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Extending Green Line to Route 16 Has No Shortage of Questions, Concerns

MassDOT and MAPC held a meeting to let residents air concerns over potentially extending the Green Line beyond College Avenue.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council and MassDOT aimed to gather questions and concerns from residents over potentially extending the Green Line to Route 16 in Medford during a meeting Wednesday night.

Mission accomplished.

The roughly 200 members of the public who turned out at Brooks Elementary School were broken up into small groups and filled easel pads with questions.

"What will the tax levy be?"

"How will parking be addressed?"

"How would it affect pedestrian safety?"

"What noise impact would construction have?"

Gathering these questions -- and many others -- is the first step in a year-long preliminary planning process focused on the possibility of extending the line beyond College Avenue to Route 16. That will include several more public meetings, said Eric Bourassa, transportation division manager for MAPC, which has been given a $209,000 contract to study the impact of a Route 16 station.

The process will look to answer concerns and address anxieties in the community, and also discuss benefits of bringing the green line that far, Bourassa said.

Whether the transit line is extended to a final destination on Route 16 near the Whole Foods in Medford remains up in the air.

The first phase of the project will bring the final stop on the line from Lechmere Station in Cambridge to College Avenue in Medford, with four stops along the way and a separate spur to Union Square. It has already secured funding and planners look to have it finished by 2015.

The second phase, which would bring the line to Route 16, has not secured funding.

"We’re still in the what if stage," Bourassa said.

Mayor Michael McGlynn, who addressed the audience Wednesday, said the early planning measures will make the community more prepared should funding come available.

“It is better if we are prepared and we plan, if in fact the funding does come through,” McGlynn said.

Katie Fichter, project manager for MassDOT, said the preliminary planning, or "visioning process," was key because there are many unanswered questions about the potential second phase of the project and it would be very expensive.

The next public meeting is tentatively set for March 30. A location hasn't been picked.

Charlie Denison February 17, 2011 at 02:54 PM
Why has the Green Line extension to Route 16 gone from a commitment by MassDOT to a "potential" second phase or a "possibility" as described in the article? That doesn't instill much confidence that this final extension will ever be built...
Elena neva February 17, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Because the Tufts probably will pay only for their needs

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