Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

October 19, 2017 Meeting

10:00 AM – 12:47 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 & 3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

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


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization agreed to the following:

·         release the draft federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2018–22 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 1 for a 21-day public review period

·         approve the work program for Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment (FFY 2018)

·         approve the work program for Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways (FFY 2018)

·         approve the work program for Travel Alternatives to Regional Traffic Bottlenecks

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 12.

2.    Public Comments

Kay Mathew (Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard) commented on the Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston (TIP Project #605789). (This project is MPO-funded and scheduled to be advertised for construction in FFY 2019.) The position of the Friends is that the Boston Transportation Department’s (BTD) public process has been insufficient and the project design is unsatisfactory. The Friends object to the removal of 60 trees along the corridor. K. Mathew stated that important abutters have not been consulted and the BTD has not communicated with the Friends since April of 2017.

Ivey St. John (Rutherford Corridor Improvement Coalition) read the text of a letter submitted to the MPO by the Coalition. (The Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston (TIP Project #606226) is MPO-funded and scheduled to be advertised for construction in FFY 2020.) The RCIC does not believe that the current design of the project is satisfactory. I. St. John also presented a petition signed by 96 individuals in opposition to the current design. The full text of the letter and petition are available on the MPO’s meeting calendar.

Madeligne Tena (Mandela Residents Cooperative Association) stated that the BTD’s public outreach process for the Melnea Cass project has not been reciprocal. She urged the city to adopt a holistic approach that considers the environmental and public health impacts of this project and other projects included in the city’s plan for Dudley Square.

Alison Pultinas (Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard) stated that the original project for Melnea Cass was to add Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes to the corridor. A. Pultinas felt that the difference between the original project and the current design requires a deeper analysis of alternatives.

3.    Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

4.    Committee Chairs’ Reports—Bryan Pounds, Chair, Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Committee

B. Pounds reported that the UPWP Committee met prior to the meeting to discuss fourth quarter spending, budget reallocations, and data collection for annual studies.

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

T. Bennett reported that the Advisory Council met on October 11 and held elections for Chair and Vice-Chair. T. Bennett was re-elected as Chair. The Advisory Council elected a new Vice-Chair, Ana Cristina Fragoso.

6.    Executive Director’s Report—Karl Quackenbush, MPO Executive Director

There was none.

7.    Action Item: Draft Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2018–22 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 1—Lourenço Dantas, MPO Staff

Handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    FFYs 2018-22 Draft TIP Amendment 1 Highway Table

2.    FFYs 2018-22 Draft TIP Amendment 1 Transit Project List

L. Dantas presented the draft FFYs 2018-22 TIP Amendment 1. Amendment 1 proposes changes and additions to the highway programming in FFYs 2018–22 and the transit programming in FFY 2018. The highway changes are primarily associated with the MassDOT bridge program. The transit additions are primarily associated with new grants awarded by MassDOT under the Community Transit Grant Program. Amendment 1 does not impact the MPO's discretionary funding for FFYs 2018–22. Highway projects impacted by Amendment 1 are in the table below; the transit project additions can be found on the MPO’s meeting calendar.

Changes to the Highway Program






Add project


#607133 Quincy- Superstructure Replacement


Increase Cost


#607533 Waltham- Bridge Replacement 


Increase Cost


#608478 Concord- Resurfacing


Decrease Cost, Add Project


#604952 Lynn- Saugus Bridge Replacement


Add project


#605287 Chelsea- Route 1 Viaduct Rehabilitation


Decrease Cost, Add Funding Source


#604173 Boston- Bridge Replacement


Add Project


#608865 Stoneham- Deck replacement


Add Project


#608609 Newton-Westwood- steel superstructure cleaning and painting


Add Project


#605313 Natick- Bridge Replacement


Add Project


#608610 Newton- steel superstructure cleaning and painting


Add Project


#608911 Belmont- Improvements at Wellington Elementary School


Move Project (From 2021)


#608703 Wilmington- Bridge Replacement



T. Bennet asked that MassDOT clarify the process for prioritizing bridge projects for inclusion in the TIP. S. Woelfel agreed to ask MassDOT staff to present on its bridge (asset management) program at a future meeting.

Ken Miller (Federal Highway Administration) asked MassDOT to clarify why project #605313 (Natick) was listed as being funded over two years via advanced construction (AC). (FHWA TIP/STIP Programming guidance indicates that in the Boston Region MPO only projects with a total cost of over $25 million are appropriate for AC.) Marie Rose (MassDOT Highway Division) replied that she would follow up with a response.



A motion to release the Draft Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2018–22 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 1 for a 21-day public comment period was made by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (Jim Gillooly) and seconded by At-Large City (City of Everett) (J. Monty). The motion carried.

8.    Action Item: Work Program for Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment (FFY 2018)—Seth Asante, MPO Staff

Handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Work Program for Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Needs Assessment FFY 2018

The MPO’s current Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Charting Progress to 2040, identifies priority corridors that need improvement. To find solutions to concerns in some of the corridors, a study was included in the FFY 2018 UPWP. In prior UPWP studies conducted in FFYs 2012-17, MPO staff studied Route 203 in Boston, Route 140 in Franklin, Route 1A in Lynn, Vinnin Square in Swampscott, Marblehead, and Salem, and Route 138 in Canton. With the help of a stakeholder task force, staff will select an arterial segment, identify safety, mobility, access, and other transportation-related problems, and develop and evaluate multimodal transportation solutions to the problems. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $120,000.


A motion to approve the work program for Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Needs Assessment FFY 2018 was made by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy) and seconded by the City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency) (Jim Fitzgerald). The motion carried.

9.    Action Item: Work Program for Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways (FFY 2018)—Mark Abbott, MPO Staff

Handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Work Program for Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways FFY 2018

The FFY 2018 iteration of this study represents the sixth year staff have conducted this work. Corridors in this study do not have to have been identified in the LRTP regional needs assessment. The selected corridors are arterial or collector roadways that carry fewer vehicles daily than major arterials. The study emphasizes the issues identified by relevant subregional groups and develops recommendations for short- and long-term improvements. In addition to safety, mobility, and access, other subjects that are considered are transit feasibility, truck related issues, and bicycle and pedestrian transportation. Past versions of this study have resulted in several MassDOT projects that are in the design phase including projects in Hingham, Cohasset, and Marlborough. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $120,000.


A motion to approve the work program for Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways FFY 2018 was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (T. Bennett). The motion carried.

10. Action Item: Work Program for Travel Alternatives to Regional Traffic Bottlenecks—Mark Abbott, MPO Staff

Handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Work Program for Travel Alternatives to Regional Traffic Bottlenecks


The objective for this project is to identify nonrecurring automobile and roadway freight congestion patterns on freeways and major arterials near activity centers in the Boston region, and to recommend strategies to alleviate the congestion. Nonrecurring congestion is typically caused by alternative events, which are defined as sporting events, concerts, festivals, construction, inclement weather, and holidays. This study will determine locations and times that traffic congestion is occurring outside of the peak period. The anticipated result of this project is to provide a handbook of strategies to identify and mitigate nonrecurring congestion. The total cost of this project is estimated to be $70,000.



A motion to approve the work program for Travel Alternatives to Regional Traffic Bottlenecks was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (T. Cassidy). The motion carried.

11. Shared-Use Mobility Services—Michelle Scott, MPO Staff

Handouts posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Shared-Use Mobility Services: Literature Review

2.    Exploring Shared-Use Mobility through Hubway Bikeshare

M. Scott presented the results of MassDOT-funded research on shared-use mobility services in the MPO region. Shared-use mobility encompasses a range of services with several features in common: shared vehicles, short-term access to transportation on an as-needed basis, and access via online or app services. The objective was to understand when, where, why and how often shared-use mobility services are used, how use affects other modes, and how they can be used to meet transportation goals. Staff pursued these research objectives by reviewing literature and analyzing data obtained from Hubway operator Motivate and participating municipalities (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville) via MAPC. The table below provides examples of shared-use mobility services available in Boston at the time of the study.



    Boston Area Examples

Ridesourcing/ Ridesharing

Sequential Transportation Network Company (TNC) Service

uberX, Lyft, Fasten

Concurrent TNC Service

uberPOOL, LyftLine

Professional Driver E-hail

Curb (taxi), Arro (taxi), uberBLACK

Carpooling and Vanpooling

vRide, Zimride, NuRide


Round trip (RT) and One-way

Zipcar (both), Enterprise (RT)




Public (dock-based and dockless)

Hubway, Zagster, ofo







Bridj (no longer operating)


Transportation Management Association (TMA) services

Demand Response



Through this research, staff identified big picture relationships between shared-use mobility services and the overall transportation landscape. The table below shows some of the reasons people use specific kinds of shared-use mobility services.

Service Type

Trip Purposes


Social/leisure trips, situational commuting


Limited data, may vary by service


Errands, personal business, situational commuting


Commuting (members)

Leisure trips (short-term users)


Carsharing and bikesharing may have the greatest potential to support reduced single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) use. Carsharing in particular supports reductions in vehicle ownership.


Depending on the circumstances, relationships between shared-use mobility services and transit could be considered complementary or competitive. Shared-use mobility can offer first/last mile connections. It can also compete with otherwise available and comparably fast transit. User travel behavior can vary based on current or past car ownership or location (urban core vs. suburbs), and the impacts of shared-use mobility services on transit use can vary by transit mode.  

Staff analyzed Hubway member characteristics and travel behaviors and found that members used Hubway to meet essential transportation needs, such as commuting, and that members frequently selected Hubway because it was the fastest way to their destination. Fifty-five percent of 2015 Hubway member survey respondents reported replacing at least one SOV trip with a Hubway trip per week. Staff found that the longer survey respondents had been Hubway members, the greater their propensity to replace SOV trips with Hubway trips.

Staff also used Hubway trip data to analyze Hubway’s potential to complement or compete with MBTA fixed-route transit service at specific locations and times. Using an open-source trip-planning tool to generate alternative transit itineraries for Hubway trips, staff calculated a ratio to compare Hubway and transit travel times. Staff used this ratio, along with information about transit modes and transfers, to compare transit and bikesharing options for trips and origin-destination (O-D) pairs. The tool recommended walking as an alternative for 31 percent of Hubway member trips, and bus as an alternative for another 36 percent of trips. Only 11 percent of the Hubway member trips would have been faster, or comparable in travel time, via transit. Staff also examined the relationships between Hubway and other transit options for specific O-D pairs at various times of day.

This information could be used by MassDOT, the MBTA, or municipalities to inform policies, information campaigns, or investments with potential to enhance Hubway’s ability to support first and-last-mile connections to transit, or otherwise offer a non-SOV alternative. This information also could help identify locations where transit could be improved to make it a more competitive option. The analytic techniques used in this report could be applied to analyses of other shared-use mobility datasets.


K. Miller commented that he had read research that 50 percent of TNC users in Austin would have otherwise used transit, walking, or biking for their TNC trips and that these services are contributing to increases in vehicular traffic. M. Scott noted that research is continually emerging and a challenge is figuring out how to address the use and impacts of these services in particular cities. 

E. Bourassa noted that currently, the regional travel demand model used by MPO staff does not include data on TNCs given proprietary concerns by these companies. This makes it critical that the MPO, MassDOT, and municipalities do their best to obtain data for planning purposes.

T. Bennett observed that the link between carsharing and reduced SOV use and ownership seems the most clear, and wondered if this is because carsharing is one of the oldest services available. M. Scott agreed that age is a factor, adding that carsharing may be the closest replacement for SOV trips. T. Bennett added that a combination of shared-use mobility services might be the most effective at discouraging SOV use and lowering car ownership, rather than one service alone. 

J. Gillooly noted that the Hubway analysis might be useful for the City to use when deciding where to locate new Hubway bikes. M. Scott added that exploring the data may help with identifying opportunities to address first-mile/last-mile connections.

Dennis Giombetti (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) (Town of Framingham) asked about adoption rates for shared-use mobility services. M. Scott replied that data varies, with some early studies showing relatively slow adoption rates for TNCs.

12. Updates on Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) Transportation Planning Activities (FFY 2017)—Eric Bourassa, David Loutzenheiser, Kasia Hart, Chris Kuschel, and Travis Pollack, MAPC Staff

Staff from MAPC provided brief updates on their ongoing transportation planning work.

T. Pollack reviewed the recently completed North Shore Mobility Study, which was conducted in association with the North Shore Task Force (NSTF) subregional group to improve transportation options other than driving on the North Shore. The study concentrated on commuting and first mile/last mile solutions in collaboration with North Shore TMA. The lack of east-west transit connections and late evening service forms a barrier to employment in the subregion. The study recommended instituting several local shuttles, as well as the formation of ride-hailing partnerships, improvements to existing Cape Ann Transit Authority and MBTA service, as well as mobility hubs and municipal or regional Dial-a-Ride services.

D. Loutzenheiser provided an update on MAPC’s LandLine, a regional plan for a connected network of multi-use trails and greenways including 800 miles of multi-use trails (40% complete) and 400 miles of foot trails (60% complete). MAPC has launched trailmap.mapc.org, a portal mapping existing trails in the region. D. Loutzenheiser is working with advocates on segments of the overall LandLine network including the MetroWest LandLine, Malden and Mystic River Trails, and Salem and Lowell Rail Trail.

C. Kuschel reviewed MAPC’s role in supporting municipalities’ efforts to create Complete Streets policies and apply for funding from MassDOT. MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program provides up to $400,000 per year for implementation of complete streets projects in a municipality. MassDOT’s process requires municipalities to adopt a policy, attend training, and complete a prioritization plan before applying for funding. As of 2017, MAPC has supported Acton, Winchester, Medford, Malden, and Manchester-by-the Sea in developing their policies and prioritizing projects for funding. 

K. Hart reviewed MAPC’s role in the Hubway system. MAPC serves as a facilitator, coordinating with municipalities and Motivate. MAPC also manages procurement for the system. The system currently has 190 stations and 14,000. Motivate is moving to a new organizational model which will seek to increase revenues from title sponsorship, secondary sponsorship, and user revenues. Motivate will retain a larger share of this revenue to invest back in the system for expansion and service improvement. Municipal contributions are limited. Around 70 stations are planned to be added in Boston alone. There is interest in bikeshare across the region. Zagster is currently operating systems in Salem and Marlborough. To ensure regional coordination, MAPC will be issuing an RFP for no-cost bike share for Boston suburban communities in the coming months.

13. Melnea Cass Boulevard Design Project—Patrick Hoey, City of Boston, and Matthew Jasmin, Howard Stein Hudson

P. Hoey and M. Jasmin presented an update on the Melnea Cass Boulevard Design Project. This is an MPO-funded TIP project currently scheduled to be advertised for construction in FFY 2019. P. Hoey noted that the public process has resulted in several iterations of the design, adding that he felt this had contributed to a better product overall. The City submitted 25% design plans in the summer of 2017 and is working towards a design public hearing this fall.

P. Hoey cited three core principles for the project’s design— safety, environmental protection, and Complete Streets guidelines. The need to create a safer corridor has been borne out by recent crashes. Throughout several revisions the impact on the existing mature trees along the corridor has been reduced from roughly 200 to 60. The City hopes to find ways to save more trees while creating a safe corridor for all users.

Melnea Cass Boulevard is an urban principal arterial traversing roughly one mile, from Ruggles MBTA Station to the Massachusetts Avenue I-93 Connector. The corridor connects to the Southwest Corridor at Columbus Avenue and the South Bay Harbor Trail currently runs along the north side of the roadway. Melnea Cass is an important connector for both the South End and Roxbury neighborhoods and carries approximately 32,000 vehicles per day. There is significant bike, pedestrian, freight, transit, and first responder traffic along the corridor. The current condition of the pavement and other facilities ranges from fair to poor, and there is significant root uplift on the pedestrian/bike paths. The south side of the corridor has no additional bike lane, so bicyclists must ride in the street or share the sidewalk with pedestrians.

The main goals of the project is to transform the character of Melnea Cass from an extension of I-93 into a neighborhood street, while continuing to serve regional traffic demand, balance stakeholder design goals, and provide a gateway to Roxbury and the South End. To do so, the project design focuses on access to neighborhood services and maintaining the greenery that make Melnea Cass a boulevard. The design includes multiple speed reduction and traffic calming treatments and land and street-scaping. Separated bike lanes on both sides of corridor, direct and shortened pedestrian crossings, and buffers between the street and bike and pedestrian facilities allow for improved visibility and safety for all modes. Traffic calming elements include raised intersections and pedestrian and bicycle crossings, lateral shifts with landscaped medians, protected intersections, and other elements to modify high speed movement. The design includes an overall reduction in the total impervious surface area as well as improved underground storm water storage and infiltration. There will be a profile increase of one foot at the corridor’s low point to reduce the chance of flooding.

Throughout this project the City and its consultant have worked with stakeholders including Boston Medical Center, Boston Fire Department, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston Police Department, United Neighbors of Lower Roxbury, Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard, Boston Cyclist Union, Livable Streets Alliance, and Walk Boston.


T. Bennett asked about transit accommodations in the design. P. Hoey replied that an early version included dedicated bus lanes, but that the overall level of service would have been negatively impacted. M. Jasmin added that they are working directly with the MBTA to make sure new equipment can implement Transit Signal Priority in the future.

K. Miller asked where the project stands in the environmental review process at the state and federal level. M. Jasmin replied that the project is currently under peer review at the state level (noting that an ENF hasn’t been submitted) and MassDOT has asked them to hold off on submitting the CE (categorical exclusion) checklist  to the federal government until after the design public hearing.

K. Miller also asked the city to elaborate on the alternative designs that were mentioned by public commenters earlier in the meeting. P. Hoey noted that they are not advancing a design alternative that included a centerline BRT/busway, in order to proceed with a design with a narrower roadway cross-section. J. Gillooly replied that the alternative designs mainly center on the issue of tree removal, and the City prefers to wait until the 25% design public hearing before making any additional changes to the design given the number of entities involved in the review process. J. Gillooly encouraged members of the public to bring all their concerns to the 25% design hearing when it is scheduled.

14. MassDOT’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Project Intake Tool (MaPIT)—Quinn Molloy, MassDOT

The chair tabled this item until the next meeting.

15. Members’ Items

There were none.

16. Adjourn

A motion to adjourn was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (E. Bourassa) and seconded by At-Large City (City of Everett) (J. Monty). The motion carried.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

David Koses

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Laura Wiener

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Richard Canale

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Jim Gillooly

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Steve Woelfel

Bryan Pounds

MassDOT Highway Division

John Romano

Marie Rose

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Eric Waaramaa

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Micha Gensler

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (Town of Framingham)

Dennis Giombetti

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

Richard Reed

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Denise Deschamps

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Bennett

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

Christine Stickney

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Dennis Crowley

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/NVCC)

Steve Olanoff


Other Attendees


Kay Mathew

Ivey St. John

Thomas Pechillo

Madeligne Tena

Tom Kadzis

Patrick Hoey

Alison Pultinas

Anthony Christakis

Rich Benevento

Howard J. Erlichman

Rafael Mares

Jeffrey Ferris

David Loutzenheiser

Kasia Hart

Chris Kuschel

Travis Pollack

Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard


BL Companies

Mandela Residents Cooperative Association


Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard

MassDOT Highway District 6

World Tech Engineering


Conservation Law Foundation

Ferris Wheels Bike Shop






MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush

Robin Mannion

Mark Abbott

Seth Asante

Lourenço Dantas

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Betsy Harvey

Ali Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Scott Peterson

Jen Rowe

Michelle Scott