The Department of Planning and Community Development participates in and sometimes leads transportation planning projects. We work closely with our transportation partners, the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, Police Traffic Unit, Transportation Advisory Committee, Parking Advisory Committee, and Bicycle Advisory Committee. The Department has actively participated in or led the following projects.
For more information, please contact Daniel Amstutz, Senior Transportation Planner, at 781-316-3093 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable Transportation Plan
The 2019 Annual Town Meeting approved $80,000 to fund the creation of a Sustainable Transportation Plan (STP) for the Town of Arlington: $60,000 from town funds in the DPW budget and $20,000 from the Community Development Block Grant. The STP will provide a vision for the development of the transportation system in Arlington over the next 20 years, building upon the Traffic and Circulation section of the Master Plan and its recommendations. Goals and recommendations will be developed to prioritize next steps for projects, programs, and policies to achieve this vision. It will focus on all aspects of transportation and mobility in Arlington, including walking, bicycling, public transportation, driving, shared mobility, and micro-mobility.
For more information, visit the Sustainable Transportation Plan Advisory Committee webpage.
Mass Ave Bus Lane
The Mass Ave bus lane has been installed in the parking lane on the eastbound section of the road between Varnum Street and Alewife Brook Parkway and will serve MBTA routes 77, 79, and 350. It operates Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.. It is designated by pavement markings (red lane) and signage. No stopping, standing, or parking will be allowed in the parking lane (red lane) while the bus lane is in operation. The bus lane is shared with bicyclists, who will also be able to travel in the lane without restriction during its hours of operation. Bus drivers have been instructed to not pass bicyclists in the bus priority lane to ensure safe operations for all users.
“Complete Streets” is a concept that promotes streets that work for all users of the roadway network—drivers, pedestrians, bicycle riders, transit users, and freight carriers. In 2016, the Select Board adopted a policy and guidelines to incorporate Complete Streets planning into roadway design in Arlington. This enabled the Town to apply to MassDOT for funding under their Complete Streets Program. In July, 2017 the Town received $400,000 from MassDOT to install new sidewalks on Gray Street, which is heavily used by students to access the Ottoson Middle School.
Complete Street Policy and Guidelines
Arlington Center Safe Travel Project, 2014 to present
In 2014, the Town received funding from the State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Department, through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), for approximately $1.5 million to improve safety for Minuteman Bikeway users by providing a connection through Arlington Center. A second goal is to improve efficiency and reduce congestion for all users by adjusting signal timing and improving crosswalks. Improvements are now complete, with some final adjustments still ongoing.
Safe Routes to School at Stratton Elementary School
The Town of Arlington received a Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Project Award to fund safe and accessible pedestrian infrastructure near the Stratton Elementary School. The proposed project will provide a fully accessible walking route with safe roadway crossings for children and others walking to Stratton along Hemlock Street between Brattle Street and Dickson Avenue and Dickson Avenue between Hemlock Street and Pheasant Avenue. The estimated project cost is $993,289, which will be funded by this award.
DPCD worked with MassDOT’s consultant, AECOM, to guide the project through the project initiation process. AECOM developed a conceptual design for the project that was approved by MassDOT Highway Division’s Project Review Committee in summer 2019. MassDOT funding for the SRTS program includes $15 million of Transportation Alternatives Program funds set aside for SRTS projects in the State Transportation Improvement Program spread across federal fiscal years 2022, 2023, and 2024. The Arlington SRTS project will be scheduled in one of these fiscal years by the end of spring 2020, which will determine the project development schedule.
Arlington Center Parking Study
The Department of Planning and Community Development oversaw the Arlington Center Parking Study, developed by consultant Nelson/Nygaard and adopted by the Select Board in 2014. The recommendations included making parking regulations more consistent, and changing the pricing structure of parking in the Center to increase availability of on-street parking. Specifically it recommended using metering on the streets, with a uniform 4-hour limit, to encourage longer term parkers to use the municipal lots, with no time limit and at half the hourly price. Meters were installed in late 2016. Parking counts and monitoring occurred in spring, 2017, and early results show increased availability on the streets, with more than sufficient capacity in the municipal parking lots.
Bicycle Parking Guidelines
The Arlington Bicycle Parking Guidelines is an illustrated handbook that clarifies the Town’s general, short-, and long-term bike parking requirements. The Guidelines illustrate the location and design of bike parking. The Guidelines also include recommendations and best practices for installing safe, secure, and usable bike parking in a variety of circumstances. Selecting good locations and equipment for bicycle parking can help maximize ridership and increase safety and security for riders.
Zoning amendments to the bicycle parking regulations of the Zoning Bylaw were adopted by the 2019 Annual Town Meeting. The Guidelines were developed in order to provide visual resources and guidance to help clarify the technical language of the Zoning Bylaw for residents, property owners, and Town departments. The guide is also intended to create a standard for bicycle parking installed in public spaces by the Department of Public Works, Parks and Recreation, or contractors selected through public projects and programs.
Parking Benefits District
The 2017 Annual Town Meeting approved the creation of a Parking Benefits District in the metered area of Arlington Center. A Parking Benefits District allows the Town to take the net income after expenses from parking meters for improvements to the area, such as parking lot upgrades, improved pedestrian lighting, sidewalk snow removal, and more benches and bike racks. The goal is to make Arlington Center more inviting and easier to use for shoppers, diners, employees, and other users of the area. The 2019 Town Meeting approved expenditures for improvements to Broadway Plaza and sidewalks in Arlington Center.
View Article 26, Acceptance of Legislation/Establishment of a Parking Benefits District.
Perfect Fit Parking Study
Since 2015, the Department of Planning and Community Development has participated in the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's (MAPC) multi-phase Perfect Fit Parking Study to establish informed, sustainable, and economical parking policies. In Phase 1, MAPC conducted weekday middle-of-the-night surveys at 80 multifamily residential developments in Arlington, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, and Melrose to measure how much parking was actually being used during the presumed hours of peak demand– when most people are at home and asleep. Surveys conducted in Arlington are described in the March 2016 Town of Arlington Residential Parking Analysis. Based on the survey data, MAPC modeled the factors that best predict parking demand.
Phase 2 builds off this prior work to create a database and model of parking supply and demand in the Inner Core subregion of Metro Boston. The findings illustrate the wide variety in the amount of parking provided at various multifamily housing developments, as well as the wide variety of parking demand. Despite this variation, there is a persistent pattern of parking oversupply in all communities and types of developments. This prevalent and substantial oversupply of parking indicates that all municipalities within the study area would benefit from parking strategies that better align parking supply with demand.