Tree Falls on Major Watertown Roadway, Impacts Bus

Bus service on the MBTA’s 73 route was impacted Sunday after a tree fell on Belmont Street in Watertown. A tree fell across a major road in Watertown Sunday afternoon, impacting MBTA bus service in Watertown. The tree fell on Belmont Street near Prentiss Street, according to an Instagram post from the Watertown Fire Department. It struck wires used by the MBTA’s 73 bus. View this post on Instagram Early this afternoon a large tree fell across Belmont Street at Prentiss Street.

Overnight Closures on Mass. Pike Begin Soon

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that there will be various overnight impacts including lane closures on I-90 east and westbound as well as short-term detours of Commonwealth Avenue east and westbound in the area of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge and the Boston University Bridge from Monday, July 22 through Saturday, August 10. These impacts will take place during overnight hours only and will allow crews to safely and effectively conduct scheduled construction operations on the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge. The impacts will vary depending upon the work being conducted, but in general, the I-90 lane closures will take place from approximately 9 p.m., through 4:30 a.m., and the Commonwealth Avenue detours will take place from 1:30 a.m., to 4:30 a.m.

As always, work is being conducted in ways that minimize impacts on the traveling public and local community. For example, operations are being conducted during overnight hours to prevent travel disruptions. These impacts are associated with the larger bridge replacement project and are necessary to conduct final scheduled construction activities per project plans.

MTBA CharlieCards Now Available in Watertown

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The MBTA announced that the Town of Watertown has partnered with the T in the growing initiative to increase the availability of CharlieCards to residents who rely on public transportation. Under the initiative, free no-balance CharlieCards are available at the following Watertown locations:

•        Watertown Town Hall 149 Main Street Watertown, MA 02472

CharlieCards available in the Clerk’s Office on the ground floor and in the Planning Department on the third floor. •         Watertown Free Public Library 123 Main Street Watertown, MA 02472

The Town of Watertown joins a growing list of Cities and Towns partnering with the MBTA to increase access to CharlieCards. The City of Chelsea partnered with the MBTA in January 2019 with CharlieCards pre-loaded with $5 as well as free no-balance CharlieCards available in the Treasury Office of Chelsea City Hall. CharlieCards available in the City of Lynn and the City of Salem are also coming soon.

OP-ED: MBTA Behind on Climate Change Adaptation

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger of Belmont who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

At a recent MBTA board meeting, it became alarmingly clear that the MBTA is behind in its planning for climate resiliency.  Add that challenge to the challenges of catching up on maintenance, assuring safety, and expanding service. Andrew Brennan, Senior Director for Energy and Environment, explained to the board that the MBTA completed a “high-level” vulnerability assessment of the system in 2017.  His presentation materials are here and his talk begins at 2:55 in this livestream of the June 10 board meeting. The 2017 high level assessment revealed the obvious: Namely, that the most exposed asset is the Blue Line and that the greatest risk to the Blue line comes from flooding due to sea level rise. Only months after the assessment, the winter high tide of 2018 flooded Aquarium station. As to the lowest lying assets on the Blue line (Aquarium station and the Orient Heights Maintenance Facility), more detailed engineering studies have been completed to identify just how they would be flooded and what can be done to protect them: for example, raising openings like vent shafts and raising the most water sensitive components like transformers.

Temporary Change to Access Road to Arsenal Park, Harvard Vanguard

The blue lines show the temporary traffic flow through Arsenal Yards to Arsenal Park and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Arsenal Park is in the upper right corner of the illustration. The following information was provided by Boylston Properties:

Starting July 1, Boylston Properties, the developer of Arsenal Yards, will make temporary changes to the access road for Arsenal Park and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (HVMA) to accommodate the next construction phase. Park Drive, the current one-way road accessing Arsenal Park and HVMA, will remain open during the 2-week construction period to build the temporary access road. The temporary road will provide 2-way traffic access with a right-in entrance from Arsenal Street and exiting via a right turn only onto Arsenal Street.

High School Students Can Enter MassDOT Video Contest

The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing the sixth annual statewide high school video contest, Safe Streets Smart Trips. The contest serves as an initiative within the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan to promote and educate the public about safe walking, bicycling, and driving behaviors. The contest began five years ago to encouragehigh school students to showcase their understanding of roadway safety across all travel modes to try to decrease pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities. “We are pleased to once again be able to give students the opportunity to create educational videos which underscore messages in the ‘Scan the Streets for Wheels and Feet’ initiative,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The video contest has resulted in very creative ideas during the last few years and we look forward to seeing what teenagers will produce during this year’scontest to make the public more aware of safe behaviors while traveling.”

In summer 2017, MassDOT launched a new statewide campaign to raise awareness about motorists, pedestrians and cyclists safely sharing the Commonwealth’s streets. This initiative reminds travelers to “Scan the Street for Wheels and Feet.” The campaign slogan emphasizes the notion that everyone who is traveling on a roadway is responsible for doing their part to ensure safety.

Survey Finds Bus Priority Lanes Improve Speed, Reliability During Commute

Buses like this one on the 71 bus will get priority heading toward Harvard Square on Mt. Auburn Street in the new Cambridge-Watertown Bus Priority Pilot program. The following information was provided by the Town of Watertown:

Evaluation of the Cambridge-Watertown Mt. Auburn Street Bus Priority Pilot shows improved travel time and service reliability for 12,000+ daily MBTA bus and shuttle riders along Mt. Auburn Street, west of Fresh Pond Parkway.

Shuttle May Be Coming to Watertown; Initially it Would Not Serve Residents

There is good news, and some not so good news for people waiting for a public shuttle bus in Watertown, the Town Council’s Economic Development and Planning subcommittee learned Tuesday night. The Watertown Transportation Management Association (TMA) is close to creating what will be known as the Watertown Connector, which will serve Arsenal Street and other parts of the Eastside of town. However, at first, the shuttles will only be available for people who work for businesses or live in apartment complexes that are part of the TMA. The TMA is made up mostly of companies and projects required by their building permits to contribute to the TMA (and in most cases the shuttle), some who have joined voluntarily, plus the Town of Watertown. The shuttles would be an expansion of the current Athenahealth shuttle system, said Bridger McGaw of Athenahealth who also serves as president of the Watertown TMA.