The Traffic Advisory Committee, herein after referred to as TAC, has spent the greater portion of this year breaking what we consider new ground in the realm of communication and working cooperatively with outside groups both within the Town of Belmont and with our neighbors. Some of these endeavors are not reflected on our agenda because they involved administrative meetings outside of the committee chambers where the chair and vice chair would report results of such administrative meetings in the portion of the agenda titled Administrative Matters. Our new charge has allowed us to reach outside of our chambers and establish communication and relations with
outside citizens groups both in and outside of Belmont as well as our own Town entities.
The year began with cooperative communication with the Town of Belmont Planning Board regarding Trapelo Road. We met with Andy McClurg of the Planning Board as well as attended Planning Board meetings. The TAC sent a liaison to the Planning Board to maintain communication. The TAC attended Workshop Meetings conducted by the Planning Board in its efforts to further revitalization and reconstruction of the Trapelo Road corridor as well as complete their planning study. Communication is key in the ground stages of such a project so that TAC can hit the ground running when the roadway design portion of the project is being addressed in committee and important work is not forgotten, overlooked or repeated. In the coming months of 2005 a consultant will be hired and the TAC will conduct meetings to assist the Town
Engineer and the Planning Board to accomplish the goal of getting Trapelo Road on the TIP (Transportation Improvement Projects) list of the State of Massachusetts. This is a project that funds large improvement projects throughout the State and the process through which Pleasant Street improvements has gone through.
The TAC has had communication with the South Lexington Civic Association regarding the Avalon project in Lexington that was undergoing consideration. The TAC was asked to assist in the flow of traffic through the Town of Belmont generated by the Avalon project. This was an exercise of establishing a positive relationship even though an equitable agreement could not be reached.
The TAC also entered into negotiations with the City of Cambridge regarding improvements to roadways and intersections on our borders that have been stalled in previous years due to lack of communication. The Traffic Advisory Committee, through administrative meetings, negotiated a financial agreement in reconstructing the Blanchard/Grove/Washington/Bright intersection which has been of interest to both towns but no agreement could be reached. The result of the agreement was that the City of Cambridge would provide and pick up consultant costs, planning costs, and do all design and planning at the direction of the TAC. These costs that will be incurred by the City of Cambridge are proportional to the percentage of the intersection which lay in the City of Cambridge. The Town of Belmont would provide construction costs only,
as well as the TAC would consider a 2nd project on our borders at the Blanchard and Colby Street intersection. The TAC through joint public meetings and discussion made the same type of agreement with the City of Cambridge with regard to this intersection in that the Town of Belmont would incur only construction costs; the City of Cambridge has incurred all design and construction costs and supervision. This process was very successful and took a great amount of time to lay the foundation and structure a plan of action. The TAC is completing the final stages of Bright/Blanchard/Washington/Grove and has completed and submitted for final recommendation the intersection of Colby/Blanchard. We are very pleased and proud of this work and the establishment of a positive working relationship with the City of Cambridge.
Other issues the TAC has wrestled with have been in the way of excluding traffic down certain roads adversely impacted by the rush-hour traffic. Such roads included Marlboro Street, Unity Avenue, Winn Street & Oxford Avenue. The exclusion of traffic down Winn Street during rush-hour times was rejected due to the impact it would have on neighboring streets. The TAC accepted an exclusion for Marlboro Street and Oxford Avenue for the reason that it does not negatively impact neighboring streets but helps them. The residents of Oxford rejected the exclusion once in place, therefore the sign has been removed. The exclusion on Marlboro is being reconsidered, as it seems a neighborhood consensus is in flux. During consideration of the Marlboro Street exclusion process, another issue of great importance was
raised that made the TAC reassess our notification policy on public hearings. The Chair and Vice Chair of the TAC in the instance of Marlboro Street spent time to personally flyer the neighborhood to assure notification. The TAC needs a line item in Pavement Management for such notification as well as other projects it considers, and will work in 2005 to procure such funding of notice. As the TAC does not have its own budget, it depends heavily on Pavement Management for funding of projects as well as the Town Highway Department for funding of signage. TAC has had discussions with the BOS and would like to get approved in 2005 a process by which it can put intersection improvement projects on the table for consideration by the Capital Budget Committee.
The TAC has welcomed our new Town Engineer Glenn Clancy to our table. He has been a valuable asset to us and has made the transition from our former engineer, Tom Gatzunis, flawless and painless. The TAC has established a wonderful working relationship with Mr. Clancy, who has in his short tenure made an extraordinary contribution. Sergeant Hamilton of the Belmont Police Department continues to provide advice and input to the TAC, and maintains a close working relationship with the TAC in a positive and productive manner. The TAC members are hard-working volunteers who I am proud to say consider each matter before the TAC with fairness, compassion and respect for the Town of Belmont as a whole. We look forward to tackling the challenges ahead.
MaryJo Frisoli, Chairman