Transportation news: MassPike tolls, train fare & schedule, and Boroughs’ “Last Mile Connection”

Above: Much of transportation news relates to commuting through the Southborough MBTA station (Image edited and cropped from photo posted to Flickr by Adam Moss)

The Town Planner’s blog alerted me that there’s a lot going on in area transportation. And more relevant news has been announced by a transportation agency since her post.

If you are a resident, you may be concerned about news related to commuting elsewhere by rail or Mass Pike. If you own an area business (or are encouraging local development), you’re likely more worried about commuting to or within our local hub.

Recent announcements cover it all. I’ll start with the most local news, and work outward.

Boroughs “Promoting Regional Collaboration on the ‘Last Mile’ Connection”

The “Boroughs” are holding an Economic Development Summit the morning of January 26th. The event is meant to bring together communities of South, West, North and Marl boroughs – plus Hopkinton, Hudson and the 495/Metrowest Partnership.

Promoting Regional Collaboration on "Last Mile" Connection
(Click to visit website)

The summit is intended to draw business people, municipal leaders and Economic Development professionals and committee members in the Boroughs and towns. Legislators have also been invited. And the Keynote speaker is Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

The focus is the connection from major public transit to the business locations where people work. The Commuter Rail is the big one, particularly in Southborough. But they will also cover busing routes, park and rides, etc. The summit includes a panel discussion followed by Q&A. The event is sponsored by law firm Mirick O’Connell.

For details, visit the event website.

Speaking of the Commuter Rail. . .

MBTA announces new proposed fare hikes and Commuter Rail schedule

The embattled MBTA has been working on again improving service on the Commuter Rail. Last week, it posted new proposed schedules. It also shared a presentation documenting the mission and challenges, plus an FAQ.

I cribbed the new Southborough train schedules below from their posting – which I assume to be weekdays:

(Click to enlarge)

The implementation target is May 23rd. Public comment is encouraged through February 12. For details, click here.

In the meantime, the agency also released news of impending fare hikes (plus changes to late night service for Rapid Transit and bus routes).

For details, click here. To calculate how the rate changes effect you, click here. (Remember, Southborough’s train station is in zone 6.) Comments on fares (or late-night service) will also be accepted in writing until February 12th.

They will be holding public meetings on each topic, with some covering both. None seem to be convenient to us. Fortunately, there will also be comment kiosks at Boston stations you can take advantage of later this month. Click here for schedules.

Western Turnpike likely to impose tolls past 2017

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation published it’s mandated Triennial Review on the state of the Western Turnpike. (That is the 193 mile section from NY to Route 128/I-95.)

If the roads were determined “in good repair”, the authority would have to stop imposing tolls in January 2017 when their debts were repaid. With some sections apparently found to need more work, that may not happen.

Now the agency is holding required public meetings, including one on in Framingham on the evening of January 26th. At meetings:

MassDOT will solicit input from the public on the Triennial Review, the state of repair of the Western Mass. section of the Turnpike and other capital needs for this section of highway.

For details and schedule, click here.

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