Lane on Mass Pike Closing for 6 Months Due to Overpass Project

The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing that beginning late tonight the left travel lane of I-90 eastbound and westbound will be closed in the area of the Massachusetts Avenue overpass due to the establishment of a work zone for an air rights project at 1001 Boylston Street. As outlined at recent public meetings, the left travel lanes for a distance of approximately one mile will be closed 24/7 for a period of approximately six months. After six months, the left travel lanes will reopen and the right travel lanes in each direction will be closed. The air rights project work zone requires one lane in each direction to be closed during peak travel times. Meanwhile, there will be temporary off-peak hour lane restrictions beginning in July 2021 and lasting approximately six months. In addition, in 2021 there will be several weekend diversions on the MBTA Worcester Commuter Rail Line, anticipated to occur over four weekends during the summer months. Samuels & Associates is building the Parcel 12 Air Rights project at 1001 Boylston Street and transportation impacts associated with the project are being managed by Howard Stein Hudson, with consultation from MassDOT. More information and updates can be found at the developer’s project website:

Many Watertown Bus Routes Will See Service Changes in Fall

The 71 bus will have increased service beginning Aug. 30. It is one of several MTBA routes serving Watertown that will see changes. Several bus routes serving Watertown will see changes in service beginning August 30, including increased service on the 70 and 71 buses. Other routes begin operating on a limited schedule, or route, one will have increased weekend service and one will continue to be suspended.

Bus Schedule Changes Topic of Upcoming Online MBTA Meetings

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 MBTA provided the following information:

The MBTA will host virtual meetings on Sunday, August 12, and Monday, August 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to present details on fall bus schedule details and changes. The virtual meeting on August 12 will be in Spanish and the virtual meeting on August 13 will be in English. These virtual meetings will be held on GoToWebinar, a video conferencing platform.

7 Bluebike Stations Being Installed in Watertown

Watertown will be getting seven Bluebike stations, with the first few being installed in early August. The first few of the seven Bluebike stations coming to Watertown will be installed with in the next few days. Steve Magoon, Assistant Town Manager and Director of Community Development and Planning, welcomed Bluebike’s expansion into town. “This is an exciting opportunity to bring bike share to Watertown, and provide connections to the other communities and to the T, with a consistent program throughout the region,” Magoon said. “The experience for the public will be seamless and much more functional.”

Watertown Transportation Planner Laura Wiener said the first station is due to be installed in Coolidge Square on Friday, July 31.

Drivers Can Renew Licenses Online, Upgrade Free to REAL ID

The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is encouraging all eligible customers to renew their standard Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts ID card online at Mass.Gov/RMV any time between now and August 12, 2020, in order to qualify for a free upgrade to a REAL ID credential in 2021. This one-time, time limited offer is available to most customers who have an expired or expiring license or ID card dated between March 2020 and August 2021, as renewals are allowed up to two years after expiration, or up to a year in advance of the expiration date printed on their license or ID. “The RMV is encouraging all of our customers to stay safe, save time, and go online during the COVID-19 pandemic to renew their license or ID card, rather than attempting to come in to get a REAL ID,” said RMV Registrar Jamey Tesler. “Over 500,000 people have a license or ID credentials that expires this summer that can be renewed online, and we hope they will all take advantage of this one-time offer for a free, future upgrade to allow the RMV to prioritize ‘social-distancing’ and other essential transactions that may only be completed in-person.”

Qualifying customers who complete their renewal online prior to August 12th and wish to upgrade to a REAL ID for free, will have to wait until at least February 2021 to visit an RMV Service Center. At this time, customers will not need a federally-compliant REAL ID for the purposes of boarding domestic flights prior to October 1, 2021 because the federal government delayed the compliance effective date by one-year. The fee for obtaining a standard or REAL ID license is $50, while the fee for obtaining a standard or REAL ID card is $25.

Playgrounds, Courts & Town Hall Reopening; Town Budget, Hosmer Traffic to be Discussed

Tot lots and playgrounds will reopen this week, along with basketball courts and picnic and grilling areas in Watertown’s parks. Playgrounds and tot-lots will reopen this week, along with basketball courts and other Recreation facilities. Also this week, the Town Council will hold budget hearings, and traffic around Hosmer School during construction is on the Traffic Commission’s agenda. Town Manager Michael Driscoll announced that more Recreational facilities will reopen after being closed to the public during the COVID-19 shutdown. On Wednesday, June 24th, playgrounds and tot lots, basketball courts, and picnic tables and grills (by permit only) will reopen.

RMV Expanding Hours, Providing More Flexibility

The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing new initiatives to provide additional flexibility to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including expanded appointment hours at open Service Centers, additional Service Center reopenings, an online Learners’ Permit test and exclusive permit appointment hours, online license renewal incentives, new road test and in-car observation protocols for students, and limited supervised driving privileges for eligible teenagers who have turned or are turning 16 between March and June 2020.                                                                                    

 “The RMV appreciates the public’s continued patience and understanding throughout this pandemic as we have expanded many credential deadlines and worked to provide essential in-person services in accordance with all public health and safety guidelines,” said Acting RMV Registrar Jamey Tesler. “Today we are announcing additional steps to help customers, including more appointment hours, flexible guidance for supervised driving, an online learner’s permit test, and an incentive to renew their licenses online now instead of waiting to obtain a REAL ID.”

The RMV is announcing the following additional service offerings: 

Additional Appointment Capacity at Open Service Centers:  customers will now be able to make appointment-only reservations between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Service Centers currently open [including Watertown] to the general public. The RMV anticipates reopening the South Yarmouth Service Center for appointments on Monday, June 22.  

Learner’s Permit Tests Restart Online with Exclusive Permit-Only Center & Hours:  effective this week, customers have been able to make an appointment to once again take their Learner’s Permit exam. Applicants will be required to take their Learner’s Permit test online at home up to 60 days after completing their appointment in a Service Center. Historically, customers have been required to remain at the Service Center to take the test on classroom computers.

Portion of Bike Path Along Charles River Closed for Repairs

The Department of Conservation and Recreation announced that the bike path between Arsenal Street and North Beacon Street will be closed for repairs beginning June 1. The work on the path, which runs along Greenough Boulevard in Watertown and Soldiers Field Road in Boston, is expected to be take two weeks. \The DCR sent out the following information:

DCR Recreational Advisory: Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path

WHAT: Starting on Monday, June 1, 2020, and continuing through Monday, June 15, 2020, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement a closure of the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path in the City of Boston and the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Arsenal Street from 8:00AM to 4:00PM to accommodate pathway reconstruction work. An alternative route is available along Greenough Boulevard in the Town of Watertown. Furthermore, pedestrian patterns will be clearly marked.