch of the street. The Department of Public Works sent out the following information:

Please join the Town of Watertown for a Mount Auburn Street project meeting to discuss bus transit planning along the corridor. We will also discuss potential technologies and amenities that could be incorporated into the project to improve bus service and reliability for the more than 5,000 daily riders. At the meeting, we will touch upon an exciting joint bus rapid transit (BRT) pilot project with the City of Cambridge and the MBTA to improve Route 71/73 service between Belmont Street and Fresh Pond Parkway. Although the pilot project will proceed independent of our Mount Auburn Street Complete Streets project, we hope to use the results and data collected from the pilot to inform our design.

Second Meeting on Complete Streets Recommendations Planned

Town officials announced they will host the second meeting in the process to create a Prioritization Plan for Complere Steeets projects in Watertown. The meeting follows an initial session in December where residents identified projects in their neighborhoods to improve the situation for motor vehicles, public transportation, bicycles and pedestrians. At the end of the process the Town will come up with a list of 15-20 projects to prioritize when funds become available. The Town sent out the following information:

Watertown Complete Streets Prioritization Plan Meeting #2

Review project recommendations for plans to help make a more walkable, bikable, and transit friendly Watertown. A public meeting about recommendations for the Town’s Complete Streets Prioritization Plan is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th at 6:30 PM, in the Town Council Chambers in Town Hall.

Public Sees Visions for Renovation Coolidge Square, Weighs In on Project

Town officials invited the public to come give its ideas for how to redesign and improve Mt. Auburn Street in the area of Coolidge Avenue, while making the area more efficient for motor vehicles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. Currently, the street has two lanes of traffic in each direction and parking on both sides of the street, but no dedicated bike lanes. Some ideas for changing the street include cutting the number of lanes of traffic to one each way with left turn lanes at intersections, adding bike lanes and making sidewalks wider in some places to allow easier crossings for pedestrians. Planning for all modes of transportation is known as Complete Streets.

New Year’s Travel Info: T Free New Year’s Eve, Free Coffee at Rest Stops

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MBTA, and Massachusetts State Police remind travelers to plan ahead for the New Year’s holiday, take public transportation if possible, and drive sober and limit distractions if behind the wheel of a vehicle, according to a release from MassDOT. “We encourage everyone who is traveling or celebrating this New Year’s Eve to make smart decisions in order to safely enjoy the holiday with family and friends,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The MBTA will provide free service for all forms of transportation after 8 p.m., and drivers should minimize distractions, remain sober or use a designated driver, and exercise safe driving habits at all times.”
“Travelers should monitor weather and road conditions, try out our online resources such as mass511.com or our GoTime travel app, and make the appropriate decisions on route and timing of travel,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.  “Our first priority is safety, and we advise the public to make travel plans or accommodations before they head out and celebrate in order to ensure this is a safe and happy New Year.”
“Troopers will be on the lookout for any signs of impairment by motorists, and for any other dangerous driving behaviors,” said Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “Please make smart decisions about getting behind the wheel so you, those close to you, and other motorists can truly have a happy start to the New Year.”
MassDOT is taking steps to ensure safe and reliable travel for all citizens who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the New Year’s holiday travel period effective at 12 p.m., Friday, December 29, 2017. Normal scheduled construction operations will resume at the start of business on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Travel Tips and Advisories for Christmas Travelers Released by MassDOT

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding the public to plan ahead if traveling this holiday season, make informed decisions before heading out onto the roadways or using mass transit, utilize MassDOT’s many travel tools and resources, and to drive sober and limit distractions if behind the wheel of a vehicle, according to a press release. “Safety is our greatest priority and we want everyone who is traveling by car, bus, or public transit to reach their holiday destination in order to enjoy their time with friends and family,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We encourage members of the public to try our online technology resources to find the best time and route for travel and exercise safe driving behavior including minimizing distractions, remaining sober or using a designated driver, and devoting their full attention to the road ahead.”
MassDOT is taking steps to ensure safe and reliable travel for all citizens who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the Christmas travel period effective at 12 p.m., Friday, December 22. Normal scheduled construction operations will resume at the start of business on Tuesday, December 26. “With winter weather expected at times throughout the Christmas holiday period, we advise everyone to check roadway and traffic conditions before traveling,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Our snow and ice crews will respond as necessary and travelers should reduce their speed during inclement weather, remember our message, ‘Don’t Crowd the Plow,’ and make smart travel decisions so we all can have a safe and happy holiday.”
For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:

Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

Town Wants to Know What Changes You’d Make to Streets in Your Neighborhood

Many road projects planned by the Town of Watertown focus on major roads and intersections, but the Department of Public Works recently began an effort to find places to make small scale changes on neighborhood streets. The improvements are not just for motor vehicles, but also for walkers, bikers and riders of public transportation, said Phil Goff, senior planning associate with Alta Planning + Design, the firm hired by the town to create a list of projects. Accommodating all these forms of transportation is part of the Town’s Complete Streets Policy. In February Town officials signed a Commonwealth Compact with the state and creating the policy was the first step toward the Town being able to apply for up to $400,000 in state funding for the projects. The second step, or tier, is creating the Complete Streets Prioritization Plan.

Changes Planned for Intersection of School St. and Walnut St./Dexter Ave.

The intersection where School Street meets Walnut Street and Dexter Avenue will be altered in an effort to control traffic flow and make it easier for pedestrians to cross. 

The project – estimated to cost $200,000 to $250,000 – is part of the $25 million in I-Cubed projects that are being funded by Athenahealth in a program in which they partnered with the Town of Watertown and the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation. Representatives from the company based in the Arsenal on the Charles, about a block from the intersection, spoke with the Town Council’s Public Works subcommittee on Wednesday night. The biggest change will be adding sidewalk bump outs on the four corners of the intersection, said Steve Boudreau, traffic engineer from Vanasse & Associates – the consultant working with Athenahealth. “The bump outs will make it safer for pedestrians, reducing the crossing distance on Dexter and Walnut,” Boudreau said.