Joan Meschino's Letter on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program


July 20,2016

David Mohler, Chairman 
Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150 
Boston, MA 02116

RE: Comments on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program 

Dear Chairman Mohler,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments concerning the projects being considered for funding in the Draft Federal Fiscal Years 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). I am writing to state my support for several projects that would be beneficial to several towns on the South Shore (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, and North Scituate) as they work to address traffic problems and maintain roads and bridges. I support funding Red Line and commuter boat improvements. In addition, I ask that the MPO, when evaluating projects, give high value to a project's ability to deliver reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs).

I ask that the MPO continue to include the following regionally important roadway projects for funding in the Draft FFY s 2017-2021 TIP:

• Arterial and Intersection - Project 607309 - Hingham, Reconstruction and Related Work on Derby Street from Pond Park Road to Cushing Street. This project is needed to address capacity, congestion and safety problems at the Route 3 ramps and along Derby Street. I hope the design will include bicycle and pedestrian elements. Please fund this project, as proposed, for construction in FFY 2017.

• Arterial and Intersection - Project 600518 - Hingham - Intersection Improvements at Derby Street, Whiting Street (Route 53) and Gardner Street. This project is needed to address traffic flow and safety issues with signal and roadway configuration upgrades and accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians. Please fund this project, as proposed, for construction in FFY 2018.

In addition, I ask that the MPO encourage the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division to make it a priority to advertise the Project 607345 (C-17-002) - Cohasset, Superstructure Replacement and Substructure Rehabilitation at Atlantic Avenue over Little Harbor Project, as currently programmed for FFY 2016. This project is very important to the Town of Cohasset.

Several other projects benefitting South Shore drivers are in the TIP Universe of Projects. Please continue to review these projects and work with Hull and Cohasset to advance them for inclusion in a future TIP. These projects are:

• Project 608007 - Cohasset, Corridor Improvements and Related Work on Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A) from Beechwood Street to the Scituate town line.

• Project 601607 - Hull, Reconstruction of Atlantic Avenue and Related Work from Nantasket Avenue to the Cohasset Town Line

Regarding public transit, although the TIP does not specify project spending for public transit for the South Shore, I recommend that the MPO approve funding programs that include commuter boat and Red Line projects when the MBTA brings these programs forward for funding in the TIP. The MBTA Capital Investment Program currently includes projects providing the following improvements to these modes for 2016: for Commuter Boats - vessels, improvements at the Hingham Boat Terminal, and for the Hingham Marine Intermodal Center; for the Red Line - system support, station improvements, new signals, and vehicle procurement. These improvements are greatly needed to keep service reliable and accommodate the growing demand for service on these modes.

Finally, I'm weighing-in in support of the Safe Routes to Schools program and hope that the MPO will consider future projects that emerge from working with the municipalities of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and Scituate.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 TIP. Very truly yours,

Joan Meschino 

Joan Meschino's Letter to Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization


July 11, 2016

David Mohler, 
Chairman Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization 
Suite 2150 
10 Park Plaza 
Boston, MA 02116

RE: Support for Studies in the FFY 2017 UPWP 

Dear Chairman Mohler,

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the set of studies under consideration for funding in the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). I write to support several planning studies and ongoing programs that would be particularly helpful for South Shore towns (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate), as they work to address local transportation problems. These towns have varied and important transportation needs. In addition, I am advocating for proposed work in greenhouse gas reduction.

I ask that the MPO select the following planning studies for funding in the FFY 2017 UPWP:

• Low Cost Improvements to Express-Highway Bottlenecks - The Braintree Split is a major interchange that is crippled daily by extreme congestion. Many South Shore residents are tied up daily at this bottleneck. They suffer extended travel times and unsafe roadway conditions. The Braintree Split is also one of the high priority locations identified in the MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan. I ask that the MPO fund this study and give attention to the Braintree Split.

• Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways - Earlier versions of this study have focused on priority needs in MAPC's South Shore Coalition, and the Coalition and municipalities have greatly appreciated this work. These studies typically identify implementable, complete streets solutions that are well-received by municipalities. I support continuing this series of studies and hope that locations in the South Shore Coalition might be considered again as an area of focus.

• Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment - This study could help address the serious traffic problems on the South Shore's heavily congested arterials; Route 3A, Route 228, Route 53, and Route 18. Please include it in the UPWP.

• Study of Promisinq GHG-Reductian Strategies - I heartily support the MPO's ongoing work to identify effective steps to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The outcomes of this work are essential to having real impact in slowing the advance of climate change and related sea-level rise - a real threat to South Shore communities. This study can guide the MPO and the state to do our part to help minimize the devastating effects of inaction or ineffective action in reducing GHGs produced by transportation.

I ask that the MPO fund the ongoing technical analysis programs: Bicycle/Pedestrian Support Activities; Regional Transit Service Planning Technical Support; and the Community Transportation Technical Assistance Program. These programs provide essential guidance and input to local officials in support of their initiatives to improve mobility through better bicycle and pedestrian facilities and new, locally operated bus transit. These programs are an effective way of sharing the MPO's expertise with local officials who are aiming to make improvements. I support this ongoing work and, if they are funded, will work to raise awareness about them within the South Shore.

MAPC,as the MPO's Regional Land-Use Planning Agency, has served the South Shore extremely well. By convening the cities and towns as the South Shore Coalition, MAPChas set up a cooperative forum for collaboration and information sharing. I support their ongoing work as proposed.

For the FFY 2018 UPWP, I suggest planning for more commuter boat service and for intra-community shuttle buses, including shuttle buses to commuter boats and/or commuter rail.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the Draft FFY 2017 UPWP.

Very truly yours, ~

Joan Meschino