OP-ED: Update on Repairs to the MBTA’s Red Line

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

Please see also 7/26 update further below. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak called me this morning to brief me about the Red Line’s troubles and his response. Below is a summary of our conversation. The Timeline for Service Restoration

Normally during rush hour, there are approximately 14 trains per hour. Unfortunately, at least through Labor Day, there will only be 10 trains per hour.

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.

State Funding for Local Schools to be Discussed at Meeting Co-Hosted by Sen. Brownsberger

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following information was provided by State Sen. Brownsberger’s Office:

State Sen. Will Brownsberger will co-host a listening session on state funding for local schools with State Senator Jason Lewis, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, to learn more about the needs of schools in Watertown, Belmont and Boston in advance of the senate’s FY20 budget debate, which will begin May 20. The first segment of the event will provide local education leaders the opportunity to share their schools’ experiences and concerns with state funding. After community presentations, the remaining time will be spent providing attendees the opportunity to make comments and ask questions. The hearing will be limited to two hours and is open to the public. All are encouraged to attend.

State Sen. Will Brownsberger Named to Senate Leadership Position

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

State Sen. Will Brownsberger has been named the Senate President Pro Tempore, one of the top leadership positions in the Massachusetts Senate. Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston, was named to the post by Senate President Karen Spilka. He became a State Senator in January 2012 by winning a special election to replace Steven Tolman. He currently serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Redistricting and vice chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue. Previously he served as chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Job Opening in State Sen. Brownsberger’s Office

The following information was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

State Sen. William N. Brownsberger is seeking applicants for the position of District Director. The District Director will provide assistance to constituents, local officials and organizations with issues relating to state government. The position requires the ability and willingness to work a flexible schedule to attend frequent evening and weekend meetings in the district. The position is based at the State House but 25-50% of time will be spent in the district. The ability to travel throughout the district is required.

State Sen. Brownsberger is Looking for 2 State House Interns

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following information came from State Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

Senator Will Brownsberger has announced that part-time unpaid internships will be available in his State House office to students from the 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex District for the summer of 2019. Internships are open to undergraduate college students and high school students who will have completed their junior year. All applicants must have a permanent residence or attend school in the Senator’s district. Internships require a commitment of 8-10 hours a week for a minimum of five weeks, with possible added research work outside of scheduled hours. A cover letter and resume should be sent to Anne Johnson Landry, at annejohnson.landry@masenate.gov, or mailed to Senator William Brownsberger, State House Room 504, Boston, MA 02133.

Sen. Brownsberger Hosts Discussion on the Future of Energy, Environmental Policy

The following announcement was provided by Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

Senator Will Brownsberger will host – alongside Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), Transportation for Massachusetts‘ Executive Director Chris Dempsey, and the Environmental League of Massachusetts‘ Legislative Director Casey Bowers – a town hall discussion on the future of energy and environmental policy in Massachusetts. WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 8 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., Watertown, MA

This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend to learn more and ask questions. For more information, contact Quinn Diaz at 617-722-1280 or quinn.diaz@masenate.gov

OP-ED: Changes to Traffic Signal Timing Will Make Mt. Auburn St. Bus Lanes Work Better

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

Thousands of commuters on Mount Auburn Street and on Fresh Pond Parkway had a very rough ten days starting on Monday, November 5. That is the day that a contractor swapped in a new controller for the traffic signals and failed to properly program it. The new Siemens 60 signal controller is so sophisticated that only a few engineers have the expertise to properly program it. Commuters endured ten days of bad timing until the right specialist was able to get it working as intended. As of Thursday, Nov.