MBTA Holding Virtual Public Meetings on Changes to Purchase Fares

An MBTA bus in Watertown. The following announcement was provided by the MBTA and MassDOT:

Three virtual public meetings are being held this month regarding the MBTA’s Fare Transformation program and upgrades to its sales network. In the future, riders will be able to purchase MBTA fares and passes online, via their smartphones, and with contactless credit/debit cards. Though customers will no longer be able to use cash to pay onboard vehicles once the new fare collection system is implemented by 2023, the MBTA is currently introducing more places to load cash onto CharlieCards than were previously available. Aimed at serving cash-dependent riders, this expansion will result in a larger, more robust, and more diverse sales network of retailers, in-station fare vending machines, and new streetscape fare vending machines at bus stops, Commuter Rail, Green Line, and Mattapan Line stations across the network.

Plan to Add Bike Lane to Section of Waverley Ave. Approved by Council

An illustration of the new bike lanes on the uphill part of Waverley Avenue between Orchard and Belmont streets. Bike lanes will be added on the uphill parts of the section of Waverley Avenue near Orchard Street, in a plan that will also add curbing and planting strips along the roadway. The Town Council approved the renovation of the section of the roadway running between Orchard and Belmont streets at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. The option was chosen over another that would have had cyclists share the roadway with motor vehicles and would have preserved more on-street parking. Both options studied by the Department of Public Works would have met the Town’s Complete Streets goal, which calls for Watertown’s roadways to be designed for a variety of transportation options, including motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and public transportation.

MassDOT Grant Funds Watertown Bluebike Station, Other Improvements

A Bluebike station in Watertown Square was paid for by a state grant. Watertown received a grant from the Mass. Department of Transportation to build a Bluebike station in Watertown Square and make other road and sidewalk improvements. The $280,218 grant was part of the third round of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Winter Streets and Spaces program. The bike share station is next to the entrance to the Charles River Path in Watertown Square.

Watertown’s Too Tall Parking Meters to be Fixed

New parking meters, like this one, will be installed in Watertown’s Municipal Parking Lots. They will accept credit cards as well as coins. Watertown’s new parking meters are high tech, and residents have found that they have to reach much higher to put in payments in some of new ones than they did with the old ones. WBZ Channel 4 came out to Town and reported that one of the meters measured 5-foot-7, according to the news station’s report. A Watertown resident posted a photo on Facebook showing a meter on Mt.

RMV Closing Early Due to Storm, MassDOT Encourages People to Avoid Roads

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising the public against traveling as the National Weather Service is forecasting heavy snow rates per hour in the early afternoon today, Monday, February 1. Snowfall rates may exceed one inch per hour on Monday afternoon and Monday night. The very strong winds will lead to blowing snow and greatly reduced visibility during the height of the storm. “We urge the public to take this storm seriously because driving conditions will be difficult, with heavy snow falling at a fast rate and gusty winds expected,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “During the storm, we are advising the public to stay home and don’t drive if you don’t have to.” 

“We are encouraging those workers who have the ability to work remotely to do so tomorrow,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “If you do have to be on the roads we urge you to plan ahead and to be off the roadways by mid-day. We expect roadways to become snow covered and slippery in the afternoon and through the evening with limited visibility and high winds as the storm progresses.”

MassDOT’s snow and ice operations will be deployed throughout the Commonwealth as conditions necessitate. Highway Districts continually conduct preparation activities in advance of new weather systems and are able to pretreat roadways with brine and Magnesium Chloride when necessary.

Solar Powered Info Kiosks Coming to Watertown

The electronic information kiosk, made by Soofa Sign, was recently installed near Town Hall. New digital signs have started popping up on the streets of Watertown that will provide emergency messages, bus schedules, information about local government and more. The information kiosks are called Soofa Signs and are the creation of a startup run by MIT grads. They are solar powered and use e-ink. One has been put up near Town Hall/Saltonstall Park.