Town Using Part of Budget Surplus to Fund Climate & Energy Master Plan

Watertown’s Town Hall. On Tuesday, the Town Council approved using some of the funds left over from the Fiscal Year 2021 budget to fund the creation of a Climate and Energy Master Plan. Town Manager Michael Driscoll told the Town Council that the Town’s share of state aid and new growth came in higher than projected when the FY21 budget was created. As a result, the Town ended up with $1.57 million in additional revenues. He proposed using the money in multiple ways, including the Climate and Energy Plan.

Parking Plan with High-Tech Meters, Pay by Card & Phone Approved

Watertown’s current parking meters will be replaced with “smart” meters that offer a range of payment options. Watertown’s parking lots will be getting new meters which allow for paying by credit card and with cell phone apps in the parking plan approved by the Town Council on Tuesday night. The Parking Management Plan was the result of studies that go back to the fall of 2018. It included studies of how parking is used in Watertown, public meetings and surveys and presentations to the Council’s Joint Committees on Public Works and Economic Development & Planning. Other parts of the plan look at pricing of meters and who sets them, way-finding signage for the municipal lots, looking at finding private lots for the Town to partner with, and even creation of a pedestrian path through the lot near the Watertown Library.

Bluebikes Offering Free Rides on Election Day

The Bluebikes station in Coolidge Square in East Watertown. Bluebikes will offer free rides for people on election day. The bicycle share company expanded into Watertown in August, and four of the seven planned stations have been installed. The most recent addition was the station on Arsenal Street next to Arsenal Yards and across from the Target in the Watertown Mall. The Town of Watertown provided the following information:

Bluebikes recently launched four new stations in Watertown, with three more to come. To provide a socially distant and easy transportation option for voters across metro Boston as they head to the polls, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will offer free Bluebikes rides on Election Day, Tuesday Nov.

Bluebikes Opens New Station at Arsenal Yards, Officials Say Bike Share Has Had a Good Start

The recently installed BlueBike station outside Arsenal Yards. Bikeshare company Lyft Bluebikes opened its latest docking station at Arsenal Yards with some fanfare last week. It is the fourth in Watertown with three more planned, and Town officials say they have already drawn a lot of interest. The first Bluebike station in Watertown opened in August, as part of a five community expansion, which also included Newton and Arlington. Three of the Town’s stations in are on public land, but four will be located on private property, said Laura Wiener, Watertown’s Transportation Planner.

MassDOT Seeks Input on Redevelopment of Railroad, Mass. Pike in Allston

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that an information matrix is now posted online that compares available information about key aspects of the alternatives under consideration for the “throat” area of the Allston Multimodal Project: https://www.mass.gov/doc/allston-multimodal-project-summary-analysis-of-throat-area-options-within-the-3l-re-alignment/download. The purpose of the Matrix is to provide additional information to help inform public and agency input on the choice of a Preferred Alternative by MassDOT from among the three Throat Options. This Matrix, which represents MassDOT’s working assumptions on various impacts of the throat options, is a draft by MassDOT and is subject to change after consideration by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Cooperating Agencies. 

The “throat” is the area of the Charles River waterfront where I-90, Soldiers Field Road, freight train tracks, the Paul Dudley White pedestrian and bicycle path, and two commuter rail tracks squeeze through a choke point which is 204 feet wide and is the narrowest section of the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project. MassDOT has opened a round of public engagement and is accepting feedback on how the three throat options compare against both the project purpose and need and the selection criteria.  MassDOT will host a public information meeting on Tuesday, October 20, at 6:30 p.m.  Community members may join the meeting by going to the following link: https://virtualmeeting.link/I90AllstonMultimodal.  The public may also join the meeting by phone: 877-853-5257 (toll free), Webinar ID: 965 1293 2141, Passcode: 710477.  The MassDOT project team will present the new alternative analysis matrix to the public at this meeting and will be available to answer questions. Public comment is being taken until the end of the day on October 30 and can be sent to: I-90Allston@state.ma.us.

DPW Recommends Seven Watertown Roads to be Repaved in 2021

The roads in Watertown proposed to be repaired in 2021. The Department of Public Works recommended that seven roads around Watertown be reconstructed during the 2021 construction season. The list of roads to undergo full reconstruction, including sidewalks, was presented to the Town Council’s Public Works subcommittee on Sept. 24. The roads that made the list are:

Alden Road Sheldon RoadHazel Street (Quimby Street to Dexter Avenue) Gertrude StreetGoldie StreetElmwood AvenueGrandview Avenue (Chapman Street to Copeland Street)

Town Engineer Matt Shuman explained that the roads were chosen were in the greatest state of disrepair.

State Discussing Renumbering of Highway Exits at Virtual Meeting

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing an upcoming virtual Public Information Meeting for MassDOT’s Statewide Exit Renumbering Project on Thursday, Sept. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This project is converting all existing exit numbers on freeways to a milepost-based numbering system, per Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requirements. The public meeting will cover information about the project, the construction schedule, and the project team will be there to answer questions. The meeting link is available through registration at this site. Construction is scheduled to begin on this project in mid-October of this year and is anticipated to end in the Summer of 2021.

Watertown Receives a Gift of BlueBike Stations

Watertown will be getting seven Bluebike stations, with the first few already installed. Watertown received more than $200,000 in gifts to establish BlueBike rental stations in town. The move was made so that the Town did not have to own the bicycles or be responsible for the upkeep. The Town of Watertown received a gift of $224,257.06 worth of items to install six BlueBike Stations with 38 bicycles to be rented. The items were donated by MetroFuture Inc., a non-profit charitable organization, said Town Manager Michael Driscoll.