MGNA: Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

Information about our green line extension.

Month: February, 2011

Mayor McGlynn enthusiastic about Rt. 16 station study

17 February, 2011 (08:49) | Community Event, News | By: Editor

Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn was enthusiastic about the start last night of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s year-long study of the proposed Route 16 station on the Green Line extension.

Here are McGlynn’s remarks in which he welcomed the some 200 attendees to the kickoff meeting at the Brooks School:

“For all of us I think this is a very good evening because we started six years ago, actually when Doug Foy was in another administration, trying to get funding to study the extension from the end of Phase 1 to Route 16. And we did that because we wanted to know what the traffic impacts are, the different land use concerns, and most importantly, the opportunity for economic benefit for the community in terms of transit-oriented development.

“Now for lot of years have gone by and our requests have just somewhere floundered until Governor Patrick found out, talked to Secretary Mullan, worked with our legislative delegation, and they came up with $200,000 to go forward on this study.

“It’s important obviously for all of the residents who live in that area, and the business, but even more so for the community at-large. There can be so many other hidden benefits that people really haven’t even looked at when you’re talking about an extension of the Green Line.

“And every instance where we deal with the environment, we find out as you go to make improvements with the environment, there are other greater benefits that come along with it, and I hope that this is going come out in this particular case.

“It is better that we are prepared and that we have planned if in fact the funding does come through and this does happen.

“I welcome you all here tonight. I think it’s a very exciting thing and I thank everybody from MAPC for the great working relationship that we have had.

“I have to say that I know because this whole issue has a high level of anxiety with so many, it should be known that working with [Project Manager] Kate [Fichter], working with VHB, working with MAPC, working with the Secretary of Transportation…on every single instance that we have sat down and resolved issues that have been there, they have worked very effectively and they’ve made this a very smooth process as we have moved along.

“As late as Monday we had another business that had a concern about the whole future of his business being affected, and after a couple of meetings we were able to work it out much to his satisfaction, and that’s how it’s been since Day 1 of this project, so we thank you for your help.

“And you’ll all have an opportunity to vote on a number of issues tonight, and get some good research for us.”

Among other elected officials to attend the meeting were Sen. Pat Jehlen; State Reps. Carl Sciortino and Sean Garballey; and Medford City Councilors Fred Dello Russo Jr. and Mark Arena.

Other Medford officials on hand included Lauren DiLorenzo, Director of the Office of Community Development, and Karen Rose, Director of the Health Department and Council on Aging.

The next MAPC Route 16 meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 30, with a location in Medford to be determined.

Reminder: Rt. 16 station study meeting Wednesday

14 February, 2011 (07:08) | Community Event, News | By: Editor

After a more than three-month hiatus, important public meetings are resuming this week for the Green Line Extension (GLX) project.

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) will kick off a year-long study of the proposed terminus station at Mystic Valley Parkway (Route 16) on the Medford/Somerville line. The meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Brooks School, 388 High St. (Route 60), Medford.

The Route 16 station is being planned for a second phase of the project, after Phase 1 extends the Green Line from Lechmere Station in Cambridge through Somerville to College Avenue in Medford, with a separate spur to Union Square. As the MBTA leads the planning for Phase I, the MAPC is starting the planning for Phase 2 by examining the benefits and impacts and potential land-use changes related to the the Route 16 station.

The Feb. 16 meeting will provide information on the scope and timeline for the study, as well as provide an opportunity for public input and concerns.

Please come to the meeting and voice your support for the Route 16 station!
The public’s overwhelming support for the station has been a key factor in the state selecting it as the Preferred Alternative for the terminus station location, and it’s important that state and local officials continue to hear that support loud and clear.

Please RSVP for the meeting so the MAPC team can plan accordingly.

Download a meeting flyer or read more about the MAPC study.

Last week, the MBTA Board of Directors approved a contract with a new consulting team that will continue the engineering and design of Phase 1 of the extension. The Board authorized $22 million worth of work to be conducted over the next year by a team led by the Gilbane Building Co. and HDR Engineering. Gilbane had a prominent role in building the new multi-modal station at T.F. Green Airport near Providence. HDR is in charge of the final design and engineering for the MBTA Government Station modernization project.

The consultants this year will work on advancing the design and project schedule to the point where the MBTA can submit its final application to the Federal Transportation Administration for funding. The MBTA plans to ask the FTA to cover 50 percent of the Green Line Extension cost.

Read more about the new lead consultants.

+ The MBTA is accepting bids from rail car makers interested providing the 24 new Green Line trolleys it will purchase for use on the extension. Deadline is April 12.

+ Mary Ainsley, Director of the MBTA’s Design and Construction Department, has assumed the lead role as Project Manager as responsibility for the project shifts from MassDOT to the MBTA. Kate Fichter remains the point person at MassDOT.

+ Late last month, the state provided its response to public comments received on its July 2010 Annual Status Report for the Green Line Extension and other state transit commitments. Read them here.

+ The Green Line Extension project website has been redesigned. Check it out.

The Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance is a group of citizens who support the Green Line Extension being planned to Medford, and who advocate for proactive involvement from the city, its residents and all stakeholders to ensure that the extension is completed in a manner that is most beneficial to our community. For more information visit our website or email us.

You can also stay up-to-date on Green Line news on Facebook.

New to the project or to the area? Read a short project overview.

MBTA Board approves $22m for ‘initial’ GLX engineering

7 February, 2011 (19:25) | News | By: Editor

A cautious MBTA Board of Directors on Monday approved the start of the next phase of planning for the Green Line Extension project, but authorized only about one-fourth of the funds the MBTA requested.

Citing concerns over the uncertainty of federal transportation funds coming through for the project, the MBTA board OK’d $21.9 million for a contract with a consulting group that would cover “initial tasks” related to the remaining GLX design and engineering work.

The MBTA had come before the board seeking approval of a $95 million contract that would have covered engineering, design, construction management and other services for the 60-month duration of the project.

“I love this project and I think it’s an important project that has to be done,” said board member Ferdinand Alvaro. “But I have a question as to how we’re going to pay for it. What happens if we don’t get the federal money? We’re [being asked to make] a $100 million down payment on a $1 billion project. We as a board need more on the financial piece before we start down this billion-dollar path.

“If you look at the history of this organization, we have done a lot of great projects we couldn’t afford to do, and that’s why we’re in such deep financial trouble.”

The MBTA intends to pay for half the GLX with federal transportation funds and half with state money. About $8 million of the funds approved Monday will be used to complete the MBTA’s application for federal funding through the New Starts program. Frank DePaola, MBTA assistant general manager for design and construction, said the MBTA plans to complete the application process in the fall, with a response from the Federal Transit Administration expected in the second half of 2012.

The remainder of the $21.9 million approved Monday, which DePaola said was being funded through an “interagency service agreement,” would be used for advancing the conceptual design of the GLX project elements and developing the documents to solicit proposals for the final portion of the project, the design-build phase. DePaola said the MBTA hopes to advertise for the design-build contract in December 2011 or January 2012.

The contract awarded Monday was to a consultant team led by Gilbane Building Co. and HDR  Engineering Inc. DePaola named seven subconsultants: SEA Engineering, Bevco Associates, Bryant Associates, Keville Enterprises, RM Engineering, Regina Villa Associates and Tri-Unity Engineering and Management Inc.  The urban design consultant Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge also is part of the team, according to the MBTA.

During the meeting, Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullan urged the board to approve the entire contract, noting that the $95 million requested was in the budget for the State Implementation Plan projects – of which the GLX is one – and would not add to the MBTA’s debt load.

However, while reiterating his and Gov. Deval Patrick’s commitment to fulfilling the state’s legal commitment build the Green Line extension, he admitted anxiety about the prospects for federal funding. Just two weeks ago, House Republicans announced a cost-cutting proposal that called for the elimination of the New Starts program altogether.

“I’m nervous about the lack of support for good transit projects in Congress,” Mullan said. “That’s an issue that the board should watch closely and we will watch closely.

“The issue that we really have in my mind,” Mullan added, “is that we need to move forward on the Green Line because every day we don’t put the Green Line in service is going to cost us more because of the penalties that are built into the law.”

Because it will not meet the legal deadline of Dec. 31, 2014 to have the Green Line Extension open for service – the current timetable calls for completion on Oct. 1, 2015 ¬– the state will be required to implement an “interim offset project” on that date that will provide air quality benefits equal to those that would have been achieved by the extension of the Green Line.

“We are going to build the Green Line,” Mullan said, “because we’re under a legal obligation to build the Green Line, because it’s a good project, because it has broad-based community support, and because it’s one of the best transit projects in America. There has been no dissuading from the perspective of the governor of his commitment or the administration’s commitment to build the Green Line. This has more to do with the idea of the commonwealth finding capacity in its capital budget with or without new revenue for transportation.”

Somewhat ironically, the $21.9 million authorized by the MBTA Board on Monday was almost the same amount that the MassDOT Board was unwilling to approve for preliminary engineering last September. At that time, MassDOT proposed a $24.5 million addendum to the contract of a consultant team led by Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin that had performed the work on the project’s Draft and Final Environmental Impact studies from 2007-10. The MassDOT Board instructed MassDOT and the MBTA to put the work out to bid, which led to Monday’s proposed $95 million contract approval request.

– Ken Krause