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Governor Charlie Baker

MassDOT June
Board Meeting

June 19, 2017
Transportation Building
10 Park Plaza
Second Floor Board Room
Boston, MA 02150
Full Meeting Schedule

On the MassDOT Blog

MBTA: Blue Hill Avenue Station Construction, Fairmount Line Impact

Construction of the new Blue Hill Avenue Station on the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line will take place on weekends and in the evening weekday hours beginning Saturday, June 3, for up to twenty-four months.

During this time, weekend Fairmount Line trains will be replaced with dedicated shuttle buses between Morton Street and Readville Stations in both directions. Train service will be uninterrupted between Morton Street and South Station, in both directions. On weeknights, the last two outbound Fairmount Line trains from South Station will be replaced with dedicated shuttle buses serving all stops between South Station and Readville.

View the entire Blue Hill Avenue Station blog post.

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June 2, 2017

RMV Adds New Bicycle Safety Advice to Driver’s Manual


MassDOT has announced that the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) added several new key guidelines to the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual (Driver’s Manual) this year as part of an ongoing effort to promote road safety by educating bicyclists and motorists to be aware of their actions as they travel. MassDOT has produced a video educating drivers how to exit a vehicle to prevent "dooring" cyclists.

The updated RMV Driver’s Manual includes a section outlining the benefits of the “Dutch Reach” method for drivers as they open the doors of automobiles that are parallel-parked and will include new content regarding the use of separated bicycle lanes and "bicycle boxes," which have become more prevalent in Massachusetts.

"As we continue to promote all modes of transportation in today’s world, the RMV is working hard to ensure that drivers and bicyclists can each get where they need to be safely," Registrar Erin Deveney said. "By adding new bicycle safety language to the Driver’s Manual, we aim to further clarify the responsibilities that bicyclists and motorists inherit when they travel on Massachusetts roads, making everyone more aware of how their actions impact travelers in their vicinity."

The new content in the Driver’s Manual concerning the “Dutch Reach” method for drivers disembarking from vehicles explains the standard practice for opening a vehicle door in the Netherlands, a place widely considered to be a model for bicycle transportation. By reaching to open the door of a parallel-parked car, a driver is asked to open the door with his or her hand which is furthest from the door. With this technique of reaching for the handle, the driver’s body is forced to begin turning to the left, making it easier for the driver to see bicyclists who may be in the blind spot of a motorist’s mirror. From the text of the updated Driver's Manual:

"Open vehicle doors pose a very serious threat to bicyclists. When opening a vehicle door, drivers and passengers are suggested to do the following:

  • 1. Check your rear-view mirror.
  • 2. Check your side-view mirror
  • 3. Open the door with your far hand, (the hand farther from the door)

While the Dutch Reach method is a more effective way of checking for oncoming bicycle traffic, the updated Driver’s Manual still recommends that bicyclists should ride at least three feet out from parked cars to avoid doors if they can do so safely, both on streets with and without bike lanes.

According to the City of Boston’s 2012 Boston Cyclist Safety Report, the Boston Police Department responded to 202 bicycle collisions between 2009 and 2012 involving open car doors, informally referred to as "doorings," and 123 (approximately 60 percent) of these required response from Boston Emergency Medical Services. These types of collisions are also frequently known to damage the doors of the automobiles involved.

Also outlined in the updated Driver’s Manual are clear instructions for driving on roads with separated bicycle lanes, which physically separate bicycle traffic from motorized traffic, and which are distinct from painted on-road bike lanes. A key part of MassDOT's initiative to build and advocate for more "Complete Streets," which take into account the needs of motorists, transit users, bicyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities, separated bicycle lanes have become more common in municipalities like Boston, Cambridge, Somerville. The new language pertaining to separated bicycle lanes stipulates that they are not intended for pedestrians, that "[at] intersections, drivers must stop at the line to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely. When turning right, drivers must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists who are crossing." The added text also mandates that bicyclists ride in the proper direction of travel in separated bicycle lanes and must yield to pedestrians.

The updated Driver’s Manual also outlines proper procedures for bicyclists and motorists travelling through intersections that contain bicycle boxes. Similar in concept to separated bicycle lanes, bicycle boxes are installed at intersections to allow bicyclists a safe way to turn when approaching a red light. Occupying the space in front of crosswalks, bicycle boxes are painted bright green and contain a large rendering of a bicyclist, which promotes visibility for motorists and bicyclists, even from a distance.

Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project: I-90 Lane Reductions June 3-5

As part of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Replacement Project, “dry run” lane reductions on I-90 have been scheduled during the weekend of June 3-4 through early Monday morning, June 5.


From 11:59 PM on Friday, June 2, to 5:00 AM on Monday, June 5, MassDOT will reduce I-90 between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass in Boston to 2 lanes in each direction. The I-90 Eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street and the I-90 Westbound Exit 20 off-ramp to Brighton/Cambridge will also be closed intermittently (see the I-90 (Mass Pike) Ramp Closures Detour Map).

This will allow MassDOT and its contractor to conduct necessary preparation activities and a “dry run” to test the I-90 traffic logistics for the 2017 Construction Shutdown (July 26 – August 14), with the goal of making sure it will run as smoothly as possible.

During the dry run, a “crossover” on I-90 will direct all vehicles to either the eastbound or westbound roadways at different periods of time. There will be no impacts to the MBTA Green Line, Commuter Rail, or Commonwealth Avenue during the dry run.

I-90 Impacts during the 2017 Construction Shutdown:

  • I-90 will be reduced to 2 lanes in both directions from 9:00 PM on July 28 to 5:00 AM on August 7, with additional lane closures during off-peak hours. The I-90 Eastbound on-ramp from Cambridge Street and the I-90 Westbound Exit 20 off-ramp to Brighton/Cambridge will also be closed intermittently during this timeframe.
  • The lane reductions will be in place between the Allston Interchange and the Beacon Street Overpass.
  • The lane reductions will be necessary during the shutdown for the contractor to access the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge for demolition and replacement (see the video simulation of the project on YouTube).
  • To prepare for the major construction activities for the shutdown, I-90 will be reduced to 3 lanes in each direction on July 7, and will remain in this configuration after the shutdown until August 28.

For a full list of traffic impacts during the 2017 Construction Shutdown, see the Traffic Management page of the project website. MassDOT will announce further public meetings prior to construction.

Please share this advisory with anyone you think may be interested in the project, and encourage them to sign up for email alerts for traffic updates and meeting announcements.

For more information, visit the Commonwealth Ave Bridge Replacement Project website.

For any questions or comments, please contact Jim Kersten at 857-368-9041 or by email at

Fore River Bridge Project: Lane Reductions Begin June 2

MassDOT has announced that lane reductions will begin on Friday evening, June 2 and continue until October 1 on the Fore River Bridge which carries Route 3A traffic between Weymouth and Quincy, in order to allow construction operations to move forward safely.

From June 2 until September 1, there will be one lane of travel in each direction for vehicles using the bridge. From September 1 until October 1, three total lanes of travel will be maintained with the number of travel lanes in each direction changing by time of day.

Beginning in the late evening hours on Friday, June 2, MassDOT crews and contractors will put in place logistics for one lane of travel in each direction, and this traffic pattern will remain in place 24 hours a day until September. This lane reduction is necessary in order to allow crews to safely and effectively conduct operations to remove half of the existing temporary bridge from service to allow for the completion of the new approach spans.


On September 1, crews and contractors will then shift the travel lanes onto the northern side of the new bridge in order to remove the remaining section of the temporary bridge, and construct the rest of the new bridge in its place. During this phase of the project, three lanes of travel will be provided with the number of lanes in each direction alternating in order to accommodate peak hour volumes.

On October 1, there will be two lanes of travel in each direction on the new Fore River Bridge as crews continue construction operations and work towards achieving full beneficial use of the bridge by the spring of 2018.

Please note the following dates for this project:

  • Between June 2, and August 31: there will be one lane of traffic in each direction on the Fore River Bridge at all times in order to allow for work on this $244 million dollar project to continue.
  • Between September 1, and September 30: there will be three total lanes of travel on the Fore River Bridge. During the morning peak commute, there will be two lanes in the northbound direction and one lane in the southbound direction in order to accommodate travelers heading into Boston. The lane arrangement will then be shifted during the evening commute to allow for two lanes in the southbound direction and one lane heading northbound.
  • After October 1: there will be two lanes of traffic in each direction on the Fore River Bridge.

Through its public involvement process, MassDOT has identified a likely alternate route to circumvent the bridge that includes traveling between Quincy and Weymouth via the Southern Artery, Quincy Avenue, Commercial Street, and North Street. MassDOT has therefore taken several steps to optimize traffic flow at intersections along this route to help accommodate additional vehicles.

Drivers should be mindful of potential traffic impacts and should devote their full attention to driving through this active construction zone as MassDOT works to replace the bridge on Rt. 3A.

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