Draft Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

February 21, 2019 Meeting

10:00 AM–12:15 PM, Newton City Hall, War Memorial Auditorium, 1000 Commonwealth Avenue, Newton

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


The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) agreed to the following:

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 17.

2.    Host Remarks—Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, City of Newton

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    City of Newton: Innovative Transportation Strategies

Mayor Fuller welcomed the MPO board to Newton and introduced Nicole Freedman (Director of Transportation), Barney Heath (Director of Planning and Development), James Freas (Deputy Director of Planning and Development), and Jason Sobel (Director of Transportation Operations). Mayor Fuller thanked the board for its work balancing different transportation priorities at the regional level, acknowledging that resources are limited. Mayor Fuller acknowledged Kate Fitzpatrick (Needham Town Manager), highlighting the close collaboration between Newton and Needham on transportation issues, specifically MPO target-funded TIP project #606635 (Reconstruction of Highland Avenue, Needham Street and Charles River Bridge in Newton and Needham). Mayor Fuller noted that while Newton has excellent transit options compared to some other municipalities, congestion, the lack of safe accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians, climate change, and affordable housing remain issues. Mayor Fuller highlighted several transportation and development challenges and projects in Newton. Newton is investing $10 million into Complete Streets improvements in West Newton and Newtonville in 2019. Mayor Fuller noted that the Washington Street corridor is generating development interest, hampered by the fact that none of the three Commuter Rail stations in Newton are accessible and the frequency of service is lacking. Mayor Fuller stated that Newton is thrilled with ongoing investments in the Green Line, including track and signal improvements and new cars. Mayor Fuller stated that both Newton and Needham would welcome a Green Line extension through Newton to Needham to complement ongoing development on Washington and Needham Streets. Mayor Fuller stated that the so-called “Circle of Death” at Newton Corner is an ongoing safety hazard for which there is no easy solution. Mayor Fuller highlighted several local initiatives focused on serving seniors with mobility challenges, announcing that N. Freedman has worked closely with Newton Senior Services to create a contract for subsidized, door-to-door, on-demand transportation. Mayor Fuller added that Newton is working with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to ensure that the right transit oriented development (TOD) project is built at the Riverside Green Line station. Lastly, Mayor Fuller noted that filling required police details for transportation construction projects is a challenge and asked the MPO to consider regional or state level solutions.    

N. Freedman presented a PowerPoint, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. The presentation stressed that Newton sees transportation strategy as critical to facing the overarching challenges of affordable housing, climate change, and economic development. Newton’s strategy focuses on Complete Streets, shared mobility, enhancements to the City’s 13 villages, and transportation demand management and TOD. Newton adopted a Complete Streets policy in 2017 and created a continuously updated street design guide in 2018. A Complete Streets working group meets twice a month to review all transportation construction projects in Newton, including repaving. In six months, the working group has conducted 24 project reviews and six projects have been installed. Four are under construction and eight are in design. These include intersection improvements and pedestrian and bicyclist safety pilots. With an increasing need for senior transportation that allows older adults to age in place, Newton has pursued cost-effective shared mobility options that improve the customer experience from earlier contracts with local taxi companies. The new program, launching in 2019, will allow on-demand, door-to-door, dynamic, shared trips, including wheelchair accessible vehicles and technology training for seniors. Newton launched dockless LimeBike bikeshare in 2017, and there have been more than 300,000 trips to date. LimeBike recently added 40 e-bikes to the fleet of 200.

Many of Newton’s village centers are bisected by the Mass Pike, and Newton is working to reclaim these. In West Newton, the design will not increase the speed at which cars move through the village, but instead will improve the streetscape and add buffered and protected bike lanes. A previous study by MPO staff recommended converting travel lanes on Washington Street, and Newton has appropriated $2 million for engineering to pursue this. The Needham Street project, TIP project #606635, is on schedule to go to bid in August 2019. This $30 million project will upgrade the entire corridor and catalyze redevelopment of two primary corridors in Newton. With all development projects, Newton is pursuing transportation demand management including mode share goals, transit subsidies, shuttles and microtransit, decoupled parking, electric vehicle charging, care and bike share, and data reporting. For the Needham Street project, an additional extension of the Green Line would create true TOD to increase density. Newton’s core principles are safety, sustainability, livability, accessibility, and smart technology. N. Freedman noted that pilot projects are helpful and stressed the importance of planning big.

3.    Public Comments  

Alison Pultinas and Kay Mathew (Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard [FMCB]) objected to the design for and public process concerning TIP project #605789 (Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston), and submitted a copy of a written comment letter that was sent to Mayor Walsh, City of Boston. This project is currently programmed in FFY 2019 with approximately $8 million in MPO regional target funds. The comment letter and accompanying photograph of the project location are posted to the MPO meeting calendar. A. Pultinas stated that the FMCB has partnered with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) for years to encourage public participation in the project design, and at the 25 percent design hearing in 2018 they were told that public input would be incorporated as much as possible into the next iteration of the plans. At this hearing, residents and advocates raised 16 concerns, objecting to the removal of trees, stating that traffic would not slow during off peak hours and it would not be safer to cross the Boulevard, and expressed disbelief in the City’s ability to maintain the new sidewalks and bike paths in the past. A. Pultinas stated that by the 75 percent design hearing in December 2018, only two of these concerns had been addressed and no further changes to the design had been made. K. Mathew read a statement from Val Shelley, resident of Orchard Gardens Apartments near Melnea Cass Boulevard. V. Shelley is a member of the Orchard Gardens Resident Association and FMCB:

“I am very disappointed with BTD. They have not included the residents’ voice in their decisions regarding Melnea Cass Boulevard redesign. We've been ignored and yet we're the ones at jeopardy, including the schoolchildren at Orchard Gardens K-8, which is at the corner of Melnea Cass and Albany Street. Although asked by residents and FMCB many times, BTD has refused to make Albany Street (in front of the school) a one-way street. It's a big mess. We supported BTD in securing funding for the project because we were led to believe we would be partners in the project and develop a working relationship. Try as we might, this did not happen.”

A. Pultinas continued that losing mature, healthy shade trees is devastating, stating that the 75 percent design documents show potential damage to the critical root zones of more than 250 existing trees in addition to approximately 60 that will be cut down. The 2016 Climate Ready Boston report identified the Melnea Cass Boulevard corridor as a heat island and public health concern. The aerial photograph of the corridor submitted by A. Pultinas and K. Mathew is from Imagine Boston 2030, and is an illustration in the chapter on climate. A. Pultinas noted that the MPO’s goals include promoting a healthier environment, and stated that the significance of this green corridor should trigger oversight like that of the Southwest Corridor project 50 years ago. Given that the project involves two bike paths, hundreds of trees, multiple public agencies, and residents on both sides of the Boulevard, the FMCB is advocating for a coordinating committee to work through this complex project and lead advocacy for ongoing maintenance. A. Pultinas stated that they have been offered robust public outreach during construction, but stated that this is not authentic community participation.

Jim Kupfer (Planner, Town of Bellingham) provided an update on TIP project #608887 (Reconstruction of South Main Street [Route 126]—Douglas Drive to Mechanic Street [Route 140] in Bellingham). This project is currently programmed with MPO regional target funds in FFY 2023. J. Kupfer reported that the project is on schedule and a 25 percent design hearing has been scheduled for February 26, 2019. J. Kupfer stated that funding has already been secured for final design and public feedback has been positive.

Brendan Callahan (Assistant Director of Planning, City of Peabody) advocated for TIP project #609211 (Independence Greenway Extension in Peabody). MPO staff evaluated this project for the first time in 2019. This project would extend the Independence Greenway from six to eight miles, connecting Downtown Peabody to the North Shore Mall and the regional bikeway network, the Danvers Rail Trail, and the Border to Boston Trail. In 2017, Peabody hired Green International consultants to update earlier plans for the extension and is working towards a 25 percent design submittal. B. Callahan stated that this is an important project for Peabody and a popular recreational asset for residents and has the full support of the Mayor, City Council, and Community Preservation Committee.    

Meaghen Hamill (Chief of Staff, Mayor Thomas M. McGee, City of Lynn) and Rich Benevento (WorldTech Engineering) advocated for three TIP projects in Lynn: #609252 (Rehabilitation of Essex Street), #609254 (Traffic and Safety Improvements at Two Locations on Broadway,) and #609246 (Reconstruction of Western Avenue [Route 107]). MPO staff evaluated all three projects for the first time in 2019. M. Hamill read the text of a written comment letter from Mayor McGee, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. M. Hamill acknowledged Sezan McDaniel from the office of State Representative Peter Capano. S. McDaniel submitted a written comment letter from Rep. Capano, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar. R. Benevento added that Lynn has the fifth highest number of top 200 crash locations in the state, is first in the Inner Core of the Boston region, and has three times as many crash locations as other municipalities in the Inner Core. Lynn ranks sixth statewide for Highway Safety Improvement Program locations, and second in the Inner Core. R. Benevento stressed that Mayor McGee is well aware of the need to advance these projects for safety reasons and committed to completing each of them.

Maia Raynor (Legislative Aide, Office of State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz) read a brief statement on behalf of the Senator. “Our office, the FMCB, the City of Boston, and MassDOT have all been part of the conversations regarding this project for over eight years, and we’re hopeful that at the end of this process there’s a plan that balances everyone’s wants and needs. We hope to see the City of Boston comprehensively and directly respond to the FMCB’s very legitimate concerns to get to that balance.” M. Raynor expressed excitement at the prospect of seeing the Boulevard named for one of Boston’s most famously civic-minded residents updated, stating that Melnea Cass herself would want the community to be a robust part of the process.

4.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

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

B. Pounds reported that the UPWP Committee met immediately prior to this MPO meeting to discuss the Universe of Proposed Studies for the FFY 2020 UPWP. This discussion will continue at the meeting at 9:00 AM on March 7, 2019, at the State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3. Following the meeting on March 7, the Committee will rank the proposed studies and present its recommendation for funding to the MPO board.

6.    Regional Transportation Advisory Council Report—Tegin Teich, Chair, Regional Transportation Advisory Council (Advisory Council)

T. Teich reported that she will be away for most of March but the Advisory Council will hold 3C Committee meetings to discuss the TIP and UPWP. Vice-Chair AnaCristina Fragoso will provide updates to the MPO board.

7.    Executive Director’s Report—Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

K. Quackenbush noted that MPO board members have been sent a survey soliciting input on public transportation provider representation on the MPO board and asked them to respond. K. Quackenbush added that MPO staff will be reaching out to municipalities and other stakeholders with a survey gauging interest in participation in a study of transportation access modes of central business districts. K. Quackenbush asked that MPO board members assist in promoting participation in this effort as they are able.

8.    Approval of January 17, 2019, Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of January 17, 2019, was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Romano). The Massachusetts Port Authority (Laura Gilmore) abstained. The motion carried.

9.    Public Participation Plan Revisions—Karl Quackenbush, MPO Executive Director

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Public Participation Plan: Proposed Amendment 2019

2.    Memorandum: Public Participation Plan Amendment

At the meeting on February 7, 2019, K. Quackenbush presented proposed changes to the MPO’s Public Participation Plan to change the public review period for the TIP from 30 to 21 days and to reflect recent changes in legislation, information and communication technologies, and public participation practices. K. Quackenbush recommended that the MPO release the Plan for a 45-day public review period.


T. Teich thanked MPO staff for allowing the Advisory Council time to discuss the proposed changes prior to a vote.


A motion to release the proposed amendment to the Public Participation Plan for a 45-day public review period was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville) (Tom Bent). The motion carried.

10.FFYs 2019—23 TIP Amendment Two—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Two: Full Tables

2.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Two: Simplified Tables

3.    FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment Two: Public Comment Letter

Amendment Two includes changes to transit funding in FFY 2019 and highway funding in FFYs 2019–23. The changes to transit projects reflect the awarding of MassDOT Community Transit Grant Program funds for FFY 2019. This program awards funds to help meet the transportation and mobility needs of seniors and people with disabilities. This year’s grants will fund a range of projects for service providers including the purchase of new vehicles, the modernization of IT systems, and the provision of additional staffing support for mobility programs. The changes to highway funding reflect cost increases for two state-prioritized bridge projects. For project #607954 (Bridge Replacement, D03-018, ST 128 over the Waters River in Danvers) the changes apply only to FFY 2019. For project #604952 (Bridge Replacement, L-18-016=S-05-008, Route 107 over the Saugus River AKA Belden G. Bly Bridge in Lynn and Saugus) the cost increases apply over all five years of the FFYs 2019–23 TIP. MPO staff received one public comment letter regarding Amendment Two. The letter, from State Senator Brendan P. Crighton and State Representatives Daniel Cahill, Peter Capano, Lori A. Ehrlich, RoseLee Vincent, and Donald H. Wong, expressed support for the cost increase for project #604952 and for the Community Transit Grant Program funding for Greater Lynn Senior Services.


Ken Miller (FHWA) asked about the timing of the addition of Community Transit Grant Program funds. D. Mohler replied that the competitive process for the awarding of these funds does not line up exactly with the approval of a given year’s TIP so the funds must be amended into the TIP once the annual award process concludes.


A motion to approve Amendment Two to the FFYs 2019–23 TIP was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (Paul Regan). The motion carried.

11.Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP): Project Proponent Updates—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Public Comment Letters

2.    New Boston Street Handout and Presentation

Proponents of projects programmed in Charting Progress to 2040 and the FFYs 2019–23 TIP provided status updates to the MPO board.

Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston

William Conroy (Boston Transportation Department) and Eric Maki (Tetra Tech) provided updates on Rutherford Avenue. W. Conroy stated that 25 percent design plans were submitted in August 2018. This submittal did not include a pavement design report and was also missing major bridge items. W. Conroy stated that the submittal was affected by uncertainty around the construction of the Encore Boston Harbor casino in Everett. BTD is currently receiving comments on the design from MassDOT and has recently met with MassDOT bridge staff. W. Conroy stated that it seems likely a new project manager will be assigned to the project from the MassDOT bridge section due to the major bridge aspects of the project. Right-of-way materials have also been submitted to MassDOT. BTD staff will be meeting with Massport about the project soon. W. Conroy anticipates submitting the remaining pavement design and bridge structure materials to MassDOT in the next one to three months and hopes to retain the schedule for advertisement in FFY 2020. W. Conroy stated that BTD sees several possibilities for staging the construction of the project, perhaps by pursuing the improvements to the Bunker Hill Bridge prior to other aspects of the project.


K. Miller asked whether the cost estimate for the project will change once complete designs are submitted. E. Maki replied that the project team does not expect an increase in the total cost estimate of $150 million.

Reconstruction of Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston

Tom Kadzis (BTD) stated that the project is on target for advertisement in FFY 2019. T. Kadzis stated that the 75 percent design materials were submitted about six months ago from MassDOT to FHWA. The City of Boston has 100 percent design plans ready. T. Kadzis stated that the project manager, Patrick Hoey, has responded in detail to the concerns raised by FMCB in its letter to Mayor Walsh and expressed his intention to circulate this response to the board. T. Kadzis stated that for several years there has been a disagreement between the city and advocates about the approach to tree removal for this project. T. Kadzis stated that BTD has made an effort to save as many trees as possible and there will be an overall net increase in trees, but that this must be balanced with the fact that the corridor is important regionally. T. Kadzis stated that it has been tough to satisfy the requirements of all the corridor’s users but that the BTD is confident the design is much safer than the current roadway conditions.

Bridge Replacement, New Boston Street over MBTA in Woburn

City of Woburn Mayor Scott D. Galvin, State Representative Richard Haggerty, and Mason Heilman from the office of State Representative Michelle Ciccolo advocated for the New Boston Street project. Mayor Galvin stated that Woburn is committed to the project and has appropriated approximately $1 million for design since 2010. Mayor Galvin read the following prepared statement:

“The City of Woburn has worked diligently over the last five years with the MAPC and stakeholders of our Commerce Way/New Boston Street Commercial area to prepare zoning to strategically guide critical development into the future. This large commercial area provides a solid foundation to ensure the future economic growth of our city, and we have envisioned multi-use developments with some transit oriented residential development. We consider the New Boston Street Bridge a key element to the success and vitality of the entire area. In particular, the New Boston Street Bridge will provide a critical transportation link for both regional and local traffic. This link will improve access to the Anderson Regional Transportation Center as well as the commercial and industrial development in Woburn and Wilmington. This link will also create a convenient north-south alternate route to Interstate 93 (as well as Interstate 95) for regional traffic movement while providing connectivity for local trips to/from Woburn to neighboring communities. This missing link to the City's and region's transportation system results today in diverted, inconvenient, and longer vehicle trips, but when built, it will provide a more direct route that will result in a reduction in vehicle miles traveled and emissions. I'm here today to offer the City's commitment to the successful completion of this strategically critical transportation project. In the last budget, we appropriated the balance of the design funds necessary to design the project through 100 percent. In this year's budget, we are appropriating funds for appraisals and land takings so that we can move to secure parcels as soon as we reach the 75-percent design milestone.”

Representative Haggerty expressed support for the project and stressed several points in the public comment letter posted to the MPO meeting calendar.

M. Heilman expressed Representative Ciccolo’s support for the project and submitted a public comment letter, which is posted to the MPO meeting calendar.

Robert Penfield (VHB) presented an update on the design and schedule of the project. R. Penfield stated that this project will create connections between the western side of Woburn and the Anderson Regional Transportation Center, improving traffic circulation, access to the New Boston Street Industrial Park, and promoting increased use of public transit. The 75 percent design submittal is planned for May 2019 and the project is on schedule for advertisement in October 2020.    


D. Mohler, Rick Reed (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) (Town of Bedford), E. Bourassa, and P. Regan asked questions about the project’s design. R. Penfield clarified that the project will reconstruct the driveway at an abutting residential complex as part of work on the bridge. R. Penfield also clarified that the bridge design will accommodate possible future reactivation of an MBTA railroad spur currently used for train car storage. R. Penfield added that an additional potential future connection to Anderson will not be finished as part of this project but the bridge design does connect to Presidential Way, which provides the connection to Anderson.  

12.LRTP: Universe of Programs—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    LRTP Universe of Programs

2.    LRTP Universe of Programs Presentation

A. McGahan introduced the continued discussion of investment programs to be included in the next LRTP, Destination 2040, by reviewing the LRTP development process to date. Staff identified regional transportation needs through analysis and public outreach and presented the Draft Needs Assessment Summary and Recommendations to the MPO in November. This memo includes a set of existing and proposed investment programs for consideration by the MPO and is the basis for the Universe of Programs discussion at this meeting. In December, staff presented the Universe of Projects, which includes all active and conceptual roadway and transit projects that cost more than $20 million and/or add capacity to the transportation network. If selected for programming, these projects must be listed in the LRTP before they can be funded in the TIP. Once the MPO identifies the investment programs it would like to include in Destination 2040, the board will identify projects to be included in the plan. In January, the MPO came to a consensus on revisions to the MPO’s Goals and Objectives. These revisions will be used to finalize the Needs Assessment and evaluate projects for the recommended plan.  

Throughout the process, project proponents are invited to provide updates to the MPO and advocate for their projects. In December, proponents of projects included in Charting Progress to 2040 but not yet programmed in the TIP presented to the MPO. At this meeting, proponents of projects programmed in Charting Progress to 2040 and the FFYs 2019–23 TIP provided status updates to the MPO board. Presentations will continue next month with proponents of projects that are in the Universe but not currently in the plan. In March, staff will present the finances available for funding both the projects and programs in the LRTP. Also in March, the MPO will agree on a recommended programming scenario for the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. This will become the first five-year time band of Destination 2040. In April, the MPO will choose projects for the later time bands of the LRTP. Once the recommended projects are selected, staff will perform the required Environmental Justice and Air Quality analyses and complete the draft document. The LRTP will be released for public review in June and endorsed in July.

Universe of Programs

The existing LRTP investment programs are as follows:

      Major Infrastructure Program

      Intersection Improvement Program

      Complete Street Program

      Bicycle Network and Pedestrian Connections Program

      Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility Program

The proposed programs include:

      Bus Mobility program

      Enhanced park and ride

      Climate resiliency

      Transit modernization program

      Interchange modernization program

      Connect elderly adults with transportation program

At the last meeting, staff heard that the board wanted to continue the existing investment programs. During the discussion, members expressed support for some of the project types in the proposed programs but noted that some of these could be incorporated into the existing programs. However, there was also a concern that if project types were incorporated into existing programs they may not be able to compete with the existing project types for funding. To reflect this feedback, staff incorporated the proposed projects types into existing programs. All of the new project types fit into the existing programs with the exception of the Transit Modernization program.

Proposed Investment Program


Bus Mobility (Dedicated Bus Lanes

and Infrastructure)

Incorporated into Complete Streets

Enhanced Park and Ride

Incorporated into Community Transportation/ Parking/Clean Air and Mobility

Climate Resiliency

Incorporated into project design and evaluated as part of project selection (storm water management improvement projects incorporated into Complete Streets)

Transit Modernization

New Program

Interchange Modernization

Incorporated into Major Infrastructure

Connect Elderly Adults with


Incorporated into Community Transportation/ Parking/Clean Air and Mobility


MPO staff recommends keeping the Connect Elderly Adults with Transportation program separate based on the number of comments we received in public outreach.

Projects under the Major Infrastructure program have the additional characteristic of costing more than $20 million and/or adding capacity to the system. This includes transit expansion or modernization projects, larger Complete Streets projects, and interchange modernization. The MPO’s policy is to withhold funding for projects that cost more than 50 percent of the funding in a five-year time band.

The MPO must decide whether to incorporate additional types of projects into the existing investment programs and/or add new programs. The MPO will also need to decide whether to affirm the existing policy of programming no more than 50 percent of funding in a five-year time band to major infrastructure, and how to consider different types of projects as part of this policy.


T. Teich asked whether the discussion might also include how funding allocations might change under programs other than Major Infrastructure. A. McGahan agreed, and stated that the allocations under Charting Progress to 2040 were stated goals, which signal to municipalities that funds are available for certain kinds of projects. T. Teich added that given that Community Transportation/Parking/Clean Air and Mobility currently has the smallest funding allocation, incorporating Enhanced Park and Ride may run the risk of burying it. A. McGahan added that now that staff has done more work to create a framework and evaluation criteria for the Community Transportation program, it may be time to reconsider the funding allocation to the project types under this program.

E. Bourassa stated that he liked the idea of signaling to municipalities that the MPO is interested in supporting projects that improve bus mobility, and wondered whether including this under Complete Streets will do so adequately.

K. Miller asked whether the MPO currently evaluates MBTA transit projects. A. McGahan replied that currently the MBTA brings its program to the MPO to endorse as part of its TIP, but staff does not perform any evaluation of these projects. K. Miller asked what kinds of projects the MPO might fund under the Transit Modernization program and whether it would simply be projects that the MBTA couldn’t fit into its programming.

D. Mohler noted that in addition to the MBTA, there are two Regional Transit Authorities in the region that may want to use MPO funds for projects, adding that municipalities could also theoretically ask for funds to make improvements to MBTA owned infrastructure that doesn’t currently rise to the priority level for improvement by the MBTA.

K. Miller added that the MPO could also decide that projects like these out-prioritize MBTA projects funded by FTA.

P. Regan noted that MBTA projects that come to the MPO for approval in the TIP have been through an evaluation process that is remarkably similar to the MPO’s and fit broadly into categories that the MPO supports. P. Regan added that he wasn’t sure, given the expense of most MBTA projects, how the MPO could contribute.

K. Miller stated that there should be a clearer process for making decisions around funding transit.

T. Teich expressed support for the points being made, stating that there has been some improvement in the transparency of the MBTA’s project development process but supporting further clarity. T. Teich stated that a slight reworking of the Transit Modernization program could include bus mobility.

Jay Monty (At-Large City) (City of Everett) agreed that bus mobility could fit into Transit Modernization.

T. Teich added that perhaps it is better not to use “modernization,” because this term has a specific definition in the MBTA and MassDOT capital investment processes.

A. McGahan stated that it seems like the consensus is to retain the existing programs and pursue more clarity about the new project types to be included under these programs. D. Mohler agreed.

D. Mohler asked whether the types of projects listed under Major Infrastructure are listed because staff wants to allocate certain amounts of funding to these types, or just to provide clarity on the kinds of projects that are considered Major Infrastructure. A. McGahan replied that this is up to the MPO and it was included to provide clarity on the kinds of projects that qualify as Major Infrastructure. A. McGahan added that staff still receives comments about interchange modernization despite the fact that the MPO’s current policy is to not put more than 50 percent of the MPO’s money into one project within a five-year time band, which is why this project type was included.

Tom O’Rourke (Three Rivers Interlocal Council) (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce) expressed discomfort with the existing policy because of the inability of interchange projects to qualify. A. McGahan noted that Charting Progress to 2040 was the first project that actually funded 75 percent of the projects that were included, due to the funding of lower cost projects. Previously, major projects were included but never funded.

D. Mohler stated that T. O’Rourke’s point is that, depending on the financial outlook for the LRTP, retaining this policy necessarily excludes some projects that some members think should be funded.

T. Teich stressed that the existing policy came out of a robust public process for Charting Progress to 2040 in which members of the public expressed a desire for the MPO to withhold some of its funding on one or two major highway projects and should not be discarded without considering public perspective. T. Teich noted that the funding allocations for the other projects are goals, and this policy could perhaps be more of a goal that did not preclude discussion of higher cost projects.

13.FFYs 2020–24 TIP: First-Tier List and TIP Development Updates—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    FFYs 2020–24 TIP Development: Project Score Changes from FFY 2018 to FFY 2019

2.    FFYs 2020–24 TIP Development: Revised Project Evaluation Results (With Proponent Feedback) and First-Tier List

Since the presentation of initial project evaluation scores, eight projects have had their scores revised. All revised scores resulted in an increased score. The following projects increased in score:

1.    Independence Greenway Extension in Peabody (#609211)

2.    Rehabilitation of Essex Street in Lynn (#609252)

3.    Traffic and Safety Improvements at Two Locations on Broadway in Lynn (#609254)

4.    Reconstruction of Western Avenue (Route 107) in Lynn (#609246)

5.    Reconstruction of Route 38 (Main Street), from Route 62 to the Woburn City Line in Wilmington (#608051)

6.    Intersection Improvements at Lowell Street (Route 129) and Woburn Street in Wilmington (#609253)

7.    Reconstruction of Foster Street in Littleton (#609054)

8.    Traffic Signal Installation at Edgell Road and Central Street in Framingham (#608889)

At the meeting on March 7, 2019, MPO staff will present an updated funding picture for FFYs 2020–24 including any changes to funding and project schedules for FFYs 2019–23 and the new funding available in 2024. At the time of this meeting, the FFYs 2020–23 funding levels look roughly the same and the funding level for FFY 2024 is approximately $110 million.


D. Mohler asked how focused proponent feedback on scores is. M. Genova replied that proponent feedback is generally quite focused and specific. MPO staff weighs this against the MPO’s criteria. D. Mohler asked how concerned he should be that some communities know how to work within this process and others don’t. D. Mohler noted that the Framingham project received 15 additional points. M. Genova stated that this project had no pavement condition data available, but in conversations with the proponent, the condition of the pavement was explained more clearly. M. Genova added that it is a priority of his to improve proponent understanding of the process.

John Bechard (MassDOT Highway Division) and D. Mohler asked how the initial status of the pavement was missed and what information was used to update the score. M. Genova stated that he used Google Street View to review the pavement condition.

K. Miller reiterated the point he has made before that the scoring does not account for the magnitude of a project, asking why pavement condition is considered for an intersection project. K. Miller continued that transit projects, the addition of which is suggested by the LRTP development process, would not score very highly under the current scoring and that major infrastructure projects should be separated into categories that indicate whether the projects are limited access or not.

K. Quackenbush stated that once the new LRTP is adopted, the MPO will undertake a revision of its evaluation criteria.

14.Performance-Based Planning and Programming (PBPP) Agreement—Bryan Pounds, MassDOT

In 2018, the MPO reviewed and endorsed an update to the Boston Urbanized Area (UZA) Memorandum of Understanding that stemmed from the 2014 federal recertification review. That agreement governs all coordination with all the transportation agencies in the UZA, including state departments of transportation in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The PBPP Agreement relates only to PBPP and is exclusive to Massachusetts. It stems from federal regulations and outlines coordination between MPOs, MassDOT, and transit providers around PBPP. B. Pounds stated that a draft will be circulated to MPO board members for feedback following the meeting. MassDOT hopes to endorse the document by April.

15.Members Items

D. Mohler stated that the next meeting will be on March 7, 2019, which will be K. Quackenbush’s last meeting before his retirement.

K. Miller introduced Amy Sullivan, Financial Manager and Acting Program Development Team Leader at FHWA’s Massachusetts Division.


A motion to adjourn was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan). The motion carried.




and Alternates

At-Large City (City of Everett)

Jay Monty

At-Large City (City of Newton)

Ruthanne Fuller

Nicole Freedman

At-Large Town (Town of Arlington)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Richard Canale

City of Boston (Boston Planning & Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Tom Kadzis

Federal Highway Administration

Ken Miller

Federal Transit Administration


Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville)

Tom Bent

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

David Mohler

MassDOT Highway Division

John Bechard

John Romano

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Paul Regan

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

Rick Reed

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Denise Deschamps

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Teich

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Three Rivers Interlocal Council (Town of Norwood/Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce)

Tom O’Rourke



Other Attendees


Rich Benevento

WorldTech Engineering

Sarah Bradbury

MassDOT District 3

Amy Sullivan


William Conroy


Sara Scully


Meaghen Hamill

City of Lynn

Brendan Callahan

City of Peabody

Garrett Boyle

Green International

Erik Atkins

Green International

William Paulitz

City of Peabody

Anthony DelGaizo

Needham DPW

Sezan McDaniel

Rep. Peter Capano

Jason Sobel

City of Newton

Barney Heath

City of Newton

James Freas

City of Newton

Frank Tramontozzi

City of Quincy

Erik Maki

Tetra Tech

Maia Raynor

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz

Jamie Errickson

Town of Natick

Mason Heilman

Rep. Michelle Ciccolo

Alison Pultinas

Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard

Kay Mathew

Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard

Kate Fitzpatrick

Needham Town Manager


MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Annette Demchur

Róisín Foley

Matt Genova

Sandy Johnston

Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Scott Peterson

Michelle Scott