Traffic Comm. Approves MBTA Bus Route Changes on a Trial Basis

By Journal Staff

The Revere Traffic Commission (RTC) held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, June 20, in the City Councillor Joseph A. Del Grosso Council Chambers of Revere City Hall. City Planner and chair Frank Stringi, DPW Director Chris Ciaramella, City Engineer Nick Rystrom, Police Lieut. Sean Randall, and Fire Chief Chris Bright were on hand for the session.

The first matter taken up by the commissioners was a request from Ward 1 City Councillor Joanne McKenna, which appeared on the agenda as follows:

Amend Title 10 – Chapter 12.12.020 by adding:

1. Establish two lanes on Winthrop Avenue, heading towards Broadway, between Lowe Street and Beach Street at Immaculate Conception to provide for a right-turn lane onto Beach Street, left-turn/straight lane for Beach Street and Winthrop Avenue.

2. Establish two lanes on Beach Street from Harrington Street to Winthrop Avenue, heading towards Winthrop Avenue, to provide for a right-turn lane onto Winthrop Avenue, and left-turn/straight lane for Winthrop Avenue and Beach Street.

“I’m just asking for some lines and arrows,” said McKenna,  “The lanes already have been created for the past seven or eight years, so I just want some lines and arrows to separate the cars. I’m just afraid of accidents, so this is a safety concern.”

Stringi noted that there will have to be a measurement to see if the roadway is wide enough for two lanes and there probably will be the elimination of some parking. The matter was referred to a public hearing for the next meeting of the commission, at which time Rystrom will present the road measurements to the full commission.

The commissioners then held a public hearing regarding proposed improvements to the MBTA’s 110 and 116 bus routes, which had been discussed at the commission’s meeting in May. Becca Wolfson and Olivia Mobayed from the MBTA were on hand to answer any questions about the T’s Better Bus Network Improvement plans for the 110 and 116  routes. According to the agenda, the proposed changes include:

1. Consolidating stops on the east side of Broadway and moving the stops to the west side;

2. Sidewalk improvements on Broadway at the new bus stop locations; and

3. Eliminating the MBTA’s need for the access road at the Central Fire Station.

In addition, there would be updated signalization for the traffic lights at intersections that would allow buses to proceed more expeditiously on their routes. Bright expressed concerns about locating a bus stop across from the fire station and Stringi raised issues about the net loss of two parking spaces in the area of Park St. and Broadway.

Tom Skwierawski, the city’s Chief of Planning and Community Development, spoke in favor of the plan. “Revere is one of a handful of communities that will be among the first to adopt the Better Bus Network,” he said. “We want to ensure that we are doing our part to improve the bus transportation system that will reduce traffic in the city.”

Skwierawksi suggested a trial period to see how the proposals work out and then revisit the changes. “The MBTA has been a great partner with us and they are willing to work with us,” he said.

After a somewhat lengthy discussion, with the commissioners asking many questions about the details of the plan, they voted unanimously in favor of the T’s proposals on a pilot basis for six months, with a preliminary check-in within three months. The changes will go into effect on December 1.

The commission then took up amendments to Schedule XI of Title 10, “Handicapped Person Parking.” by adding 23 Bates Street and by removing 136 Proctor Avenue, both of which they approved unanimously.

Next up was a public hearing to Amend Title 10, Sections 10.32.210 – 10.32.211 to allow parking of vehicles with pupil plates not to exceed six passengers in all areas except areas that are currently 24/7 resident parking. Ward 4 City Councillor Paul Argenzio spoke in favor of the proposal, noting that two constituents who have passenger vehicles with pupil plates have approached him about making the change. The commission tabled the amendment pending an opinion from City Parking Director Zach Babo as to whether he foresees any issues with enforcement.

The commission then voted to amend Schedule XXIII of Title 10, “Tow Away Zones – Off Street Parking Areas,” by adding:

“Gibson Park – both sides – Time of Towing 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., 7 days a week – Tow Zone” and to amend Schedule VIII of Title 10, “Restrictions Generally,” by adding: “Gibson Park – Two Hour Parking during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week.”

The basis for the amendment is that the construction workers on the nearby high-rise residential building have been taking up all of the parking spaces in the area, even though they are supposed to park in a designated lot on the other side of the General Edwards Bridge where a shuttle bus is available to take them to the construction site. Residents told the commissioners last month that they effectively have been unable to use the Gibson Park Playground because there is no available parking.

The commissioners added an addendum to the amendment so that the parking time limit will be increased from two hours to four hours when the construction project is completed.

The commission unanimously voted to deny a request to amend 10.34.010 Section G – “Resident parking sticker” — that would have allowed the residents of 145 Harris Street to participate in the city’s resident parking sticker program. The building contains 12 units, but has only 14 parking spaces. The residents had requested that each of the 14 units be entitled to one resident parking sticker for on-street parking. The commission appeared on the verge of approving the request, which had been endorsed by Babo at last month’s meeting, until Rystrom pointed out that the building had been approved without the usual two-spaces-per-unit requirement per the city’s zoning ordinance with the stipulation that the residents would not be eligible to participate in the Revere resident parking sticker program. 

The commission unanimously approved an amendment to Schedule VIII of Title 10, “Parking Restrictions Generally,” by removing Foster Street – “No Parking both sides 100 Feet Westerly from Broadway” and adding: “Foster Street – No Parking, both sides 60 Feet Westerly from Broadway,” thereby adding 40 feet of additional parking on that stretch of roadway.

The commissioners then heard the following requests which they moved to a public hearing for their next meeting:

— Install a traffic calming speed bump on Mountain Avenue to be located 20 feet east of Kilburn Street;

— Amend Schedule V of Title 10, adding, “One-way streets from: Cambridge Street Southerly direction from  Mountain Ave. to Park Avenue”; and

— Amend Schedule VIII of Title 10 – “Parking Restrictions Generally” by removing “No Parking” from the odd side of the street and adding “No Parking” to the even side of the street on River Street from Mills Ave. to Hayes Ave.

The final piece of business was a vote in favor of amending Schedule XI of Title 10, “Handicapped Person Parking,” by removing 90 Kimball Avenue, which no longer is needed because the person who needed that designated space no longer lives there.

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