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On the Trans Blog
MBTA: Faster, Easier Parking

The MBTA this week announced a simpler system for parking lot payments that will allow everyone from daily commuters to visitors to use their mobile phones and an online account to pay for parking at MBTA lots.

Beginning July 23rd, customers parking in MBTA-owned and operated lots with existing cash honor boxes will be able to pay for parking online or via phone while in their cars or once they board a train, bus, or commuter boat.

As part of a new partnership with Parkmobile USA, customers can visit www.parkmobile.com and enroll in the new program for free, and have access to their on-line accounts 24 hours a day/7 days a week. T riders can also download a mobile app.

Green Line Extension Work Group Announced

MassDOT today announced the members of a newly formed Working Group to assist the agency and the MBTA with issues related to Green Line Extension station design, general construction, and other community concerns.

Eighteen people were chosen from among more than 100 people who applied in response to an invitation from MassDOT and the MBTA. They represent the full length of the Green Line Extension corridor and also include MBTA, MassDOT, cities of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and Tufts University representatives.

MassDOT Safety Messages Go Digital

MassDOT has partnered with five Outdoor Advertising companies currently participating in MassDOT’s Office of Outdoor Advertising Digital Advertising Pilot Program. All five participants have agreed to air Public Service Announcements on their boards as space is available.

The Road to Reform

MassDOT Partnerships: Visitors Centers Reopen for Tourist Season

The Patrick-Murray Administration this week announced the reopening as of July 1 of Visitor Information Centers in Greenfield and Salisbury. The Maria Miles Visitors Center on I-95 in Salisbury reopened permanently. The Salisbury Visitors Center will be open between the hours of 8AM to 6PM. MassDOT will provide operational and utilities funding support for the Center and funding from the Regional Tourism Council will support the Center’s staff.

The Maria Miles Visitors Center receives up to 500,000 visitors per year and is one of four Massachusetts Visitors Centers reopening this summer.

The Greenfield Visitor Information Center, accessible from both Interstate 91 and Route 2, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 31. MassDOT will provide operational and utilities funding support for the Greenfield Center and funding from the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce will support the Center's staff.

The Greenfield Visitors Center receives up to 90,000 visitors per year.

The Visitors Centers in Mansfield on I-95 Northbound, seen above, reopened May 28 for the remainder of the year through a partnership with the Plymouth County Development Council.

The Route 25 Eastbound Visitors Center in Bourne reopened in late May and will be open weekends through Labor Day.


RMV To Open New Southbridge Branch

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and MassDOT Registrar Rachel Kaprielian hailed this week’s vote by the Southbridge town council to enter into an agreement to open a new RMV branch at the Casaubon Senior Center. Through this local and state partnership, the city will provide lower cost space for the new RMV office, which supports the administration's transportation reform efforts to increase savings and improve customer service. Additionally, the new RMV expects to create more foot-traffic in the area, likely boosting the town's efforts to revitalize the downtown business district.

The new Southbridge branch to open by early fall will occupy 2,100 square feet in the Casaubon Senior Center and will offer all license and registration services. It will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

To address severe budget constraints and reduce private leasing costs, the RMV closed eight branches including the branch in Southbridge. To minimize the impact on customer traffic, the RMV is working with sister transportation agencies, municipalities and local delegations to locate new branches in rent-free public spaces.

Registrar Kaprielian said the new Southbridge branch should help moderate customer traffic in Worcester which saw increased demand for service since the previous Southbridge branch closed.

MassDOT RMV Division serves more than 4.6 million drivers at 30 branch locations and online at www.mass.gov/rmv. In the past two years, the RMV has added more than a dozen internet transactions to the website enabling customers to apply online for a first time license or convert an out-of-state license and then schedule a branch appointment; renew a license, ID, and registration; order a driving record, police crash report and Fast Lane transponder; view the status of a license, registration, driver education certificate and title; sign up for a license renewal reminder and organ donation as well as cancel a registration plate.


MBTA Bus Route 28 Improvements

As part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to strengthening public transit in the Roxbury-Dorchester-Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston, the MBTA has moved forward with transit improvements along the Bus Route 28 corridor from Mattapan Square to Ruggles Station via Dudley.

Responding to high ridership and overcrowding on the 5th busiest bus route in the system, the MBTA rolled out 25 new hybrid 60 foot buses on Route 28 Saturday, June 26. The longer buses are made possible as part of the T’s $30.7 million investment in ARRA stimulus funds to purchase new hybrid buses. The buses have approximately 50% more seats and are hybrid electric powered, resulting in cleaner exhaust, quieter engines, and improved fuel economy. A three door feature will allow customers to board and depart easier and quicker.

The entire Route 28 bus fleet, including 15 40’ buses, will be replaced with new 60’ vehicles. The current bus operating schedule along this route will remain unchanged. To enable the longer buses to fully pull up to the curb, many bus stops along the route will be lengthened. At some bus stops, this may result in the temporary removal of approximately 1 -2 automobile parking spaces.

Other upcoming projects improving transit throughout the Route 28 corridor include a MassDOT and MBTA Roxbury-Dorchester-Mattapan Transit needs study that will identify short and long term opportunities to improve transit service in the study area, along with MBTA’s Key bus route program implementing Route 28 corridor improvements such as stop consolidation, new shelters, traffic signal priority, and queue jump lanes. The first phase of these improvements will begin by Fall 2010. Station improvements at Dudley and Mattapan Square will occur early next year.


July 4 Holiday Travel Tips

As the July 4 holiday weekend approaches, MassDOT has several resources available to assist motorists. Before you travel, check the interactive Traffic Cameras web page for live looks at current traffic.

Drivers may sign up for the 511 traveler information service to receive alerts via email, text or telephone. Drivers can access the new service by dialing 511 on their cell phones or logging onto www.mass.gov/511 to register and receive personalized updates. MassDOT reminds drivers to avoid using their cell phones while driving and encourages travelers to call into the 511 service before they leave.

Drivers are reminded to travel safely and avoid distracted driving such as using cell phones. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has distracted driving information.

To save time, money and gas, motorists who have not yet done so are encouraged to join FAST LANE to avoid waiting in line at cash toll booths.

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 pm Sunday, July 4, through 5 am Monday morning, July 5. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.


MBTA July 4: Fares Free After 10:30PM

The MBTA is prepared for the July 4 festivities with an increase in service for the thousands of people traveling to and from the Esplanade. Along with more service, bus, subway, and commuter rail fares will not be collected from 10:30 p.m. to the end of service on Sunday, July 4.

With the increase in service and addition of T personnel and Transit Police prepared to help customers to their destination, MBTA General Manager Rich Davey said, “I am encouraging people to take public transportation to the esplanade. The T is the most efficient, safest, cost effective way to get to one of Boston’s busiest holiday celebrations. Be smart and leave the driving to us.”

Below is the MBTA’s operating schedule for Sunday, July 4 and Monday, July 5.

  • • Blue, Green, Orange, and Red Lines will operate on a Sunday schedule on July 4 and 5, with an enhanced schedule on July 4 providing extra service for customers heading to and from the Esplanade.
  • Commuter rail trains will operate on a Saturday schedule with all of the last trains, but one, departing at 11:45 p.m. (approximately 45 minutes after the fireworks display ends).
  • The sole exception is Train #1173 to Newburyport*, which will depart North Station at 11:15 pm.

PLEASE NOTE: SUBWAY AND COMMUTER RAIL SERVICE WILL OPERATE ON A SUNDAY SCHEDULE ON MONDAY, JULY 5.

Visit the MassDOT blog for more information: http://transportation.blog.state.ma.us/blog/2010/06/mbta-july-4-fares-free-after-1030pm.html


MassDOT Board July Public Meeting

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors will hold its next public business meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 1:00pm, in Lowell. 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.