Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

April 12, 2018 Meeting

10:00 AM–11:30 AM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 3, 10 Park Plaza, Boston

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 9.

2.    Public Comments  

John Charbonneau (Director of Planning, Town of Wrentham) expressed support for project #603739 (Construction of I-495/Route 1A ramps in Wrentham), currently being recommended for programming in the FFYs 2019–23 TIP in FFY 2023. J. Charbonneau noted that MassDOT Highway District 5 has also been advocating for this project. J. Charbonneau also thanked MassDOT for recognizing the growth occurring in suburban regions and allocating funding accordingly. Wrentham is in the process of rezoning the town center and there is significant commercial development planned for the coming years. J. Charbonneau also thanked MPO staff for conducting a corridor study on Route 1A.

Don DiMartino (Town of Bellingham) thanked MPO staff for including project #608887 (South Main Street (Route 126) - Douglas Drive to Mechanic Street Reconstruction (Route 140) in Wrentham) in the list of new projects recommended for programming in the FFYs 2019–23 TIP in FFY 2023. D. DiMartino expressed the town’s commitment to completing the design quickly so that the project may be ready even sooner than FFY 2023. 

Kevin McHugh (Coneco Engineers & Scientists) and Rick Clarke (Director of Public Works, Town of Ipswich) provided an update on the status of project #605743 (Resurfacing and Related Work on Central and South Main Streets in Ipswich), recommended for programming in the FFYs 2019–23 TIP in FFY 2023. MassDOT previously requested that the Town of Ipswich update its 25 percent design materials because of the amount of time that had passed between the initial submittal in 2009. K. McHugh reported that the new 25 percent design materials would be delivered to MassDOT on the day of this meeting, April 12, 2018. K. McHugh expressed the town’s commitment to moving the project forward.

Ivey St. John (Rutherford Corridor Improvement Coalition (RCIC)) referred to the text of a written comment letter submitted by the RCIC asking that the MPO postpone funding of project #606226 (Reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston) for one year to consider possible design alternatives. This project is currently programmed in the FFYs 2018–22 TIP beginning in FFY 2020. The text of this letter is posted to the MPO’s website. I. St. John introduced Peter Furth (Professor, Northeastern University), who presented his proposed alternative design for the project. This presentation is posted to the MPO’s meeting calendar. P. Furth stated that the City of Boston’s current design includes an unnecessary underpass that impinges on the linear park included in the design, arguing that a design without underpasses is feasible and better for both pedestrian and traffic demand. P. Furth noted that he has provided this design to the City of Boston and asked to meet with Jim Gillooly (City of Boston) (Boston Transportation Department (BTD)) to discuss it.

J. Gillooly stated that P. Furth, on behalf of the RCIC, submitted an alternative design for the Rutherford corridor in the fall of 2017. J. Gillooly stated that the City of Boston responded to each point in this alternative design. J. Gillooly stated that the design is attractive but presents difficulties in implementation. J. Gillooly added that the City Council asked the BTD to sit with RCIC to discuss additional alternatives, and the BTD is in the process of responding to those additional designs. J. Gillooly expressed concern about the volume of new design alternatives coming to the city following a public process that considered a surface option, stating the City of Boston has made a decision that the regional traffic demand requires an underpass and plans to submit 25 percent design plans, including an underpass, in June 2018. J. Gillooly added that some of the assumptions made by P. Furth and his students in analyzing the traffic demand are based on flawed inputs and would not satisfy Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) or MassDOT standards.

P. Furth acknowledged that it could be frustrating to hear new ideas at this stage of the project, but stated that RCIC only learned in August 2017, via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, that the decision to include the underpass was made without considering a realistic surface option.

Steve Olanoff (TRIC Alternate) commented that the MPO made a commitment to fund a Community Transportation program in the TIP with two million dollars in FFYs 2021 and 2022, respectively, and then subsequently moved this money around in order to balance the funding amounts in each year of the TIP. S. Olanoff expressed support for this program given the mobility needs in suburban areas of the region and urged the MPO to recommit to funding it fully.

3.    Chair’s Report—David Mohler, MassDOT

There was none.

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

B. Pounds stated that the UPWP Committee would meet in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 following the MPO meeting to discuss the list of discrete studies for inclusion in FFY 2019, as well as proposed the proposed FFY 2019 budget.

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

There was none.

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

K. Quackenbush announced the dates of four Disparate Impact and Disproportionate Burden (DI/DB) policy outreach events. MPO staff has engaged a group of stakeholders to help craft a DI/DB policy for MPO approval in fall 2018. The stakeholder working group will meet from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM on May 21, 2018, at Northeastern Crossing; June 6, 2018, at another location at Northeastern University; and July 17, 2018, at a location to be announced. There will also be a public workshop on June 26, 2018, at the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Dudley Square.

K. Quackenbush and Katie Pincus (MPO Staff) demonstrated for the board how to access the 2015–17 MBTA System-wide Passenger Survey interactive application on the MPO’s website.

K. Quackenbush announced that the next MPO meeting would be held on May 3, 2018, at the Woburn Country Club. The Country Club is a municipal facility owned by the City of Woburn.

K. Quackenbush announced the departure of Lourenço Dantas, manager of the MPO Certification Activities group.

7.    Approval of February 15, 2018, MPO Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

A motion to approve the minutes of the meeting of February 15, 2018, was made by the SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (Glenn Trindade) and seconded by the North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn) (Tina Cassidy). The South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree) (Christine Stickney) abstained. The motion carried.

8.    Work Program for Service Equity Analysis Support to the MBTAKatie Pincus, MPO Staff

The MBTA is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires large transit providers to conduct a Title VI service equity analysis to evaluate, prior to implementing any major service change, whether the planned change would have a discriminatory impact on minority or low-income populations. A major service change is defined as “a change in revenue-vehicle hours (RVH) per week of at least 10 percent by mode.” At the route level, a major service change is defined as “a change in route length of at least 25 percent or three miles, or for routes with at least 80 RVH per week, a change in RVH per week of at least 25 percent.” The specific service equity analyses to be conducted will include the MBTA’s set of proposed service changes for developing its bus service plan, the Better Bus Project, and as many as two other major service changes. The budget for this project is $115,000 and it is supported by MBTA funds.


J. Gillooly asked whether equity analyses are typically conducted when incremental changes to service are made that may eventually result in major changes to service. K. Pincus replied that this issue was discussed when the MBTA developed its policy for analyzing major service changes, but was not ultimately included in the finalized policy.


A motion to approve the work program for Service Equity Analysis Support to the MBTA was made by the SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (G. Trindade) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Bechard). The motion carried.

9.    Work Program for MBTA Mapping SupportKenneth Dumas, MPO Staff

K. Dumas noted that MPO staff has provided mapping support to the MBTA since the early 1990s. K. Dumas showed examples of maps he has created and periodically updated for the MBTA, including system maps displayed on the MBTA’s website and in transit stations. This work program includes updates to district maps to reflect changes to bus routes and bus route garage assignments. The budget for this project is $12,000 and it is supported by MBTA funds.


A motion to approve the work program for MBTA Mapping Support to the MBTA was made by the MBTA (Eric Waaramaa) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (Paul Regan). The motion carried.

10.Draft Federal Fiscal Years (FFYs) 2018—22 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Amendment 4—Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman, MPO Staff

Draft Amendment 4 includes changes only to the highway programming in FFYs 2018–22. Most of the changes relate to statewide bridge programming and are the result of cost increases for project #605287 (Chelsea Route 1 Viaduct Rehabilitation). Amendment 4 impacts one MPO target-funded project: #605110 (Brookline, Intersection and Signal Improvements at Route 9 and Village Square [Gateway East]); this project has increased in cost, which will be covered by statewide funds. For a summary of the changes proposed as part of Amendment 4 please refer to the simplified Amendment 4 table.


T. Cassidy asked why project #608703 (Bridge Replacement, W38-029 (2KV), ST 129 Lowell Street over I-93 in Wilmington) is being removed from the TIP. Alexander Bardow (Director of Bridges and Structures, MassDOT) replied that this is being done to accommodate the cost increase for the Chelsea Route 1 Viaduct, and that the project will be moved into FFY 2024. 

Dennis Giombetti (MetroWest Regional Collaborative) (City of Framingham) asked why project #605313 (Bridge Replacement, N-03-020, Route 27 (North Main Street) over Route 9 (Worcester Street) and Interchange Improvements in Natick) is being removed from the TIP. D. Mohler replied that this is part of a larger roadway project that the MPO opted not to prioritize for target funding, so MassDOT is not prioritizing the bridge component.

Eric Bourassa (Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)) asked why there have been such significant cost increases for the Chelsea Route 1 Viaduct. Tom Donald (Director of Bridge Project Management, MassDOT) replied that the original cost estimate for this project came from a study that did not include any contingencies or costs associated with aspects of the project not specifically related to work on the bridge. The new cost includes updates to drainage and parking facilities underneath the viaduct, the installation of lighting and closed-circuit television, and a snow fence. T. Donald added that under federal MAP-21 legislation, states must keep the structurally deficient (SD) deck area of bridges on the National Highway System at less than 10 percent. Massachusetts currently has more than 12 percent SD deck areas of bridges. In order to get out of the penalty phase, the Commonwealth is prioritizing bridge projects on the NHS, and a project the size of the Chelsea Viaduct will rehabilitate a significant percentage of SD deck areas. Completing the Chelsea Viaduct on the schedule proposed in Amendment 4 would also align with work being done on the Tobin Bridge in order to minimize the impact of both projects on roadway users. 

T. Teich thanked T. Donald for this explanation and asked whether similar factors had influenced plans for the rehabilitation of the Western Avenue and River Street Bridges. T. Donald affirmed this, given that both bridges are non-NHS.

J. Gillooly asked about plans for the Dalton Street Bridge in Boston. T. Donald replied that because Dalton Street is NHS, it is part of larger discussions including improvements to Commonwealth Avenue.


A motion to release the draft Amendment 4 to the FFYs 2018–22 TIP for a 21-day public review period was made by the City of Boston (BTD) (J. Gillooly) and seconded by At-Large City (City of Newton) (David Koses). The motion carried.

11.Draft FFYs 2019—23 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) —Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar

1.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Document: Member Review Draft

2.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Document: Chapter 3, Summary of Highway and Transit Programming

3.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Tables

4.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP: Summary of MassDOT Programming and Changes

5.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Document: Appendix C, Public Outreach and Comments

6.    All Written Public Comments Received re: FFYs 2019–23 TIP Development \

7.    Written Public Comments Received Post-March 22, 2018, MPO Meeting, or Otherwise Not Previously Presented

8.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP: Regional Target Programming

A. Kleyman noted that following the posting of the draft TIP document for member review, MPO staff received additional comments regarding several projects. A. Kleyman summarized the programming scenario for MPO regional target funding, as well as the state-prioritized programming. This scenario includes the programming of 12 new projects, with the Malden Exchange Street project in FFY 2020 and all other new projects in FFY 2023. Each year of the TIP is fully programmed, with approximately $1.7 million remaining in FFY 2019 and $4 million remaining in FFY 2023. A. Kleyman reviewed how these funding levels measure up against the targets set in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for funding by investment program. A. Kleyman also showed how the geographical distribution of funding by MAPC subregion in the proposed FFY 2019–23 compares to the funding allocated between FFYs 2008 and 2018, and how that compares to the percentage of population, employment, and roadway miles in each subregion.


T. Teich asked if there was a high-level reason for why so many of the state-prioritized intersection improvement projects seemed to be moving into later years of the TIP. D. Mohler replied that MassDOT has identified problems in their internal processes related to moving projects from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) department through to design. D. Mohler stated that this is a process issue that has been addressed and will not be an issue going forward.

D. Mohler noted that the MPO received a comment later stating that Acton town meeting failed to approve additional funding for the design of project # 608229 (Intersection Improvements at Massachusetts Avenue (Route 111) and Main Street (Route 27) (Kelley's Corner) in Acton). D. Mohler asked A. Kleyman to follow up with the Town of Acton to ascertain whether the MPO will need to reassess the year in which this project is programmed (FFY 2022). 

T. Teich stated that she hopes the board will prioritize returning funding for Community Transportation (CT) to their original years should the opportunity arise. Previously, the CT program was funded with $1 million in FFY 2021 and $1 million in FFY 2022. The draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP funds the CT program at $2 million in FFY 2021 and $2 million in FFY 2023.


A motion to release the draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP for a 30-day public review period was made by the SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (G. Trindade) and seconded by the City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department) (J. Gillooly). The motion carried.

12.Members Items

There were none.


A motion to adjourn was made by the Inner Core Committee (City of Somerville) (Tom Bent) and seconded by the SouthWest Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (G. Trindade). 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)

Jennifer Raitt

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Dave Kucharsky

City of Boston (Boston Planning and Development Agency)

Jim Fitzgerald

City of Boston (Boston Transportation Department)

Jim Gillooly

Federal Highway Administration

Nelson Hoffman

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)

Eric Waaramaa

Massachusetts Port Authority

Laura Gilmore

MBTA Advisory Board

Paul Regan

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Eric Bourassa

MetroWest Regional Collaborative (City of Framingham)

Dennis Giombetti

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)


David Manugian

North Shore Task Force (City of Beverly)

Aaron Clausen

North Suburban Planning Council (City of Woburn)

Tina Cassidy

Regional Transportation Advisory Council

Tegin Teich

South Shore Coalition (Town of Braintree)

Christine Stickney

South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway)

Glenn Trindade

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


Tom O’Rourke



Other Attendees


John Charbonneau

Don DiMartino

Constance Raphael

Kevin McHugh

Rick Clarke

Richard P. Merson

Ivey St. John

Peter Furth

Nelson Hoffman

Frank Tramontozzi

Bryan Pounds

Maxime Devilliers

William Paulitz

Ryan O’Malley

Deb Burke

Tom Kadzis

Steve Olanoff

Tom Donald

Alex Bardow

Town of Wrentham

Town of Bellingham

MassDOT Highway District 4

Coneco (Town of Ipswich)

Town of Ipswich

Town of Needham


Northeastern University


City of Quincy


Boston resident

City of Peabody

Malden City Councillor

Malden Redevelopment Authority


TRIC Alternate




MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Karl Quackenbush, Executive Director

Robin Mannion

Lourenço Dantas

Annette Demchur

Ken Dumas

Róisín Foley

Betsy Harvey

Ali Kleyman

Scott Peterson

Katie Pincus

Jen Rowe

Michelle Scott