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Qand A meeting 2


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Qand A meeting 2

  1. 1. Mystic Valley Parkway Green Line Extension Community Visioning Process Public Input Meeting #2: Recap of Q&ATraffic and Parking Q&A:Topic Area: General Questions 1. Will the Mystic Valley Parkway be widened?At this point in time, there are no plans to widen Mystic Valley Parkway. 2. Are you comparing a Mystic Valley Parkway terminus to a No Green Line scenario or to a College Avenue terminus?The traffic and parking presentation compared a Mystic Valley Parkway terminus to a No Green Line scenario. 3. What year are you assuming the Green Line will be operating at Mystic Valley Parkway if it were to be extended?If the Green Line were extended, it is projected to occur sometime after the year 2016. 4. Has the project been looked at from a synergistic view of traffic impacts at all the stations?Yes, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) looked at traffic impacts around all the proposed stationswhich included an analysis of over 30 individual intersections. 5. Did you survey the disabled community?For this presentation, the disabled community was not directly surveyed. If a station were to be constructed in thefuture at Mystic Valley Parkway, MassDOT and the MBTA would ensure that the station was fully accessible todisabled populations and would host station design meetings to solicit input from the disabled community as well. 6. Where is the RIDE involved in this process?The RIDE service would cover the area in and around a potential station at Mystic Valley Parkway. The MBTA isobligated to offer the RIDE service alongside all of its fixed-route transit services.Topic Area: Traffic Congestion 1. How will the Green Line Extension lessen traffic on Route 16?While traffic congestion does remain high along Route 16 through the year 2030, the Green Line Extension toMystic Valley Parkway does take some cars off the regional and local roadways. The switch in mode somedrivers will choose to make will reduce some congestion along Route 16, albeit minimal. 2. Doesn’t congestion still occur because one car off the road frees up traffic for one car to replace it?This scenario is projected to occur on the major regional roadways like Route 16 and Boston Avenue, but realreduction in vehicle congestion can be seen along the cut-through roadways and neighborhood level streetswhere drivers are currently traveling on due to high congestion. Under a Green Line extended to Mystic ValleyParkway scenario, some drivers switch to taking the Green Line freeing up capacity along regional roadways.This freed capacity is then taken up by other drivers who were previously using side streets for travel. Whilecongestion along regional roadways stays about the same, neighborhood streets are projected to see lesscongestion. 3. What about special event traffic?The regional travel demand model used to project traffic congestion in the future does not take into accountspecial traffic circumstances. These are occasional events that occur along the transportation network and theirdirect effects are difficult to model on a regional scale.
  2. 2. Topic Area: Ridership 1. How did you get the numbers regarding projections of ridership?The ridership projections in the DEIR are based on the travel demand model which encompasses the Metro Bostonregion. The model simulates both existing and future traffic patterns, as well as ridership and takes into accountthe competitiveness of different modes of transportation in relation to where people are originating from andwhere their end destination is. In the future, the model looks at the Green Line Extension and projects how manypeople might use it based on its ability to move people to an end destination at a more competitive rate thanother modes of travel. 2. Why didn’t you include commuter rail (West Medford Station) and why aren’t these people taking it now?The existing commuter rail station in West Medford is one of the options considered in the mode shift table whichprojects about 23% of people currently taking some form of transit during the AM peak hour will switch to takingthe Green Line if a station were to be built at Mystic Valley Parkway. These people could be taking existing bus,light rail or commuter rail service to get to their end destination. 3. How much did ridership change when gas prices were near $4.00-$5.00 a gallon? How does this compare to the 2006/2007 ridership data (i.e. how much does gas prices influence ridership)?We don’t currently have that data broken out, but gas prices certainly do affect ridership. Nation-wide vehiclemiles traveled in automobiles dropped significantly during the time period when gas prices were at record highs.A shift in gas prices to those extremes does make other modes of transportation, including transit, more attractiveto those who currently drive.Topic Area: Commuting Trips 1. How many stops are planned between Mystic Valley Parkway and Park Street?If a station were to be constructed at Mystic Valley Parkway, there would be ten stops including Park Street. 2. What consideration was given regarding the number of times the Green Line is delayed or disabled when calculating the time it takes to get to Park Street?The 30 minute projected time from Mystic Valley Parkway to Park Street does not include delays orbreakdowns. These are random occurrences that cannot be factored into modeling of travel time. The Green Linedoes experience delays of varying degrees depending type and severity. These types of unexpected delayscan be seen across all modes of transportation, including traffic congestion while driving due to a special eventor a crash. 3. You mentioned it takes 30 minutes to drive into the City by car during rush hour in the morning. How did you calculate this?The travel time estimate of 30 minutes was calculated using Google Maps driving directions and travel time. Arange of 15-30 minutes was listed in the presentation which accounts for traffic during the AM peak hour. Thistravel time may be longer than 30 minutes depending on the level of congestion. 4. Most of the data presented focuses on work/commuter trips, but about 85% of auto trips during a typical weekday are not work trips. Will further data be collected on potential shifts in non-work trips to the Green Line?The data presented did focus on the catchment area of potential work trip riders during the AM peak hour. Thedaily ridership data presented does account for all trips taken throughout a typical weekday. The dailyridership at the Mystic Valley Parkway station is projected to be about 2,000 riders per day.
  3. 3. 5. Do you have data on the percent of workers with their place of employment past Copley Square on the Green Line or other MBTA lines? 6. Why did you stop your analysis at Copley?Employment data along the entire Green Line past Copley Square does exist. For the second public meeting,MAPC chose to stop the analysis at Copley because that represents about a 40 minute commute and includesmany Green Line stops in the Downtown and Back Bay areas which are major employment hubs for the region.We recognize that there are other major employment hubs located along the Green Line such as the LongwoodMedical Area, but did not include them for this particular analysis. Further analysis including these otheremployment hubs would likely increase the percentage of resident workers within 1 mile of the Mystic ValleyParkway station that would be traveling to an employment destination with a half-mile of the Green Line.Topic Area: Parking 1. In your presentation, are you talking about limited residential parking program, or a program like Cambridge/Somerville with a sticker for all residents?The presentation was talking generally about residential parking permitting programs. If this avenue of parkingregulation were to be expanded upon, there would need to be further discussion about the details of limitedversus general residential permitting. 2. How much would the permit cost?In Medford, the current cost of a residential permit is $10.00 for residents. The cost of permits in each City isregulated by that City. A common misconception is that there is no permit parking in the City of Medford. This isnot true, some residential streets in Medford already have permitted parking in place. 3. Who pays for the traffic enforcement?Each City would be responsible for paying for traffic enforcement. 4. If a station were to be built, why would it not include parking?Parking at a transit station, whether it’s structured or surface parking, can increase the amount of trips generatedin and around the station especially during the AM and PM peak hours when commuters are entering and leavingthe station. Given the existing traffic congestion along Boston Avenue and Route 16 during the peak commutinghours, parking at a potential Mystic Valley Parkway station may end up making congestion worse in the areaand was therefore not included in the preferred alternative.Topic Area: Station Design 1. Where will the bus/drop-off access enter the station?The current station design for Mystic Valley Parkway shown in the DEIR has an entrance off of Boston Avenueand exit onto Route 16. The specific bus/drop-off area would be subject to changes that could occur during amore detailed station design process that would occur if a station were to be built at Mystic Valley Parkway. 2. The comparable stations presented tonight were not terminus stations. Won’t Mystic Valley Parkway be worse due to being a terminus for the Green Line?Mystic Valley Parkway is a difficult station to compare to other terminus stations because it will not include anyparking. The provision of parking at transit stations tends to increase the volume of traffic in the station area,especially at peak commuting hours adding congestion to the local and regional roadways. Since Mystic ValleyParkway won’t be providing any parking facilities, it is anticipated that the traffic around the station would bebetter than other terminus stations that include parking on the MBTA system.
  4. 4. Air Quality Q&A:Topic Area: General Questions 1. What is meant by MassDOT producing high conservative estimates to understand the maximum impacts possible? That more less cars will be taken off the roads?MassDOT and their consultants used conservative assumptions to project future air quality impacts as a result ofextending the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway. For example, the background air pollution estimates weretaken from a monitoring station in Kenmore Square, and MassDOT did not reduce traffic volumes or air pollutionfrom this site before adding MVP traffic volumes. Traffic volumes were likely overestimated, therefore inestimating air quality at Mystic Valley Parkway. 2. Is Massachusetts currently in attainment for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)? If not, would the Green Line Extension help the Commonwealth reach attainment?Ozone is currently a problem for the whole state, and yes, the Green Line Extension is intended to reduce levelsof ozone. 3. Can you describe the air quality benefits further?The air quality benefits of extending the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway can be found in the MAPCpresentation from the Second Public Meeting, as well as in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).Topic Area: Air Quality Impacts in the Future 1. Did I hear right, the Green Line Extension to Mystic Valley Parkway has cleaner air quality results than air quality in 2007?That is correct. The air quality in 2030 with the Green Line extended to Mystic Valley Parkway has cleaner airquality than the studied conditions in 2007. This is a result of both the Green Line taking vehicles off theroadways and the fact that cars are projected to produce fewer emissions in the future and get better gasmileage. 2. How much improvement in air quality does the .9 mile extension of the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway produce in 2030, if most everyone is driving hybrid vehicles by 2030? 3. Reduction in pollution levels between build and no-build scenarios are about equal. So, if the pollution levels are not significantly improved under the build scenario, then objective of significantly reducing pollution has not been achieved by building this extension.The Green Line Extension to Mystic Valley Parkway does provide some local air quality benefits because carsare being taken off the road as a result of drivers switching to the Green Line for a variety of trip purposes. It istrue that air quality will get better in 2030 as a result of cleaner fuel emissions from cars and increased gasmileage. Regional benefits are even stronger than improvements at the local intersections at MVP. One of thebiggest long term air quality benefits of the project is that it will help offset the generation of new vehicle tripsas the region develops further. 4. Are most of your air quality impacts based on assumptions? Are these assumptions following along with changes or projections of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?They are based on traffic projections. The assumptions made when projecting future traffic volume thereforeapply here. They also include assumptions about how much pollution vehicles will emit in the future, based on anEPA-approved model. You can read about the model MOBILE6.2, here 5. What accounts for the increase in PM2.5 in the build option over the current levels?Projected increases in traffic volume and congestion lead to these slight differences.
  5. 5. Topic Area: Moving the Commuter Rail Tracks 1. Are you saying that moving the commuter rail closer to someone that has COPD or Asthma will not have significant effects or it is okay because it is under national air quality standards?Even after moving the commuter rail, air quality will be cleaner than that required by the National Ambient AirQuality Standards; the standards the government says are protective of human health even for children andthose with respiratory problems. 2. How can you measure concerns regarding air quality if you do not take into consideration how close an individual lives to the tracks?The air quality impacts of moving the commuter rail tracks closer to homes was measured at the closest point inwhich the relocated tracks might be to a person’s home. Using this as the estimate for air quality impacts, movingthe commuter rail did not exceed national air quality standards. 3. Will you commit to a before and after health study for an area of the community where the commuter rail moves closer to homes? (Asthma and Cancer Clusters)At this time MassDOT cannot commit to any additional health studies. If a decision is reached in the future toextend the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway, a new MEPA process will be triggered reopening the study ofimpacts of the extension.Topic Area: Build vs. No-Build Scenario 1. How thoroughly have you studied the difference between College Avenue terminus versus Mystic Valley Parkway? Should this visioning not be focused on the gains to be made by the addition of this station alone? 2. Does the No-Build scenario mean no Green Line at all or the Green Line to College Avenue and not to Mystic Valley Parkway?The presentation of materials at the second public input meeting looked at a No-Build (no Green Line at all)versus a Build (Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway) scenario. This was done for traffic and air quality tohighlight conditions are better with a Green Line Extension than they are without the Extension. Conditions aremarginally better for both traffic and air quality under a scenario where the Green Line is extended all the wayto Mystic Valley Parkway versus a terminus at College Avenue.Land Acquisitions Q&A:Topic Area: Ball Square 1. You have not spoken on business impact in Ball Square regarding acquisition. Please describe impact there.All impacts to businesses in the Ball Square area are documented in the DEIR. There have been no changes since.Topic Area: Eminent Domain 1. Any proposed eminent domain takings by Medford or Somerville to promote Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) around the Mystic Valley Parkway station? 2. Do you take residential property by eminent domain?The construction of a safe and functional station at Mystic Valley Parkway would require the acquisition ofprivate, commercial property. If the next phase of the project can advance a future extension of the Green Lineto Mystic Valley Parkway, every effort would be made to minimize those acquisitions. MassDOT would onlyacquire land needed to build a station, and would work with the surrounding municipalities to determine howbest to deal with any surplus land. MassDOT would not acquire land specifically to use for private developmentat Mystic Valley Parkway.
  6. 6. Topic Area: Expansion Plans of Tufts/Cummings 1. Any known plans by Tufts University, Cummings Foundation or other tax-exempt non-profits to acquire land around the Mystic Valley Parkway station? If so, it will not allow TOD/mixed-use development that provides jobs, goods and services for residents of the City.Neither MAPC nor MassDOT are aware of any plans by the entities listed above to acquire additional landaround the potential Mystic Valley Parkway station.Topic Area: College Avenue Land Acquisition 1. Aren’t all land takings at College Avenue public and unused or Tufts University slivers?The takings around College Avenue are very minimal, and most if not all are related to the siting of the station.The three small parcels of land around the College Avenue station shown at the second public meeting areowned by the City of Medford and Tufts University.Topic Area: Bridges 1. Does the historic designation of Mystic Valley Parkway and bridges over it present any challenges or limitations regarding the Mystic Valley Parkway station?At this time, there are no plans to extend the Green Line past the potential station location on the U-Haul site.Therefore, if a station were constructed at this location it would not be impeded by the historic designation ofother transportation facilities. 2. Will any or all of the bridges between College Avenue and Mystic Valley Parkway be replaced?Yes, the construction work would need to be completed on both the Winthrop Street and North Street bridges.Topic Area: 196 and 200 Boston Avenue 1. Does your “back to the drawing board” latest station concept protect 196 Boston Avenue, as well as 200 Boston Avenue?The latest station concept shown at Public Input Meeting #2 does protect both 196 and 200 Boston Avenue withthe caveat that the fire lane behind 200 Boston Avenue might have to be acquired as part of the Green Lineextension. 2. Have you spoken to City fire officials on the fire lane taking? If not, why not?MassDOT has not yet spoken with City of Medford fire officials regarding the fire lane taking because thecurrent Green Line extension terminus is at College Avenue. A discussion of the fire lane taking is premature atthis point in time, but will be a topic of discussion should a decision be reached in the future to extend the GreenLine to Mystic Valley Parkway.Topic Area: U-Haul Building 1. Approximately 2,000 people locally and around the country, if not the world, will be affected by the U- Haul acquisition. What are your thoughts on those people? 2. Could the U-Haul building be “re-used” and serve as the station? 3. Will MassDOT/MBTA consider adaptive re-use of the U-Haul building rather than complete removal? Could not only the rear addition near the tracks be removed and the main structure incorporate the station and other uses?In order for a station to be located along Mystic Valley Parkway, some acquisition of the U-Haul property isnecessary. At this point in time, MassDOT is anticipating that the entire U-Haul building and parcel would need tobe acquired to accommodate a Green Line station at this location. If a decision is made in the future to extendthe Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway, MassDOT will work to evaluate the feasibility of incorporating aGreen Line station as a part of the existing U-Haul building.
  7. 7. Noise and Vibration Q&A:Topic Area: Vibration 1. What affects will vibration have on surrounding 100 year old buildings? 2. Was old construction, especially properties over 100 years old, taken into consideration in terms of infrastructure and how it is affected by vibration generated from trains? How bad will that affect the foundations of these structures?Information on vibration affects can be found in the DEIR. 3. Since the DEIR studies on vibration, noise and air pollution were conducted prior to the tracks being raised one foot to address drainage, are the results of the study valid or do they need to be redone?The raising of the tracks would not have a significant impact on the DEIR study’s results on vibration, noise and airpollution. If the Green Line were to be extended in the future to Mystic Valley Parkway, this project wouldtrigger a MEPA review. The new MEPA review and documentation would address again the impacts of noise,vibration and air quality among other things.Topic Area: Noise 1. How many decibels does a train produce? Anything over 80 decibels affects our psychomotor performance and creates high street levels, loss of attention and psychological changes.Information on noise impacts related to train decibels can be found in the DEIR. 2. Why are noise walls only being proposed near intersections and not all along the corridor where the commuter rail and freight trains will be closer to residences?The DEIR shows noise walls are proposed along the tracks between College Avenue and Mystic Valley Parkway.The noise walls are proposed along nearly the entire length of this corridor, not just at intersections. 3. What about noise pollution, especially for all the residents living along the proposed Green Line Extension who are already suffering from the noise generated by running commuter rail trains?If the Green Line is extended to Mystic Valley Parkway additional mitigation will be proposed for homeownersabutting the tracks. Mitigation could come in the form of noise walls or other noise mitigation options.Managing Neighborhood Change Q&A:Topic Area: Responsibility 1. Is not the responsibility and future direction of potential development to be decided by the cities and current property owners, not MassDOT or the MBTA?Future development and land use decisions are made by each individual city and town and not by MassDOT orthe MBTA. 2. Would cities and towns be provided mitigation funding to address land use changes?The decision to change land use is left to each individual city and town and is not done by MassDOT or theMBTA, therefore mitigation funding would not be provided.Topic Area: Cost Burden 1. While housing cost burden could rise with Green Line Extension, would not transportation cost burden likely decrease for many residents?The Green Line Extension would offer an alternative for many residents who may currently be driving. There aremany factors that determine transportation cost burden for those who drive including: insurance, vehiclemaintenance, fuel expenditures, distance traveled, etc. A resident would have to weigh the costs of drivingagainst the cost of taking the Green Line to determine which mode of travel is most cost-effective.
  8. 8. Topic Area: Strategies 1. What is employer-sponsored housing, and is it realistic?Employer-assisted housing describes any employer-sponsored housing benefit, which could include downpayment assistance or rental assistance, home buyer education and counseling, and low-interest mortgages.Creating employer-assisted housing programs through partnerships between community developmentcorporations (CDCs) and business alliances is very realistic and has shown to be effective in places like Bostonand Worcester because it offers an opportunity for employees to build assets and invest in a community whileallowing employers to innovate with financing assistance options to secure and retain employees. Further,creating municipal and nonprofit partnerships to offer innovative workforce programs that encourage local hiringpractices and offer business development ensures local businesses remain competitive. 2. Can you name on interesting way to mitigate change that you have found in your research? What have other areas done that are unique?One interesting way to mitigate change and address socio-economic impacts and affordable housing concerns intransit and corridor planning is via negotiating Community Benefits Agreements. These agreements securegreater developer commitments to build affordable housing that exceed standard municipal minimum affordablehousing requirements and which may include other characteristics, such as a mix of unit sizes to accommodatecurrent family size diversity and access to green space. Further, CBAs can ensure developer assistance ingenerating funds for a variety of community benefits. The City of Boston has an interesting Linkage Program.Other communities, like Lowell, have been researching CBAs to mitigate community concerns around newdevelopment.