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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MAPC SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT ON EXTENDING GREEN LINE TO MYSTIC VALLEY PARKWAY


BOSTON – The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) will work with Medford and Somerville over the next year to gather community input on the possibility of extending the Green Line to Mystic Valley Parkway/Route 16, and to study potential land uses and transit-oriented developments in the area.

The planning study is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), which will be actively involved in the process, along with the MBTA. The first in a series of public meetings is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Brooks Elementary School, 388 High St. in Medford.

MAPC, which is the regional planning agency for Metropolitan Boston, will lead the community visioning process and examine how a future Mystic Valley Parkway station could foster transit-oriented development in the area, while minimizing negative impacts to the local community. MAPC will work to present clear information, to gather ideas and concerns from the community, and to develop solutions to potential issues such as traffic congestion.

“Any time you extend a roadway or transit line, you create the opportunity for valuable development,” said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of MAPC. “We want to engage local residents and officials in deciding the best ways to make sure those potential changes benefit both of these dynamic cities. While the Green Line may introduce many exciting economic development opportunities to the area, it will also be critically important to keep traffic under control, and to preserve open space and affordable housing.”

“This study is an important step in the continuing development of the Green Line Extension project," said Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Mullan. “We are pleased to support MAPC in its efforts to further engage the public about the benefits and impacts of a potential Route 16 station. This effort will continue the impressive record of public participation on the Green Line Extension project.”

“Medford welcomes the opportunity to participate in this study. I am confident that the study will clarify many lingering questions about land use, mitigation, and transit-oriented development. If the ultimate decision is to extend the Green Line to Route 16, we must be prepared to adapt to any challenges and utilize the potential benefits in a positive fashion in order to improve our quality of life,” said Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn.

“The public deserves the best possible information when considering projects like this, both to quantify the benefits of the project and to address the concerns some individuals may have,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “Somerville’s approach to the Green Line Extension has been to involve the community, and make sure this project gets done the right way, because we are only going to get to do this one time. The decisions we make now will affect our communities for decades to come and this MAPC study will play a critical role in helping people to understand what the opportunities and issues are in extending the Green Line out to a terminus at Route 16.”

“I am very happy to see this study moving forward,” said Senator Patricia D. Jehlen (D-Somerville). “This is something that I have been advocating for in order to maximize the benefits of extending the Green Line to Rte. 16 while mitigating any possible negative impacts.”

“The involvement of community members in Somerville and Medford has been an invaluable component of the Green Line Extension. The ideas and talents contributed by residents have ensured continued improvement of the design and implementation of the project,” said Representative Carl Sciortino, D-Medford. “As a strong supporter of the extension to Route 16, I am grateful to have a strong partner in MAPC to move this critical piece of the project forward.”

“As the Chair of the MBTA Caucus in the House of Representatives, it is well understood that transit oriented projects have an opportunity to improve service, access, and provide economic stimulus to the region,” said Representative Sean Garballey, D-Arlington. “Participating in this study is essential to making sure that the community is involved in this process and making sure that the questions and concerns regarding this project are answered.”

MAPC will host a series of public meetings over the next year, beginning with the first meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in Medford. MAPC and MassDOT have included the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, based at UMass Boston, in this community visioning effort to help facilitate a strong public engagement process.

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