Transportation

In this busy area, which is also a through-route to downtown and crosstown destinations, continuous improvements to the transportation network are essential to keep the LMA accessible, with patients’ needs paramount. MASCO area planning completes studies and makes physical improvements for the benefit of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and those who drive to the area. We work with the MBTA to advocate for service improvements and represent the LMA at state and city transportation forums. We also run the LMA’s transportation management association, CommuteWorks.

2014 Ballot Question 1
Ballot Question 1 seeks to eliminate the indexing of the gas tax to inflation passed as part of the Transportation Finance Act of 2013.  Under the Act, the gas tax –currently 24 cents per gallon– will be adjusted annually to match growth in the consumer price index starting in January 2015 by about ½ penny per gallon.  This provision was passed to ensure that transportation funding will not be eroded over time by the annual increases in construction costs, including basic maintenance and repairs to roads, railroad tracks, tunnels and bridges.  If Question 1 passes, an estimated $1 billion would be lost in dedicated transportation funding over the next 10 years, significantly hindering the state’s ability to operate, maintain, and modernize the transportation system across the state. 

Why does this matter to you?

For drivers:

  • Today 27 bridges in Massachusetts have been closed because they are unsafe and another 447 can only carry reduced traffic loads.
  • The ten busiest structurally deficient bridges in the state carry more than one million cars every day.
  • One out of five major roadways in the state is classified as being in
    poor condition.
  • Roadways conditions are a significant factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities in Massachusetts.
  • Motor vehicle crashes cost Massachusetts $6.3 billion a year in medical and other costs.

 

For transit users:

  • Without sufficient funding for public transit, critical service improvements and maintenance will not be completed.
  • Users of buses, subways, and trains will have less dependable transportation to get to work, school and appointments.
  • In a competitive economy, Massachusetts will be playing catch up to other states that are investing in their future.

When you go to the ballot in November, please consider how funding for the transportation system is critical to your commute.  Voting Yes on Question 1 would mean no increase in the gas tax without additional legislation.  Voting No on Question 1 would preserve approximately $1 billion in dedicated transportation funding over the next 10 years, helping to decrease roadway and public transit congestion and increase reliability and safety. We are all dependent on safe, properly maintained roads, sidewalks, bridges, and public transportation.  MASCO has joined over
60 organizations in supporting No on Question 1.

Links for more information:
Massachusetts Secretary of State Website (includes Ballot Question text)
Tax Foundation Blog
Committee for Safer Roads and Bridges Website

State Plan for Transportation
MassDOT’s Capital Investment Plan for FY2014-FY2018 sets forth a unified, multi-modal capital investment plan for transportation in Massachusetts.  This plan was partially funded by the Transportation Finance Act of 2013, passed by the Legislature to provide additional funding for critical projects such as Red Line and Orange Line replacement cars to address the safety and maintenance of our roads, bridges, and public transportation systems.  It was preceded by the restructuring and reform of the transportation agencies serving the Commonwealth, which included abolishment of the Turnpike Authority, reform of MBTA pensions to align it with the state system, and moving MassDOT employees off of the capital budget and back onto the regular payroll to free funds for road and bridge maintenance. 

While an important step forward in bettering the transportation system, the Transportation Finance Act of 2013 addressed a $2 billion need with only an $800 million funding package.  Please see the documents and websites below for more information on the needs of the transportation system in Massachusetts.

Alert: Sears Rotary Detours
Please note that the section of Brookline Avenue between the Riverway and Park Drive will be closed to outbound traffic (towards the LMA) and four lanes will be dedicated to inbound traffic (towards Kenmore Square/Bowker Overpass).  Outbound traffic coming from Brookline Avenue and Boylston Street will be detoured around the Sears Rotary.  Please see the detour diagram below.  Sidewalks abutting the project site will remain open to pedestrians.  The detours accommodate the next phase of construction and will be in place for the next several months.  Please note that this will increase travel times for the Fenway shuttle. 

 

New Commuter Rail Platforms and Service
Yawkey Station rendering

Additional transit services are essential as LMA employees continue to shift from driving to public transportation. MASCO has completed planning and design studies and advocated for new commuter rail platforms and services at Yawkey and Ruggles Stations, the nearest stations to Longwood for commuters. As a result, the developer of Fenway Center is building a new Yawkey Station, with construction scheduled to be completed November 2013. MASCO teamed with LMA institutions, area businesses, community groups and state and city officials to secure state economic stimulus funding for the station.  The MBTA is completing the next phase of planning for Ruggles Station in their current capital program with design scheduled for completion this year.

Muddy River Daylighting

The Army Corps of Engineers, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department are working together to restore this missing link of the Emerald Necklace when this section of the Muddy River is “daylighted” – exposed to sunlight for the first time in 7 decades. Reinstating the original depth and width of the river, rebuilding the riverbanks to their intended size with native, non-invasive species and enlarging the culverts beneath Brookline Avenue will reduce severe flooding and enable the ecosystem to better withstand heavy rainfalls.

Existing Conditions
End Conditions

Click on the links below to see presentations from January 31, 2013:
http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/Topics/MuddyRiver/MuddyRiverJan2013.pdf

http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/Topics/MuddyRiver/MuddyRiverVHB3Nov11.pdf

Traffic Signal Improvements
MASCO developed a multi-year plan for signal corridor improvements on Longwood and Brookline Avenues, Ruggles Street, the Fenway, Boylston Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard. We studied signal timing at more than 30 intersections in these key corridors to or in the LMA, and with the approval of public agencies, invested in physical improvements. In 2010, public agencies partnered to complete a third phase of this work using state stimulus funding.

Study to Improve Bus Service
MBTA bus
MASCO completed a study of existing bus services to the LMA to find out if there are better routes, times and stops to serve LMA commuters. Funded by MASCO, this project was a collaboration between MASCO, MassDOT, the MBTA and the city; the results will be used to improve service and reduce traffic congestion.

Urban Ring
MASCO has completed over $750,000 in privately-funded studies to match publicly funded evaluations of a future crosstown transit service to significantly improve access to the LMA. Envisioned to provide new commuter rail connections for those traveling from the suburbs and new fast bus connections for city commuters, the route would link Roxbury and Dorchester, Boston Medical Center, Northeastern University and the LMA to Harvard, biotechnology facilities in Kendall Square and residents of Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and Chelsea. MASCO has partnered with other organizations in the city to advocate for this new service and secure public funding to advance planning studies.

Pedestrian and Bicyclist Accommodations
Pedestrian and bicycle studies are underway as part of ongoing efforts to make the LMA more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. We have mapped bicycle parking locations, identified shortages and worked with members and the city to create more than 500 new bike parking spaces in the last two years, and we're working with the City on bike lane planning for Brookline Ave. For more information on walking or biking to the LMA, see CommuteWorks.

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