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Latest plan has Green Line
ending at College Avenue

Posted by Alix Roy  June 21, 2010 09:34 AM

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Mass. Dept. of Transportation

The latest extension map has the Green Line ending at College Avenue in Medford.

A Final Environmental Impact Report submitted by the state Department of Transportation last week validates concerns submitted by residents that a proposed extension of the Green Line to the Mystic Valley Parkway/Route 16 in Medford will be delayed indefinitely because of lack of funds.

“Although the extension to Mystic Valley Parkway/Route 16  was considered for the Green Line Extension Project, limitations on available funding prohibit the Commonwealth from extending the Green Line beyond College Avenue at this time,” the introduction to the report states. “This second, future phase is not currently part of the Proposed Project and is not the subject of this [report].”

The report addresses concerns related to station integration, noise mitigation, and public involvement in the Green Line Extension, a billion-dollar project that will bring subway transportation to Medford and Union Square in Somerville.

Under the current proposed project, the College Avenue station in Medford would operate as a terminus station, increasing the amount of traffic in and around the station. The report estimates that 2,420 people will board the train each day from College Avenue – 320 more than if the station was not the end of the line.

Traffic at two key intersections near the station (Boston Avenue at Winthrop Street and College Avenue at Boston Avenue) would worsen as a result of activity at the station, the report acknowledges. To mitigate congestion, 12 parking spaces would be removed on Boston Avenue to allow for an exclusive left-turn lane leading onto Winthrop Street. A portion of College Avenue including the bridge over the railroad tracks would be widened to allow for a right-turn only lane onto Boston Avenue.
 
To mitigate noise caused by the Green Line Extension, a 6-foot-high noise barrier will be constructed along many corridors, including a 1,000-foot long barrier just north of the College Avenue Station. In areas where noise barriers may not be effective or feasible, the report outlines alternative mitigation methods including adding extra layers of glazing to windows, sealing any holes in exterior surfaces, and providing forced ventilation and air conditioning “so that windows do not need to be opened.”

Areas where these methods may be utilized include the Brickbottom artist lofts, apartment complexes on Pearl Street, the Visiting Nurses Association, Tufts Science and Technology Center, Outside the Lines Art Studio, Tufts' Bacon Hall, and Walnut Street Center in Union Square.
 
MassDot and the MBTA plan to maintain a “robust” public involvement plan that includes community briefings, design workshops, outreach to environmental justice populations, e-mail notifications, and frequent updates to the project website, the report states.

To ensure communication during construction, the contractor will be required to commit to a “spectrum of outreach activities" and efforts "to mitigate the impacts of construction,” the report adds. A Green Line Project ombudsman will be hired to field all construction-period comments and complaints.
 
A public meeting on the Final Environmental Impact Report will be held Wednesday, June 30 at 6 p.m. at the Somerville High School Auditorium. The meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn about changes to the project and ask questions.

Public comments on the document will be received through July 23. Written comments must be submitted to: Secretary Ian Bowles, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MEPA Office, Attn: Holly Johnson, MEPA Analyst, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114. Fax comments to 617-626-1181 or e-mail to Holly.S.Johnson@state.ma.us

Click here to download a copy of the report.    

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