March 16, 2012

Architect's rendering of proposed Fenway Center
Construction may start next year on the Fenway Center development
(Image via Boston Globe)


  • Overpass to be replaced by surface street network (JP Gazette, Jamaica Plain Patch, Universal Hub, Boston Cyclists Union, Boston Globe)
    After months of delay and speculation, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has decided that the Casey Overpass will be replaced by an at-grade street network and not a new bridge. ... “[The community] process has led us to determine that the at-grade alternative reconnects the neighborhood, provides more open space, incorporates more design elements that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, and allows for more efficient bus movements through the area,” MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey said in a statement.
    Related analysis: Boston GlobeBoston Cyclists Union
  • MBTA says both service cuts, fee hikes will be needed (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, MBTA Letter to Customers)
    By Matt Rocheleau -- The MBTA said Tuesday that both service cuts and fare increases will be necessary to close a $159 million budget shortfall for the coming fiscal year. At it gets closer to finalizing its plan, the transit agency pledged to use feedback from a series of charged public hearings on the T’s future over the past two months.
    Related: MBTA crisis can't be ignored; time to tackle 'Big Dig culture' (Boston Globe), and more below...
  • Judge clears way for $450M mixed-use Fenway Center over and around Turnpike air-rights (Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Globe editorial)
    By Casey Ross -- A court ruling has removed the most significant legal barrier standing in the way of the long-delayed Fenway Center development, a $450 million complex of apartments, stores, and offices to be built over the Massachusetts Turnpike. ... The decision clears the way for one of the city’s largest and most transformative construction projects. Fenway Center calls for development of 550 apartments, retail stores, parking garages, and a 27-story office and residential building on parking lots near the ballpark, as well as rebuilding the nearby commuter rail station.
  • State to go for TIGER IV grant on coastal greenway, Governor Patrick makes trail a priority (Boston Cyclists Union,
    The Boston Cyclists Union is helping out with the state’s second try at a highly competitive TIGER grant that could fund the completion of the Neponset Greenway (a.k.a. Dorchester Coast Trail, The Missing Link), and this time Governor Deval Patrick’s administration is putting their weight fully behind it.
  • Patrick proposes infrastructure bank in $1.5 billion transportation bond bill (Cambridge Chronicle)
    By M. Murphy, K. Cheney, and M. Norton -- Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday filed a $1.5 billion bond bill authorizing the state's first infrastructure bank to leverage private investments, featuring $200 million for Chapter 90 funding for local road and bridge projects, and allocating $311 million for the state’s rail and transit systems. ... The legislation does not include provisions addressing the ongoing fiscal crunch at the MBTA, which is evaluating steep fare hikes and service reductions and plans to finalize its budget-balancing approach this spring.
  • Menino Plans More Growth for Boston Bikes Initiatives (Back Bay Sun)
    Mayor Thomas M. Menino released the annual Boston Bikes Annual Report last week, highlighting the success of Boston’s biking initiatives and previewing plans for its continued growth. Menino launched Boston Bikes in 2007 with the goal of making Boston a world-class cycling city. Four years later, Boston has officially gained recognition as one of the great cities for cycling in the United States. Highlights include the success of New Balance Hubway, the 50th mile of bike lane recently installed on Massachusetts Avenue, and Boston’s designation as a “silver” level bike-friendly city from the League of American Bicyclists.
    Related: The question of enforcement (Boston Cyclists Union)
  • How El Paso Ended Up With America's Best Smart Growth Plan (The Atlantic Cities)
    By Kaid Benfield -- Earlier this week, the city council of El Paso, the nation’s 19th-largest city, unanimously adopted a detailed comprehensive plan built around the principles of smart growth and green development. With significant economic importance and a rich cultural history, but plagued with sprawling recent development patterns coupled with alarming rates of land consumption and carbon pollution, the city constructed Plan El Paso over the past two years. It is among the best, most articulate comprehensive plans I have ever seen.



  • If Somerville’s Mayor stepped inside our shoes, would he be smiling…? (Somerville Voices)




  • I-93 Message Board Alerts Commuters to Next Woburn-to-Boston Train (MassDOT blog)
  • How Millennials Feel about Cars, Public Transit and Electric Vehicles (TreeHugger)
  • What's Behind These High Gas Prices? (NPR)
  • Boston ranks 8th worst city for traffic in U.S. - again! (Boston Business Journal)
  • Expect more highway patrolmen this spring (Boston Metro)

Transportation financing/Government

  • Patrick proposes infrastructure bank in $1.5 billion transportation bond bill (Cambridge Chronicle)
  • Really? Angry Commuters Sue the MassPike for $400 Million in Lost Toll Money (BostInno)
  • Federal Transportation Reathorization Bill Clears Senate --
  • Tall obstacles remain as states look at gas tax proposals for transportation infrastructure (Washington Post)
  • NYC Congestion Pricing Is Back--And the NY Times' Former Editor Really Likes It (Transportation Nation)


Development projects

Land Use/Planning


National trends

International news

  • Toronto Wants to Lure People to Water (Wall Street Journal)
  • Driver jailed for using bus 'as weapon' against cyclist (The Guardian)
  • Rail smart cards to be rolled out across UK (BBC)
  • 300 nude bicyclists hit Peru streets to protest bike safety (