Draft Memorandum for the Record

Regional Transportation Advisory Council Meeting

April 11, 2018, Meeting Minutes

3:00 PM–4:30 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Room 4,
10 Park Plaza, Boston

AnaCristina Fragoso, Vice Chair, representing the Boston Society of Civil Engineers

Meeting Agenda


A. Fragoso called the meeting to order at 3:00 PM. Members and guests attending the meeting introduced themselves. (For attendance list, see page 5.)

Chair’s Report—A. Fragoso, Boston Society of Civil Engineers

A. Fragoso reported on the March 15, 2018, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting covering the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) projects being considered for programming in the upcoming planning cycle.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

A motion to approve the minutes of the February 14, 2018, meeting was made and seconded. The minutes were approved. There were no minutes for the month of March as the meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.

3C Documents Comment Letter to MPO—Chris Porter, Chair, 3C Documents Committee

C. Porter reported on the committee discussion on the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The committee agreed with the priorities reflected in the staff recommendation of planning studies in the UPWP. C. Porter explained that the committee appreciated the staff’s consideration of feedback on the selected projects.

Sandy Johnston presented the FFY 2019 List of Discrete Studies in the UPWP. The UPWP committee took into consideration input from the Advisory Council’s committee when selecting the studies. The UPWP committee also considered planning study feasibility, including staff availability, and whether or not the work was in process elsewhere by someone.

Four studies are recurring in nature, which are conducted either annually or every one or two years. The UPWP Committee of the MPO accepted these studies.

UPWP Discussion

In response to a question from Lenard Diggins about the Pedestrian Report Card Assessment (PRCA), S. Johnston replied that the proposed study was funded to create an online dashboard from the completed study.

A. Fragoso asked about the denotation of primary and secondary considerations for project evaluation relating to program goals, and inquired if future project costs were ever considered in making the study selection. S. Johnston explained the difficulty of associating future costs to something like a planning study. He explained that currently the MPO was looking for long-term actions to have been taken as a result of these studies. This is being monitored through the UPWP Study Tracking Database.

John McQueen asked if the PRCA study will lead to a complete database that would be ready to be used by planners. S. Johnston explained that the study will be used to build the tool but not to collect data.

A. Fragoso asked how a study becomes a candidate for recurring status. S. Johnston said that it was based the popularity of the studies in the past.

J. McQueen asked about shared funding sources for the Transportation Access Studies of Commercial Business Districts planning study. S. Johnston explained that this year the funding is provided solely from the MPO. The study will try to gather enough data to have representative samples for districts of similar sizes and characteristics. The study will not build a database of every business district in the area. Future studies and applications might bring in other partners.

David Montgomery asked about how the towns will implement the above-mentioned study. S. Johnston explained that the details of conducting the surveys, for example, which areas would be reviewed, will be developed as a part of the planning study.

S. Johnston affirmed that the above-referenced PRCA will be linked to the TIP item on Community Transportation (CT) in response to J. McQueen’s question.

S. Johnston said that the draft UPWP will be authorized for release for public comment on May 3, 2018.

TIP Discussion

C. Porter reported that the 3C Documents Committee discussed general comments on the draft TIP at the committee meeting held earlier today. A detailed comment letter will be made available before the May 9, 2018, Advisory Council meeting where the Council may vote on the comments presented by the Committee and send the comments to the MPO for consideration in reviewing the TIP.

Lourenço Dantas presented the table that outlined the MPO’s discretionary funding for the TIP. The document will be posted around April 19, 2018, for a 30-day public comment period. The Advisory Council’s comment letter will be considered as part of the MPO review for the May 24, 2018, MPO meeting.

In response to a question from A. Fragoso, L. Dantas explained that more detailed project descriptions will be available in the draft TIP document, which will include project maps and estimated costs.

C. Porter explained how to read the TIP table based on information presented by Ali Kleyman at the 3C Documents Committee. He noted the distribution of funding to smaller scale projects was an encouraging sign as it follows an investment pattern that the Advisory Council has favored in the past. He also cited the geographic equity table that shows how the TIP is broken down by Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) region.

C. Porter noted that in 2021, with the completion of the Green Line Extension (GLX), future funding commitments will be available for other projects. Another big project, the Rutherford Avenue Reconstruction in Boston, assumes a large portion of the funding once the GLX project is complete.

C. Porter reiterated that the committee supported smaller, more generally distributed projects in the past. In addition, the committee looks for projects that score well. Committee members felt the projects should, wherever possible, include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

L. Diggins asked how the Universe of Proposed Projects for the TIP is established. L. Dantas stated that the engineering design and permitting completion informs the project’s readiness, which determines consideration for advancement. MAPC and Central Transportation Planning Staff have resources for providing technical assistance to municipalities for planning activities that may prepare projects for advancement consideration in the TIP. C. Porter indicated this point will be addressed in the comment letter.

Steve Olanoff asked about the cessation of CT funds in future programming years. L. Dantas explained that the MPO changed the scheduling of the funds to address more capital intensive projects early on. According to the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), approximately $2M should be spent for CT programs so program years where there is no TIP funding reflect a shortfall of planned commitment to CT as presented in the LRTP.

Jon Seward commented on the budget item for unallocated funds. Historically there have been unallocated funds, but he is concerned that some projects will be delayed when costs rise or other issues begin to have an effect, thereby causing new rounds of reprioritization on an ad hoc basis. S. Olanoff stated that the overall goal has been to allocate all funds available, but the problem is the CT program is not adequately funded in future years.

Old Business, New Business, and Member Announcements

L. Diggins was appointed to the Arlington Transportation Advisory Committee, representing the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. He also was selected as a Town Meeting member for the Town of Arlington.


A motion to adjourn was made by C. Porter and seconded by J. McQueen. The motion carried.


  1. Attendees

Member Municipalities

Representatives and Alternates


David Montgomery; Rhain Hoyland


Citizen Advocacy Groups


Association for Public Transportation

Barry M Steinberg

Boston Society of Architects

Schuyler Larrabee

Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES)

AnaCristina Fragoso; Paul Moyer


Chris Porter

MBTA Ridership Oversight Committee (ROC)

Lenard Diggins


Jon Seward

National Corridors Initiative

John Businger


John McQueen





Leon Papadopoulos


Non-Voting Agencies


Boston Planning and Development Agency

Matt Moran


Eric Rackauskas


Other Attendees


Ed Lowney

Malden Resident


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Lourenço Dantas

David Fargen

Sandy Johnston

Matt Archer