OP-ED: State Sen. Brownsberger Reflects on MBTA’s Long Term Planning

The following was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown:

Comments are due on the MBTA’s long term plan on Monday, October 22 (extended from September 21). It is a provocative document that is well worth a read.  The document is available for comment at MBTAFocus40.com. As a regional agency dependent on state funding for more than half of its budget, the MBTA is constantly subject to political pressure from people like me to improve service. The demands of multiple elected officials serving different constituencies raise difficult choices for the agency about where to focus. In the “Focus 40” document, the agency is attempting to get above the politics and shape its priorities based on big picture data about needs.

Expect Delays on Main Street Due to Installation of Curbs, Crosswalk Improvements

Starting Tuesday, Sept. 5, Traffic on Main Street will likely be slowed due to construction of a new sidewalk and improvements to a crosswalk between the Watertown Library and the Post Office. The Department of Public Works announced details of the roadwork, which will take place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Traffic will flow in both directions, but could be delayed by the roadwork. Also, one of the stops for the MBTA’s 70/70A bus will move down the street. The following information was provided by the Watertown Department of Public Works:

Please be informed that Daigle Electric will be performing construction work on Main Street at the crosswalk between the Post Office and Public Library as part of MassDOT Project 608540; (District 6 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Facility upgrades at various locations).

DPW Announces Temporary Walking Routes to WHS During Common Street Project

The Watertown Department of Public Works provided this update on the Common Street road project:

Over the summer, the Town has begun construction along Common Street from Mount Auburn Street to the Church Street/Orchard Street intersection, including portions of Columbia Street and Spring Street as part of the Common Street improvement project. The scope of the project includes the full reconstruction of each roadway with the objective of increasing safety and improving operations for all users within this corridor. General information is available at the Town’s web-site: http://www.watertowndpw.org/173/Common-Street

Construction will continue during the fall. As students are heading back to school, safety through the active construction zone is paramount. DPW, working with the School Department and Police Department Traffic Division, has developed a temporary pedestrian safety and control plan (See photo above).

Labor Day Weekend Travel Tips, How to Monitor Traffic, MBTA Information

The following information was provided by the MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is encouraging Labor Day travelers to make informed decisions, utilize all the available technology tools including www.mass511.com, and consider public transportation if possible to reach destinations. “Everyone who will be traveling throughout the Labor Day weekend should make smart decisions and plan ahead in order to minimize congestion and help ensure efficient travel,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We encourage members of the public to try out resources such as mass511.com, which shows live conditions and traffic cameras, utilize navigational resources to find the best route and time to travel, and check www.mbta.com for public transit schedules and information.”

MassDOT is taking several steps to ensure reliable travel for members of the public who utilize transportation systems across the Commonwealth and will be shutting down scheduled roadway construction for the Labor Day travel period effective at noon, Friday, Aug. 31, per MassDOT’s long-standing policy for holiday weekends. Scheduled road work will then resume at the start of normal business hours on Tuesday, Sept.

See When the Garage at Alewife MTBA Station Will be Reopening

The following information was provided by the Mass. Department of Transportation:

Following the weekend closure of the Alewife Station parking garage, work crews were able to address areas of concrete deterioration, which will allow all levels of the garage to reopen at 5 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 13. Out of an abundance of caution, the MBTA proactively closed the garage on Friday, Aug. 10, to allow crews to expedite concrete repairs and to conduct a comprehensive engineering assessment. During the weekend closure, crews were able to address additional areas of deteriorated concrete, inspect and cover expansion joints where appropriate, and secure the paths of travel for pedestrian and vehicular access to the garage.

Lane Closures on Charles River Road Overnight Through Mid Next Week

The Town of Watertown released the announcement from the Department of Conservation and Recreation:

Starting tonight, Thursday, August 9, 2018, and continuing through Wednesday, August 15, 2018, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement some lane closures along Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to accommodate pavement markings operations. Work is dependent on weather, and is not likely to occur on all seven days. While pavement markings are being placed, some noise will be generated as it is applied to the roadway surface. Traffic patterns will be clearly visible and a police detail will be on site. WHERE: Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown

WHEN: Thursday, August 9, 2018 – Wednesday, August 15, 2018 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Changes Coming to Charles River Road, Including New Crosswalks, Re-striping of Road

MBTA Closing Alewife Garage Over the Weekend

The MBTA sent out this message about the repairs on the Alewife Garage. NOTE, this story was updated at 4 p.m. on Aug. 10: 
The safety of its customers and employees is the MBTA’s highest priority. Today, the MBTA is announcing that out of an abundance of caution, the Alewife garage will be closed through the weekend to allow for continued repairs and a comprehensive engineering assessment. 
Through ongoing assessments and repair work, additional areas of deteriorated concrete that need to be addressed have been discovered. As such, the garage will be closed over the weekend to address these areas and to expedite the repair plan.

Queue Jump Lanes Added to Mt. Auburn Street in Effort to Improve Bus Service

The following information was provided by the Department of Public Works:

Following days of initial testing, the Town of Watertown has debuted two “queue jump” lanes at School Street and Walnut Street. Queue jump lanes allow buses to move more quickly through intersections by “jumping” to the front of a line of traffic. Bus rapid transit (BRT) systems around the world use queue jump lanes to create a faster and more reliable bus ride and improve overall traffic flow. “Roughly 5,000 bus trips are made each day in Watertown in this corridor, and the Route 71 bus is an important asset to the community,” said Matthew Shuman, Town Engineer for the Town of Watertown. “We also know from research in other places that moving Watertown closer to BRT with queue jump lanes has the potential to speed up the commute for everyone by separating buses from cars at intersections.