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.

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.

MassDOT Holiday Travel Tips, Post-Travel Quarantine Reminder

The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding members of the public to plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season, utilize the appropriate technology tools to make informed decisions, and be aware there may be limited public amenities on trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, travelers should pack essential items including face coverings, and, if visiting specific states, travelers will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Massachusetts. “As per the CDC’s strong recommendation, we are asking people not to travel during these next few weeks of the holiday season because of Covid-19,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, adding, “But if you must be on the roadway, you are advised to plan ahead, minimize stops, be aware of all out-of-state quarantine requirements, wear a face covering if you are traveling with someone not living in your household, and take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has information about the pandemic and regulations pertaining to COVID-19, including the need to quarantine for 14 days when returning to Massachusetts after visiting specific states. Information can be found at: The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will extend its hours to be open from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, December 22, and from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, December 23.

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: 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:  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:

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.

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:

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.

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.