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On the Trans Blog
MBTA Bus Route 39 Improvements

The MBTA is planning major service improvements along Bus Route 39, one of MBTA's busiest routes operating between Forest Hills and the Back Bay.

MBTA: Public Tips Lead to Arrest

After requesting the assistance of the public, the Transit Police and Cambridge Police received a number of tips. These tips led to a positive identification of the individual who was subsequently arrested at his residence in Dorchester Tuesday.

Study: South Coast Rail Improves Environment

As part of the environmental work on the South Coast Rail project, MassDOT has completed more than 5,000 pages of technical information on a dozen aspects of the project.

MBTA Data Developer Event at MIT Set

The MassDOT Developers data initiative takes the next step forward when the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT will host the MBTA Data Hackathon on January 29-30.

Winter Driving, Live Cameras

Before driving this winter, read MassDOT's winter driving tips or check out the online traffic cameras. Read more about MassDOT services to make your winter drive smooth.

The Road to Reform

MassDOT Holds Community Forums

As part of its You Move Massachusetts Civic Engagement Initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, MassDOT, has announced it will host a series of community forums to be held throughout the Commonwealth focused on transportation. The January forum will be held in Framingham on Tuesday January 26th to discuss transportation issues for the Metrowest region.

The new, unified MassDOT is the result of the historic transportation reform bill signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2009. Its four divisions include Highway, Rail & Transit, Aeronautics, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. These community forums will work to increase public awareness of the day to day operations and long range planning of MassDOT, and engage public input into MassDOT’s decision making processes.

MassDOT urges public participation and looks forward to engaging participants in a productive dialogue regarding transportation issues. The meeting is scheduled for:

Tuesday, January 26, 5:30-6:45 PM

Framingham Town Hall, Blumer Room, 150 Concord St., Framingham

This facility is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

At the community forum, Transportation officials will provide an overview of MassDOT, and address the following topics: Update on Framingham Commuter Rail Service, CSX – MassDOT Rail Agreement. The majority of the time will be made available for a question/answer and comment period.

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot


Weston Toll Plaza Changes

In response to customer feedback, MassDOT today announced improvements at the I-90 East Weston toll plaza near I-95/Route 128 that add two extra Fast Lanes during peak commuter and traffic hours. Effective immediately during the morning commute as many as five Fast Lanes may be open, as seen at left.

The Weston toll plaza is the busiest with 35,000 drivers on an average weekday. Congestion is especially high during the morning commute due to traffic heading into Boston and merging with traffic from I-95/Route 128. MassDOT crews have modified two cash toll lanes to allow them to be quickly switched between manual and electronic Fast Lane tolls. This new change allows for as many as five Fast Lanes during peak commuter hours and fewer on holiday weekends and other times when the number of cash customers are higher.

Learn more about the Weston tolls changes.

Check out the MassDOT Highway Division traffic cameras, including several live views of the Weston toll plaza area on I-90 and I-95, at www.mass.gov/511/cameras

The dedicated Fast Lane ramp from I-95 (Route 128) to I-90 (MassPike) East will continue to be closed indefinitely to allow for better traffic flow through the Weston toll plaza. Sign up for Fast Lane today: www.mass.gov/fastlane


Customer Kudos for MBTA Driver

It could have been a very costly day after Christmas for one T rider named Carolyn. That is, until MBTA Bus Driver Dank Combs got involved and went out of his way to offer a helping hand to a customer in need.

In a letter of thanks to the MBTA, Carolyn wrote that she was on Combs' Route 77 bus that runs from Arlington Heights to Cambridge on Saturday afternoon, December 26, when she discovered her black pocket book- filled with drivers license, credit cards, and other personal items- was missing.

Combs, a seven-year veteran T driver, became aware of Carolyn's problem and that she had been shopping at a local grocery store. Carolyn says without hesitation, Combs at the first opportunity went to a phone at the route bus garage and called the store. The missing pocket book had been found there and was waiting to be picked up. Carolyn says Combs resumed his route- right on time- and dropped her off at the market to retrieve her belongings.

"I am personally indebted to Mr. Combs," she said. "Driver Combs represents the role of goodwill ambassadorship both personally and professionally." The Channel 7 story is here.


STRAP Grants Boost Public Safety

The Patrick-Murray Administration has given formal approval to Small Town Road Assistance Program (STRAP) grants for critical road reconstruction projects in Ashburnham, Avon, Becket, Monroe, and New Marlborough. The MassDOT grants of up to $500,000 target projects that improve public safety and promote economic development in smaller communities. The projects include:

  • Ashburnham- $500,000 for paving and reclamation of 2.5 miles of Rindge Turnpike Road to address poor pavement and roadway flooding conditions.
  • Avon- $500,000 for reconstruction, drainage improvements, and new sidewalks on Pond Street to address neighborhood flooding caused by insufficient drainage.
  • Becket: $500,000 for resurfacing and drainage improvements on Algerie Road and Bonnie Hill Road to address current hazardous roadway conditions.
  • Monroe: $250,000 for Kingsley Hill Road reconstruction to address hazardous conditions after one lane of the road and the embankment washed away.
  • New Marlborough: $500,000 for reconstruction of 3.4 miles of Clayton Road to address extreme pavement cracking and deterioration.

The grants were approved through MassDOT following a competitive application process. The 2008 transportation bond bill signed by Governor Patrick expanded the number of communities eligible for STRAP grants by raising the population threshold from 3,500 to 7,000. Additional grant awards are expected in FY2011. Learn more about the STRAP program.


Watertown Multi-Use Path Construction Set

Governor Deval Patrick announced construction of a multi-use path and intersection improvements in Watertown will move forward this spring.

The Charles River/Alewife Connector project in Watertown will construct a multi-use path along an abandoned rail corridor, left, from School Street to the Arlington Street intersection at Nichols Avenue, Coolidge Hill Road and Crawford Street, with a spur connecting the new path to Arsenal Street across from the Watertown Mall parking lot.

The $847,000 project will include removal of existing railroad rails and ties followed by construction of a ten-foot wide asphalt path with grass shoulders over a distance of approximately two-thirds of a mile.

In addition, a $1.4 million project approved in late December will resurface the intersections of Spring and Summer, Mount Auburn and Summer, and Arlington and Nichols at the eastern limit of the new multi-use path, including new traffic sensing devices and more accessible sidewalks with wheelchair ramps.


MassDOT Board February Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, February 3, in the MBTA Board Room, Boston. During 2010, meetings will be held in Springfield, Lowell, and Brockton, along with Boston. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.