OP-ED: How Will Climate Change Impact Transportation in Massachusetts?

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

I spent Wednesday morning at a Rappapport Institute forum on climate change and transportation infrastructure. When I think about the local impacts of climate change, what I worry about most is water — flooding due to sea level rise. Increased precipitation is also an issue, but for the coastal region that I represent, the big issue is sea level rise. The areas I serve are sheltered from direct coastal flooding and do not face immediate inundation risks, but every legislator has to be concerned about the vulnerabilities of the transportation system that the region depends on. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has lead the region’s efforts to understand climate change — making the initial investment in the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model to better understand the risks to the central artery and harbor tunnels.

Charles River Road to Close Overnight, Again — See Which Days

The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) closed Charles River Road last week and will close again for two nights this week. The DCR sent out the following information:
On Thursday, May 10, 2018, and Friday, May 11, 2018, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will implement a roadway closure along Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to accommodate paving work. Additionally, traffic patterns will be clearly marked and a police detail will be on site. WHERE: Charles River Road in the Town of Watertown between North Beacon Street and Watertown Square
WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 2018, and Friday, May 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Leo Roy, the agency’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources.

Town Council President Sees Development, Communication & Schools as Priorities for New Term

As the new Town Council term begins, Watertown Council President Mark Sideris looked toward the next two years and said that some of the major focus will be on traffic, development and communication with the public, as well as the upcoming school building projects. Newly elected Town Councilors, School Committee members and Library Trustees were sworn in by Town Clerk John Flynn on Tuesday night at the Mosesian Center for the Arts. After his swearing in, Sideris addressed the audience in the theater at the Arts Center. Development has been a big issue for several years, and Sideris said he would like to take a new approach at looking at new projects in town, from those completed, to those under construction and projects just getting started. “I will be working with the Community Development and Planning Department to coordinate a field trip to visit the sites that have been developed,” Sideris said.

Find Out What’s Open and Closed on New Year’s Day

See what is open and closed on New Year’s Day, as well as travel information. Grocery Stores: Open

Pharmacies: Open

Liquor Stores: Open

Post Offices: Closed

Watertown Library: Closed

Watertown Senior Center: Closed

Town Government Offices: Closed

State Government Offices: Closed

Federal Government Offices: Closed

Buses/Subways/Trains: MBTA will operate on a Sunday Schedule on Jan. 1. On New Year’s Eve:

All Subway lines will operate on rush-hour schedules between 3 p.m and 2 a.m.

Most Commuter Rail lines will operate with additional outbound service beginning at 1 a.m.

The RIDE will operate until 2 a.m.

Fares will not be collected after 8 p.m.

Bicycles are prohibited on all inbound Commuter Rail trains between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and outbound trains after 4 p.m.

See more information about travel on New Year’s Eve click here.

Changes to Watertown Square, Improving Buses Recommended in Final Arsenal Street Report

Removing Charles River Road from Watertown Square, making changes to the 70 bus and improving access for bicyclists made the list of recommendations in MassDOT’s final Arsenal Street Corridor Report. The list of recommendations remained largely the same from the draft report released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in June. Officials added details to their recommendation for realigning Watertown Square, including removing one of the spokes off the intersection – Charles River Road. The benefits would be simplifying the intersection which then allows the traffic light phasing to change and make the intersection more efficient. The report acknowledges removing the road would have some complications,

“Eliminating the Charles River Road approach to the intersection may also reduce ‘cut-through’ traffic in the adjacent neighborhood.

Council Stresses Importance of Transportation Planner, Worried About Development

The position of Transportation Planner has been discussed for years and the town has searched for someone to fill the role, but has struggled to find someone qualified to do the job. Tuesday night the Town Council stressed to Community Development and Planning Department Director Steve Magoon that they want the position filled. 

The Transportation Planner would deal with issues such as traffic, public transportation and the planned Watertown shuttle. Magoon appeared before the Council for his budget hearing. During the discussion, Councilors also worry that the Planning Department has enough resources to deal with all the development in town. Filling the Transportation Planner position has been high on Magoon’s list.