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MBTA Route 70/70A bus: key focus of Arsenal Street Corridor Study, which proposes service enhancements.

MBTA Route 70/70A bus: key focus of Arsenal Street Corridor Study, which proposes service enhancements.

MassDOT has been working with Watertown officials, residents, business owners, the MBTA, and surrounding communities on the Arsenal Street Corridor Study.

This effort, commencing in September 2015, has sought to analyze existing and future multimodal transportation conditions along the Arsenal Street corridor in Watertown, from Galen Street to Birmingham Parkway. Transit, particularly as it relates to the 70/70A bus and locations where it ties into crossing bus routes, has been a key focus of the study. Potential vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle improvements have also been evaluated.

To date, six Working Group meetings and two public meetings have been held to outline existing conditions, define anticipated future conditions, identify issues and opportunities, present potential alternatives, refine evaluation criteria, and analyze selected alternatives for improvement ideas for the corridor. Eighteen improvement alternatives were originally identified, with components of some or all of nine alternatives included as part of the study’s recommendations.

Participants at Arsenal Street Corridor Study public meeting provide feedback on alternatives.

Participants at Arsenal Street Corridor Study public meeting provide feedback on alternatives.

Recommendations encompass bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and vehicular improvements. The potential for bicycle lanes along portions of the corridor and improved bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between the Watertown Greenway and Charles River were evaluated. Potential geometric improvements to Watertown Square were also proposed to reduce delays and improve bicycle and pedestrian mobility. Adaptive signal control could facilitate more efficient vehicular movements along the corridor. Pertaining to transit, characteristics of an express bus service along North Beacon Street between Watertown Square and the new Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station were identified. Additionally, service enhancements to the 70/70A bus were proposed, including adoption of transit signal priority.

For each alternative analyzed, conceptual cost estimates and an implementation timeframe for recommendations were provided, as well as necessary coordination efforts between local and state agencies.

On June 5, MassDOT released the Arsenal Street Corridor Study Draft Final Report for public comment, available on the study’s website. There, readers can download sections of the draft final report, refer to past meeting materials, and learn how to submit public comments on the report through July 5.

MassDOT will be holding a public meeting and open house on Thursday, June 22, to present the study’s findings and recommendations. Information pertaining to costs and implementation will also be presented. The meeting will take place at the Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room at the Watertown Free Public Library, with a presentation at 6:00 PM and open house from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Public comments on the draft final report will also be accepted at the meeting.

The study’s Working Group and project team have appreciated public feedback throughout the study process and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts via comments on the draft report as well as at the public meeting and open house on June 22. See you there!

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