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Official Tweeting from Mass. Dept of Transportation (MassDOT). Tweets ending in JM from MassDOT Secretary/CEO Jeffrey Mullan

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On the Trans Blog
MBTA Repairs: Red Line Weekend Impact

MBTA crews will replace signal and communications cables in the Red Line tunnel this weekend. Red Line service will be replaced by buses all day on Saturday and Sunday according to the schedule listed here.

Green Line Extension Workshops

MassDOT announced it will hold a series of Green Line Extension Land Use Workshops in Medford, Cambridge and Somerville in May and June. The meetings are intended to gather public ideas and suggestions for the areas around future MBTA Green Line Extension stations.

MassDOT: Capital Spending Public Meetings

MassDOT is holding public meetings across the state in May on development of a five-year capital spending plan. The capital spending plan is required by the 2009 transportation reform legislation.

Northampton - May 17

Pittsfield - May 18

Quincy - May 19

Framingham - May 25

MassDOT Annual Farmer's Markets at Service Plazas

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced that the MassDOT's annual Farmer's Market Program will begin in May 2010, continuing through Fall 2010. Local Farmers are invited to take advantage of free vending space at the state's eighteen highway service plazas to sell their home-grown produce and made-in-Massachusetts products.

The Road to Reform

MBTA Haverhill Line Upgrade Moves Forward

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas joined MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan this week to announce groundbreaking of the $17.4 million Haverhill Commuter Rail Project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). The project complements a $50 million ARRA-funded double-tracking and rail improvement project on the Fitchburg commuter rail line.

"We have made it a priority to invest in maintenance and repair projects like this one that will improve the experience for commuter rail and transit riders throughout the Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick. "These Recovery Act funds will create jobs by improving our public transportation infrastructure and decreasing commute times for residents along the Haverhill line," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

"This is an excellent investment and I want to thank Governor Patrick and Lt. Governor Murray for their continued efforts to derive the broadest benefit for the Commonwealth from these federal funds." The ARRA project will improve reliability and service for Haverhill commuter rail line customers with the installation of a double-track along the Haverhill line and improvements to the train control systems that have affected on-time performance.

The double-track will allow trains to use a new second track to maneuver around disabled trains and maintain service near scheduled levels. New signal systems and track circuits will enhance system reliability and safety for passengers and at crossing through neighboring cities and towns. Completion of the double-track work is slated for December 2010, with the signal project to begin in 2011. Learn more about commuter rail at www.mbta.com


Walk and Bicycle to School Day

Governor Deval Patrick encouraged students, parents, and school officials to celebrate Massachusetts Walk and Bicycle to School Day Wednesday, May 5, 2010 as part of the Commonwealth's Safe Routes to School Program. The Safe Routes to School Program works with students, parents, school staff, and local police in 108 communities and more than 294 schools to promote walking and bicycling to school in order to improve students' health, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality in Massachusetts communities.

"Students who can walk or bicycle to school should do it," said Governor Patrick. "It's a great way to clear the cobwebs and arrive ready to work."

On May 5, 2010, thousands of elementary and middle school aged children celebrated at hundreds of walking and bicycling events throughout the Commonwealth. Through the Safe Routes to Schools program, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and MassRIDES provide students, parents, and the school community with education and training on transportation, safety, and health benefits from walking and bicycling to school. Participating schools also qualify for financial support for improvements to sidewalks and other infrastructure surrounding schools.

The Safe Routes to School program is a key component of the Healthy Transportation Compact, an initiative of the Patrick-Murray Administration's historic transportation reform that promotes collaboration between the departments of transportation and public health to adopt best practices, increase efficiency, and achieve positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation, and public health policy. Safe Routes to School enables direct collaboration between the Commonwealth and schools and communities to promote walking and bicycling transportation as fun, safe, and sustainable travel options.


Bay State Bike Week Fast Approaching, May 17-21

May 17th to 21st is Bay State Bike Week, a week when Massachusetts celebrates bicycle transportation. This year, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) have collaborated to make Bay State Bike Week an exciting statewide celebration, with events scheduled throughout Massachusetts. We look forward to working together to promote biking as a mode of transportation; it’s safe, it’s economical, it’s healthy, it’s environmentally-friendly, it’s fast, and it’s fun!

MassDOT encourages participation in the MassCommuter Challenge, the annual bike commuting derby. The Challenge is a friendly competition among organizations that is designed to increase bicycle commuting. It is open to all bike commuters and this year, MassDOT is a registered team.

Visit masscommuterchallenge.org/register to pledge Bay State Bike Week miles. To learn more visit the 2010 Bay State Bike Week website at www.baystatebikeweek.org.

MassDOT's Bay State Bike Week participation is part of our Healthy Transportation Compact. Learn more about the Compact.


MassDOT Honors Employees

As part of the effort to help make MassDOT the premier transportation organization in the U.S., MassDOT Secretary & CEO has initiated at the suggestion of employees a Monthly Employee Recognition Program. The program will recognize outstanding performances by MassDOT employees as individuals or groups. The first winners of MassDOT Employees of the Month, for May 2010 include:

Iris Benitez, RMV Chinatown, receiving her honor in the photo, a thorough, prompt and customer-friendly RMV Hearing Officer who serves as a model for other RMV employees.

James Robida, Highway Division, an exemplary team leader who “thought fast on his feet” while coordinating a major repair of a Culvert on Route 119 in Littleton during the floods of March.

Anne Marie Thornton, MBTA Human Resources, whose data entry skills helped the MBTA comply with the new Ethics Law by the April 2, 2010 deadline, as she organized some 12,000 documents.

Group Award for 8 Sheet Metal Workers at the MBTA Subway Main Repair Group in Everett, whose design and repair work resulted in a savings of $1,000,000 to the MBTA. The workers: James Dewar, Kenneth Floyd, Gregory Smith, Lee Adams, Jack Jones, Scott Ehlers, Brian Hurton, and Jay Toland.

Group Award for the 10 Highway Division District 5 Maintenance Forces employees, who put public safety and customer service first by working around the clock to resolve highway problems during the March flood. The employees: John Ayer, Richard Ouellette, Mark Desrocher, George Boucher, Raymond Medeiros, Gordon Costa, Keith Medeiros, Timothy Grew, John Shaughnessey, and Andrew Lafferty.

Special Group Award to the 50 employees of the MBTA SMI Maintenance of Way Group, whose tremendous teamwork and around-the-clock dedication to make sure that the Green Line’s D train was operable within days, not weeks, following the peak of the March floods.

Congratulations again to all MassDOT Employees of the Month for May 2010!


Secretary's Message Celebrating Southwest Corridor

Posted by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary and CEO

It is with great pleasure that I joined representatives from The Department of Conservation and Recreation, Southwest Corridor Conservancy, Park Management Advisory Council, legislators, and city and state officials today in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Southwest Corridor Park. Forty years ago, Governor Frank Sargent listened to his constituents, who said that their neighborhoods were a lot more valuable than the expressways that were proposed to cut them up. Governor Sargent showed tremendous leadership by putting a stop to the construction of the Southwest Expressway and the Inner Belt Highway, and announcing an effort to focus on more community-friendly transportation investments in the densely developed Boston core. And the United States Department of Transportation showed leadership by allowing Governor Sargent to use those highway funds on public transit instead. We now see the results all around us. Instead of being divided by an expressway, this neighborhood is drawn together by the Orange Line and by the Southwest Corridor Park, which celebrates its twentieth birthday today. This beautiful ribbon of green helps people get out of their cars and walk to the T station, or bike right to downtown Boston. Governor Sargent’s decision forty years ago enabled the creation of this corridor that brings together the modes – walking, bicycling, and public transit – that represent not the past, but the future of transportation.

These are transportation modes that enable people to get out of their cars. This in turn reduces traffic congestion, improves air quality and fights greenhouse gas emissions, and promotes healthy lifestyles that can help to combat obesity and the other health problems. These modes also support smart growth development patterns that better enable people to get around without cars.

Just as Governor Sargent showed leadership on transportation forty years ago, I want to thank Governor Deval Patrick for showing leadership on transportation today. Working with the Legislature, Governor Patrick developed a vision for a unified state department of transportation – ONE MassDOT – that would bring all different transportation modes and agencies under one organization to enable an integrated, multi-modal approach to providing transportation infrastructure and services, as well as to save money.

Six months into its life, MassDOT is already delivering on that promise. Our job at MassDOT is to strengthen our commitment to safety and customer service. And that means supporting all transportation users – whether you are a T rider, bicyclists, pedestrian or driver. We’ve invested an historic amount in public transit and improving commuter rail and throughout the state we’re expanding funding for bike and pedestrian paths. The MBTA will invest ARRA funds to improve bicycle facilities and in improving service and reliability along key bus routes.

Our job is to strengthen the Commonwealth’s cities and towns and support investments that give people more options on how to get around. Standing here today, we can be reminded of how important Sargent’s legacy is and how critical it is to continue Governor Patrick’s commitment to improving our transportation system for EVERYONE.

More information about the Southwest Corridor Park is available on the web. And we invite you to learn more about MassDOT's commitment to public health and increased access for bicyclists and pedestrians by visiting our Healthy Transportation Compact on our website.


MBTA: Customer Service Campaign

Newly appointed MBTA General Manager Richard Davey continues his "Join the GM" campaign, a back-to-basics approach that will include regular visits to MBTA station to listen and interact with daily commuters in person. On Thursdays, Davey along with the T's top managers will convene at a selected station or bus depot to listen to customers concerns, and promote public transportation.

Each week, MBTA managers will be available at the stations prepared to listen, respond, and follow up with customer concerns and recommendations. Upon completion of eight weekly sessions, "Join the GM" will continue on a monthly basis system-wide. Below are the dates and locations for future sessions.

Haymarket Station Thursday, May 20 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ruggles Thursday, May 27 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
North Station Thursday, June 10 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Visit MBTA on the web for news and updates.


MassDOT Board June Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, June 2, 1:00pm, State Transportation Building in Boston. Going forward, the MBTA Board will meet first at 1pm, followed by the MassDOT Board. All meetings are open to the public.

The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.