Memorandum for the Record

Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization Meeting

May 30, 2019, Meeting

10:00 AM–12:50 PM, State Transportation Building, Conference Rooms 2 and 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 (MPO) agreed to the following:

·         Approve the work program for MBTA SFY 2020 NTD: Data Collection and Analysis

·         Approve Amendment Three to the federal fiscal years (FFYs) 2019–23 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

·         Endorse the FFYs 2020–24 TIP

·         Adopt Scenario 4 for modelling for the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2040

Meeting Agenda

1.    Introductions

See attendance on page 15.

2.    Public Comments 

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller (City of Newton) and Catherine Anderson (Office of State Senator Cynthia Creem) advocated for the inclusion of project #609288 (Traffic Signal and Safety Improvements at Interchange 17 [Newton Corner] in Newton) in an earlier time band of the MPO’s new Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), Destination 2040. This project was proposed for programming in the FFYs 2035–40 time band in several of the scenarios presented by MPO staff at this meeting. Mayor Fuller acknowledged the challenges and tradeoffs inherent in transportation decision-making, including combatting climate change by encouraging people to walk, bike, and use transit, and building affordable housing near transit. Mayor Fuller stated that congestion relief and aging infrastructure are major concerns in Newton, especially as more development is occurring. Mayor Fuller acknowledged that while Newton has more transit service than many other municipalities, it is often not reliable or affordable enough for people to use frequently. For this reason, she advocated for increased funding for public transportation. Mayor Fuller also noted that her constituents often complain about the condition of roads and traffic congestion during the school year. Mayor Fuller stressed that project #609288 should be programmed in an earlier time band than FFYs 2035–39 because of the important need to address unsafe conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders.  Mayor Fuller expressed concern about the lack of specificity in Scenarios 1A and 4, and she advocated for the MPO to prioritize specific projects. C. Anderson expressed Senator Creem’s support for the Newton Corner project and indicated that the Senator would submit a written comment letter.

Tegin Teich (Regional Transportation Advisory Council) asked whether the scope of this project would need to change to improve the entire traffic circle, in addition to the exit ramp at the interchange. Mayor Fuller replied that the scope of the project should include the entire traffic circle.

Dick Williamson (Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail) advocated for several rail trail projects included in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP, including the MassDOT-prioritized project #608995 (Mass Central Rail Trail—Wayside in Hudson, Stow, and Sudbury), and the MPO Regional Target-funded project #608164 (Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Phase 2D, in Sudbury). D. Williamson stated that the hope is that the Mass Central Rail Trail will one day extend to North Station in Boston, and that the Sudbury section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail might drive advocacy for future transit to Framingham, West Concord, and Lowell. D. Williamson advocated for more radial and circumferential rail trails to be funded in the TIP in the future.

Lynn Weissman (Friends of the Community Path) and Emily Warren (Somerville resident) advocated for changes to the design of the Community Path, planned as part of project #1570 (Green Line Extension to College Avenue with the Union Square Spur). The Community Path will connect to the Minuteman Bikeway and Charles River Path. L.  Weissman advocated for an additional connection to the Grand Junction Path and a proposed connector through Assembly Square to the Northern Strand Trail. L. Weissman stated that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ guidelines require bike paths to be at least 11-to-14-feet wide to allow the safe passage of more than 200 bicycles and pedestrians an hour, but the current design for the Community Path is for a 10-foot wide path. Currently, approximately 320 to 340 people (pedestrians and bicyclists) travel on the Community Path per hour during peak travel times; 85 percent of them are pedestrians. The future usage might surpass 400 bicyclists and pedestrians per peak hour. Because of the density of these areas, this Community Path would be the only safe path between Somerville and Boston. L. Weissman asked MassDOT to build a 14-foot-wide path with buffers and setbacks. She also stated that the Friends of the Community Path hope MassDOT will work to design a safe and accessible path and stated her belief that the design changes would only increase the project cost marginally. E. Warren stressed the importance of building the path to safe specifications, emphasizing regional demand for safe bicycle networks. E. Warren noted a recent fatal crash on the Minuteman Bikeway, and she stated that pedestrians and bicyclists already compete for space on shared-use paths and once the utility of the network is expanded more people will use them.

Representative Joan Meschino (State Representative, Town of Hingham) advocated for the inclusion of project #605168 (Intersection Improvements at Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary in Hingham) in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. This project is currently planned to be programmed with MPO Regional Target funds in FFY 2024. Representative Meschino stated that this project has been the focus of a collaborative public process between the Towns of Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset to promote traffic calming for public safety. Representative Meschino thanked the MPO for its support of the project, which will address significant safety issues.

Julia Wallerce (Institute for Transportation and Development Policy) advocated for the Dedicated Bus Lane Program, currently proposed as a low-cost investment program in Destination 2040. J. Wallerce stated that interest in bus lanes have generated momentum as the region faces worsening congestion and climate change. J. Wallerce stated that it is imperative to move more people with fewer vehicles and this program will enable more municipalities to partner with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to make this happen. J. Wallerce stated that the Town of Arlington’s bus lane pilot has already reduced travel times by 10 minutes, adding that bus lanes improve reliability, on-time performance, and rider and driver satisfaction. J. Wallerce noted that when combined with transit signal priority and all-door boarding, the impact is even higher. J. Wallerce advocated for the program as a way to promote bus rapid transit as part of future Complete Streets projects. 

David Melly (Office of State Representative Carolyn C. Dykema) advocated for and thanked the MPO for its support of project #606043 (Signal and Intersection Improvements on Route 135 in Hopkinton), which is currently at the 75 percent design phase and programmed in the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. However, the cost analysis has identified cost increases that will need to be reflected. D. Melly stated he will submit details about the cost increase in writing.

Kristiana Lachiusa (LivableStreets Alliance) spoke in support of the inclusion of funds for dedicated bus lanes, transit modernization, and climate resiliency in Destination 2040. K. Lachiusa stated that these programs and project types are critical to creating alternatives to travel in cars, mitigating sea-level rise, and increasing safety and access for people dependent on transit. K. Lachiusa advocated specifically for funding to improve bus facilities, including maintenance facilities and bus stop amenities, noting that the lack of adequate bus storage and maintenance is a major limiting factor for the MBTA. K. Lachiusa stated that improving transit is critical for the long-term health and sustainability of the region and that safe, comfortable, and accessible bus stops are key to increasing ridership.

Wig Zamore (Somerville resident, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership) thanked the MPO for its support of the Green Line Extension, but expressed concerns about the current design for the project. W. Zamore stated that there are currently no elevators planned for two of the stations on the extension, including Union Square. W. Zamore stated that the current ramp design would limit ridership and be inconvenient for people with disabilities and motorists connecting to the service. W. Zamore also expressed support for the Community Path due to public health concerns.

3.    Chair’s Report—Steve Woelfel, MassDOT

There was none.

4.    Committee Chairs’ Reports

There were none.

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

There was none.

6.      Executive Director’s Report—Annette Demchur, Co-Interim Executive Director, Central Transportation Planning Staff

A. Demchur stated that MPO staff would host a public meeting regarding the proposed MPO Transit Committee at 6:00 PM on June 4, 2019, in Conference Rooms 2 and 3 at the State Transportation Building. A. Demchur reminded the MPO members that representatives of the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization would be visiting for a peer exchange on June 5, 2019, and attending the MPO board meeting on June 6, 2019. A. Demchur noted that prior to the meeting on June 6, 2019, the Administration and Finance Committee would meet to review the operating budget. Lastly, A. Demchur introduced Kate White, newly hired as the Public Participation Planner in the MPO staff’s Certification Activities group.

7.    United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Certification Planning Review Update—Leah Sirmin, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and Nelson Hoffman, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

L. Sirmin and N. Hoffman provided an update on the USDOT’s review of the MPO’s planning process. Certification reviews are conducted every four years to ensure that the MPO’s planning process is conducted in accordance with all relevant federal laws and regulations. The Boston Region MPO’s last review was in 2015. The law requires a 3C—continuous, comprehensive, and cooperative—process between MPOs, state DOTs, public transportation providers, and other stakeholders. FTA and FHWA’s review consisted of a desk review of relevant MPO documents, advanced questions for MPO staff, and a two-day site visit in October of 2019. The final report summarized areas where MPO activities could be improved and gave praise for positive progress. The determination of the report is that the MPO is conditionally certified, pending the completion of two corrective actions. The first corrective action requires the MPO to provide a completed list of obligated projects. The current list of projects does not include all FTA-funded projects. In addition, the FTA requested more financial information from the MPO. The second corrective action relates to updating the MPO’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) to reflect recent changes to the Air Quality Agreement and the ramifications of a court decision in California affecting air quality determinations.

The report also commends the MPO for its work related to air quality conformity in the LRTP, ongoing Title VI and non-discrimination data collection and analysis, and work on emerging issues such as connected and autonomous vehicles and transportation network companies. Additionally, the report recommends improvements to the MPO’s performance-based planning and programming, a review of the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) funding formula, the creation of an operational plan for the MPO, voting procedures, additional training, and more creative outreach to environmental justice populations. The review also encourages the MPO to apply a more concerted and coordinated effort on environmental mitigation, resiliency, and emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

L. Sirmin stated that the federal team is looking forward to seeing the MPO’s action plan for addressing the corrective actions.


Paul Regan (MBTA Advisory Board) asked whether the report includes specific recommendations for changes to the MPO’s election process and voting structure. N. Hoffman responded that there are no specific recommendations but stated that the MPO should ensure broader representation of communities in the region.

T. Teich asked what the next steps are regarding the federal recommendations. A. Demchur responded that MPO staff would develop an action plan following the endorsement of the new LRTP. L. Sirmin stated that the draft action plan should be completed in June and corrective actions should be resolved this calendar year. The MPO should include some deadlines in the action plan, which the federal team will review.

S. Woelfel noted that some of the recommendations are beyond the Boston Region MPO’s power to accomplish on its own. For example, issues involving both the Air Quality MOU and the MARPA formula require agreements with outside agencies. A. Demchur commented that MPO staff would make proposals in response to each recommendation and share them with the MPO.

Ken Miller (FHWA) commented that the state would provide some options to the MPO regarding how to address the recommendations. He suggested that the MPO develop an action plan with an ambitious, yet realistic, schedule.

8.    Approval of April 25, 2019, MPO Meeting Minutes—Róisín Foley, MPO Staff

This item was postponed until the next MPO meeting.

9.    MBTA State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020 National Transit Database (NTD)—Bradley Putnam, MPO Staff

MPO staff regularly conducts data collection in support of the MBTA’s NTD submittals to the FTA. The budget for this project is $127,835, paid for by an MBTA contract, and the work is scheduled to take 18 months to complete. The objectives of this project are to develop estimates of passenger-miles traveled and unlinked trips for the following MBTA directly operated transportation modes: bus, rapid bus, trackless trolley, heavy rail, and light rail. MPO staff will document the results in three technical memos which will be submitted to the MBTA in October 2020.


A motion to approve the work program for MBTA SFY 2020 NTD: Data Collection and Analysis was made by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) (Eric Bourassa) and seconded by MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan). The motion carried.

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

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar:

1.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment 3 Tables

2.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment 3 Simplified

3.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment 3 MBTA

4.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment 3 Performance Addendum

5.    Draft FFYs 2019–23 TIP Amendment 3 Comment Letters

Amendment Three to the FFYs 2019–23 TIP includes changes to both highway and transit funding in the FFYs 2019–23 annual elements of the TIP. The changes to highway funding affect projects funded with the MPO’s Regional Target funds and projects funded with statewide funds. Changes to Regional Target-funded projects primarily focus on aligning the FFYs 2019–23 TIP with the proposed FFYs 2020–24 TIP to reflect cost changes across all years; the reprogramming of projects in different years; and the addition of new projects and programs in FFYs 2021–23. Changes to statewide projects include cost increases, the addition of new funding sources, the reprogramming of projects to different years, and the addition of three new projects. The changes to transit projects reflect adjustments in funding to MBTA programming since the endorsement of Amendment Two. The adjustments reflect actual apportionments of federal formula funding and changes to FFYs 2019–23 program sizes based on project readiness.

Other changes include the incorporation the MPO’s full set of federally required performance targets so that they are reflected for any FHWA and FTA review.

During the 21-day public review period, MPO staff received two public comments regarding Amendment Three. One was from a delegation of state legislators from the North Shore requesting that the Amendment include funds to support ferry service from Lynn to Boston as mitigation for the ongoing work on the Tobin and North Washington Street Bridges. The second letter, from Acton resident Paul Malchodi, requested a design change for project #606223 (Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Phase II B). This project is currently programmed with statewide funds in FFY 2019. Both letters are posted to the MPO meeting calendar.


Daniel Amstutz (Town of Arlington) asked if the cost increase for project #606635 (Reconstruction of Highland Avenue, Needham Street and Charles River Bridge, N-04-002, from Webster Street [Needham] to Route 9 [Newton]) would be covered by the MPO’s Regional Target funds. M. Genova replied that they would.


A motion to approve Amendment Three to the FFYs 2019–23 TIP was made by the South West Advisory Planning Council (Glenn Trindade) and seconded by the MBTA Advisory Board (P. Regan). The motion carried.

11. FFYs 2020–24 TIP—Matt Genova, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar:

1.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP Final Review

2.    Draft FFYs 2020–24 TIP Executive Summary

M. Genova reviewed the public comments received by MPO staff during the formal public comment period for the FFYs 2020–24 TIP. Appendix C of the TIP document summarizes public comments received during TIP development and the formal public comment period. MPO staff received a total of 46 written comments during the comment period. M. Genova highlighted letters from the Regional Transportation Advisory Council, the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination and MetroWest Regional Collaborative subregional groups, the LivableStreets Alliance, and the 495/MetroWest Partnership. The most commented on project was the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, which garnered 25 unique comments. All of these comments were in support of the project with a few requests for design changes to promote the trail’s connection to other local amenities. MPO staff received several letters of support for other specific projects, including those addressing Exchange Street in Malden; Kelley’s Corner in Acton; Mount Auburn Street in Watertown; the Route 62 bridge replacement in Middleton; and the pedestrian hybrid beacon installation on Route 9 in Framingham. MPO staff received a few comments with project-specific requests, including widening the Somerville Community Path; additional funds for the Route 135 Signal Improvements project in Hopkinton; a request for the Resurfacing of Route 9 project to be moved into an earlier year; and a request to consider funding a dedicated bus lane on the Access Road to Alewife Station. Other commenters advocated for improvements to the TIP document and database.


T. Teich asked whether additional actions would be taken to address concerns about the process of adding the Sumner Tunnel project to the TIP given the shortened public comment period. S. Woelfel replied that MassDOT is currently working on responses to comments.

M. Genova added that MPO staff will work to make connections between those commenters and project managers at MassDOT or with municipal representatives who might be able to address specific design concerns.


A motion to endorse the FFYs 2020–24 TIP was made by the South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (G. Trindade) and seconded by the MassDOT Highway Division (John Romano). The motion carried.

12. LRTP Project Selection—Anne McGahan, MPO Staff

Documents posted to the MPO meeting calendar:

  1. LRTP Funding Recommendations Presentation Continued
  2. LRTP Universe of Projects Information and Evaluation Summary
  3. LRTP Staff Recommendation Scenarios
  4. LRTP All Written Public Comments Received


The MPO board agreed on investment program funding goals for Destination 2040 at the May 2, 2019, MPO meeting. The board agreed to a goal of programming 30 percent of funding for major infrastructure projects. The MPO must address the following policy questions before choosing major infrastructure projects:

1)    Does the MPO want to avoid programming any single major infrastructure project that requires more than 30 percent of funding in any given five-year time band?

2)    Does the MPO want to continue funding the projects that are currently in Charting Progress to 2040 that have not yet been programmed in the TIP?

3)    Does the MPO want to flex highway funding to transit major infrastructure projects?

4)    Does the MPO want to leave some major infrastructure funding unallocated in the later time bands for projects that may emerge in the future or for projects whose costs may be higher than today’s estimates?

5)    Does the MPO want to consider including illustrative projects in the LRTP?

A. McGahan presented several scenarios for programming in the LRTP, Destination 2040.

Scenario 1

Scenario 1 includes projects that could be funded within the constraints of the 30 percent goal for the Major Infrastructure Program, including four projects in Charting Progress to 2040 and seven projects that are municipal priorities with action being taken to advance them. This scenario programs the Walnut Street Interchange project in Saugus; MassDOT is advancing the project but the municipal proponent has not provided feedback about the project to MPO staff. This scenario has a surplus of about $40 million in the last time band to account for cost overruns. The projects included in the FFYs 2035–40 time band are projects for which action is being taken now.

Scenario 1A

Scenario 1A reclassifies the projects on McGrath Boulevard in Somerville and Western Avenue in Lynn to Complete Streets projects. This results in 10 percent of funding allocated to major infrastructure projects and 65 percent to Complete Streets projects in the FFYs 2025–29 time band. If the MPO wants to keep the program goals consistent with the target of 45 percent programming on Complete Streets projects and 30 percent on major infrastructure projects, the MPO could program fewer Complete Streets projects during this time band. This would allow the MPO to program additional major infrastructure projects in the time band.

Scenario 4

Scenario 4 only programs the projects in the current LRTP and the Western Avenue project in Lynn, leaving the funding in the majority of the final time band unallocated. The MPO could use this funding to prioritize programing any of the projects in the Universe of Projects or leave some funding unallocated to fund projects that may emerge in the future.

David Koses (City of Newton) asked if there is more information about replacing the traffic signal at the Interstate 90 eastbound off-ramp, as it is important for bicycle and pedestrian improvements for project #609288, Traffic Signal and Safety Improvement at Interchange 17 in Newton.

E. Bourassa asked if the project should be considered as a Complete Streets project since it is intended to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

D. Koses replied that from the City’s perspective, he would consider the project as a Complete Streets project because currently, there is no connection for pedestrians at Newton Circle. J. Romano added that MassDOT is concerned about safety at the rotary, and he thinks that by improving safety for pedestrians could potentially address Complete Streets elements.

K. Miller said that the MPO never decided about the cost thresholds for major infrastructure and Complete Streets projects and that this question should be discussed.

S. Woelfel clarified that MassDOT is comfortable with using the $20 million threshold to identify major infrastructure projects that add capacity to the transportation network and/or produce air quality impacts. He noted that MassDOT is open to suggestions from other MPO members about identifying a different funding threshold.

T. Teich commented on the reclassification of the funding goals for the Major Infrastructure and Complete Streets Programs. T. Teich stated that if the MPO considered reclassifying, the MPO would have to think about the goal percentages because the outcome of the reclassification would change the percentage currently dedicated for major infrastructure projects. She noted that the reclassification should not happen without a larger conversation on revisiting the percentages again. Regarding the first discussion item, she noted that in this case no single project would be excluded from consideration. However, she objected to using the same language for the Charting Progress to 2040 major infrastructure goal and Destination 2040 major infrastructure goal. Regarding the second discussion item, she supported keeping the projects in the last plan as long as they are supported by project proponents. Regarding the third discussion item about flexing highway funding to transit, she reported that the Advisory Council is very supportive of leaving room for such changes. She believes that having a hybrid of Scenario 1A and 4 could be possible as Scenario 1A maximizes programing while also preserving some unallocated funding. Scenario 4 maximizes the amount of unallocated funding, which makes it possible to program newly identified projects without having to revisit the funding goals.

Jay Monty (City of Everett) expressed support for selecting a hybrid of Scenarios 1 and 4. He noted that while the transit projects are conceptual, many of the major infrastructure roadway projects have a comparable level of design detail and are included in the LRTP. J. Monty also asked for more clarity on what including illustrative projects would entail.

P. Regan expressed his concerns about illustrative projects being added that are either too expensive to be funded or lacking political support. While he did not support illustrative projects, he supported the idea of reserving funds in the outer time bands to flex to transit modernization projects.

K. Miller stated that MassDOT has decided not to use federal funding for major infrastructure projects. MassDOT has been using statewide funding for projects that the agency wants to move forward. K. Miller commented that the MPO should be able to advocate to the state and find other ways to fund projects that the MPO thinks are important. 

S. Woelfel responded to K. Miller’s comment and clarified that MassDOT does not limit statewide funding to the projects that the agency wants to move forward. In the past there was a better planning process in which MassDOT distributed funding to the regions that needed major infrastructure projects. He believes that the MPO’s collaborative decision-making process, which distributes funding for projects in the subregions, has been a usual and meaningful planning process for communities.

D. Koses raised a question about what would happen to the projects that are unprogrammed from a time band, especially the ones that received a high evaluation score. He was uncomfortable with the situation as projects with high scores that are taken out would be less likely to be programmed back into the LRTP.

Tom Kadzis (City of Boston) commented that some illustrative projects do not fit the LRTP goals enough to be programmed. He also believes that there have not been any negative outcomes related to illustrative projects for the MPO.

J. Monty stated that any project programmed in the last two time bands of the LRTP is essentially illustrative given how funding and priorities could shift over time, and he asked whether it would be possible to simply include a list of projects that the MPO feels are important and that could potentially use the available money.

T. Teich suggested moving away from the idea of illustrative projects and using another definition for projects that are currently envisioned but do not necessarily rank high in terms of satisfying MPO goals. Such projects could be important for communities, but the scope and the scoring could be adjusted overtime so that they could be programmed within a reasonable timeframe in the future. She agreed with J. Monty that some projects should not be programmed in the outermost time band because it could limit the opportunities for flexing funding for certain transit projects or other critical regional needs. However, she noted that the MPO should leave some funding for projects that are more clearly defined compared to illustrative projects.

E. Bourassa did not agree with moving forward with illustrative projects but supported adopting Scenario 4. He noted that there could be many unanticipated changes in priorities and visions in the future that could affect programming in later time bands. For this reason, he advised against programming projects too far in advance.

Aaron Clausen (City of Beverly) agreed with changing funding targets and shifting funding for Complete Streets projects. He noted that it is important to consider illustrative projects, such as project #609246 (Reconstruction of Western Avenue [Route 107]), which show MPO commitment to Complete Streets projects. He believes that illustrative projects could provide planning perspectives to a certain extent, but listing projects that are important yet not programmed is more crucial.

S. Woelfel stated that the MPO will still identify projects that meet the priorities of the MPO but would not program them into a specific time band. The list of projects would be a reference for unallocated funds.

T. Kadzis agreed with T. Teich that the MPO should revisit and reclassify program funding percentages. It does not make sense to him to fund a project that does not add capacity in the LRTP without having a discussion about reclassifying funding percentages.

A. McGahan responded that there are only three projects that would be removed from the LRTP because they do not expand capacity: project #605313, Bridge Replacement, Route 27 (North Main Street) over Route 9 (Worcester Street) and Interchange Improvement in Natick; project #606109, Ramp Reconstruction and Relocation on I-495 at Route 126 in Bellingham (an interchange reconfiguration); and project #609246, Reconstruction of Western Avenue (Route 107) in Lynn. Project #607981, McGrath Boulevard in Somerville will still have to be listed because it will change the capacity of the system and, thus it has to be modelled.

K. Miller reminded the MPO that the federal definition of regional significance in terms of adding capacity is the equivalent of adding one mile of a highway lane. So according to the federal definition, none of these projects have to be in the LRTP.

A. McGahan replied that the definition does not specify that an additional travel lane has to be one mile to be considered as “adding capacity.”  

T. Teich asked for clarification on the impact of choosing and not choosing certain projects to be modelled. She stated that the Boston Region MPO is not intending to hold up the other MPOs’ process because of this.

A. McGahan replied that the modelling is done for the greenhouse gas analysis and for the transportation equity analysis. The modelling does not have to be done for air quality conformity. Scenario 1A removed two Complete Streets projects: project #607981, McGrath Boulevard in Somerville, and project #609246, Reconstruction of Western Avenue (Route 107) in Lynn. That scenario leaves $120 million in the FFYs 2025–29 time band unprogrammed.

E. Bourassa asked if Scenario 1A reduces funding for other Complete Streets projects. He reiterated that he could not support that scenario if the funding for other Complete Streets projects decreased.

T. Teich reiterated that the MPO has to have a discussion about shifting categorization and revisiting the percentage assigned for each funding category because she believes that if the MPO leaves the percentages as they are now, funding for Complete Streets projects would not be reduced. T. Teich also asked for clarification regarding the implications of choosing Scenario 1A on the other MPOs’ processes of programming projects for the next LRTP.

A. McGahan provided more information about how the MPOs’ processes would be held up because the Boston Region MPO staff would have to remodel projects.

D. Amstutz expressed opposition to Scenario 1A because it reduces the amount of funding for Complete Streets projects. He agreed that setting a target of programming 45 percent of funding for Complete Streets projects would be a step in the right direction. He agreed to adopt Scenario 4.

J. Monty agreed that Scenario 4 is the best scenario for the current situation.

A. McGahan mentioned that there is a “Changing Capacity” column provided in the table that signifies if a project adds capacity. The table listed projects that would add capacity to the system and, therefore, would need to be modeled for air quality conformity.  Project #605313, Bridge Replacement, Route 27 (North Main Street) over Route 9 (Worcester Street) and Interchange Improvement in Natick, is an interchange modernization, so it is not considered as changing capacity. Project #604619, Route 4/225 (Bedford Street) and Hartwell Avenue in Lexington, added a travel lane. Project #606109, Intersection Improvements at Route 126 & Route 135/MBTA and CXS Railroad in Framingham, would change capacity, but the project is still a conceptual plan. Project #606109, Ramp Reconstruction and Relocation on I-495 at Route 126 in Bellingham, is an interchange modernization, so it does not add capacity. Project #608807, Cypher Street Extension in Boston, is an expansion project, therefore it adds capacity.  Project #5399, Reconstruction of Bridge Street in Salem, adds travel lanes. Project #601513, Interchange Reconstruction at Walnut Street and Route 1 (Phase II) in Saugus, adds travel lanes. The Washington Street over I-95 bridge replacement project in Woburn (design status: pre-PRC) adds travel lanes. Project #607981, McGrath Boulevard in Somerville, reduces travel lanes. As a result, there are only three projects that do not meet the definition of capacity changing projects.

T. Teich supported modeling Scenario 4 as it would not remove certain projects from the current list.

S. Woelfel made a clarification about adding projects in addition to adopting Scenario 4. As long as projects trigger an air quality analysis they would not need to be modelled, which means the discussion regarding whether or not to include such projects would happen during the TIP review period. As conceptual projects become more defined, and if the MPO decides to support any of them, they could be amended into the LRTP if necessary.


A motion to adopt Scenario 4 for modelling was made by MAPC (E. Bourassa) and seconded by At-Large City (City of Everett) (J. Monty). A motion to amend the motion to add project #5399, Reconstruction of Bridge Street in Salem, and project #607727, Interchange Reconstruction at Route 126 and Route 135/MBTA and CXS Railroad, to Scenario 4 for modelling was made by A. Clausen. The motion to amend failed. The original motion to model Scenario 4 carried. At-Large City (City of Newton) (D. Koses) opposed the motion.  

13. Members’ Items

There were none.


A motion to adjourn was made by the South West Advisory Planning Committee (Town of Medway) (G. Trindade) and seconded by At-Large Town (Town of Arlington) (D. Amstutz). 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)

Daniel Amstutz

At-Large Town (Town of Lexington)

Sheila Page

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 (MassDOT)

Steve Woelfel

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)

Dennis Giombetti

Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (Town of Bedford)

Rick Reed


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)


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


Ruthanne Fuller

Mayor, City of Newton

Dick Williamson

Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

Lynn Weissman

Friends of the Community Path

Emily Warren

Friends of the Community Path

Catherine Anderson

Office of State Senator Cynthia Creem

Timothy Paris

MassDOT Highway District 4

Elaine Lazarus

Town of Hopkinton

Wig Zamore

Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership

Brad Rawson

City of Somerville

State Representative Joan Meschino

Town of Hingham

Tom Mayo

Town of Hingham

Sara Scully

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority

Sheri Warrington

Office of State Senator Crighton

Preyel Patel

Office of State Representative Lori Ehrlich

Steve Olanoff

Three Rivers Interlocal Council Alternate

Deborah Burke

City of Malden

Julia Wallerce

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

David Melly

Office of State Representative Carolyn C. Dykema

Kristiana Lachiusa


Ta-wei Lin



MPO Staff/Central Transportation Planning Staff

Annette Demchur, Co-Interim Executive Director

Scott Peterson, Co-Interim Executive Director

Mark Abbott

Róisín Foley

Hiral Gandhi

Matt Genova

Alexandra (Ali) Kleyman

Anne McGahan

Bradley Putnam

Michelle Scott

Rebecca Swaszek

Judy Fung

Kate White