Categories

Tag Archives | Massachusetts

Link

Boston.com: MBTA unveils 23 percent fare hike; limited service cuts also proposed

MBTA riders would pay an average of 23 percent more and most service cuts would be spared under a budget-balancing plan that will be announced this morning by the T, the state’s top transportation official said in an interview.

The changes, to take effect July 1, are significantly less severe than the two proposals unveiled by the T in January and widely criticized at hearings throughout Greater Boston in recent months. Those proposals would have relied entirely on fare increases and service cuts to make up the $160 million deficit the MBTA faces for the upcoming budget year.

No word yet on what will happen to Commuter Rail service.


See also: MBTA.com: Fare and Service Changes: MBTA Staff Recommendation

4
Link

Boston.com: New Balance details Brighton plans

Athletic shoe giant New Balance released detailed plans Wednesday for a new Brighton world headquarters that will include at least four new buildings with offices, restaurants, a hotel, and a sprawling sports complex that may offer everything from ice hockey to tennis.

The company filed a detailed proposal with Boston city officials, kicking off a months long process to review the 14-acre development project off Guest Street. The tallest buildings would be between 16 and 20 stories in height.

It would be nice if Providence had a company that wanted to expand itself say onto the 195 land…

0

MBTA proposes service cuts, fare increases

MBTA

MBTA Commuter Rail train at Providence Station. Photo (cc) willismonroe

If the MBTA’s proposals for fare increases and service cuts [.pdf] come to pass, we could be not seeing trains after 10pm or on weekends at Providence Station, or any commuter rail station for that matter. For the remaining trains that continue running, the one-way fare may raise as high as $11.25 from the current $7.75.

While service frequency to T.F. Green was just increased and the train station at Wickford Junction is set to open this spring, the MBTA is facing a monster deficit of $161 million. The deficit was $185 million before the agency knocked $24 million out of it through “efficiencies and savings in energy, operations, health care.” Also, while it is down slightly from 2010 to 2011, non-fare revenue is generally up over the last decade. That leaves fare increases and service cuts as the current last resort for closing the deficit.

Continue Reading →

17

Heading to Massachusetts I presume

As hundreds of thousands in Massachusetts enter their third day without power after this weekend’s historic winter storm; I spied something I’m sure they’re all eager to see.

Utility Trucks

Utility trucks parked in the lot across from the Providence Hitlon

It reminds me of Hurricane Bob on the Cape back in 1991. Convoys like this kept pouring over the bridges from as far away as Virginia and Québec. Even so, we were still two weeks without power.

Utility Trucks

Utility workers apparently having a meeting about the work ahead.

Hopefully crews can get our friends in Massachusetts and elsewhere hooked back up ASAP.

1

If we MUST have a casino

Welcome to Fabulous Providence

Photo illustration, original image (cc) mkoukoullis

Massachusetts has gone and approved casino gambling in the Commonwealth. They will allow slots at racetracks and 3 full scale “Vegas-style” casinos in the state. Both Fall River and New Bedford have been angling for a while now to get a casino in their cities.

Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox was quoted in the ProJo as being “very concerned” about a Bay State casino(s). The General Assembly here in Rhode Island has approved a 2012 ballot question asking voters to allow table games at Twin River in Lincoln.

Of course the concern comes from the fact that Rhode Island’s economy is addicted to Twin River. We get over $275 million from Twin River plus another $28.7 million from Newport Grand. Of the New Englanders going to play slots at Twin River, 56% of them are from Massachusetts (according to The Providence Journal), a percentage sure to drop precipitously if Bay Staters have slots and table games at home.

So while I personally am opposed to gaming as an economic development tool, it seems inevitable that the Assembly will move to leagalize full “Vegas-style” gaming here in Rhode Island.

Continue Reading →

92

Fall River’s Veterans Memorial Bridge opens westbound

Fall River-Somerset, Veterans Memorial Bridge, September 2011

Fall River-Somerset Veterans Memorial Bridge. Photo © MassDOT

Have you been sitting in traffic on the Braga Bridge in the last decade and looked north to see a new bridge being built? Ever wonder when the hell that thing was going to bedone. Today the bridge, named the Veterans Memorial Bridge, had a soft opening today.

The bridge will eventually connect Route 79 in Fall River to Somerset. The bridge carries Route 6 and will replace the aging Brightman Street drawbridge, which was built in 1906. The new bridge is also a drawbrige, but with a higher span, will require less openings allowing road and water traffic to move more freely.

Continue Reading →

6

Help Springfield

Damage from the June 1, 2011 tornado which struck Downtown Springfield and neighboring communities
Photo from MassLive.com

By now everyone is surely aware of the two tornadoes that touched down yesterday afternoon in the Springfield, Massachusetts area. There was significant damage to homes and business in the Springfield area.

The Springfield Republican reports that The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is accepting donations to help storm victims.

Visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter at 506 Cottage St., Springfield, MA 01104 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

0

News & Notes

→ The TransportPolitic: Making Sense of Amtrak’s Vision for the Northeast

Let it be known: Amtrak’s focus is on the Northeast Corridor. While Congress may require it to provide long-distance, cross-country services, the public company owns most of the rail corridor between Boston and Washington and it intends to exploit it fully… If it gathers sufficient resources to do so.


→ Planetizen: More Vehicles Than People

Historic Massachusetts towns have reached a new milestone — the number of vehicles on the road have outnumbered the population of people. Ann Sussman looks at this “demographic” shift, and what it means for people living in the shadow of Emerson and Thoreau.

Continue Reading →

0

News & Notes

→ Regional bike path would include Fall River, Cape Cod [South Coast Today]

Thus was born the SouthCoast Regional Bikeway Summit, a Feb. 15 event that will gather representatives from this region and others to discuss creating a regional bikeway. Sponsored by Mass in Motion, Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, UMass Dartmouth and the Council on Sustainability, the summit will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Advanced Technology & Manufacturing Center in Fall River.

On the table that day will be a vision to create a bike trail network that extends from Swansea to Wareham and north to Taunton and Mansfield, ultimately connecting with paths in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod.

“From Providence to Provincetown, that’s the way we sort of coin it,” said [Mass in Motion coordinator Pauline C.] Hamel. “And we’re not just talking about biking. These are intermodal pathways for walking, pushing strollers, wheelchairs — there’s a lot more to it.”

→ European Urbanism: Lessons from a City without Suburbs [Planetizen]

While searching for policies and levers to stem new or to retrofit existing suburbs, it might also be instructive to look for precedents, real examples of a city as it would be on arrival at the “end of the suburban project”. Precedents not only would lure planners and people by the power of their images but could also become practical guides. A contemporary precedent, were it to be found, would have great convincing power since it would have dealt with the modern issues of mobility, accessibility and commerce.

Reassuringly, at least one such city does exist: one that has reformed its suburbs to the point where they are indistinguishable from the mother “city” – Athens, Greece. This article looks at this example, attempts to draw lessons and raises disquieting questions.

→ New evidence cities rule and suburbs drool [Grist]

Suck it, Thoreau: Looks like big cities are the way to go if you’re looking to lower your environmental impact. According to a new study published in the journal Environment and Urbanization, carbon emissions in cities are lower than in the car-dependent burbs.

→ R.I. DOT leaves highway logo fee discussion to legislature [Providence Business News]

After facing fierce opposition from business owners, the R.I. Department of Transportation has backed down from a plan to charge businesses whose logos appear on informational signs along the state’s highways.

→ Community celebrates arts center [Brown Daily Herald]

About 350 attendees explored the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at its dedication ceremony last night, taking in the wide variety of student artwork — incorporating visual art, sound, video, dance and sculpture — that adorns the latest addition to the campus.
The building — which has been open for classes since Jan. 26 — will not be host to any one department, but will “manifest new modes of dialogue between different disciplines,” said Richard Fishman P’89, director of the Creative Arts Council and a professor of visual art, who has championed the building since long before it existed.

Shameless Plug: Please feel free to nominate us as Best Blog in the Phoenix’s Best of 2011. You could also ask your friends, your mom, and your cat to nominate us if you like.

2

Robert Billington: Bringing the Blackstone Valley Bikeway to its completion

Photo (cc) cho_kettie

The following is by Robert Billington, Ed.D, President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

January 20, 2011

Let’s face it; Rhode Island’s bikeways bring lots of enjoyment to our residents. From South County to the Blackstone Valley, these paths connect our neighborhoods, improve our economy and draw visitors to explore our communities. They are safe, enjoyable and provide a stress-free place to relax and exercise. Everyone who experiences them wants to see not only more paths but improved connectivity between paths. We have the opportunity to do this.

While there are other bike paths in the state, what makes the Blackstone River bikeway special is the industrious American story it tells. Over 30 years ago, planning began on the Blackstone River bikeway — a bold idea for its time. Restoring dirty land along the oldest polluted river in the hemisphere, the river that launched America to super-power status, took great imagination, and guts. Ten years ago, the first few miles of the bikeway opened in Lincoln. Now with 11 miles of the Bikeway constructed, accessibility to the Blackstone River and Canal is now easy and enjoyable for fishing, canoeing and cross-country skiing. Our state has successfully transformed land that was once a dump to land that is transforming people and reconnecting them to nature.

While we have made considerable progress, we are not done. The completed section of the bikeway passes along the Blackstone River through Cumberland, Lincoln and Woonsocket. As wonderful as the completed section is, a significant amount of work has to be done in order to connect the Blackstone Valley bikeway to both the East Bay bike path and to the Massachusetts border. Despite the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s work to plan and construct the bikeway, its completion is elusive. The reason is funding.

We have worked with Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials to determine a completion date for the Bikeway and the amount of funding necessary. As of right now, it is projected that completion could take place in seven years if we continue to work hard and as long as the $31 million needed for construction is secured. To make the completion of the Blackstone Bikeway by 2017 a reality, residents, governmental leaders, community groups and organizations need to take responsibility to find the funds to complete the Blackstone Bikeway.

To date, we have 11 of the less-expensive miles of the Bikeway completed. Additionally, we have $1 million of the $31 million needed to fund the more-expensive miles ahead. We must not wait and assume that someone else will step forward and secure the funding to complete the rest of the Bikeway. We have done this for too long. It is time to stay focused and bring the project to full completion. While cutting through the dense riverfront of Central Falls, Pawtucket, East Providence, Providence, Woonsocket and North Smithfield is going to be difficult, the completion of the bikeway is within our grasp. We need to urge its completion to every local, state and federal official asking them to help us find the construction funds to build. This is a call to action to get involved and continue to remind our officials to push for the completion of the Blackstone Bikeway by 2017.

Even with the State’s growing budget deficit, we must not waiver from completing the Blackstone Bikeway. Our state has many priorities for recreational spending and we realize that the Blackstone River Bikeway is just one of them. However, this one has been on the agenda for over three decades. It is time that the completion is moved to the top of the list. Don’t think of the bikeway as simply being a place of recreation. With gas prices steadily increasing, it provides Rhode Islanders with a way to bike to work, shop for groceries and travel. The Blackstone River Bikeway is quickly becoming the new Main Street in the Blackstone Valley. The economic, environmental and health benefits from using the Bikeway cannot be overstated.

Residents, businesses, federal, state, and local officials, and community groups have to work to complete the Blackstone Valley Bikeway. It is time for the Blackstone Valley Bikeway to be completed. 2017 has to be the date! Push for progress: Cycleblackstone.com.

Robert Billington, Ed.D, President
Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

0