It has been more than seven long months since the Dec. 15, 2005, hearing held by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on the Ozone SIP “transit commitments.” Now the state is six months behind schedule in releasing the SIP commitments. This is critical because the SIP commitments must be submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Administration for review and approval before funding for construction of the Green Line can be secured. These delays are holding back progress on the Green Line.
Keep reading for how you can help.
Regardless of the Ozone SIP delays, it is important that Somerville residents now take action to remind the state and the Greater Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization that there must be quick progress on the commitment that has been made to extend the Green Line to Medford and Union Square. It is especially important that funding for corridor land use planning be provided so that land use planning is done to prepare for the Green Line expansion. Land use planning for transportation projects ensures that the transportation improves the quality of life by integrating transportation with land use well.
The MPO is holding two public outreach meetings Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The purpose of the meetings is for residents to comment on approval and funding for MPO transportation planning studies (Fiscal 2007 Draft Unified Planning Work Program, UPWP) and transportation projects (2007-2010 Transportation Improvement Program, TIP). We must let the MPO know how important it is to that funding for corridor land use for the Green Line extensions (important for residents of the Union Square and the Lowell Line neighborhoods in Somerville and Medford and East Cambridge) are included in the UPWP and the TIP.
The draft TIP and UPWP include corridor land use planning funds for both Green Line branches and the Community Bike Path planning and construction through Somerville to North Point. There is also funding in the TIP and UPWP to address air pollution from transportation corridors, and their impact on local residents in particular corridors can be addressed. Given scarce government resources for public transportation, it is very important for residents and communities to be heard. In addition to the meetings, written comments can be submitted up to 5 p.m. Tuesday, August 15.
Read more about the TIP and UPWP, including where to download them.
Submit written comments to John Cogliano, chairman of Boston Region MPO, via the following addresses:
FY 2007 Draft Unified Planning Work Program
c/o Mary Ellen Sullivan, UPWP manager
2007-2010 Transportation Improvement Program
c/o Samuel Snead, TIP manager
Send your comments by August 15!