Secretary Pollack Would like Silver Line to go to Everett

Secretary Pollack Would like Silver Line to go to Everett

Just as the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line gets ready to launch in Chelsea on April 21, State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a meeting in Boston that she would like to see it eventually expand to Everett – a plan that Everett officials and the Lower Mystic Regional Transportation Working Group has touted as well.

The Silver Line 3 (SL-3) will being operations on April 21, making a 30-minute journey from the Mystic (Market Basket) Mall to South Station, via Logan Airport and the Seaport in Boston, every 10 minutes. The BRT will run on a separate bus-only lane through Chelsea and over the Chelsea Street Bridge.

Pollack said that a draft of the soon-to-be-released Transportation plan, called Focus 40, will have a recommendation for Everett to be included in an expansion of the new Silver Line service.

“That service will open on April 21, and we’re looking forward to the opening,” she said. “That is a BRT service and we hope to continue it from Chelsea into Everett and Sullivan Square and other highly congested areas. That’s one other thing we are looking at in our Focus 40 plan.”

Those statements came at a breakfast in the Back Bay on March 20 where Pollack was the keynote speaker and addressing investment in the Orange Line. She also highlighted the new Silver Line service and the agency’s hopes to expand it in the years to come.

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New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New, early morning bus routes on several area MBTA lines began on Sunday, April 1, for a one-year early morning pilot program on the routes.

The pilot will be on the MBTA’s busiest key bus routes serving neighborhoods within the immediate Boston core traveling to downtown Boston, the Seaport, and key stops in between beginning as early as 3:20 a.m. Serving residents who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring, the new routes are part of the MBTA’s continued commitment to expanding offerings for those riders who need them most.

There are nine routes on the pilot, and four of them serve the areas of Everett, Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and downtown Boston. Those routes in this area include:

  • Route 104 – Lynn Street Revere via Broadway Everett to Sullivan Square.
  • Route 109 – serving Broadway Everett.
  • Route 117 – serving Wonderland Revere to East Boston, via Revere, Chelsea and Eastie.
  • Route 455 – Salem to Wonderland Revere.

“The T’s expansion into early morning bus service will provide an important opportunity for the changing needs of Massachusetts’ workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Throughout this one-year pilot, the MBTA will be able to gather important information about changes in bus ridership and analyze that data to better inform future transportation plans around the Greater Boston area.”

“The launch of early morning service demonstrates that the MBTA is acting on its top priority to put the needs of its customers first,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “This new transit option will serve workers who must start their day earlier than most. Other commuters and city residents depend upon these essential workers and the MBTA’s ability to get them to their work places safely and on time.”

The changes also include additional service on existing routes during pre-dawn hours. Some routes will extend beyond their normal end points during the early morning to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport, allowing customers to reach those destinations even before trains start running. Early morning service is already a part of the MBTA’s bus service on several routes, but these added services represent earlier and/or extended routes on several bus lines. This expansion is the result of a year-long ridership study and planning initiative at the T, which resulted in the identification of key routes where early morning demand is heaviest.

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MBTA Announces Silver Line Service to Start April 21 in Chelsea

MBTA Announces Silver Line Service to Start April 21 in Chelsea

The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA have pegged April 21 as the first day of operations for the new Silver Line Gateway (SL-3) in Chelsea and East Boston – connecting residents of Chelsea to the airport, the Seaport in Boston and South Station in what is expected to be a 30-minute ride from the Mystic Mall Station to South Station.

“Silver Line 3-Chelsea relates well to the Baker-Polito Administration’s economic development goals,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Silver Line 3-Chelsea is consistent with the notion that if the MBTA can offer an efficient, fully accessible, one-seat ride between key destinations then more people will use mass transit and the service will spur transit-oriented development.”

MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramirez said it will simplify thousands of commutes to and from Boston.

“The MBTA is excited to bring this new service to Chelsea, East Boston, and the surrounding communities,” said Ramírez. “We believe the SL3-Chelsea will simplify the commutes of many of our customers in these neighborhoods.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it will likely make the City much more desirable for those who live here and those looking to live in Chelsea.

“The City is very excited about the opening of the new Silver Line,” he said. “It has been a long time in the making.  We feel it will substantially improve transportation options for our residents and make Chelsea and even more desirable place to live and work.”

Maria Belen Power of GreenRoots, an organization in Chelsea that advocates for better public transit, said it will be helpful to residents as Chelsea is highly dependent on public transit and has no subway stop.

“We are excited for service on the silver line to start in Chelsea, as it will provide another line of access from Chelsea to Boston,” she said. “As a community highly dependent on public transit with no subway stop, bus services, including bus rapid transit, are key for our community to thrive. While this is a great and necessary improvement in service, Chelsea still has the three busiest bus lines in the entire MBTA system. We will continue to hold the MBTA accountable to improve public transit in Chelsea for all of our residents.”

State Rep. RoseLee Vincent said she hopes the Silver Line introduction will help relieve the bus congestion.

“This new and expanded public transportation route will help to reduce overcrowding on MBTA buses that serve Chelsea, as well as provide residents of Chelsea an alternative and more direct route to subway routes and downtown Boston,” she said.

Fares on the SL-3 will be $2.25 per ride with CharlieCard, and a Linkpass costing $84.50 per month. Student and senior citizen passes cost $30. Children under 12 are free.

There are free transfers offered at:

  • Blue Line at Airport Station.
  • Red Line at South Station.
  • Bus Rapid Transit lines SL-1 (Logan to South Station), SL-2 (South Boston Design Center to South Station), SL-4 (Dudley Square to South Station).
  • Local Bus Routes 111, 112, 116 and 117.

MBTA officials predicted bus customers from Revere and Chelsea who tend to experience crowding issues on Bus Routes 111, 112, 114, 116, and 117 will benefit from the SL3-Chelsea. As an additional travel option, they said the SL3-Chelsea will make enhanced, new, or simplified connections to the Blue Line – at Airport Station – as well as the South Boston Waterfront and the Red Line at South Station.

Nearly 7,000 daily bus customers on these area routes take trips that can require several transfers in order to travel from Chelsea and East Boston to downtown areas. This commute is now simple and direct by using the SL3-Chelsea, filling a critical gap in access between these residents to the employment opportunities in the Seaport District and downtown.

Each of the Routes 111, 112, 114, 116, and 117 will also connect directly to or very close to brand new SL3-Chelsea stations, making hopping off a customer’s regular route to board the SL3-Chelsea easy and convenient. Route 111 connects at Bellingham Square Station, Route 112 utilizes a stop approximately 50 yards from Bellingham Square Station, Route 114’s City Hall Avenue bus stop is just three to five blocks from both Bellingham Square and Box District Stations, and Routes 116 and 117 connect at Box District Station.

The SL3-Chelsea route will operate 60-foot, high-capacity buses serving four new stations through dedicated, bus-only lanes in Chelsea and via the Coughlin Bypass in East Boston.

SL3-Chelsea buses will operate approximately every 10 minutes with the time between Chelsea and South Stations anticipated to be between 20 and 30 minutes.

This new service is the first brand new service to be introduced to the MBTA system since the MBTA Greenbush Commuter Rail Line began in 2007. Construction of the SL3-Chelsea route began in March 2015 with construction of dedicated busways and four new stations. Construction of this $49-million investment was managed by MassDOT’s Highway Division and jointly funded by the MBTA (approximately $42.1 million) and MassDOT ($7.6 million).

MBTA officials will present an overview of the new SL3-Chelsea service, discussing schedules, routes, and stops at the following two public meetings this month. Both meetings will provide Spanish language interpreters.

  • March 19, 2018

6:30 p.m.

East Boston High Auditorium

86 White Street, East Boston

  • March 21, 2018

6:30 p.m.

Chelsea City Hall

500 Broadway, Chelsea

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America as We Know It Is Over

America as We Know It Is Over

It is difficult to understate the impact upon the future of our country of the Republican tax bill proposals that have been passed by the House and Senate and await a reconciliation between the two versions for a final vote by both.

The most complex piece of tax legislation to be enacted in more than 30 years was devised and voted upon with little or no debate and in the middle of the night (after midnight, actually) in the Senate, with cross-outs and extended, hand-written notes in the margins such that no Senator really knows what he or she voted upon.

However, what is clear is that the tax bill will raise taxes on the middle class — some substantially so (especially here in Massachusetts) — and all but destroy the Affordable Care Act, while giving huge benefits to the ultra-rich in countless ways.

One of the most outrageous giveaways to the ultra-rich is that they can deduct the cost of maintenance of their private jets. Wouldn’t we all like to do that for our cars, the preferred mode of transportation for the rest of us?

In addition, this tax giveaway by the supposedly deficit-hawk, fiscally-conservative Republicans will be increasing the deficit by at least $1 trillion over the next 10 years, and most likely more than that.

All in all, this represents America’s move toward a real-life Hunger Games, in which most Americans barely will be able to scrape by with little or no prospect for economic mobility.

The American Century has been turned on its head — and we never will be the same again.

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City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

Current Chelsea City Councilor at Large Roy Avellaneda has announced he will seek re-election to the City Council in the November 7th election.

Said Avellaneda, “It would be my privilege to continue to represent the people of Chelsea as Councilor at Large. I’ve never stopped fighting for Chelsea residents and stakeholders. But after a brief hiatus, two years ago, I decided to run again, and you gave me the honor of putting me back on the City Council.”

Roy is a lifelong Chelsea resident. His family moved here from Argentina in the 1970s and opened Tito’s Bakery on Broadway. He attended St Rose, Dom Savio High School, and Babson College.

“I was brought up in Chelsea, and I’ve lived here all of my life.  So I not only understand its history, but also keenly aware of its challenges, and most pressing needs,” he said.

He has served Chelsea as a member of the Planning Board, and on the City Council for a total of 12 years, the first time beginning in 1998.  He returned to the Council 2 years ago, and served on the Licensing Board in between.

Along the way, Roy has also worked as Legislative Assistant to State Senator Jarrett Barrios, and worked in the MA Department of Transportation during the administration of former Governor Deval Patrick.

“Twenty years in both local and state government, have given me a unique, and valuable experience. I know how the wheels of government turn, often slowly and painfully. So you have to get in there, roll up your sleeves, and keep pushing it along. You have to have patience, but always maintain a sense of urgency.”

Roy is also a successful real estate broker, and the top producing agent with Weichert, Realtors-Metropolitan Boston Real Estate.  Roy also currently also owns and operates his own cafe, Pan y Cafe in Cary Square, which he opened about a year ago.

“From a very early age,” he said, “my parents taught me the importance of public service — of being involved in one’s community.  But their story and their example also includes the business they founded.  I’ve always been involved in this community, but at the same time, whether it’s the bakery, a cafe, being a real estate broker, I’ve also been in my own business here in different ways for a long time now.  So I have the perspective, not only of someone who has worked in government, but also of a small business person. And in that sense, I’m doubling down on Chelsea because I believe in our bright future, and I always have. I’m doing everything I can to help bring it about and to make the lives of everyone in this community better. But I’ve also made my life here, and I think it’s important to be personally invested in your community, and have a stake in that future.”

Since re-joining the City Council in 2016, Roy has focused on a number issues confronting Chelsea residents and business owners, including tax relief, jobs and economic development, affordable housing, and environmental protection.

“Two years ago,” he said, “I made a commitment to do everything I could to make sure our homeowners and local businesses were not overburdened, to address the affordable housing crisis, to lobby for smart development that reduced negative impacts while increasing green space and support our youth. Today, I can point to achievements that improved those issues facing Chelsea.”

Specifically Roy sponsored, and along with with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, successfully lobbied for state legislative passage of the Home Rule Petition to Increase the Homeowner Residential Exemption from 20% to 35%, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars per year.

He also worked hard to get legislation passed to help small businesses with equipment or inventory of less than $10,000 in value pay less in taxes, resulting in an increase in investment and jobs by local Chelsea merchants.

Roy co-sponsored the Community Preservation Act ballot initiative and campaigned for its approval by voters. Chelsea approved it overwhelmingly (70%) creating a funding mechanism for affordable housing, green space and historic preservation.

Roy also supported and lobbied for the adoption of two key affordable housing measures.  The first, The Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, now requires 15% of housing built by developers to be affordable.  The second, The Condo Conversion Ordinance, limits multi-family owners from evicting tenants without just cause pursuant to condominium conversion.

Roy introduced and successfully lobbied for the passage Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance which now protects workers in Chelsea from unscrupulous employers who attempt to withhold rightfully earned wages and overtime.

Roy’s advocacy was also instrumental in obtaining more funding for Chelsea’s Summer Jobs Employment program, which provides summer jobs and the opportunity for for Chelsea teens to gain work experience and life skills.

“I am particularly proud to have the endorsements of the Greater Boston Labor Council, SEIU 888, SEIU 32BJ, Ironworkers Local 7 and New England Region of Carpenters,” he said, “because I have worked and fought hard for working people of all ages in Chelsea.”

“Two years ago, he said, “I asked Chelsea voters then to give me the opportunity to be their voice and to work for them.  They did, and for that, I’m very grateful. We’ve accomplished a lot since.  But, we have so much more work to do in Chelsea. We need improved access to affordable transportation.  We need a permanent bike sharing program. We need to keep pressure on MassPort to mitigate Logan Airport’s impact on our community. We need more balanced and smart new development that doesn’t negatively impact our quality of life. We need to focus on and properly mitigate the impact of the Wynn Casino. We have to increase economic opportunities for working families so they can afford to take care of themselves and their children and not be priced out of Chelsea.  There’s so much to do. So I am once again asking for your vote on Nov 7th to continue to be your Councilor At Large. Please support me on Tuesday, November 7th. Thank you and God bless.”

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Chelsea Artist is Highlighted in New Mural on the Charles River Esplanade

Chelsea Artist is Highlighted in New Mural on the Charles River Esplanade

By Beth Treffeisen

Artist Silvia Lopez stands in front of part of her mural under the Bowker Overpass on the Charles River Esplanade.

Artist Silvia Lopez stands in front of part of her mural under the Bowker Overpass on the Charles River Esplanade.

What was once a dark, graffiti-ridden, sore patch along the beautiful Esplanade is in the midst of being rejuvenated through a colorful, dynamic mural that is currently in the works.

The brightly colored mural will reflect the daily cacophony of fast paced bicyclists, skaters, joggers, boat traffic, and the rhythm of vehicles that pass daily along the Charles River Esplanade.

The mural titled, “Patterned Behavior,” by Boston artist Silvia Lopez Chavez is the Esplanade’s newest contemporary artwork and is expected to take about three weeks to complete. It is expected to be done by mid-September if not earlier depending on weather. The mural will remain up for one year and has a chance to be renewed to remain for the second year.

In 2013, Silvia received a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant for her ‘Fresh Air: Portraits’ of Chelsea project; which explored the environmental and political aspects within air quality issues in Chelsea, MA and was also a finalist for the Brother Thomas Fellowship Award.

“It’s been very cool,” said Chavez taking a break from sketching the mural along the Esplanade, “We have had a lot of good, positive responses from people using the space. People who use it daily are just screaming “thank you!”

The Esplanade Association, an independent non-profit that works to revitalize and enhance the state park, commissioned the non-profit Now + There to curate and produce a mural for the Esplanade in the area located west of the Massachusetts Avenue, bridge.

The project is privately funded through money raised by the Esplanade Association.

Jessica Crimmins, the interim executive director of the Esplanade Association said that they have been interested in doing a public art project for quite a while.

“There are a lot of reasons why people come to the Esplanade – running, biking, walking or touring, and now, they have another reason to come into the park, for culture and art,” said Crimmins.

The association created an “Arts in the Park” fund to back this project and hopefully other future works to correspond with their other programs such as “Healthy, Fit & Fun.”

Currently, the space serves as a blank canvas for graffiti artists, and Crimmins said she hopes the mural will deter people from continuing that in the area. Depending on how it goes, Crimmins said, the Esplanade Association will look into extending the murals stay.

Over 100,000 commuters on Storrow Drive and thousands of bicyclists,  hundreds of boaters and rowers, as well as many people on the Cambridge side of the river, will be able to see this mural everyday.

The concept for “Patterned Behavior” takes inspiration from the everyday activity and how humans utilize the space. When Chavez first began doing sketches and research in the area, she noticed that people tended to follow the same paths.

“Designing this piece, it was clear it wasn’t going to be faces or words, which can be present in my work, but more about the reflection of the space and movement and how to convey that with a ton of color – which is so me,” said Chavez.

She continued, “The color to me in an abstract way represents the variety of us here in the city, how we are from so many places. Boston has people from everywhere. That is my way of reflecting that. The beautiful colors are representative of the beautiful people here.”

For example, Chavez pointed to two yellow circles near the side of Storrow Drive and said in an abstract way that represents the cars going down. Other patterns such as arrows and lines represent the flow coming in from either side, intersecting and interacting with each other.

“It is a different experience depending on what direction you are coming from overall,” said Chavez.

This mural is the second commission by Now + There’s Year of the Woman programming and is the first initiative in the Esplanade Association’s newly expanded arts program.

Chavez said that she wanted to follow the Year of the Woman and hired an all-female mural crew. Chavez said that in the world of street art, graffiti art or murals, it is a very male-dominated community– kind of like a boys club of sorts.

She hopes to bring attention to female artists who continue to not get opportunities to build their portfolio.

“It’s something that’s a catch-22 – you have to think in reverse,” said Chavez. “I know a lot of strong artists that are female but not given the opportunity to do these projects…I hope this project opens more doors not just for me but for these amazing strong woman who are helping me.”

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), community organizations and neighbors approved this project.

The area the mural is on is very tricky to get permits for. The pillars and the wall belong to MassDOT, DCR owns the land and is charge of taking care of the park, and the main wall facing the river is a historic landmark, needing permission from the Boston Landmarks Commission.

“We had to go into getting all of the permitting, and that process was long,” said Chavez. “I was so grateful to have Now + there and the Esplanade Association to do that along the way.”

Chavez said it was difficult as an individual artist to go through this process and for most artists they don’t have the time or the capacity to do all of the work.

In addition, she had to get insurance that went into the millions of dollars to cover her assistants, herself and every object that she has at the site.

“Now, we’re here and that makes me very happy and it makes people very happy, which we have been seeing again and again which is fantastic,” said Chavez.

Kate Gilbert the executive director of Now + There, hopes that this mural will help reclaim the area that has slowly been taken over by cars.

“The art is sort of supporting the pleasant walk through here, but it is about cars versus people and what that is going to mean in the future,” said Gilbert. “[The mural] is going to make it more pleasant and useable space.”

In terms of the short stay the mural will have, Gilbert said she believes that it is important to keep changing the face of public art in Boston.

“There are some icons that are always going to stay, like the CITGO sign, but I always use the analogy you really don’t wear the same clothes that you wore 10 years ago,” said Gilbert. “I think temporary art reflects the changes that are happening now…there is a moment in time we are reflecting in artwork and hopefully in five years there will be something new.”

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MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J Tinlin Resigning

MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J Tinlin Resigning

 Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack announced today that Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin has decided to resign from MassDOT.

“From grueling snowstorms to toll demolitions, Tom Tinlin was there to see our highway projects through on time and on budget and he always brought his sense of humor and kindness to the job,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “He worked tirelessly to support the Commonwealth’s commuters to ensure everyone got to their destinations quickly and safely in every corner of the state.  On behalf of the entire Administration, I thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck toward future endeavors.”

Jonathan Gulliver will continue in the role of Acting Highway Administrator through September.  Gulliver was named Acting Administrator in May after it was announced that Mr. Tinlin would take time off to address a medical issue.  Prior to being named Acting Administrator, Gulliver had served as Director of Highway Division District 3.

Tinlin was scheduled to return to his work as Highway Administrator this week after being off the job since May 1. In announcing his resignation today, he said, “I am grateful for the excellent care I received after suffering from a subarachnoid brain aneurysm rupture and would like to publicly thank Dr. Ajith Thomas and all of the doctors and nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for returning me to 100 percent so I can start the next chapter of my life as a healthy husband and father.”

Tinlin added, “While I am excited about what lies ahead, this has been a difficult decision. I have truly loved serving the people of the Commonwealth, and the City of Boston, and have taken pride in my public service roles for decades. And I am grateful for all the mentors I have had along the way.”

Tinlin joined MassDOT in January 2014 as its Chief of Operations and Maintenance and in March 2015 was promoted to Highway Administrator.

“Tom has led the Highway Division with integrity and pride and this state’s transportation system is better because of his management,” said Secretary Pollack.  “Tom’s strong work ethic, organizational skills, and collaborative style motivated employees, engaged the public and created partnerships benefitting everyone in the Commonwealth.  Tom never wavered in making decisions in the best interest of public safety and leaves MassDOT with a reputation he is deserving of, as a responsive and dedicated public servant.”

Since Mr. Tinlin joined MassDOT, new initiatives were launched by the Highway Division, including Complete Streets which provides money to communities for street infrastructure work, and the Municipal Small Bridge Program, a several year $50 million program to aid towns and cities in replacing or renovating small municipally-owned bridges.  Under his leadership, in October 2016, the state transitioned from manual to all-electronic toll collections, a project which involved, in part, having specific design, management and road reconstruction plans in 23 work zones from the New York border to Boston. In addition, Mr. Tinlin oversaw the introduction by MassDOT of technology to modernize highway operations and provide new tools to the public to use for travel, including “real-time” travel to destination highway signs and the 511 system. In managing the Highway Division staff of more than 2,500, Mr. Tinlin embraced a multi-modal approach to roadway design and led the implementation of transportation plans for countless planned and unplanned events for the Commonwealth.

Tinlin has spent nearly three decades in public service, working first for the City of Boston in a variety of roles and leaving the Menino Administration as Boston Transportation Commissioner.  Tinlin holds a Master of Public Administration from Suffolk University and is active in many Boston organizations, participating in particular in many non-profit causes, many in the neighborhood of South Boston where he has grown up and raised his family.

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Small Relief:New Chelsea Street Bridge Driver Notification System Debuts

Small Relief:New Chelsea Street Bridge Driver Notification System Debuts

The Chelsea Street Bridge has become the bane of existence for more than a few residents that need to cross between Eastie and Chelsea – as when it goes up, one can only settle in and wait it out.

One of the warning signs tat will warn drivers that the bridge is going up.

One of the warning signs tat will warn drivers that the bridge is going up.

Residents, businesses, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and even Massport have all complained about the Bridge raising during heavy traffic times like the morning rush hour, or at the shift changes in Logan Airport – preventing employees from getting from the Chelsea parking garage to the airport. Now, at the least, drivers will have advanced notice of the inconvenience through new warning signs that use real-time technology to inform drivers that the Bridge is going up.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced it has activated a new notification system that uses real-time technology to trigger messaging on numerous road signs to inform drivers of the raising and lowering of the Chelsea Street Bridge which carries traffic between East Boston and Chelsea.

“Through our collaborative efforts with local municipal officials and members of the public, we have developed an early warning system that alerts drivers in real-time when the Chelsea Street bridge is being raised or lowered,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This notification system is an important resource for members of the public and helps ensure drivers are able to make informed decisions and take the most appropriate routes when traveling to the places they need to get to throughout these local communities.”

Using Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technology, an opening of the Chelsea Street Bridge will now activate eight roadway signs in the area that will read “Chelsea Street Bridge Closed Ahead.”  These eight signs are strategically located at points throughout Chelsea, East Boston and Revere in order to provide drivers with an appropriate amount of time to make informed decisions and seek alternate routes if necessary.

“The Chelsea Street Bridge is an important and heavily used link between the East Boston neighborhood and the City of Chelsea,” said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. “By notifying drivers when the bridge will be closed to traffic, this innovative new system will encourage drivers to seek alternate routes.  As a result, the frequency of motor vehicles backing up on local streets while waiting for the bridge to re-open is expected to be reduced, and air quality will improve due to the decrease in emissions from idling vehicles.”

“The City of Chelsea is very grateful to MassDOT for listening and responding to the City’s concerns about the negative impact upon local traffic, and Chelsea residents, whenever the Chelsea Bridge is closed,” said Chelsea City Manager Thomas G. Ambrosino. “We are hopeful that this new early warning system will help to minimize gridlock and aggravation. It will certainly give motorists the opportunity to avoid roadways heading toward the bridge before they become clogged with traffic and the opportunity for detour is foreclosed.”

The total cost for developing and installing the new notification system for the Chelsea Street Bridge was approximately $234,000. The bridge handles a daily volume of approximately 37,000 vehicles and is raised an average of five times per day to allow for the passage of incoming vessels.

The Chelsea Street Bridge was constructed in 2012 and carries traffic on Chelsea Street over the Chelsea Creek. The bridge is approximately 450 feet in length and when raised has a vertical clearance of approximately 175 feet.

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Traffic Counters Up

Several City video traffic counting machines have been spotted in the area of East Berkeley Street and Harrison Avenue and Washington Street.

The area has been the target of major complaints about traffic from Old Dover Neighborhood Association, and it is also the site for a pilot program to bring in a completely redesigned streetscape that is to be bid out this month by the Boston Transportation Department.

Nevertheless, the counters certainly signal the beginnings of a traffic study for the area, something that’s been requested for a long time.

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Somerville Drops All Casino Appeals:Way Cleared for Casino Opening

By Seth Daniel

The Wynn Boston Harbor casino has a clear path to opening for the first time since announcing three years ago that it intended to compete for the Greater Boston license at its Everett site.

The City of Somerville announced on Monday afternoon that it would discontinue all appeals of the casino – saying that it had resolved a number of issues that it had with the casino during the Chapter 91 license appeal and would not choose to take the matter to Superior Court.

“The City of Somerville successfully resolved a number of our community’s core concerns regarding the Wynn casino project through our recent appeal of the casino’s Ch. 91 license,” wrote Mayor Joe Curtatone in a statement. “For this reason, we will not pursue further appeal of the license via the courts. I want to be clear; our appeal was never about stopping the casino, but rather about our civic duty to protect the health, safety, and quality of life of our residents. While we did not get everything we asked for, the appeal did yield significant and meaningful results for our residents, so we feel the process worked.”

The news was greeted happily from China by Wynn Boston Harbor President Bob DeSalvio, who received the news while helping to celebrate the opening of the Wynn Palace in Macau.

“With all legal challenges behind us, we can now focus entirely on making Wynn Boston Harbor one of the most powerful job generators and economic catalysts to ever benefit the Commonwealth,” DeSalvio said. “We are pleased to be joined with all our neighboring communities in making this a historic development for all.”

Curtatone said he was particularly pleased with ensuring that the Wynn ferry will be required to run for 50 years, the entirety of the Chapter 91 license.

“By the Wynn organization’s estimates, the ferry should reduce casino road traffic by an estimated six percent, and in one of the most congested areas of the country, every bit counts,” said Curtatone.

He also cited the decrease in the term of the Chapter 91 license, which was originally 85 years. After the appeal was announced, Wynn and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) worked together to compromise on a plan to knock the license term down to 50 years.

“This means current residents will have greater community benefits now, and the next generation will have an opportunity to reassess benefits within a more reasonable time period,” he added.

Curtatone also indicated he was ready to be a regional partner. He also said he has signed on to an agreement to that effect.

“Together with Wynn, the state, and other regional partners, we will continue to seek progress on traffic mitigation and mobility concerns and opportunities as they relate to the casino,” he said. “To that end, I would like to announce that the City of Somerville and Wynn MA, LLC, have entered into an agreement that commits both parties to jointly working to address these needs.”

He said he would like that group to continue working specifically on Regional Planning, Multi-Modal Mobility and Transportation Funding, Bus Transit Improvements and Bus Rapid Transit, Air Quality and Public Health, and Environmental Sustainability.

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