I-Cubed with athenahealth

A public hearing and special meeting of the Town Council, was held on Thursday, June 29, 2017 where Town Council voted in favor of the I-Cubed initiative. But the process continues! See below for the results of the informal short survey sent out in June; scroll down for links to I-Cubed documentation.

Survey Results

Comment section concerns (Question 4) - 58 respondents:

"I think bump-outs are dangerous. I also believe traffic calming should be called driver stress inducer."

"The re-alignment of Charles River Rd. shown in the Watertown Square improvements won't work.  Also, constriction of North Beacon St. will not support the current traffic volume."

"North Beacon street is a gateway to Watertown. Making it bike and commuter friendly with safe access to the river needs to be a priority post the large Athena projects.  Also neighborhood meetings rarely have the people that support projects at them because of the lynchmob mentality of the primary actors."

"It is difficult to discuss the proposed improvements without context, without the explanation of why they were included in the list, without understanding what problem(s) each project will fix or solve.  The provided context also must include what dependencies on other projects exist to solve the problems in the same or adjacent areas (and whether or not they might already be in the pipeline).  Knowing that the projects come out of the recommendations of various studies or meet desired states in town-wide plans (like the Comprehensive Plan) are also part of the context of the project.  The parameters of the I3 grant need to be more fully explained -- for example, that all projects undertaken with the I3 grant must be completed in the 3-year window.  Some projects are easier to fit into that constraint than others.  I think that there might also be some confusion as to the actual property owner for some of these proposed projects.  During these meetings, getting everyone onto the same page, by hearing the same information, with all of each project's context, is critical to helping everyone understand the proposals and make sound decisions."

"Traffic is crazy we need to stop putting in apartments and fill the ones that are available!"

"Concerned that we have clearly articulated process and well in advance announcement calendar for community members to participate. Also concerned that there needs to be contact with the MBTA around bus routes to deal with influx of all the new housing."

"I read that the intersection of Bates Rd. East and Mt Auburn was going to be part of the Arsenal St project. Do you know if they are planning on doing anything to make it a bit easier to cross from Bates Rd East to Walnut? That intersection kind of stinks."

"We have  25 million reasons to vote "yes". The infrastructure in Watertown is very old. Improvements are costly. But, we need to focus on ways to make traffic flow more efficiently because it is out of control and will only get worse once these projects are finished.  Watertown Sauare is a disaster during rush hour, and rush hour is now about rush 2-3 hours every day. Backroads which were once a sanctuary for Town Residents are now used by everyone with GPS.  We need to find ways to divert traffic from Watertown Square. The Arsenal St new projects need to use Allston/Brighton as an entry point. Finally, the Charles River is a seriously under-used recreational asset.  For years, Charles River Road has just been a jungle of unkept property. (I know it's MDC land.). This area could be greatly improved and for public use and recreation. A kayak/canoe launch is a great start."

"When will informational meetings and public hearings be scheduled?  What is the current time lime to adopt or reject this BID program?"

"As you continue development, please account for traffic impacts as a whole and not on a per-project basis. Traffic limitations to manage crowd-sourcing traffic apps would also be nice to see. "

"We have some truly amazing bike paths for recreation but we're so lacking on being able to bike for actual transportation. Please create more bike paths"

"Overall traffic volume,  and a realistic opinion on volume/flow from someone who is not affiliated in any way with the developer."

"Stop turning Watertown into Cambridge "

"How can any resident vote on any of these without links that explain exactly what they are?  This survey makes the supposition that residents are informed about the infrastructure, which they are not.  Please get information out to residents so we can have a voice on any and all of these."

"Please don't narrow Mt. Auburn St, or No. Beacon St. Arsenal st. is a nightmare NOW, when all the condos/apartments are built, it will become un-passable."

"Do not give tax breaks to development. Stop narrowing roads. Make bikes follow same rules as cars."

"No more building in Watertow,!"

"Closing charles river road to Watertown square seems like it will make getting through the square more difficult "

"Leave Watertown the way it is...need to bring back families into this town."

"Stop building in Watertown.  We do not need any new projects.  This town is getting too congested.  Go to a different town and add all the toys and buildings you want, but get out of Watertown"

"Concern that road work is narrowing or eliminating car lanes In areas that are adding substantial housing and retail stores increasing traffic. For example, Arsenal st. "

"Thank you for sharing this with the community!"

"I think that with the large amount of building going on bringing in many more people both living and working here , traffic concerns need to be addressed "

"Narrowing of roads and additional traffic with the continued building of condos. "

"Love the protected bike lane though we need to make sure that bikers/drivers are educated about intersections(as the cars will need to drive past the lanes to get to the front of the intersection and if cars are parked near the intersection(hopefully not) this impedes a drivers view and thus will need to go further(and possibly not stop at the bike lane which is before the end of the intersection).   Flow of traffic on both Arsenal and Mt Auburn are facilitated by smart lights. Once concern is the backup from 2 lanes at common St intersection/Mt Auburn to 1 lane.  This intersection already backs up quite a bit going West which has another light at Irving St...we want to make sure they are timed so that this doesn't occur or people are not stuck in the middle which then impedes the traffic in other directions."

"Shade trees should be incorporated in planning as integral green infrastructure at every opportunity."

"I would really hope that those that are doing all these studies are taking into consideration the future building and growth and what that will mean for transportation and infrastructure. What may seem feasible today doesn't equate to all the building going on and what that will bring to this town in 2-5 years. I drove down Main St Watertown today at 8am and the cars going into the square were backed up for miles, that's ludicrous. Thinking that bikes will be utilized more is a great thought, but for every one person that is using a bike how many are driving their cars? "

"Way too much development.  Athena and their crew is doing whatever they want.  Traffic is already bad and is only getting worse.  Someone has to say no to their big development plans on Arsenal St!  "

"The roads are in terrible shape.  It seems that we are very focused on planning for  "nice to have" traffic proposal such as narrowing my auburn street to change commuters travel patters versus fixing current potholes and dangerous intersections.  With the growth the town is experiencing it seems we should focus on fixing our crumbling roads. "

"If not for the You Know You're from Watertown Facebook page, many of us from town wouldn't even know of these surveys and plans.  There needs to be much better communication to people to get their input.  The recent Arsenal corridor meeting that just occurred last Thursday was the first that many people heard about the plans for that area, and many people wanted to give feedback, but heard about the meeting after it occurred.  And feedback needed to be in by the 5th of July - a major holiday week with no time to provide feedback for many people.   Please do a better job, send out mailers or reverse 911 to let people know about these topics of concern to residents."

"The traffic in this town is out of control and we are considering moving."

"Streets and transportation are top priorities followed by water/waste facilities"

"Watertown traffic is becoming unbearable."

"Please put a safe crosswalk in at Russell and Mt. Auburn.  VERY DANGEROUS to cross the street there in current cross walk!"

"I think online surveys are a great way to get quick but meaningful data from constituents. I would like to applaud the councillor that had the tenacity and forethought to do this. I hope it helps everyone"

"traffic patterns on arsenal and adjoining streets"

"With all the new traffic on Arsenal and changes in street lights etc, the cut through traffic on Frank St has become very difficult for residents (of course that's lessened considerably with the current work on Louise St and that's actually been a really nice side effect!) - I would really like to see Frank St either become a one way street or (my preference) a dead end in order to reduce non-residential cut through traffic. It would be a similar solution to what they did at Beacon Park by closing the outlet to Arsenal."

"We should vote yes on I-cubed but then, also, ask athena to fund the Watertown Square Community Path project in its entirety -since they're saving on their mitigation agreement this way."

"I live on the west end of town, off main st, and I would love to see better bus service, or other transit options."

"YES, stop this nonsense of no parking from nov-april since there are so few snowstorms... change parking policy to one-sided parking during storms... watertown roads are wide and removing cars from all streets for months at a time where there isn't any snow is a royal pain, unreasonable and a burden to many who have several cars or limited access to public parking lots which, btw, require getting up early to remove the car from the lot!  soooo annoying!"

"I think about how lucky my boys are to grow up in Watertown. I want them to be able to explore all the great things coming to town and to feel safe doing so. I want public transportation to be the best way to get around. "

"The plantings put in when developing apartments and commercial buildings is poorly designed, planned and maintained.  These are token efforts that lead to dead trees and overgrown "green" spots.  We need a much more intelligent effort to include pocket parks within new development.  Europe does a much better job of integrating green areas with dense development.  Why can't we do the same.  Lack of imagination is endemic. :-/ "

"I already avoid Arsenal Street between School St. and Home Depot like the plague because the you always end up sitting at a light (or 4 of them), no matter the time of day.
How will reducing it by one lane of traffic make it better??
I'm very worried about what will it be like to live on School Street with all the traffic to the stores and bowling alley and multiplex movie theater."

"There is too much new building. The town is too small to support all the additional people moving into town. The schools, emergency services, and roads can't support it. STOP building, enough all ready. There won't be one scrap of grass left in this town because of all the building. "

"Schools,  schools, schools. Size and infrastructure."

"More bike paths. Please finish the bike path that is behind Target. It doesn't connect to any other paths. Also create more streets between Arsenal and Mt Auburn. All these developments make the traffic move only in one direction."

"The square is a mess. Please realize once you start 'solutions' like closing off Charles River Rd you will change ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS by rerouting. Thats solving a problem by shifting a problem."

"Do not make Arsenal street or any other street in Watertown 1 lane. It is idiotic to make the roads smaller when the towns population is sky rocketing. Why make a bike lane for a bike population that is so little? This is America... nobody is going to give up their car and become a cyclist."

"Thank you for your leadership on this issue Lisa"

"Watertown is fast getting beyond fixable."

"Concerned about coordination of all of these projects worsening impacts on Watertown Square. No well thought out plan for an inviting pedestrian environment. Arsenal Street looks haphazard and will only get louder. Families need off road bike routes planned with destinations. I hope you're mapping our underground infrastructure and planning more public transit. This seems like our last chance to capitalize opportunities along the river, especially Watertown Square but we need transportation expertise to protect our neighborhoods."

"This Icubed thing is more like an invasion.  It is too big and needs to be broken down into small projects.  Some parts are good, some are bad." 

"The proposal for a one-way Charles River Road will make a trip from my home through Watertown Square very difficult at any time of day. Every neighbor will need to go through 4 or more traffic lights (vs. 1 today) including the left turn from Arsenal Street to Galen Street that requires multiple light cycles even during moderate traffic. Traffic in general is starting to paralyze the neighborhood and we are counting on the town to consider the residents as well as the developers."

"There was talk of making some local canoe/kayak storage available at the Yacht club years ago and also making it more accessible to the public"

"Squibnocket park should not be used for parking. Green space is precious enough in this area, do not give any more of it up for cars, there's plenty of parking on N. Beacon St for recreational use vehicles"

"A commitment needs to be made for the continuous clean up of rubbish along and in the Charles river and on the Athena health side between Louise and Greenough. If this serves as the gateway to watertown we need to show that we value a clean and safe environment otherwise trash begets trash. The quality of the river (at least what we can control) should also be paramount."

"I am sure that issues such as Sewer are very important, but it is just not something that I, personally, think about.  The public only thinks about what we see, not about what might be needed (behind the scenes) to make things function.  Oh, and I left out of #3 above:  the intersection of Orchard and Common St. is horrible.  And it will be come much worse when the Cushing Square apartments are built and when Victory Field becomes busier.  Already it is becoming difficult to turn on to Common St. from the side streets."

"The town needs to be in control- not developers. The right people impacted need to be at the table from the beginning- not after all decisions are made. Great to have developers kicking in but we do not need to be owned by them. What about school improvements? That is a huge concern with all proposed and approved development."




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February 23, 2016

An informal presentation was shared with Town Council for informational purposes.

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May 11, 2017

A public meeting to share the draft I-Cubed proposal, held at athenahealth campus bldg 311.

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June 14, 2017

Updated Economic Development Proposal, with ten areas identified for site plan review.