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QUESTION 1: Shall the Town Have Four Vehicular Travel Lanes on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington as Now Practiced?

Consider the comments section below your forum to discuss Question 1 leading up to Saturday's vote. We’ll keep this article on the homepage all week.

It’s election week here in Arlington, and one of the hottest items on Saturday’s ballot is “Question 1” on the Mass. Ave. Corridor Project.

Here is how it will appear on the ballot:

Question 1. This question is not-binding.

Shall the Town have four vehicular travel lanes on Massachusetts Avenue in East Arlington as now practiced?

YES
NO

Consider the comments section below your forum to discuss Question 1 leading up to the vote. We’ll keep this article on the homepage all week.

Also see: “QUESTION 2: Do You Favor the Town’s Current Overnight Parking Ban?”

As quick background, Question 1 was put on the ballot by a citizen petition, which was organized by Eric Berger, a Town Meeting member from Hamilton Road who has vocally opposed the current Mass. Ave. reconstruction plan.

The current plan proposes three lanes on Mass. Ave., two eastbound lanes toward Cambridge and one westbound lane toward Arlington Center, from Pond Lane to the Cambridge city line.

The issue has also become central in the Board of Selectmen’s race, with longtime incumbent Kevin Greeley supporting the current plan and challenger Maria Romano opposing it. 

More on Arlington Patch

  • VIDEO: Residents Voice Opinions on Mass. Ave. Corridor Project
  • Letters to the Editor
Wind Dummy 25 April 05, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Did Jon really say that? He did say that>>> Wow
DK April 05, 2013 at 03:44 AM
If this Mass Ave project goes through, the congestion on Lake Street and Mass Ave will be a nightmare, not to mention the increased traffic on the side streets with people desperately looking for a way off of Mass Ave. During rush hour and the hours before, it can take quite a long time to get through all of the traffic. I do see cyclists on the Mass Ave - usually flying through the red light and not obeying the laws of the road. So let's recap - more cyclists on the road ignoring the lights, more traffic due to less lanes but more cafes that people won't go to due to lack of parking. Wow good plan - what genius came up with this? VOTE YES for 4 lanes!!
Mark Kaepplein April 05, 2013 at 04:02 AM
I looked at the 3,150 or so signers of the ballot question petition. There was a slightly greater percentage of signers in precincts 1-7 (project area) than elsewhere, but it was generally pretty evenly spread out. The data is slightly skewed by more collection activity in the project area than elsewhere, so, its a tough call within the town. The Gang of Five on the Board of Selectmen are lying to residents in order to pit them against each other. They claim (unsubstantiated) a delay that they caused by not offering a 4 lane plan will cost funding (funding just slips with the projects, not disappear) so taxpayers will suffer another one Selectman backed override. The plan is to get non-east Arlington residents against those in the east because they would get the bill and little of the mobility benefits. I find these lies by all five Selectmen utterly shameful for the town and all need to go as their terms expire. The other incredible claim is that there have been 8 years of public input. Simply untrue. As for people outside Arlington involved in the project, there are owners of businesses in Arlington that live elsewhere on both sides, and bicyclists who live outside Arlington, and in favor of bike lanes.
SteveM April 05, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Thanks Mark. I'm an East Arlington home owner (Amsden-Cleveland street stretch) obviously I want what is in the best interest of my neighborhood and the town. I consider myself pretty open-minded - when I don't feel like i'm being BS'ed. At this point I know there is traffic in my section of town. I know when I commute to work I get stuck at the Lake st./Mass Ave light, the Hardy School light (crossing guards push the signal whether people are there or not!), then 50 feet later the bike path with cyclists ignoring the stop sign and bolting into traffic. I have seen how bad Mass Ave is with reduced lanes (snow banks) and would be thrilled to vote for a project that would both modernize and beautify my area of the town, while making the roads safer and more efficient for all. To this day I have not seen any unbiased, objective, conclusive evidence that the current plan will do anything but make congestion worse. If I had definitive proof that it will make things better, i'm sure my opinion and the opinions of others from East Arlington would be the first at the polls. Right now I just feel like i'm being played and manipulated by politicians and non-East Arlington residents. All I want is full disclosure - and the town simply WON'T do that. So for now, I Vote Yes to keep 4 lanes.
SteveM April 05, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Are you kidding me Jon? There is also no ice in Antarctica right?
Crooked Townies Must Go April 05, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Vote Kevin Out........
eliSabeth Taylor April 05, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Removing a lane on Mass Ave is certainly not going to relieve Lake St. traffic where i used to live. The remedy is to improve the Alewife intersection. Vote Yes. The reason i moved to Arlington from Brookline (which was less than stellar, as neighbors don't know neighbors) was that the minute you cross into Arlington from Cambridge the avenue widens and one can breathe...! Blessed be.
Edgen April 05, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Mark is the one lying. Here he says we won't lose the funding, but he's already written the DOT saying 'Any loss of funding is their [the town's] fault', trying to slither away from the blame. You can check that here, if you want a 70M download. http://www.arlingtonma.gov/Public_Documents/ArlingtonMA_Planning/MassAve/37647_MassDOT_Arlington%2022613-ref.pdf page 1062
Mark Kaepplein April 05, 2013 at 02:48 PM
The 3 lane plan may not qualify for half the funds which are intended to reduce air pollution via reduced traffic congestion. The Selectmans' plan increases congestion, thus may not qualify. Second, Selectmen lied, claiming 4 lanes don't fit, creating a delay to have a good plan with 4 lanes created. The wasted money on getting their 3-lane plan designed. If there are more consequences from their stubborn refusal to survey residents or use ballot questions and make a plan residents want, that's on them too. The Boston MPO decides which projects get state co-pays for fed funding and I don't know of any statement they have made.
eliSabeth Taylor April 05, 2013 at 03:13 PM
That was not from your highest good Mr. Greeley. Now I remember why i never got into politics...
Seth Kaufman April 05, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Part of the plan is to reserve space on the sides of the roads for the buses to pull over so you can drive around them. The spaces will be clearly marked too. That's a real improvement - right now people can't tell the difference between a bus spot and a parking spot to buses get stranded in the middle and block traffic. Vote no to obstruction.
Seth Kaufman April 05, 2013 at 05:19 PM
There's no way to "solve" the Lake Street intersection. If we make traffic faster there, more cars will start coming off of Route 2 to avoid the Alewife intersection. Then it'll back up again. Mass Ave needs improvement so it can benefit the economy. That's much more important. Vote no to obstruction.
Wind Dummy 25 April 05, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Why haven't they marked anything on that stretch of road in the last 25 years... What makes you think they'll do it now Seth? Sounds like more "pie in the sky" I think Seth means vote YES for no obstruction...Let's be clear? They already did a similar project mess about 15 years ago. Anyone drive through Union Sq Somerville lately? Didn't think so...
Dean April 05, 2013 at 07:23 PM
VOTE Greedey out tomorrow....No more pubs and liquor stores, no more leaf blower bans, no more water bans, no more lane reductions on MASS AVE, no more debt exclusions, no more overrides, no more arrogance coming from Town Hall, hell no!
Olive Turtle April 05, 2013 at 07:28 PM
The town just added the large structure at Mill St. And ,the Symmes project will one day open. Cars are not going away. I am amazed that anyone thinks narrowing the Ave. makes sense. It effects everyone in town. Cleaning it up, marking it properly and making crossing safe would be a great improvement at a much lower cost. The money is not free. It is a bad investment that you as a taxpayer will be paying for.
John April 05, 2013 at 09:18 PM
I just drove from Henderson St to Franklin st. Zero congestion.
Coco April 05, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Ok Jon good for you, Just be glad there was TWO lanes to help with the congestion, with the new plan won't be. Now do it Mon-Friday next week and get back to us VOTE YES FOR 2 LANES!!
Crooked Townies Must Go April 05, 2013 at 11:51 PM
BE A Double Winner Vote the Tax Dodger Out ...... Vote Yes brought to you by The People Who Want To See Kevin Greeley Out Of Office.
Southpaw April 06, 2013 at 11:30 AM
MOST people use (and have to use) to get to work. There's enough traffic congestion in Arlington as it is. We do not need more of that. You'll see more accidents and road rage. You obviously don't get it. Oh, and by the way, jerk-o, we ALL pay taxes in Arlington....yes, I'm an Arlington taxpayer, too.
Rational Thinker April 06, 2013 at 12:00 PM
While the plan has some good reasonable ideas (median strip, new pavement, lane striping), KEEP FOUR LANES. One only has to think back to the blizzard and recent snow storms when it was down to one lane in each direction. It was a nightmare. Not to mention, how many people will cut through Lafayette, Fairmont, Herbert, Randolph and Orvis to avoid the congestion?
Rational Thinker April 06, 2013 at 12:23 PM
To Jon: Traffic is so bad some days driving home from work in Cambridge, that I always contemplate going up Cameron Ave. and into Teele Sq. Somerville, then back down Cleveland St. And you might say it's all Cambridge traffic, but it starts somewhere, usually Lake St. lights back towards Cambridge.
Dean April 06, 2013 at 01:30 PM
and lets start voting out Mahon and Dunn and Curro who dont live in East Arlington and think its very wonderful and quaint for Mass Ave to become a parking lot!
Steve Mahler April 06, 2013 at 01:49 PM
I'm another driving/cycling/bus-riding Arlington commuter who want to see the improvements pass on Mass.: for safety, for fitness, for fossil-fuel reduction and for the benefit of local residents and businesses. I'm voting No on the ballot question.
Crooked Townies Must Go April 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Dean, Funny you say that... I am going to present to town meeting next year that we change the form of government from town manager ,Corrupt Selectmen. and Antiquated town meeting . To a City Form , Mayor and a City Council where each district of Arlington is represented. Enough with Selectmen who don't even know where East Arlington is.
Crooked Townies Must Go April 06, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Vote Greeley OUT!!!!!
Facts not feelings April 06, 2013 at 11:12 PM
First, let me say that no matter the opposition, these politicians will push this through. It’s just the way things have become in this corrupt world from our small town all the way up to top government. Mass. Ave. is already congested during peak times. You cannot eliminate any lanes & not expect a nightmare. Why can’t people see this? Wake up! Who’s getting a kickback on this foolish project? Who’s getting employed temporarily & then leave us with a debacle? I’m a bicyclist also. I feel for their safety, but less lanes is not the answer. We can easily give them a bike lane next to the current sidewalk. We don’t need trees & park benches. We need lanes of traffic. Roads are meant for cars, to get efficiently from one place to another. Parks are for trees & benches. Use the argument of having to use the available “free” funds. Do you think anyone has extra funds when this country is on the brink of bankruptcy? We are borrowing money from China to do this. Does that make sense? Who is going to maintain all these new renovations? Where will the money come for that? Did you think about that? Why not just spend a little money & repair Mass. Ave. We need new pavement & new lines painted, and we need to review the traffic light times. Nothing has been done for years. Is that on purpose? Who will pay to reverse the renovations when everyone realizes it was a big mistake? I love Arlington & all the people here, but some of us are just not thinking straight.
mike camm April 07, 2013 at 12:14 AM
Facts not feelings, please run for office ! you make more sense than our elected officials in this town. you are 100% correct, you are the Best !!!
JKP April 07, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Better luck next time!!
Wind Dummy 25 April 07, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Mike they would just smear him with lies, badger his family etc to the point of retaliation. Then call them a gun nut racist conservative kid killer who hates medical pot.
Dean April 08, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Crooked Townies, I agree with you...We need a city form of government. This town meeting form was sufficient in days gone by but now we need more representative form of govt. TM meeting members are not involved with the issues daily and cant wait for Leone to bring down the gavel for adjournment. Greeley likes to quote how a lot of towns our size operate, well a lot of towns our size have a city council and mayor. Time to dump the gang of five for a more representative form of govt.

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