MPO Meeting Minutes

Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

March 5, 2020 Meeting

10:00 AM–12:45 PM, State Transportation Building, Transportation Board Room, 2nd Floor, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

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


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:

Meeting Agenda

1.                      Introductions

See attendance on pages 30–32.

2.                      Public Comments  

Mayor Joe Curtatone (City of Somerville), representing the 21 communities in the Inner Core subregion (ICC), advocated for all projects in the ICC including projects #609204 (Community Path, Belmont Component of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) [Phase 1]), #609532 (Targeted Safety Improvements and Related Work on Broadway from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue in Chelsea) and #610674 (Reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue [Route 30] from East of Auburn Street to Ash Street in Newton). J. Curtatone stated that the Broadway project is a major opportunity to advance transportation equity in an underserved community. Project #610674 is an example of a road diet, which is one of the most important design strategies to improve livability and sustainable transportation. In Milton, the legacy of the Southeast Expressway places severe pressure on adjacent local streets. Project #608955 (Intersection Improvements: Squantum Street at Adams Street) offers a low-cost opportunity to improve safety in highway-adjacent neighborhoods. J. Curtatone commended colleagues at the City of Lynn for their work on project #609246 (Reconstruction of Western Avenue [Route 107]) and stated that mobility and economic opportunity in the North Shore is a priority for the ICC communities. J. Curtatone stated that he and Mayor McGee of Lynn have spent time discussing bus priority projects, and the mayor is excited for the progress the team is making. J. Curtatone asked the board for support of project #607981 (McGrath Boulevard Project) and to include it in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. J. Curtatone stated that McGrath Boulevard is a six-lane highway under the jurisdiction of MassDOT that cuts through the most densely populated city in the northeast. The City of Somerville and MassDOT have served as co-proponents for the project since the planning work was conducted in 2011. J. Curtatone stated that during the accelerated bridge program, the City of Somerville helped save MassDOT $20 million in capital costs that were programmed for McGrath Boulevard. Instead of a $35 million reconstruction, Somerville requested $12 million because stakeholders had already begun working on the boulevard. The project is programmed in the 2025 to 2029 time band of the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), and it has been highly scored in TIP evaluations. J. Curtatone stated that the economic opportunity associated with this project is of regional significance. The project is approaching the 25 percent design. MassDOT has been managing the design with active city support, and the project team is the same group that managed the Casey Arborway project in Jamaica Plain. J. Curtatone asked the MPO for support for funding starting in FFY 2025, and believed that with this vote, MassDOT will advance the design. The project team stated that they will be ready to shovel for FFY 2025.  J. Curtatone reiterated the regional significance of this project and requested funding for FFY 2025 of the TIP.

Mayor Scott Galvin (City of Woburn) advocated for project #604996 (Bridge Replacement, New Boston Street over MBTA in Woburn) in FFY 2021 of the TIP. S. Galvin highlighted the importance of the project to the city of Woburn and the surrounding communities. S. Galvin stated that the project would open up economic development and housing on Commerce Way and Boston Street. The City of Woburn is committed to the project, and the project is approaching 100 percent design phase by July 2020. The City of Woburn has funded over one million dollars in design. S. Galvin and Bob Penfield stated that they can address any concerns about the increased costs of the project, and thanked the board for their support.

B. Penfield (VHB, Inc.) advocated for project #604996 in Woburn and reemphasized some of the benefits of the project. B. Penfield stated that the project is on schedule with 100 percent design going to MassDOT in June 2020. They are working towards an advertisement in January 2021. B. Penfield stated that they submitted the 25 percent design with an engineering estimate of $12.5 million in April 2016. In June 2019, they submitted the 75 percent design with an engineer’s estimate of $15.5 million. B. Penfield asserted that there have been minor increases in the project, approximately $1.3 million outside of inflation, due to the need for additional retaining walls to minimize impacts to abutters, an expanded driveway that connects to abutting properties, and the need to excavate additional soil in potentially contaminated areas from an adjacent superfund site. Tina Cassidy (North Suburban Planning Council) (City of Woburn) stated that she could answer additional questions today or in future meetings about the project.

State Representative Joan Meschino advocated for project #605168 (Intersection Improvements at Route 3A and Summer Street Rotary in Hingham). J. Meschino also thanked the MPO for including project #608007 (Corridor Improvements and Related Work on Justice Cushing Highway [Route 3A] from Beechwood Street to Henry Turner Bailey Road in Cohasset and Scituate), which recently had a MassDOT hearing. J. Meschino stated that #605168 project programmed in FFY 2024 of the TIP is a critical project for safety. It is a regional project that stretches from Route 3A to the Town of Hull. It is a heavily trafficked road that has had chronic accidents and fatalities. It is a small part of a larger initiative that the Town of Hingham has been leading with the Chief of Police and Town Manager for public safety, in addition to some tangential benefits in accessibility. J. Meschino thanked the board for advancing this project on the TIP. J. Meschino stated that for relatively small dollars, this project will have a tremendous public safety impact on residents. Hingham collaborated with MassDOT on this project, and it has led to a new model for projects across municipalities. The Town of Hingham leads the project, but they are also working with the Towns of Hull and Cohasset.

Tom Mayo (Town Administrator, Hingham) asked for support for project #605168 in Hingham and stressed the local support for the project. T. Mayo stated that the Board of Selectman and town meeting members are fully supportive. The Towns of Hull and Cohasset are fully behind this project. The project team hired a peer-reviewed engineering firm to help and assist the local taskforce.

David Grangrande (DCI/Hingham Route 3A) advocated for project #605168 in Hingham. D. Grangrande stated that the project team has conducted a robust community effort including a pilot program in summer 2018. D. Grangrande stated that significant improvements could be made on the S curve and rotary. The cost of the project has increased, which can be attributed to the pavement design. Initially, it was an overlay, but it is now going to be a full depth construction. D. Grangrande stated that the 75 percent design is due in July 2020.

State Representative Michael J. Soter voiced support for project #608887 (Rehabilitation and Related Work on Route 126, from Douglas Drive to Route 140 in Bellingham). M. Soter stated that the project is at 75 percent design and is currently waiting on MassDOT feedback. The engineers are committed to 100 percent design by summer 2020. M. Soter wanted to stress safety issues on this corridor and stated that there have been many accidents. It is the main route to the middle school, and there are a lack of sidewalks and drainage. After many years of overlay, it has made the road higher than it needs to be. M. Soter stressed that the project needs to stay on track and asked for its continued inclusion in FFY 2022 of the TIP.

James Kupfer (Town Planner, Bellingham) advocated for project #608887 in Bellingham. J. Kupfer was excited to state that the project is on time and moving quicker than originally anticipated. Engineers submitted the 75 percent design in November 2019. J. Kupfer reached out to MassDOT Highway District 3, and they are expecting to hear comments next week. J. Kupfer stated that there is a slight increase in the project cost. The new cost is $5,866,675, which is $1,800,000 more than was initially anticipated. This is the difference between the 75 and 25 percent designs. After listening to abutters and comments from the district, they changed pavement specifications and made improvements to drainage. The engineers are committed to the 100 percent design by summer 2020, and advertising for March 2021. J. Kupfer asked for consideration in FFY 2021 if there is available funding. John Bechard (MassDOT Highway Division) asked when the required town meetings would take place. J. Kupfer responded that the meetings are planned for October 2020.

Bill Mertz (WorldTech Engineering) updated the board on project #607777 (Rehabilitation of Mount Auburn Street [Route 16] in Watertown). The project has gone through significant changes. B. Mertz stated that they were at 25 percent design stage a couple of years ago, and then MassDOT released the separated bike lane design guide. Local bike advocacy groups asked that the town take another look at designs. The team went back to the conceptual design phase and hosted many public outreach forums. They worked closely with the MBTA to implement transit signal priority. B. Mertz stated that over the past two and a half years, the project has transformed into a better project due to the town’s public outreach program. Originally programmed in FFY 2014, the project is currently on the FFY 2022 TIP. Twenty-five percent design was submitted in December 2019 at $21 million. B. Mertz stated that they plan to have a design public hearing in the summer of 2020. The cost increases are due to a complete drainage upgrade and full depth pavement construction. B. Mertz stated that the project is currently on schedule to be advertised in FFY 2022. B. Mertz also advocated for project #607652 (Reconstruction of Ferry Street in Everett), which is currently programmed for FFY 2020. B. Mertz stated that the 75 percent design would be submitted on March 19, 2020. The project has also seen an increase in costs due to recent National Grid utility work and local city projects. An eight to 10 inch slab was found under the roadway. The slab needs to be removed before there can be full depth pavement reconstruction. Also, the drainage will be completely upgraded. B. Mertz stated that the City of Everett is currently working with appraisers, as there are over 300 easements required. Everett has hosted three public workshops and has received 10 percent of the easements in donations.

Daniel Amstutz (Town of Arlington) asked about the discrepancy in the listed cost of $28 million and the proponent’s estimate of $21 million. D. Mohler asked J. Bechard (MassDOT Highway Division) to clarify. J. Bechard affirmed that MassDOT’s estimate is $28 million. B. Mertz stated that WorldTech Engineering’s current estimate is $21 million. D. Mohler explained the contingency costs added by MassDOT and the MPO to account for inflation and cost escalations. Jay Monty (City of Everett) reiterated statements on easements and appraisals. The City of Everett is programming additional funding for those appraisals. J. Monty stated that the City of Everett is not ready to say if the project needs to move from FFY 2020 to FFY 2021, but they are ready to discuss it if the time comes.

Sean Fitzgerald (Town Administrator, Swampscott) advocated for project #610666 (Swampscott Rail Trail Construction). S. Fitzgerald highlighted the unanimous support from the Town of Swampscott for this rail trail project. S. Fitzgerald stated that Swampscott has faced a great deal of congestion, and the trail will create a new and safe route to travel in the community. There is unprecedented public and political support for the rail trail project, including from the select board, planning board, school committee, conservation commission, and open space and recreation commission. S. Fitzgerald stated that Swampscott is the fifth most densely settled town in the Commonwealth. The congestion on the local roads creates an unsafe situation. The Town of Swampscott is looking for a two mile, linear, multimodal corridor that connects three elementary schools. It also connects the Town of Marblehead to the regional rail network. This project will help the town define a better path in addition to incorporating more Complete Streets and traffic calming techniques. The Town of Swampscott wants to create ways for residents to travel to town, to the MBTA station, and other municipal properties, using multiple modes. S. Fitzgerald is pleased to share that the Town of Swampscott has funded $850,000 for design, acquisition, and legal fees in 2017. They also received a $100,000 Mass Trails grant from the Baker administration. S. Fitzgerald stated that they will be submitting 25 percent construction drawings imminently. They want to highlight the importance of these types of investments, not just in Swampscott but also in communities that are struggling to find a path forward managing transportation and new housing development, especially for young residents.

Gregory Federspiel (Town Administrator, Manchester-by-the-Sea) advocated for project #610671 (Bridge Replacement, M-02-001 [8AM], Central Street [Route 127] over Saw Mill Brook in Manchester-by-the-Sea). G. Federspiel stated that Manchester-by-the-Sea is responsible for the half-mile portion of Central Street that passes through the village. The town’s major concern for this bridge surfaced 20 years ago during the 2006 Mother’s Day storm. This bridge is a major chokepoint where water backs up over the bridge and floods the village. There are also major safety concerns of traffic going over the structure, and the bridge has an older tide gate that needs to be removed. The bridge is in a weakened condition. G. Federspiel stated that repairs were done five years ago but improvements are still needed, as the most recent MassDOT study indicates. G. Federspiel emphasized that this project is a major focus of the town.

Nathan Desrosiers (Town Engineer, Manchester-by-the-Sea) also advocated for project #610671 in Manchester-by-the-Sea. N. Desrosiers shared that their consultant conducted an inspection in 2015 and found that the bridge was in immediate need of emergency repairs. While Manchester-by-the-Sea made those repairs, the 2016 MassDOT inspection found that the bridge is still in poor condition overall. N. Desrosiers stated that one of the bigger issues is that there are no guardrails along the bridge and only a chain link fence on both sides. The bridge area also has very little Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility. The abutting sidewalks are in poor condition and there are no ADA ramps. If the bridge were to fail, it would cut off one side of the town from emergency response access, and would require a two-mile detour for any emergency response. Also, commuters that frequently travel down Pine Street on that side of town take the bridge to get to the MBTA commuter rail station.

N. Desrosiers stated that the 2006 Mother’s Day storm damage was caused by the tide gate restriction. Part of this project would be to remove the tide gate. The consultant’s study showed that removal of that tide gate would have prevented part of the flood damage to the surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, removal of the tide gate would make the area more resilient to storms that range from 20 to 50 a year.

Chuck Dam (Department of Public Works Director, Manchester-by-the-Sea) advocated for project #610671. C. Dam stated that they will replace the bridge and culvert to improve hydraulics and traffic, and revive the utilities and ADA access. The removal of the tide gate will have environmental benefits and improve fish passage. The bike and pedestrian facilities will also be improved. This project is part of the town’s efforts to improve adjacent intersections and further upstream improvements. C. Dam stated that they have conducted the 25 percent submittal form and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review, which was passed and approved. There will be no Environmental Impact Report on this project.

G. Federspiel added that the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea has committed $1 million to the project and received a $500,000 grant to help with efforts. G. Federspiel stated that the town would like to begin construction in the fall of 2021. The town’s Chapter 90 funding is $150,000, and typically the town supplements with $250,000 of their own money. This project represents a tenfold hit on what the town normally spends on projects. Tom Bent (Inner Core Committee) asked for the total cost. G. Federspiel answered that the total cost of the project is $4.35 million.

Valerie Gingrich (Director of Planning and Conservation, Wilmington) advocated for project #609253 (Intersection Improvements at Lowell Street [Route 129] and Woburn Street in Wilmington) that is currently programmed for FFY 2024 and has been flagged to move up in schedule. V. Gingrich stated that the intersection is overburdened and unsafe, and the town is very supportive of moving this project up in schedule so that an updated intersection can take on the additional traffic from project #604996 in Woburn, programmed in FFY 2021, and project #608051, programmed in FFY 2023. V. Gingrich stated that the 25 percent design public hearing is being scheduled. The project is fully funded for design and the design will be completed by April 2021.

Alyssa Sandoval (Representing the Town Manager’s office, Bedford) voiced support for project #607738 (Minuteman Bikeway Extension in Bedford). A. Sandoval stated that the Minuteman Bikeway Extension is an important community and economic development goal for the Town of Bedford. It enhances the depot park area and provides important pedestrian and bicycle connectivity for residents and commuters to large employers. A. Sandoval stated that the town of Bedford is hoping to create a new cultural district around the extension and deport park area. A. Sandoval stated that they are joining the Minuteman Bike Share network with the neighboring communities, and will be installing a bike share location at the station in 2020. A. Sandoval said that the town hopes that the extension project will stay included in FFY 2022 of the TIP.

David Manugian (Director of Public Works, Bedford) advocated for project #607738 in Bedford. D. Manugian stated that the project had its 25 percent design public hearing in February 2020, and town staff met with MassDOT to go over the timeline for FFY 2022. D. Manugian stated that MassDOT had questions about takings and the town is working on resolving that issue. The Town of Bedford does have the funding for the project and are confident that the issue will be resolved without having to wait for another town meeting.

Ken Kruckemeyer and Alice Boatles (Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard) updated the board on project #605789 (Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard) programmed in FFY 2019 of the TIP. K. Kruckemeyer stated that the bids have come in for the project at $25.6 million, where the office estimate was $19 million. Therefore, the project has a 35 percent cost overrun. K. Kruckemeyer stated that after extensive community participation in this project, there is almost no public support due to the environmental damage, including 100 trees cut down, 200 more trees threatened, and a 20 percent increase in impervious surface. This project was originally approved at $9 million in 2011. In 2015, the City of Boston returned to the MPO asking for $25 million, which was approved by the MPO in the FFYs 2015–19 TIP. To date, the cost is $35 million.

Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard suggest that this money is not being spent properly, and is taking a lot of money away from other projects that are needed. K. Kruckemeyer stated that they feel that $9 million is the right cost for the project. The neighborhood has made a number of suggestions on how to reduce the cost, which the City of Boston has rejected. Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard believes these changes would allow the public safety aspect of the project to be accomplished.

D. Mohler added that the approval of this contract will be made at the March 23, 2020, Fiscal Control and Management Board (FMCB) meeting, and he recommends that Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard also attend that meeting and voice concerns. D. Mohler stated that the MPO does not have a role in this project now because it has been advertised.  K. Kruckemeyer responded that he thinks it is important for the MPO to know how its money is being spent. D. Mohler thanked K. Kruckemeyer for coming and sharing his comment.

Andrew Levin (City Planner, Peabody) spoke on behalf of the Assistant Director of Planning, Brendan Callahan, who is overseeing the two Peabody TIP projects, #609211 (Independence Greenway Extension) programmed in FFY 2024, and #610544 (Multiuse Path Construction of Independence Greenway at Interstate 95 and Route 1) seeking funding for FFY 2025. A. Levin stated that these are important projects for the City of Peabody and the region that will further the development of Peabody’s Independence Greenway and connect the Essex County and the State’s regional bikeway network. Development of these bikeway segments will increase the Independence Green Way from six miles to 10 miles, and continue to connect segments of the East Coast Greenway and provide a critical link to the Border to Boston Trail with the new bridge over Route 1. Project #609211 is currently on schedule and Peabody has submitted preliminary plans, the functional design report, and the bridge type selection worksheet. The City of Peabody has received MassDOT’s comments and has provided responses to the comments. A. Levin stated that they are on schedule to submit the 25 percent design plans to MassDOT at the beginning of June 2020. A. Levin stated that project #610544 is the critical link connecting the two Independence Greenway segments and connecting with Peabody’s bikeway spur trail connection to the Danvers Rail Trail. This project will construct a new two span bridge over Route 1 northbound and southbound. The construction of this bridge will significantly transform the region’s greenway trail network, provide an alternative mode of transportation for Essex County, and link communities from Salisbury to Boston.

In 2019, the City of Peabody completed a feasibility study and determined a preferred route alignment over Route 1. The City of Peabody is seeking FFY 2025 TIP funding to implement the preferred route. Prior to finalizing the preferred route alignment, the City of Peabody met with MassDOT Highway District 4 representatives. The results from this meeting provided the City of Peabody with enough feedback to finalize the preferred route alignment and present the preferred plan to the Mayor of Peabody. A. Levin stated that the Mayor was enthusiastic about the results of the feasibility study and encouraged the planning department to seek the necessary funding to advance this project. The City of Peabody is also seeking Community Preservation Act (CPA) money through a CPA application and applied for a MassTrails grant.

James Freas (Director of Community and Economic Development, Natick) advocated for project #605313 (Bridge Replacement, Route 27 [North Main Street] over Route 9 [Worcester Street] and Interchange Improvements in Natick). J. Freas thanked the MPO for previous support of critical improvements in the same area for projects #605034, which is slated to begin work in summer 2020, and #607732 (Cochiuate Rail Trail), which is ongoing and ahead of schedule with an anticipated completion of early next winter. J. Freas thanked MassDOT for their diligent attempts to fix the designs for project #605313 and their willingness to bring forward an innovative solution in the diverging diamond design approach.

For the Town of Natick, replacing this interchange is critical for both the town and surrounding communities. With the recognition that the bridge itself is deteriorating, the potential closure of the bridge would highly impact Natick and surrounding communities. J. Freas stated that the project is critical to completing the safe pedestrian and bicyclist access along Route 27, especially for people accessing nearby schools, stores, and jobs. J. Freas stated that the project is a critical public safety issue since the interchange has frequently been identified as a high crash location and improvements are necessary to address that issue. J. Freas stated that Route 9 experiences chronic flooding below the bridge and this project is anticipated to address those issues as well. The Town of Natick is looking forward to working with the MPO and MassDOT to move this project forward and include it in the TIP.

Eric Johnson (City Engineer, Framingham) spoke to the MPO to address concerns regarding the schedules of project #608228 (Reconstruction of Union Avenue) and project #608889 (Traffic Signal Installation at Edgell Road and Central Street) in Framingham. For project #608228, the City of Framingham sent MassDOT an update on January 14, 2020, indicating that the project was a week ahead of schedule. E. Johnson stated that they had the buy-in from MassDOT right-of-way (ROW) staff on the ROW for the project, and the project is on track with the ROW acquisitions. The City of Framingham is now in possession of the 75 percent design. The City of Framingham has invested approximately $10 million dollars to upgrade utilities, and Framingham hopes the MPO will adhere to their commitment with a FFY 2021 appropriation for that project.

For project #608889, E. Johnson stated that there are some concerns on the Article 97. The City of Framingham is still adhering to their side of the project. E. Johnson intends to go before the City Council and work with a legislative delegation to acquire property through Article 97. Thatcher Kezer III (City of Framingham) (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) reiterated that the City of Framingham is working with legislative delegation, and going through the City Council process with a submittal at the state level.

Tom Ambrosino (City Manager, Chelsea) advocated for project #609532 (Targeted Safety Improvements and Related Work on Broadway from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue in Chelsea), also referred to as the Lower Broadway project, to receive funding for FFY 2025 of the TIP. The project is a revitalization of Broadway from Chelsea City Hall to the Chelsea District Court. T. Ambrosino stated that this is the major commercial district of Chelsea, and it has not had any investment since the 1970s. T. Ambrosino stated that the city is hoping that the revitalization project will jump-start investment in downtown Chelsea and increase safety where there is a large amount of pedestrian activity. T. Ambrosino stated that the corridor has the highest pedestrian crash cluster in the state. These improvements will substantially enhance safety downtown. The City of Chelsea is invested in the project. There have been two years of public engagement on designing the new downtown. The City Council has put up $5 million for the non-roadway part of the rehabilitation: water, sewage, and electrical infrastructure. T. Ambrosino asked for the project to be included in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP.

Alex Train (City of Chelsea) shared his support for project #609532 and advocated for project #608078 (Reconstruction of Broadway from City Hall to the Revere City Line in Chelsea), also referred to as the Upper Broadway project, programmed for TIP funding in FFY 2022. A. Train stated that the Upper Broadway project represents an important step forward for transportation equity in a densely populated environmental justice community. The project area spans a heavily concentrated residential neighborhood with a high amount of commercial and retail activity. A. Train stated that through this project, the City of Chelsea seeks to comprehensively overhaul surface and subsurface infrastructure. The City of Chelsea sees this as the logical path forward to address the prevalence of safety issues, improve public transit reliability and service, and increase accessibility for all types of roadway users. A. Train reported that the project remains on schedule and under budget. They are progressing with the 75 percent design process, which is due for submission to MassDOT on April 15, 2020. A. Train stated that in parallel with this design process, they have also had significant community engagement with local nonprofit partners, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. To date, this project has received widespread support from the Chelsea community. A. Train hopes that it continues to be programmed in the TIP for FFY 2022.

Nicole Freedman (Director of Transportation Planning, City of Newton) advocated for project #610674 (Reconstruction of Commonwealth Avenue [Carriageway] [Route 30], from East of Auburn Street to Ash Street), which is up for consideration for the FFYs 2021–25 TIP. N. Freedman stated that the Carriageway is the crown jewel of Boston, Brookline, and Newton and is filled with pedestrian and bicycle activity year-round. N. Freedman stated that the segment in this project is one of the more egregious disruptions of the Carriageway in Newton. Instead of there being one travel lane in each direction with a separate Carriageway for people walking and biking, there is no Carriageway at all. Instead, the area has two travel lanes in each direction for vehicles; there is no place for bikes, and there is a substandard sidewalk, which makes the area feel like an extended on-ramp to Interstate 95 and Interstate 90.

N. Freedman stated that this project is unique because of the timing and opportunity. MassDOT has a $15 million project to reconstruct a bridge over the Charles River. As part of that project, MassDOT has to extend the bridge past Auburn Street, and Auburn Street abuts project #610674. N. Freedman stated that Newton has asked MassDOT to redesign their project section to help restore the Carriageway instead of reconstructing to the existing conditions, which would allow Newton to move forward with their segment. The City of Newton has allocated $200,000 to contract with a consultant and is working diligently to the 25 percent design. If this project is approved, the timing for the construction of Newton’s restored Carriageway will match the timing of the MassDOT bridge project, which is during FFY 2025. In addition, Weston is up for consideration for an $8 million project for a two-way shared use path to extend the Carriageway two miles. These three projects could be coordinated together, and extend the Carriageway through Newton all the way to Natick.

Darshan Jhaveri (BETA, Inc.) advocated for project #607899 (Pedestrian Improvements along Bussey Street in Dedham). The project was submitted in March 2015. Since then, the Town of Dedham has received public comments, and the sketch plan was approved in 2018. The field utility meeting was conducted in 2019. D. Jhaveri stated that Dedham has been working with the district to host a public hearing. The Town of Dedham is wondering why MassDOT is holding this up. The project manager at MassDOT then committed to having a public hearing for the project in the summer of 2020.

D. Jhaveri stated that the other concern is the cost of the project. The estimate was done in 2015 at $3.2 million, but they are now looking at an almost $4 million project cost due to inflation and construction prices. The Town of Dedham is committed to 100 percent design funding, and the project is a priority.

Kevin McCue (Coneco Engineers and Scientists) provided an update on the project #605743 (Resurfacing and Related Work on Central and South Main Streets in Ipswich), currently programmed for FFY 2023. The project was initially submitted for 25 percent design sometime in 2009 or 2010. K. McCue stated that because of the age of the submittals, MassDOT requested a new 25 percent design with an updated date, which is being submitted to MassDOT in early March 2020. K. McCue stated that Ipswich have been working with MassDOT’s project manager to make sure the data uploads are all complete. The project is still on track and ready to be programmed in FFY 2023. The Town of Ipswich is committed to keeping this project moving forward.

3.                      Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

4.                      Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

5.                      Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Lenard Diggins, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Lenard Diggins shared that Jim Aliosi (Transit Matters) will present at the next Advisory Council meeting in March.

Note: The March 11, 2020, Advisory Council meeting was later cancelled due to Governor Baker’s State Emergency Declaration.


6.                        Executive Director’s Report—Tegin Teich, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS)

Tegin Teich asked MPO members to sign required forms under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act for the LRTP, TIP and the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), in addition to signing forms required under the Massachusetts Green House Gas and Global Warming Act.

T. Teich announced that Katie Stetner, Manager of the Transit Planning and Analysis Group, was leaving on March 20, 2020. K. Stetner was with the Transit group for five years and served as the manager for the last three years. CTPS is looking to replace the position imminently, and will be posting the job on March 5, 2020.

T. Teich emphasized Betsy Harvey’s presentation on the equity overlay for the TIP project evaluation criteria and reiterated that changes to the criteria are for the next cycle of the TIP.

7.                       Action Item: Approval of February 6, 2020, MPO Meeting Minutes—Ariel Patterson, MPO Staff


A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 6, 2020, was made by Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the Town of Arlington (D. Amstutz). The Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton) (Austin Cyganiewicz) abstained. The motion carried.

8.                      Work Scope for FFY 2020 TIP Project Impacts: Before-and-After Evaluation—Mark Abbott, MPO Staff

Document posted to the MPO Meeting Calendar

1.      Work Program: FFY 2020 TIP Project Impacts: Before-and-After Evaluation

Mark Abbot presented the work scope for FFY 2020 TIP Project Impacts: Before-and-After Evaluation. The purpose of this study is to identify the effectiveness of selected TIP projects and evaluate the anticipated improvements to safety, traffic flow, and other factors. M. Abbott stated that measuring project effectiveness is important in evaluating whether the employed strategies work well and are suitable for application in similar situations. In addition, it ensures that the MPO funds projects that include tangible benefits that the public is seeing.

The MPO undertook before-and-after studies of TIP projects in FFYs 2012 and 2014. These previous studies found that TIP projects were effective in fulfilling the stated goals for improving safety and traffic operations. However, MPO staff was limited to focusing on intersection projects, and not able to analyze Complete Streets or corridors. Also, MPO staff was not able to evaluate other improvements, such as bike and pedestrian accommodations, person throughput or roadway reliability. In the FFY 2020 study, staff is proposing to use the new Bike and Pedestrian Report Cards (PRCA) to evaluate the effectiveness of bike and pedestrian accommodations. The study will be completed in five tasks. The first task will be to identify four study locations, constructed prior to 2017 and with project functional design reports available. The reason for the 2017 deadline for construction is to have a large enough sample size to collect the “after” data, enough time for the roadways to have normalized, and have enough crash data for two years afterwards. The second and third tasks will be to summarize the data from the previous functional design reports and collect new data for these four locations. The fourth task will be to evaluate the four locations to determine if the anticipated project benefits met the constructed benefits. M. Abbott added that staff will interview local stakeholders to see if the project met their expectations.

The fifth task will be to document the study results and present them to the MPO. The study is expected to be completed by the end of FFY 2020, and is budgeted for $60,000.


D. Amstutz asked if this study is recurring as part of the Congestion Management Process (CMP). M. Abbott stated that the program is not part of the CMP process but that staff wants to continue conducting this type of study every couple of years to better align goals with designs. This type of study was also brought up in the Federal Recertification Review. D. Amstutz stated that he endorsed including interviews in the study, and that perception is important to projects. D. Amstutz asked what changes the staff will make if it is found that the projects did not meet the stated goals. M. Abbott responded that staff wants to bring to light why the project did not meet its stated goals, and if certain design requirements were not successful.


A motion to approve the work scope for FFY 2020 TIP Project Impacts: Before-and-After Evaluation was made by the ICC (Tom Bent) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (Brian Kane). The motion carried.

9.                       Work Program for MBTA Commuter Rail Neighborhood Maps—Ken Dumas, MPO Staff

Document posted to the MPO Meeting Calendar

1.      Work Program: MBTA Commuter Rail Neighborhood Maps

K. Dumas presented the work program for MBTA Commuter Rail Neighborhood Maps. In 2007, the MBTA requested that CTPS create neighborhood maps for approximately 95 percent of rapid transit stations. These maps are four square feet and are often located near the station’s fare gates. They have information for the neighborhood one quarter to a half of a mile outside the station. K. Dumas stated that the maps are very detailed and show every street and street name, every building, and any connecting public transportation.

Keolis has requested that CTPS create nine new neighborhood maps and update five existing maps. The total budget for this program is $45,229, and will take six months to complete.


Sheila Page (Town of Lexington) asked if Keolis had selected the nine stations. K. Dumas affirmed and shared that the specific stations are listed in the work scope.

L. Diggins asked about Keolis’ intentions for updating the maps. K. Dumas stated that Keolis did not communicate that to him, but his hope is that this will be the beginning of more map updates because many of the current neighborhood maps are out of date. L. Diggins asked if Keolis was paying for the maps. K. Dumas confirmed that they were.


A motion to approve the work scope for MBTA Commuter Rail Neighborhood Maps was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane). The motion carried.

10.                    Addressing Transportation Equity in the Clean Air and Sustainable Communities Goal Area—Betsy Harvey, MPO Staff

Document posted to the MPO Meeting Calendar

1.      Presentation: Addressing Transportation Equity in the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities Goal Area

B. Harvey presented a proposal to revise the equity criteria for TIP project selection in December 2019. Based on feedback from the MPO board, B. Harvey returned to present on how the revised equity criteria would be applied using the Clean Air/Sustainable Communities (CA/SC) criteria.

Reviewing the proposed revisions for the CA/SC criteria, B. Harvey stated that for the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) criteria, the proposed revisions would make it easier for a project to get negative points for increasing CO2 emissions. For the Reduces Other Emissions criteria, which now includes particulate matter (PM) 2.5, the proposed revisions would make it easier for a project to get negative points for increasing emissions. For the Addresses Environmental Impacts criteria, the proposed revision would create a scale for water quality impacts, allowing projects to receive between -1 and +3 points. For the Green Community criteria, the proposed revision would get rid of green community designation criteria and instead, give points for net increase in tree canopy coverage and increased access to parks, open space, or other natural assets.

B. Harvey stated that the new equity criteria methodology will help staff meet the goals that were set out in December 2019, which include giving all projects an opportunity to get at least some equity points, rewarding projects that significantly benefit equity populations, and penalizing those that would create harmful impacts.

Staff created two processes to address these three goals. One process was to evaluate the criteria in each goal area that is chosen to be equity criteria. For example, if “reduces other transportation emissions” was chosen as an equity criteria, staff would evaluate it as they usually do, which results in the base score. The second process was to identify the equity populations that are in the project area that would be affected by the project. The outcome of this process is an equity multiplier. The multiplier would be multiplied by the base score to get the final score for that criteria.

For each goal area, staff will choose a subset of the criteria to evaluate for its impacts on equity populations. “Reducing emissions,” was one of the most widely selected priorities for respondents in the TIP Criteria online survey and in the MPO’s focus group outreach. Respondents also talked about the importance of addressing emissions for low-income, minority, and other equity populations because they are often disproportionately affected by pollution due to the proximity to roads with heavy traffic.

B. Harvey stated that the first step in this process is to create an equity index. The idea is to combine the population of each of the six equity demographics into one number that tells how prevalent equity populations are in a given project area. A project area is the area within half of a mile of the project. The higher the index is, the more equity populations would be affected by the project.

The index is based on the idea that each population has a certain distribution throughout the Boston region. B. Harvey displayed a map showing the distribution of the minority population (see the Presentation slides). B. Harvey described that the red areas have higher percentages of minority populations, which tend to be more concentrated in the inner core, and to some degree, in the North Shore and Metro West. B. Harvey then displayed a map of the elderly population, which is more evenly distributed across the region.

B. Harvey explained how to create the equity index using the minority population in the Boston region. The Y-axis of the displayed chart showed the number of transportation analysis zones (TAZs), and the X-axis showed the percent of the minority population in those TAZs. The regional average is 28.2 percent. The data was divided into four parts based on how far above or below the mean the percent of the minority population in the project area is.

The four sections are based on standard deviations above or below the mean. B. Harvey stated that if the percent of the minority population in the project area were less than 16 percent, it would get assigned a one as its index. For the second part of the distribution, if the percent of the minority population in the project area were between 16 percent and 40 percent, it would get assigned a two. For the third part of the distribution, if the percent of the minority population in the project area were between 40 percent and 64 percent, it would get assigned a three. For the fourth part, if the percent of the minority population in the project area were greater than 64 percent, it would get assigned a four. The higher the share of the minority population in the project area, the higher the index will be. This process is then done for all of the equity populations and these indices are combined into one number.

B. Harvey proposed weighing the minority, limited English proficiency (LEP), and low-income populations more strongly than the others because they have more federal protections than the others, and because of historical discrimination. Staff would then multiply the base index points by the population weight, and add them all together. The highest index that a project could get is 22. This process provides a standardized way of seeing which projects have the highest share of equity populations. After identifying the index, staff would then score the project. Staff would also identify the project’s equity multiplier based on the equity index and they would multiply the multiplier by the base score. B. Harvey stated that the weighting of the equity criteria could be decided after the new TIP criteria for each goal area is developed.

B. Harvey shared a chart showing how scores would change of past FFYs 2017–20 projects if this new criteria were applied to the CA/SC communities criteria. This does not include the PM 2.5, since the projects have not been evaluated for PM 2.5 emissions yet. The results showed that on average the scores change by getting one additional point. One project went from nine points to 14 points. In only a few of the cases did it change project scores relative to other projects.


L. Diggins asked if there was a difference between using the mean and median for equity populations. B. Harvey responded that she would get back to him on that. B. Harvey stated that the minority, LEP and low-income populations tend to have similar distributions, meaning that they tend to be concentrated in a fewer number of TAZs. The youth, elderly, and people with disability populations tend to be more evenly distributed. L. Diggins endorsed using weighting for equity but asked for clarity on the rationale between the weightings. B. Harvey responded that different equity populations have different federal protections. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Environmental Justice regulations cover minority populations, the Civil Rights Act covers people with LEP, and low-income populations are covered by Environmental Justice regulations. L. Diggins asked for more specificity on the concentrations and commented that the MPO might want to weight based on the distribution. B. Harvey responded that the distribution factor is captured in the index.

David Koses (City of Newton) commented that all of this is based on TAZs. D. Koses asked if the index is based on what TAZs the projects go through. B. Harvey responded that MPO staff map projects in GIS and overlay it with TAZs. There is population data for each TAZ. D. Koses asked if there were maps of TAZs for all equity populations. B. Harvey confirmed.

J. Monty stated that the chart of rescored FFYs 2017–20 projects did not show what the equity populations were for each project. J. Monty also commented that under the current criteria, project #609532 (Targeted Safety Improvements and Related Work on Broadway, from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue in Chelsea) has a low clean air score under Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) evaluations but focuses on transit and serves equity populations. CMAQ calculations could offset equity work since it undervalues transit. B. Harvey responded that staff would come back to the board with an answer to that. B. Harvey stated that if the criteria undervalues transit improvements, when transit improvements are often very important for equity populations and communities, than staff need to revaluate that process.

D. Amstutz asked for clarification on creating the score. If a project area has multiple TAZs with equity populations, does it get points for the amount of TAZs or if it has a TAZ with a higher amount of equity populations? B. Harvey responded that for each equity population an index would be created, therefore, the process would happen six times. These would then be combined to create a multiplier. This accounts for the different population concentrations for each equity population.

L. Diggins stated that some equity populations are more susceptible to emissions impacts, such as youth versus the elderly. If that is the case, not all multipliers should be the same since impacts affect groups differently. B. Harvey stated that staff will look more at weighting for different populations and get back to the MPO.

D. Koses asked if this process would prioritize longer corridor projects over Intersection Improvement projects because corridor projects have a larger project area. B. Harvey was not certain, but stated that staff are looking at impacts. If a project impacts more people, the MPO wants to reward that. The new criteria will be tailored for each investment program; therefore, similar projects will be compared, rather than a Complete Streets project being compared to an Intersection Improvements project.

11.                   MBTA Capital Planning Process Update—Samantha Silverberg, MBTA Staff

Document posted to the MPO Meeting Calendar

1.      Presentation: MBTA FY21-25 Capital Investment Plan: Overview, Sources and Programs

S. Silverberg, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the MBTA, presented to the MPO on the first of three parts of the MBTA’s Capital Investment Plan (CIP). The first presentation describes how the MBTA builds their capital program, which is similar to how the MPO builds the TIP. For the next presentation, S. Silverberg will discuss the TIP projects that the MBTA anticipates will be continuing into the next TIP, and the last presentation will be on the new TIP projects. These presentations were split up to give the board more time to process the information.

S. Silverberg offered to meet with any member of the MPO to go over the MBTA capital planning process in more detail outside of the meeting if they have further questions. The MBTA’s intent is to help the MPO understand how the CIP program works, and how the MPO and TIP fit into the broader engagement.

S. Silverberg stated that the MBTA has many capital assets, including rail vehicles, buses, commuter rail assets, and ferries. There are many stations, hundreds of miles of track and ROW. The capital assets are important for the mobility they enable. Therefore, the MBTA evaluates the impacts and outcomes in the CIP and looks at how the investments help achieve the MBTA’s goals, such as providing safe and reliable service to the region.

S. Silverberg stated that the MBTA’s CIP process mirrors the TIP process in many ways. For instance, in December, the MBTA does an internal call for projects. In January, the MBTA works on estimates for funding, and in February, the MBTA runs through a scoring and evaluation process. The MBTA also sets a baseline of projects from the previous CIP that are carried forward. The MBTA has about 450 projects in the CIP. For this year alone, the MBTA received 150 requests, totaling $7 billion.

The MBTA creates strategic program budgets prior to filling those programs with projects. In doing this, the MBTA is preparing a prioritization process, which is where the MBTA leadership team evaluates the project scores and fills those programs with projects. S. Silverberg stated that the MBTA picks projects before assigning funding sources to them. The MBTA builds the list of projects for the approximately $9 billion capital program prior to figuring out which ones are federally funded, MBTA funded or state funded. By the time projects come before the MPO, the projects have been selected and considered appropriate for federal funding. In May, the MBTA finalizes the CIP. In June, public meetings are held with MassDOT all across the Commonwealth, and the MBTA conducts outreach using online tools. At a minimum, there are 10 public meetings.

S. Silverberg stated that this is the fifth year for a rolling CIP. In 2016, Secretary Pollack and the new administration unveiled a new way to build the CIP, more as a strategic portfolio rather than a long list of projects. This is the last year of that update. The intent for next year is to do a major reset in part because the MBTA anticipates having a new Transportation Bond Bill or a new revenue package, which will provide additional funding and additional priorities to incorporate.

The federal program is approximately a third of the MBTA’s capital program. The funds have gone down from the previous year because the MBTA is beginning to spend down a significant backlog of unspent federal funds. The other reason the funds have gone down is due to the MBTA making progress on the Green Line Extension (GLX). In order to maintain the same overall level of investment, the MBTA is increasing the amount of MBTA debt to execute the program.

S. Silverberg stated that state funds remain relatively even, but that does not reflect any new resources authorized and allocated in the Transportation Bond Bill. S. Silverberg displayed a breakdown of the $3.4 billion of federal funds. Of the $1 billion GLX full funding grant agreement, the MBTA expects to spend half of it by fiscal year (FY) 2021. For the TIP, the MBTA considers prospective Federal Transit Administration funds for FY 2021–25. Those funds breakdown into three formula grant programs: 5307 Urbanized Area Formula Funds, 5337 State of Good Repair, and 5339 bus and bus facilities funds.

The MBTA organizes the capital program by three priorities, similar to the MassDOT capital program: reliability, modernization, and expansion. Within those priorities, the MBTA has a set of programs that are aligned with strategic outcomes. The reliability priority is mostly related to asset condition. Jillian Linnell (Alternate MPO Member for the MBTA) discussed the MBTA’s transit asset management targets at the February 6, 2020, MPO meeting. These programs help the MBTA drive towards those targets. The modernization program is closely aligned with specific strategic outcomes like improving accessibility, implementing a new fare transformation system or achieving three-minute headways on the Red Line and four-minute headways on the Orange Line. The expansion priority is focused on projects like providing service to new locations through the GLX and South Coast Rail. Details of the programs and how the MBTA measures success can be found in the presentation.

S. Silverberg stated that there are additional programs being created for this year; for example, a program on bus transformation. There is also a transit infrastructure partnership program proposed in the bond bill, which would enable an additional revenue stream for municipalities to implement transit signal priority and bus priority lanes.

For project scoring, the MBTA has criteria set by the Project Selection Advisory Council, which was a group that was legislatively mandated in 2016. For criteria, goal areas include: System Preservation, Mobility, Cost Effectiveness, Economic Impact, Safety, Social Equity, Environmental and Health Effects, and Policy Support. The MBTA worked closely with MPO staff to exchange best practices and lessons learned. S. Silverberg stated that she was happy to see the presentation on Cost Effectiveness by Beth Osbourne of Transportation for America at the January 23, 2020, MPO meeting.

S. Silverbeg stated that there was a robust public process around Focus40 and the MBTA wants to make sure that the individual capital investments are tied to those overall policies, positions, and directions developed during that public process. The MBTA has been collaborating with the MPO on how projects impact environmental justice and Title VI, and other protected populations like LEP, age, and disability.

The MBTA will present at the March 19, 2020, MPO meeting to discuss programmed TIP projects. In late March or early April, the MBTA will provide a list of new projects for the TIP. The MBTA is closely engaged with MassDOT and the FMCB since they are the entities that approve the MBTA’s CIP. Therefore, the MBTA will do a similar presentation for FMCB on March 23, 2020. At this presentation, the MBTA will discuss program sizes. For public engagement, there will be outreach events throughout the Commonwealth in May and June. There will also be a digital tool to engage members of the public online.


Steve Olanoff (Three Rivers Interlocal Council Alternate) asked for clarification on the differences between the CIP and Rail Vision plan and what the MBTA will be doing to roll out Rail Vision. S. Silverberg responded that the MBTA has not set program sizes yet but that will be a future conversation. D. Mohler reiterated that this presentation is on the capital planning process and not updates on specific projects.

12.                    FFY 2021–25 TIP Funding and Project Readiness Update—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

Document posted to the MPO Meeting Calendar

1.      FFYs 2021–25: Transportation Improvement Program Readiness Days Update

M. Genova presented the MPO with a TIP readiness and cost update on all projects programmed in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. M. Genova thanked the project proponents for coming to the MPO meeting today to provide updates on their projects.

M. Genova directed the board to the FFYs 2021–25: TIP Readiness Days Update table, which presents the results of MassDOT’s February 12, 2020, Readiness Days exercise. For the Readiness Days exercise, representatives from MassDOT’s Highway Division, District Offices, and Office of Transportation Planning provided updates on every project currently programmed in the TIP and highlighted any concerns with project costs, schedules, or barriers to advertisement. M. Genova stated that the table highlights the initial recommendations that resulted from this meeting, although these recommendations can change as communication between MassDOT, municipalities, consultants, and MPO staff occurs throughout the TIP programming season.

M. Genova started with an overview of the TIP funding picture for this cycle. The changes in project costs that occur in FFY 2020 have to be covered, meaning any changes impact the funding remaining in the other fiscal years. Currently, the MPO is over-programmed by approximately $10.8 million due to cost increases in projects programmed in FFY 2020.

In FFYs 2021–24, changes to projects in those fiscal years have resulted in either budget surpluses or budget deficits. Budget surpluses result from projects being recommended to move into later years, which means the project funding was removed from the current programming year.

In FFY 2025, there is a change in total funding of negative $4.3 million. This is due to an adjustment in the obligation authority for FFY 2025 undertaken by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In the guidance the MPO staff received when they drafted the LRTP in 2019, the MPO anticipated an obligation authority for FFY 2025 of $112.2 million. The obligation authority for FFY 2025 is now $107.9 million.

M. Genova stated that overall funding for the five years of the TIP has still increased by $5.4 million, as 2020 funding fell off the TIP and was replaced with the higher 2025 funding amount in the TIP’s final year. In FFY 2025, the MPO will have a total of $107.9 million to allocate to both new projects and existing funding obligations, including project #606226 (Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston) and the MPO’s Community Connections and Transit Modernization investment programs. These items will be discussed at the March 19, 2020, MPO meeting.

The TIP Readiness Days Updates summary table lists

·         projects included in the current LRTP, Destination 2040;

·         projects flagged as high risk during MassDOT’s Readiness Days, which means there are factors at play that may prevent them from meeting the targeted advertisement date;

·         projects that have cost changes of greater than $500,000;

·         projects recommended to be moved out to a later programming year, although projects with additional asterisks were noted as strong candidates to remain in the current programming year if near term issue resolution occurred;

·         projects that have the potential to move into an earlier programming year; and

·         projects recommended to be removed from the TIP entirely.

Each funding year has both a “Current” and “Proposed” column. The “Current” column reflects the funding level for each project as programmed in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. Each “Proposed” column reflects the prospective funding levels for the FFYs 2021–25 TIP, which accounts for both cost changes and adjustments to annual cost inflation levels.

M. Genova stated that it is MassDOT’s practice to inflate project costs in the second year of the TIP and beyond by four percent per year, meaning projects programmed in FFY 2022 have an additional four percent added to the project costs, projects in 2023 have eight percent added to project costs, and FFY 2024 have 16 percent added. Every year, as projects approach programming, this inflation adjustment is removed four percent at a time, which is why the term “deflation” is included in the cost change column on the right-hand side of the table. The base cost is shown in the furthest right column.

M. Genova stated that for the projects that are recommended to be moved into a later year, the existing funding in their current years has been removed. This is to indicate that these projects are not recommended to stay in that year, and that it is at the MPO’s discretion to determine the appropriate year for funding to be reallocated to these projects.


D. Amstutz asked for clarification of the red text description in the table. M. Genova responded that a project in red text has been flagged as high risk, which means that factors within that project such as design or timeline may prevent it from being ready for the advertisement date. This is one degree less severe than recommending the project be moved to a later year.

L. Diggins asked if there were complications of using a standard four percent adjustment for inflation when not accounting for cost changes by moving the project to a different year. M. Genova responded if a project is in the final year of the TIP with a 16 percent cost premium added, that it is not four percent multiplied each year, it is just 16 percent of the original cost.

FFY 2020 Projects

Several projects in FFY 2020 saw cost increases, including projects #602261 (Reconstruction on Route 1A [Main Street] in Walpole), #604123 (Reconstruction on Route 126 [Pond Street] in Ashland), #607652 (Reconstruction of Ferry Street in Everett), and #606043 (Signal and Intersection Improvements on Route 135 in Hopkinton). Project #608347 (Intersection Improvements at Three Locations in Beverly) also had a cost increase, although this increase was covered with Statewide Highway Safety Improvement Program funding through TIP Amendment One. Therefore, it is a cost increase we do not have to account for in this discussion.

Project #606635 (Reconstruction of Highland Avenue, Needham Street and Charles River Bridge in Newton) saw a significant cost decrease in final design, and the amount shown in FFY 2020 is the second and final year of this project’s Advance Construction schedule. Project #607652 (Reconstruction of Ferry Street in Everett) was flagged as high risk for meeting the FFY 2020 advertisement date due to the need for Massachusetts Water Resources Authority work within the project area. Project #1570 (Green Line Extension to College Avenue with the Union Square Spur) listed in FFY 2020 and FFY 2021 is in years five and six of this project’s funding schedule. FFY 2021 concludes the MPO’s commitment to funding GLX.

FFY 2021 Projects

Projects #604996 (Bridge Replacement, New Boston Street over MBTA in Woburn) and #606130 (Intersection Improvements at Route 1A and Upland Road/Washington Street and Prospect Street/Fulton Street in Norwood) saw significant cost increases. Project #606453 (Improvements on Boylston Street in Boston) was recommended to be moved into a later programming year, as the current design submission is out of date and in need of resubmission. M. Genova stated that this project might also have an Article 97 issue, meaning legislative action would be needed to address project impacts on state-protected open space.

Project #608228 (Reconstruction of Union Avenue in Framingham) was recommended to be moved into a later year due to the project’s delayed design schedule. M. Genova noted that recent progress has been made. The City of Framingham submitted 75 percent designs on February 28, 2020.  Project #602077 (Reconstruction of Route 129 [Lynnfield Street] in Lynn) was recommended to be moved into a later year due to the need for significant design attention on the bicycle and pedestrian elements of the project and the project’s current late FFY 2021 advertisement date. Project #608147 (Intersection Improvements to Pleasant Street at Village/Vine/Cross Streets in Marblehead) was flagged as high risk due to the need for further ROW work on this project.

FFY 2022 Projects

Project #606226 (Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston) was flagged as high risk for staying on schedule, as ROW issues exist within the project area. There were also cost increases for project #601607 (Reconstruction on Atlantic Avenue and Related Work in Hull) and project #608887 (Rehabilitation and Related Work on Route 126, from Douglas Drive to Route in Bellingham) and a very large cost increase for project #607777 (Rehabilitation of Mount Auburn Street [Route 16] in Watertown).

Project 608164 (Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Phase 2D in Sudbury) was flagged as high risk, although recent work has been done to resolve some outstanding design issues. M. Genova stated that the project is in need of an updated design schedule and design public hearing to keep on track. Project #607738 (Minuteman Bikeway Extension in Bedford) was recommended to be moved to a later year due to the need for Town Meeting approval for ROW acquisition. M. Genova noted that the Town of Bedford provided public comment earlier in the meeting describing how they do not believe this will be an issue. Project #608889 (Traffic Signal Installation at Edgell Road and Central Street in Framingham) was recommended to move to a later year due to Article 97 concerns on the Town Common. M. Genova stated that the project proponent commented earlier in the meeting that the City of Framingham is actively working with the legislature to resolve this issue.

FFY 2023 Projects

M. Genova stated that there were cost increases for projects #603739 (Construction of Interstate 495/Route 1A Ramps in Wrentham), #608051 (Reconstruction of Route 38 [Main Street], from Route 62 to the Woburn City Line in Wilmington), and #607244 (Revere Street Roadway Improvements in Winthrop). Project #607899 (Pedestrian Improvements along Bussey Street in Dedham) had cost increases and was flagged as high risk due to the time lag in design submissions. M. Genova stated that the project proponent spoke to this earlier and it is being worked on. Project #605743 (Resurfacing and Related Work on Central and South Main Streets in Ipswich) was recommended to be moved into later in the year, as the project is in need of Town Meeting approval and a design public hearing. M. Genova noted that the Town of Ipswich submitted revised design plans at the beginning of March 2020, to keep the project progressing.

FFY 2024 Projects

Project #605168 (Intersection Improvements at Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary in Hingham), and #608045 (Rehabilitation on Route 16 from Route 109 to Beaver Street in Milford) saw cost increases. Project #609211 (Independence Greenway Extension in Peabody) saw cost increases and was flagged as high risk due to the need for an updated design submission for this project, which the proponent spoke to during public comment. Project #608006 (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Installation at Route 9 and Maynard Road in Framingham) was recommended to be removed entirely from the TIP, as MassDOT made the determination that the design for this project was nonviable as proposed. Projects #609054 (Reconstruction of Foster Street in Littleton) and #609253 (Intersection Improvements at Lowell Street [Route 129] and Woburn Street in Wilmington) were highlighted as candidates to move into an earlier programming year should funding become available to do so.


Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) (Town of Norwood) asked why some projects have 25 percent submittals from 2014, 2015, and 2016 while other projects submittals were in 2020, and what would cause it to be submitted four or five years ago and not approved. M. Genova responded that it varies by project. Some projects have had turnover in project managers; therefore, something may be submitted and then not followed up on. Sometimes, it is a communication breakdown between the consultant, the municipality, and the project managers at MassDOT. There is a multitude of reasons aspects of a project are submitted and not acted upon, but for those projects that do have design submissions that are four or five years old, those are projects that get flagged as high risk because they need an updated submission to keep the project moving forward.

B. Kane asked whether the MPO needs to find $10 million in FFY 2021. D. Mohler responded that the MPO will need to do a TIP amendment on March 19, 2020, to make up for this $10 million. This TIP amendment will set the programming for FFY 2021 in the FFYs 2021–25 TIP.

J. Monty asked if projects that are over $20 million need to be amended in the LRTP, and then added to the TIP before being advertised. M. Genova confirmed projects that now exceed the $20 million threshold will need to be amended in the LRTP before they can be programmed in the new TIP and then advertised. M. Genova anticipates an LRTP amendment for one or two projects that are now over $20 million.

D. Amstutz asked about some of the projects that have 25 percent submittals from four to five years ago but have increased costs, are these increased costs based on inflation estimates? Secondly, D. Amstutz asked that for the projects that have been advertised but need to be amended, does that mean the MPO cannot award funding? M. Genova responded that the project that has been advertised, #606635 in Needham and Newton, was already included in the LRTP in anticipation of cost increases. M. Genova also responded that the cost numbers in the table are the cost numbers that the MPO receives directly from MassDOT for each project. All the MassDOT project managers are expected to update the costs for their projects at this time of year. These costs are arrived at after a robust conversation between MassDOT project managers, district staff, and the project proponents.

Tina Cassidy (North Suburban Planning Council) (City of Woburn) asked why there were such large cost increases in project #607777 in Watertown. M. Genova responded that the project proponent, B. Mertz, spoke to this during public comment and mentioned that there were changes to bicycle and pedestrian facilities and changes in the pavement from an overlay to a full depth construction. M. Genova stated that the project corridor is also fairly long. D. Mohler also reiterated that there was extensive public outreach for the project, which transformed the design.

D. Koses asked for more information about the cost decreases in project #606635 in Newton and Needham. D. Mohler responded that the award came in under the projected amount, and so it was programmed for two years. The project still needs $17 million. M. Genova stated that he would fix the table for the next meeting.

Tom Kadzis (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department) asked where the Article 97 considerations for project #606453 in Boston were related to the Sears rotary? M. Genova stated that he did not have more information on that.

D. Mohler asked what staff will provide at the March 19, 2020, MPO meeting. T. Teich thanked the MPO board members for the questions and stated that staff will continue to work and follow up with MassDOT for more information. T. Teich also encouraged the board members to follow up with staff if they have further questions. Staff will be working on recommendations in the meantime.

M. Genova stated that the goal for the March 19, 2020, MPO meeting would be to bring a few scenarios for the MPO to discuss. The scenarios would help to solve for project readiness, schedule, and cost increases. Staff will also include scenarios for funding new projects in the final year of the TIP, FFY 2025. The goal for the conversation is to weigh the pros and cons of the scenarios and get the MPO’s input on which approach works best. In a follow up conversation, the MPO could decide on the final programming.

D. Mohler reviewed that MassDOT has shared what projects they think are ready, and that project proponents have advocated for those projects. M. Genova added staff wants to bring back, to a high degree of clarity, what projects are ready and what projects are not. M. Genova stated that given the cost changes, even if all projects were ready, that does not mean that there is funding in a given year due to cost increases. Not all projects will be able to remain in their given year.

D. Mohler reiterated M. Genova’s statement and said that the MPO has to make up for the $12 million in cost overruns. The fact that a project in FFY 2021 is ready does not mean that it might not be moved. This also accounts for project scores and geographic equality.

T. Teich stated that one of the reasons that the staff will create scenarios is to help with identifying funding for the final year of the TIP, FFY 2025. M. Genova stated that the MPO has a funding request that exceeds the funding for FFY 2025. M. Genova asked the MPO to thoroughly think through priorities for the final year of the TIP since the MPO will not be able to fund all the projects. D. Mohler affirmed that staff hope to post scenarios prior to March 19, 2020, to allow board members the time to prepare. T. Teich stated that it might be necessary to begin the scenario conversation on March 19, 2020, and have an additional meeting on March 26, 2020.

L. Diggins asked if there would still be a meeting on April 2, 2020. T. Teich responded that they are asking the board to hold the date but will confirm on March 19, 2020.

D. Koses asked if any projects could be divided over multiple years. D. Mohler responded that FHWA has advised MPOs that projects split over multiple years have to be $25 million or more, and that multiple years of funding fit construction plans. Currently, none of the projects are eligible for this except for project #602261 in Walpole. Anne McGahan (MPO Staff) stated that this project is already included in the LRTP, and would not need an amendment if the cost goes over $20 million.

13.                   Members Items

There were none.

14.                   Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (T. Cassidy) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (B. Kane). 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)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Sheila Page

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Tom Kadzis

Federal Highway Administration

Brandon Wilcox

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent


Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

MassDOT Highway Division

John Romano

John Bechard

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Samantha Silverberg


Massachusetts Port Authority


MBTA Advisory Board

Brian Kane

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Thatcher Kezer III

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Acton)

Austin Cyganiewicz

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Aaron Clausen


North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy


Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Lenard Diggins

South Shore Coalition (Town of Rockland)


South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Glenn Trindade


Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Tom O’Rourke




Other Attendees


Steve Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council

Brad Rawson

City of Somerville

David Grangrande

DCI/Hingham Route 3A

Mayor Scott Galvin

City of Woburn

Mayor Joe Curtatone

City of Somerville

Frank Tramontozzi

Quincy Mayor’s Office

Bill Mertz

World Tech

Bill Renault

Town of Wakefield

Sean Fitzgerald

Town of Swampscott

Greg Federspiel

Town of Manchester

Nathan Desrosiers

Town of Manchester

Chuck Dam

Town of Manchester

Paul Alunni

Town of Wilmington

Valerie Gingrich

Town of Wilmington

Sarah Bradbury

MassDOT Highway Division 3

Barbara LaChance

MassDOT Highway Division 5

Robert Wheeler

MassDOT Highway Division 5

Darsham Jhaveri


James Kupfer

Town of Bellingham

Alyssa Sandoval

Town of Bedford

Ken Kruckemeyer

Resident, City of Boston

Rep. Joan Meschino

3rd Plymouth

Andrew Levin

City of Peabody

Andrew Feingold

Green International

David Manugian

Town of Bedford

James Freas

Town of Natick

Bob Penfield


Rep. Michael Soter

Town of Bellingham


Fiscal Management Control Board

Timothy Paris

MassDOT Highway District 4

Eric Johnson

City of Framingham

Tom Ambrosino

City of Chelsea

Alex Train

City of Chelsea

Ben Cares

City of Chelsea

Nicole Freedman

City of Newton

Amy Ingles

Howard Stein Hudson

Bridget Myers

Howard Stein Hudson

Kayla Sousa

Howard Stein Hudson


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Tegin Teich, Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Matt Archer

Ken Dumas

Róisín Foley

Matt Genova

Betsy Harvey

Sandy Johnston

Anne McGahan

Ariel Patterson

Scott Peterson

Kate White



The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
857.702.3700 (voice)
617.570.9193 (TTY)