Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

March 2, 2017 Meeting

10:00 AM – 11:54 AM, Wellesley Free Library, Main Branch, Wakelin Room, 530 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482

David Mohler, Chair, representing Stephanie Pollack, Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization agreed to the following:

      approve the minutes of the meetings of February 2 and February 16, 2017

      approve Amendment 2 to the Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2017-21 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 11.

2.    Public Comments  

Kristen Guichard (Assistant Town Planner, Town of Acton) thanked the MPO for its support of the Assabet River and Bruce Freeman Rail Trail projects and updated the board on TIP project #608229 (Intersection Improvements at Massachusetts Avenue (Route 111) and Main Street (Route 27) (Kelly's Corner)), currently under consideration for funding. Acton is working towards 25% design and plans a Public Hearing in winter 2017 with design complete by 2019.  

Phil Lemnios (Town Manager, Hull) spoke in support of TIP project #601607 (Reconstruction of Atlantic Ave. and related work). Atlantic Avenue is a main feeder road to Nantasket Beach reservation, connects Hull and Cohasset to Route 3A, and is an evacuation route. It is bordered by a state Area of Critical Environmental Concern and a sea wall. P. Lemnios stressed that the town’s taxpayers are contributing to the maintenance of Atlantic Avenue and asked that members take that into consideration.

Len Simon (Selectman, Town of Sudbury) spoke in support of project #608164 (Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Phase 2D). The Rail Trail is under construction in Acton and will soon begin construction in Concord, traveling south from Lowell. Sudbury has funded 25% of the design. In Sudbury, the Rail Trail will intersect with the Mass Central Rail Trail. L. Simon expressed the overwhelming support of the town for the Rail Trail and the hope that it will become be part of a regional, comprehensive recreational and transportation network.  

3.    Welcome Remarks by the Host Municipality—Michael Zehner, Planning Director, Town of Wellesley

M. Zehner welcomed the MPO and highlighted Wellesley’s recent leadership change, with Executive Director Hans Larsen retiring and Blythe Robinson taking on the role. He proceeded with highlighting a few planning and development initiatives. The town has entered into a partnership with Edge Sports Group to develop a site on Route 9 into a 150,000 ft² indoor recreational facility. With the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the town completed the Route 9 Enhancement Study and Plan, resulting in approximately 50 recommendations for the corridor. Wellesley is also creating a Unified Plan, which consists of updating its Comprehensive Master Plan, and which will become a strategic plan for the Town.

4.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

5.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

6.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Tegin Bennett, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

T. Bennett shared that the Advisory Council will meet on March 8. The 3C Documents Committee will meet prior to the Advisory Council.

7.    Executive Director’s Report—Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director, MPO Staff

K. Quackenbush reminded members and attendees that MPO staff would be hosting Office Hours following the meeting.

8.    Approval of Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 2, 2017 was made by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Bennett), and seconded by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (Jim Gillooly). The motion carried.

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 16, 2017 was made by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Bennett), and seconded by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (J. Gillooly). The motion carried.

9.    Action Item: Draft Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2017–21 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 2— Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman, MPO Staff

A. Kleyman presented the Draft Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2017-21 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 2 for approval.

Materials: Posted to MPO Meeting Calendar

1.    Draft Amendment Two to the FFYs 2017-21 Transportation Improvement Program: Full table with all programmed funds and changes proposed by Amendment Two

2.    FFYs 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program Draft Amendment Two Summary: A table summarizing changes proposed by Amendment Two


MPO staff did not receive any public comments related to the proposed amendment. (For a longer description of the changes proposed by Amendment Two, see the minutes of the meeting of January 19.) A. Kleyman reminded members that none of the proposed changes impact the MPO’s target funds.


A motion to approve Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2017–21 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 2 was made by the MBTA Advisory Board (Paul Regan), and seconded by MassDOT Highway Division (John Romano). The motion carried.

10. FFY 2018–22 TIP Development: Draft Project Evaluations— Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman, MPO Staff

A. Kleyman presented the FFY 2018-22 TIP Development: Draft Project Evaluations. These are the evaluation scores for projects under consideration for funding with MPO target funds in the FFYs 2018-22 TIP.


Materials: Posted to MPO Meeting Calendar

1.    Table 1: FFY 2018-2022 DRAFT TIP Evaluations Grouped by MPO Investment Program New projects appear  in bold blue text; projects in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) are in bold black; red text notes a change to a project’s score since last year’s TIP development process.

2.    Table 2: FFY 2018-2022 DRAFT TIP Project Evaluations, Ranked by Total Score Text styles are the same as in Table 1.

3.    FFYs 2018-2022 TIP Development: Descriptions of New Projects for TIP UniverseDetails on the new projects evaluated by MPO Staff during this TIP development cycle. All other projects in Tables 1 and 2 of the Project Evaluations have previously been considered by the MPO.


A. Kleyman noted that March 9 is the deadline for municipal feedback on draft project scores. A total of 28 projects were evaluated: 21 of these were scored last year (which used the same criteria and scoring) and 7 are new to this year’s universe of projects. A. Kleyman added that this list does not include projects already programmed in the TIP. The 21 previously scored projects are slightly different from those presented to the MPO on February 2. The only project with a more significant score change from last year is #601607 in Hull.

Project Type

Number of Projects

Complete Streets

Intersection Improvements

Major Infrastructure







Project Location by MPO Subregion

Number of Projects

Inner Core Committee (ICC)

North Shore Task Force (NSTF)

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC)

MetroWest Regional Collaborative

South Shore Coalition (SSC)

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (TRIC)

SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (SWAP)

North Suburban Planning Council










Project Location by Type of Community

Number of Projects

Maturing Suburbs

Inner Core

Regional Urban Center

Developing Suburb






New Projects for Consideration

Investment Category

Acton Intersection Improvements at Massachusetts Avenue (Rte. 111) and Main Street (Rte. 27) (Kelly's Corner)

Bedford Minuteman Bikeway Extension, from Loomis Street to the Concord T.L.

Cohasset Corridor Improvements and Related Work on Justice Cushing Highway (Rte. 3A), from Beechwood Street to the Scituate T.L.

Framingham (MassDOT) Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Installation at Rte. 9 and Maynard Road

Malden Lighting and Sidewalk Improvements on Exchange Street

Reading Intersection Signalization at Rte. 28 & Hopkins Street


Sudbury Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Phase 2D

Intersection Improvements

Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements

Complete Streets



Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements

Complete Streets


Intersection Improvements

Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements

The main objectives and details for each of the new projects can be seen in FFYs 2018-2022 TIP Development: Descriptions of New Projects for TIP Universe.


Richard Canale (At-Large Town) (Town of Lexington) asked whether the design for #607738 (Bedford Minuteman Bikeway Extension, from Loomis Street to the Concord T.L.) includes an underpass. David Manugian (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) (Town of Bedford) replied that an underpass is seriously being considered.


Christine Stickney (South Shore Coalition) (Town of Braintree) asked about the “Serves targeted development site” evaluation criteria. A. Kleyman replied that this is determined by whether a targeted development area is within a half mile of the project area. In relation to project #606002 (Duxbury Signal installation at Route 3 (NB and SB) ramps and Route 3A (Tremont St.)), C. Stickney noted that there is a nearby 40B site. A. Kleyman replied that 40B sites are not considered targeted areas by the criteria, but she will confirm this with MAPC, who conduct the scoring under this criterion.


Dennis Giombetti (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) (Town of Framingham) asked about cost estimates. A. Kleyman replied that cost estimates will be included in the prioritized list presented at the March 16 meeting. D. Giombetti asked whether project #608006 (Framingham (MassDOT)Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Installation at Route 9 and Maynard Road) was proposed in response to the death of a Framingham State College student. He felt that the project scored very low, noting perhaps that it is because the project addressed primarily a safety issue, and asked whether MassDOT felt the TIP was the best avenue for funding this project. He added that students crossing Route 9 is a serious safety concern. Marie Rose (MassDOT Highway Division) followed up on this later in the MPO meeting, reporting that the MassDOT traffic engineer who initiated the project indicated that it is HSIP eligible and that he is looking for either statewide HSIP or target HSIP funds.


Dennis Crowley (South West Advisory Planning Committee) (Town of Medway) felt the scoring process was detrimental to small suburban towns and asked that members look beyond scores.


M. Rose asked if evaluations consider how many times a community has had a project programmed. A. Kleyman replied that this is not included in the scoring metric but is information staff can provide to inform decision making.


R. Canale asked what information is communicated to subregions in order for them to indicate their priorities. A. Kleyman replied that all municipal TIP contacts have been sent the evaluations and will also receive the First-Tier List and staff recommendation. D. Mohler added that MAPC subregional coordinators hold meetings to get a sense of priorities and subregions often send letters indicating these. A. Kleyman added that MPO staff attended meetings in each subregion in November and December.


D. Mohler asked whether staff updated scores for projects already programmed in the TIP, and whether the scoring process has changed. A. Kleyman replied that no programmed projects had their scores reviewed and the scoring metric has not changed since last year’s process; if a project had previously been scored and not programmed, staff did re-evaluate those scores. Current TIP projects will not have any changes unless there are readiness or cost changes.


M. Rose asked whether the length of time that a project has been in the Universe without being programmed is considered as part of project evaluation. A. Kleyman replied that this is not factored into the evaluation scores but members can consider it when making programming decisions.


11. Route 1A-Vinnin Square Priority Corridor Study in Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott—Seth Asante, MPO Staff

S. Asante presented the Route 1A-Vinnin Square Priority Corridor Study in Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott.

Materials: Posted to MPO Meeting Calendar

1.    Route 1A- Vinnin Square Priority Corridor Study in Marblehead, Salem, and Swampscott: Full study report.


The MPO selected Route 1A and other roadways in the Vinnin Square area of Swampscott, Salem, and Marblehead for a priority corridor study in FFY 2016. This location was identified in the regional needs assessment conducted as part of the LRTP.

Vinnin Square is a commercial and residential district largely served by Route 1A, Essex Street, and Tedesco Street. Over the past two decades, Vinnin Square has seen a high concentration of development. As Vinnin Square developed, traffic safety, congestion, and mobility have become challenging issues. The surrounding communities envision a safe transportation network that would transform Vinnin Square into a vibrant area linking all three communities, balancing the needs of motorists with those of pedestrians and bicyclists.

Currently, many of the study roadways have wide travel lanes, placing an inequitable emphasis on vehicular use rather than pedestrian and bicycle use. Many of the traffic signal-timing plans are outdated. There are access management issues, with numerous driveways contributing to crashes. A lack of bus shelters at heavily used stops creates problems for riders. There are obstructions in crosswalks, non-ADA compliant curb ramps, gaps in the sidewalk network, and a lack of shoulders or bike lanes. 

Proposed improvements would renovate Route 1A to provide a pedestrian friendly roadway and to accommodate bicycle use. It would reconfigure the roadway to add bike lanes and revamp the sidewalks and curb ramps to MassDOT standards. Staff also recommends installing bus shelters on Essex Street at the heavily used MBTA bus stops.


T. Bennett asked if the study recommended any improvements to transit beyond bus shelters. S. Asante responded that the four bus routes in the study area failed MBTA standards and that the hope is the T can use the study to improve service when they do their next service delivery update.

Jay Monty (At-Large City) (City of Everett) asked what portion of suggested improvements included infrastructure changes. S. Asante replied that only one section requires a widening of the roadway. J. Monty suggested considering raised bike lanes and protected intersections where roadway widening is needed. S. Asante indicated that this is mentioned in the report.

Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) (Town of Norwood/NVCC) asked if the widening of the road would require land takings and what the cost would be. S. Asante replied that the study did not consider land takings, but estimated the road widening for two way left turn lanes at $6-7 million and restriping at $2-4 million.

D. Crowley asked what was the cost of conducting the study, and whether the findings were presented to the communities. S. Asante replied that he made two presentations to the communities and that the study was undertaken partially at their request. The cost of the study was approximately $100,000.

David Koses (At-Large City) (City of Newton) asked whether the addition of bike lanes in the study area would require the removal of parking. S. Asante replied that there was only one section in the study area that had on-street parking.

12. Exploring the 2011 Massachusetts Travel Survey: MPO Travel Profiles—Karl Quackenbush, MPO Executive Director and William Kuttner, MPO Staff

K. Quackenbush and W. Kuttner presented Exploring the 2011 Massachusetts Travel Survey: MPO Travel Profiles.

Materials: Posted to MPO meeting calendar

1.    Exploring the 2011 Massachusetts Travel Survey: MPO Travel Profiles Full study report.


The Massachusetts Travel Survey (MTS) was undertaken in 2011 and superseded a survey done in 1991 that was limited to eastern Massachusetts. The 2011-MTS survey was used by staff to develop a new regional travel demand model. The survey was also the source of travel data for a detailed analysis of work trips in eastern Massachusetts and an investigation into general strategies for increasing the use of transit. This study extended some of the analyses used in earlier efforts to create travel profiles for all 13 Massachusetts planning regions. The report provides estimates of commuting distances in the various Massachusetts planning regions and compares patterns of auto use in the planning regions.

Type of Commute

Average Distance

Within one MPO area

To the Boston Region MPO area

To Another Non-Boston MPO area

To a different state

6 miles

21 miles

20 miles

22 miles

Key Findings

1.    Many commuters did not commute on the survey day

2.    The Boston region has the strongest regional job market

3.    The average commute distance for Boston region residents is three miles shorter than for other Massachusetts residents

4.    Non-commuting travel exceeds commuting travel in all planning regions

5.    Driving is by far the dominant mode in Massachusetts

6.    Non-commuters are given rides for one-third of their travel miles

7.    Mode preferences expressed as travel distances have practical applications

8.    Average travel distances of residents vary little between planning regions, but distances vary tremendously between individuals within each planning region


R. Canale asked whether the report considered age differences. W. Kuttner replied that the survey included respondents above the age of 6. R. Canale asked if there were data specific to the Boston Region MPO’s subregions. W. Kuttner stated that his previous presentations to the MPO using this data looked at radial sector differences.

L. Gilmore asked about the frequency of the travel survey and whether it remains useful. W. Kuttner replied that he felt that travel behavior has not necessarily evolved so much since 2011 that the data to render it not useful, but that an argument could be made that an inflection point has been reached in terms of the emergence of ride-hailing companies. K. Quackenbush added that the previous survey of this nature was previously conducted in 1991, and that the 2011 survey cost $3 million to produce. He noted that the question of what data MPO staff may be missing for analysis is a subject of much internal conversation among staff.

T. Bennett added that there are also gaps in the data that may help staff forecast trends like the automated vehicles. K. Quackenbush noted that staff has had trouble obtaining data from for-profit ride-hailing companies and hopes the white paper work on automated vehicles (recently approved by the MPO) will shed some light on these issues.

John Gendall (MassDOT Highway District 6) commented on a statistic indicating the fraction of miles attributed to bicycle use was less by non-commuters. W. Kuttner responded that using a bike to commute could accumulate more miles than recreational use by non-commuters. J. Gendall asked if seasonal impacts were considered in the survey. W. Kuttner replied that the survey was done throughout the year. T. Bennett added that non-commuter bike trips may be shorter because they are close to home.

13. Members Items

D. Crowley requested that MassDOT provide a brief update of progress on the Green Line Extension project at an upcoming meeting.


D. Giombetti asked whether communities have been notified of the TIP development schedule so that they know discussions have begun. K. Quackenbush replied that stakeholders have been notified.


14. Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by MassDOT Highway Division (J. Romano) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Bennett). The motion carried.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Laura Wiener

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Richard Canale

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Jim Gillooly

Thomas Kadzis

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

MassDOT Highway Division

John Romano

Marie Rose

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Eric Waaramaa

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Paul Regan

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (Town of Framingham)

Dennis Giombetti

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

David Manugian

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Bennett

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

Christine Stickney

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Dennis Crowley

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/NVCC)

Tom O’Rourke



Other Attendees


Joshua Davidson

Meghan Jop

Sara N. Hines

Dick Williamson


Town of Wellesley



Andrea Leary

North Shore TMA

Ellen Gibbs

Beth Suedmeyer

Pat Brown

James Freas

Kristen Guichard

Phil Lemnios

John Morgan

John Gendall

Len Simon

Sarah Bradbury

Michael Zehner

Bryan K. Pounds

Heather Lamplough

Joy Glynn

Town of Wellesley

Town of Sudbury


City of Newton

Town of Acton

Town of Hull

CHA Consulting

MassDOT District 6

Selectman, Town of Sudbury

MassDOT District 3

Town of Wellesley


Town of Wellesley

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority

Steve Olanoff

TRIC Alternate


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Seth Asante

Lourenço Dantas

Róisín Foley

Ali Kleyman

Bill Kuttner

Jen Rowe

Michelle Scott