STEP is a community group dedicated to improving transportation in Somerville, MA. We advocate for the Green Line extension, a more livable city, and public health issues.
We in Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) can appreciate that the MBTA is going through difficult financial stresses due to the loss of ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic. And, that like other transit systems across the US, the agency is trying to find ways to stem the continuing loss in revenue through the proposed Forging Ahead plan. However, we are alarmed about the harm those cuts will do regionally both during the pandemic and long term.
The current challenges transit-dependent front-line workers face are enormous and must be met. In the near term, front line workers throughout the metro area who rely on the MBTA to get to work, already commute in a stressful, potentially hazardous environment, often working late hours and taking multiple modes of transit. The proposed service cuts will disproportionately affect those workers, who don’t have jobs that can be done from home. The fact that the buses and subway cars aren’t crowded currently is a good thing to minimize the spread of the virus.
A new study from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) found that 45% of the greater Boston area’s Black residents, 47% of the region’s Asian residents, and 54% of the region’s Latino residents live in the highest-pollution areas, compared to only 29% of the region’s white residents. Exposure to vehicle air pollution increases the risk of heart and lung diseases, which have been associated with higher death rates for patients suffering from COVID-19.
Detailed Survey Results:
– MassTrails for co-funding these Feasibility Studies with the Friends of the Community Path and the Friends of the Mystic River Connector
– Alta Planning + Design the contractor we selected to perform the Feasibility Studies
– Our non-profit fiscal sponsors for this MassTrails grant: Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) and Mystic River Watershed Association
– Friends of the Grand Junction Path for their assistance with this project
– The 650+ community members who participated in the Feasibility Study Survey
These feasibility studies allow us to pursue the next the step – project design, which may occur in stages for different areas.
We hope these proposed bike-ped connections will someday benefit people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life, by creating healthy, enjoyable active transportation and recreational opportunities with connections to public transit.
The Washington Street bridge/underpass near McGrath Highway reopens today after a long closure for Green Line construction. There will be one travel lane and one shared bus/bike lane in each direction. A temporary pedestrian sidewalk will be open on one side of the roadway until final surface restoration is complete. Work will continue overhead on the elevated track level during this phase. Permanent pavement, finished sidewalks on both sides, lighting, and street markings will be completed this summer.
Later this week, the Broadway Bridge in Ball Square reopens as well. It will initially reopen with one travel lane in each direction. During this early stage, temporary accessible sidewalks and bike lanes will be installed on one side of the bridge allowing ped/bike travel in both directions at all times. Final surface restorations are expected to be completed this summer. At that time, the bridge will include permanent pavement markings with two travel lanes in each direction in addition to finished sidewalks and bike lanes on each side of the bridge. When the future Ball Square Station now under construction is complete, the bridge will feature a fully accessible entrance to the station platform from the bridge sidewalk via an elevator and staircase. A second at-grade entrance will be constructed from Boston Ave.
Other bridge updates:
You are invited to participate in a Community Meeting (via ZOOM) reporting on research done by the CAFEH research team on how traffic related air pollution and noise affects the health and wellbeing of Somerville residents.
At the meeting we will cover what we have learned about the impact of traffic related air pollution on health, the results of noise testing along I-93 and how noise pollution affects our health. And, We will present the results of recent air pollution monitoring during the Covid pandemic when traffic has been very reduced in comparison to the more typical heavy traffic traveling through Somerville.
June 1st, Monday
5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
In the comfort of your home via ZOOM
Coronavirus canceled the official Green Line Extension meeting recently, but you can view the slides from the comfort of your couch. You’ll find updates on:
We were hoping for more details on station designs, but those weren’t shared.
By the way, this is the 1,000th post on STEP’s website! The fight for better transportation in Somerville has been a long one.
As Green Line construction continues, three bridges will continue to be closed longer than originally planned. Here’s the latest schedule:
Washington St.: Expected to reopen in May 2020.
Broadway: Expected to reopen in July 2020.
School St.: Expected to close after Washington St. bridge is reopened in May 2020 and reopen in June 2021 (the School St. bridge will not close until the Washington St. bridge is reopened.)
Medford St.: Expected to reopen in October.
The reason for moving the date is based on the contractor encountering an environmental contaminated water condition and the fact that the Broadway Bridge has been reconstructed a few times in the past and they have hit granite bridge abutment foundations that were unforeseen.
Officials still expect the Green Line Extension to be completed on time, by the end of 2021.
“Green Line Extension Bridge Openings Delayed” (Somerville Patch)
“In his testimony before the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board today, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the city is “deeply disappointed” by the delays and will need additional assistance to address the impact of the closures. He said his community has had to shoulder a difficult burden during construction and will work with the MBTA and MassDOT to reduce its effects, including advocating for assistance with public safety and traffic management and support for local businesses .”