Comment summary from 2.16.11


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Summary of comments from the February 16, 2011, MAPC Green Line Extension Community Visioning Process meeting

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Comment summary from 2.16.11

  1. 1. PUBLIC MEETING # 1 FEBRUARY 16, 2011 - SUMMARYThe Visioning ProcessMassDOT has convened a visioning process in order to explore opportunities and challengesassociated with the possible extension of the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway. They haveengaged the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to conduct a study and to present the publicwith information related to the opportunities and challenges associated with the possible extension.On February 16, 2011, the first of five public meetings was held at the Brooks Elementary School inMedford. The Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) facilitated the session.The MeetingMore than 130 people attended. The goal of the meeting was gather information from participantsto ensure that MassDOT and MAPC are aware of the major community concerns, what informationparticipants had received and what additional information is needed about the benefits and impactsof a potential station at Mystic Valley Parkway, what opportunities might exist as a result of a newstation, and who else to involve in the community conversation.At the outset of the meeting, staff from MAPC and MassDOT provided an overview about the processand answered frequently asked questions. Participants used electronic keypads to anonymouslyprovide feedback at the beginning of the meeting about who was attending (age, town where theylive, home ownership, etc.) and at the end of the meeting about how effective the meeting was.For most of the meeting, the participants met in facilitated small groups of 8–15 people to discusskey concerns, opportunities and information needs. Participants also offered suggestions about whoelse should be involved during the visioning process. During the small group portion note takerstook down key points of the discussion. In addition, all participants were encouraged to fill outcomment cards. The attached document summarizes all of this information gathered. The concernsand opportunities grouped around a number of themes including: transportation, land use anddevelopment, environment, station design and construction, costs and taxes, and other issues.Next StepsMAPC will review all of the feedback from the February 16 meeting. On March 30, the second MysticValley Parkway Green Line Extension Community Visioning Meeting will be held at 51 Winthrop Streetin Medford. At that meeting, MAPC will provide information about a number of issues including:traffic and parking, anti-displacement, air quality and other concerns and questions raised bycommunity members. Additional questions from the community will be answered.In order to keep the public informed, MassDOT has a dedicated website for this process. It The public can view meeting agendas, presentations andsummaries as well as public comments and suggestions. You can also get information on MAPC’swebsite at Comments are welcome via a dedicated email address orMystic Valley Parkway Community Visioning Process, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, 60 TemplePlace Boston, MA 02111.
  2. 2. Summary of Key Issues Mentioned Issue Mentioned Times Mentioned Transportation Key IssuesParking/City needs to develop a parking policy 8Safety improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers 7Traffic concerns along Route 16, Boston Avenue, West Medford, cut-through traffic 7Pedestrian and Bicycle access and connectivity to the station 6Modification of bus routes (existing and new) to serve station 4The Green Line needs to be connected to the commuter rail in West Medford 4Not building the station reduces transportation access and choices 2Ridership on Green Line will not be strong enough to support the project 2Concern that Capen Park cannot handle additional pedestrian traffic 1Concern that this area will be a storage area for Green Line cars 1Drop-offs to the station could cause traffic congestion and safety issues 1Install traffic signals that increase pedestrian safety 1 Land Use and Development Key IssuesDevelopment should respect the scale of the neighborhood 11What will happen to Whole Foods, 198-200 Boston Ave. and U-Haul? 6No displacement should occur as a result of this project (people or businesses) 4Concerned about losing the parking lot at Whole Foods 1Impact on West Medford business district and Medford Square 1Need blue collar jobs, not just white collar jobs 1Tufts is expanding into the community 1 Environment Key IssuesAbutter public health concerns (noise, vibration) 5Negative effect on air quality 4Protection of open space in general 3Protection of the Mystic River/Alewife River 3Protection of green space and trees along the right-of-way 1 Station Design and Construction Key IssuesConcern that the station design will include a parking garage 2Road closures/bridge closures during construction 1Station needs to include accessible design elements 1 Costs and Taxes Key IssuesFunding for the project, do we have the money? 3Loss of tax base if buildings are taken 3Future tax levy for Medford if station is constructed 2 General Issues Key IssuesIs this process a foregone conclusion? 3Snow removal at station and on sidewalks 3A Route 16 terminus is better than College Avenue 2Concerned about safety at the station 2Concerned with the upkeep of the station 2State will take property though eminent domain at a "low-ball" rate 1There is a need for good dialogue 1
  3. 3. Summary of Key Opportunities Mentioned Opportunities Mentioned Times Mentioned Transportation Key OpportunitiesImproved pedestrian and bicycle access in the area 9Green Line could help mitigate traffic 7Access to Boston, better frequency 6Access to the area without relying on a car 5Access to West Medford businesses 5Adds transportation choices 4Access to Whole Foods in Medford from other Green Line stations 3Light rail is better/more reliable than buses in bad weather 2Pedestrian connections to West Medford Center 2Provides a one-seat ride to work 2More independence for seniors who do not drive 1Opportunity for secure bike parking (cages, shelters) 1 Land Use and Development Key OpportunitiesPotential for increase in tax base and job growth 11Could increase diversity in housing choices; elderly/lower-income housing as well 4More foot traffic could increase retail potential 3Opportunity for new shops along Boston Avenue 3Station could have positive impact on property values 3Creates a synergy - open space, housing, business, transportation 2 Environment Key OpportunitiesBetter air quality and water quality as a result of less traffic 4Additional open space 1 Station Design and Construction Key OpportunitiesCap the right-of-way and tunnel the tracks to provide buildable space above 2 General Opportunities Key OpportunitiesResource for the entire area - not just Medford 1Better access to Tufts campus 1
  4. 4. Summary of Information Requests Information Requested Times Mentioned Transportation Information RequestedWill there be a change in bus routes to the station (new or existing)? 4How will parking be addressed? 3How do you get people to use other modes of transportation besides automobiles? 2How much faster would the Green Line be than the bus to Boston? 1Information on transit use in dense areas without parking 1Traffic impacts - travel patterns and increase in traffic 1What are the anticipated additional vehicle trips to the station? 1Which Green Line(s) would come to Route 16? (A-E Lines?) 1Will this station include a parking garage and will it be a transportation center? 1Would there be lighting improvements planned around the station? 1 Land Use and Development Information RequestedWould like renderings of the area and what it might look like in the future 3How many people will this project help? 1What is the projected population growth for the area? 1Will businesses be displaced as a result of the station location? 1 Costs and Taxes Information RequestedWhat is the cost of the project from College Ave to Route 16? 4What is the direct effect on municipal budgets? 2Why is the extension so expensive? 1 Station Design and Construction Information RequestedHow big is the station/what would it look like? 5What is the process for land acquisitions/what buildings are going to be taken? 5How will abutter impacts be mitigated? 4How will you mitigate construction impacts? 3When would this project be constructed if it were to happen? 2Overview of the current project plans, what is and is not included? 1Update on track alignment 1 General Inquiries Information RequestedNeed to develop a "newcomer" sheet with basic information 3Data on crime statistics around transit stations 2What are the benefits to all of Medford and Somerville? 2What is the City of Medfords position on the project? 2Why was this part of the project removed from Phase 1? 2Will the Green Line cars be quiet cars? 2Business owners need more information 1
  5. 5. Summary of Outreach Opportunities Mentioned Outreach Populations/Methods Times MentionedTufts University 10Business Owners 8Increase Racial/Ethnic Diversity at future meetings 8High School Students 7Seniors 6Church Groups 5Abutters 4Non-native English speakers 4Schools 4Smaller, localized meetings for some groups 3Arlington Residents 2City of Medford Staff/City Councilors 2Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) 2Disabled Population 2Low-Income Population 2Webinars 2Community Development Corporations 1Flyers on the T (buses and rail) 1Labor Unions 1Libraries 1Medford/Somerville Chambers of Commerce 1Public Access Television 1Tri Cap 1West Medford Community Center 1
  6. 6. Comment Card SummaryComment Card Suggestions Times MentionedUse reverse 911 calls and newspaper ads to announce the meetings 3Need a more diverse group of people, including youth 2The 6:00pm start time is too early for people who come after work 2Try to enhance the existing "mixed-use" character of the area 2Break up groups better to diversify the "pro and con" opinions 1Develop an online comment forum to capture comments and a place for running dialogue 1Hold a meeting in Somerville 1Include Planning Boards from Medford and Somerville 1Outreach to low-income and non-English speaking populations 1Vary the start times for meetings to more people can attend 1Comment Card Comments Times MentionedBe realistic, where is the money going to come from for this project? 2Did not receive notification of the meeting 2Discussion was well facilitated 2Extending the Green Line is extremely important to connect people to transit 2Fear that the project will not be constructed due to lack of funding 2Make sure there is good connectivity between sidewalks, buses, bike paths, etc. 2Assisted listening devices caused feedback in the audio system 1Dont want an auto-dominated station like Alewife or Wellington 1Green Line should extend to commuter rail stop in West Medford 1More information should be presented about abutter impacts 1The Route 16 station should be part of a single-phase Green Line project 1There is too much traffic in the area already, it will get worse with the Green Line extension 1Use laymans terms for technical information, simplify information 1Whole Foods should remain, at the very least a grocery store is needed 1Comment Card Information Request Times MentionedAir, noise and vibration impacts 2Land takings 2Explain relationship between this process and the existing Route 16 DEIR study 1Is the station location at Route 16 set or is it flexible? 1Loss in tax base if buildings are taken to construct the extension and station 1Medfords anticipated annual tax levy if the new station is constructued 1What will happen to Whole Foods, 198-200 Boston Ave. and U-Haul? 1When will Phase I of Green Line construction begin? 1Comment Card Special Needs Request Times MentionedMulti-lingual materials (Brazilian, Portuguese and Haitian) 6Child care 3