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Town seeks $4.8m in state funds: Phase II of the Mass. Ave. project continues

Broadway Plaza work eyed for next spring

Mass. Ave. Corridor logo

UPDATED, Sept. 11: The Department of Public Works and Department of Planning and Community Development are advancing Phase II of the Mass. Ave. Streetscape Project. The project builds off the reconstruction of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington from the Cambridge line to Pond Lane. The second phase of work will reconstruct Mass. Ave. from Pond Lane to Bartlett Avenue.

The town this month submitted a $4.8 million request to the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for MassWorks funds. MassWorks funds infrastructure for municipalities and other eligible entities seeking support for economic development and job creation.

The award announcement will occur this fall. If awarded funds, reconstruction of Broadway Plaza will proceed by next spring. Community design meetings will be announced this fall.

The full Mass. Ave. Phase II reconstruction goes from Pond Lane to Bartlett. The MassWorks grant covers Pond Lane to Mystic Street, Laura Wiener, assistant planning director, commented in response to a question from YourArlington. The MassWorks grant will focus on the Broadway Plaza area, but also include road realignment and sidewalk replacement in that area. "Once we know if we get the grant from the state, we will initiate more public discussion about the design," she wrote.

The last significant improvements were made in Arlington Center in 1977, including the rerouting of Broadway to create Broadway Plaza and rerouting of roadways and traffic at Mass. Ave. and Mystic Street to create Whittemore Park.

Since then, the town has made many interventions to support private development and the economic vitality of the center, including amendments to the zoning bylaw to allow mixed-use development, the passage of a vacant-storefront bylaw, installing new traffic signals to enhance the safety of all travelers, installing parking meters, creating a parking-benefit district and providing grants for storefront enhancements.

These have all had a positive impact, but they fall short of addressing the full scale of needs, an Sept. 5 town news release says.

Last year, the town secured the services of VHB -- a planning, design and engineering firm based in Watertown -- to work on a conceptual plan to advance streetscape improvements. The plan was created with input from multiple stakeholders who attended community forums, focus group meetings and a walk shop.

While the project will enhance the movement of all transportation modes along this busy stretch of the Mass. Ave. corridor, the primary aim of the project is to significantly enhance Arlington Center, particularly Broadway Plaza.

A separate planning project will be launched for improvements to Whittemore Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The conceptual plan was developed using local and Community Development Block Grant funds. VHB is continuing to work with the town on project design, which is funded by a combination of sources, including local roadway funds. The town has been working on short- and long-term funding strategies and solutions to advance components of the project and the project as a whole.

For additional information, contact Jennifer Raitt, director of planning and community development at jraitt[@] or 781-316-3092. 

Sept. 25, 2016: Current Mass. Ave. 'concept' reshaping Center spurs praise, scrutiny

Town website: Previous Mass. Ave. phase 2 presentations

YourArlington, 2014-16: A history of the Mass. Ave. Corridor project

This news announcement was published Tuesday. Sept. 6, 2017, and updated Sept 11, top clarify scope of areas affected. 

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