February 11th Information &
Resource Update
MBTA Public Meetings on Service Reductions;
Upcoming Disruptions to Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line

Public Meetings on Service Reductions

Towards the end of 2020, the MBTA began executing a suite of service cuts as part of its “Forging Ahead” initiative. Resulting service reductions are likely to remain in place for several years. Effective April 5th, weekend service will be eliminated on the Fitchburg and Franklin lines, among others. 

Ahead of these changes, the MBTA will host two virtual public meetings on February 17th and February 24th, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. These meetings will provide an opportunity for riders to learn more about the changes and ask questions. 

Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line Disruptions

Beginning March 1st through early May, service will be suspended on the Fitchburg Line between Wachusett and Littleton Stations, while the MBTA installs Positive Train Control. Shuttles will provide service connecting impacted stations, and will run all day Mondays through Fridays during the impacted period (Effective January 23rd, there is no weekend service on the Fitchburg Line).

Shuttles will not serve North Station or Porter but will instead depart from and arrive at Alewife. Each scheduled train will be replaced by both a local shuttle and an express shuttle:
  • Local shuttles make all stops between Alewife and Littleton, except Hastings and Silver Hill
  • Express shuttles stop at Alewife, South Action, and Littleton

Click here to view the shuttle schedule. Note that shuttles cannot accommodate bicycles. Additional dates may be added as work progresses.
Mass Vaccination Site to Open at Natick Mall on February 22nd;
Appointments Open for Booking February 18th

The Natick Mall is being added as a mass vaccination site, slated to open on February 22nd with LabCorp as the provider. The site will begin administering 500 doses per day, gradually increasing capacity over the course of several weeks to 3,000 doses per day. All residents eligible to receive vaccination will be able to utilize this site.

Eligible residents can begin booking appointments for the Natick site on February 18th. For appointment booking, visit mass.gov/covidvaccine.

Individuals who accompany someone age 75 or older to get a vaccine at a mass vaccination site may also schedule and receive their own vaccination on the same day.

The Natick Mall will become the second mass vaccination site in the 495/MetroWest Partnership's service area, the first being Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which is currently operating Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Saturdays and Sundays 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Eligible vaccination candidates may click here to schedule an appointment at Gillette Stadium.
MassDEP Private Wells PFAS Sampling Program:
Berlin, Bolton, Harvard, and Stow

Private well owners in the 495/MetroWest Partnership communities of Berlin, Bolton, Harvard, are Stow are eligible for free PFAS testing of well water, per the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

MassDEP is offering free PFAS testing of private well water in 83 municipalities across the Commonwealth where 60% or more residents receive their drinking water from private wells. In the 495/MetroWest Partnership's service area this includes Berlin, Bolton, Harvard and Stow.

Private well owners in eligible communities should visit dwp-pfas.madwpded.org to register for a free private well drinking water sampling kit. Eligible applicants will receive an easy-to-use sampling kit, and return them to DEP free of charge. Due to COVID-19 concerns, residents will be instructed on how to collect the water samples; DEP staff will not need to visit a well for the free PFAS sampling program.

MassDEP will provide the results of the testing to the well owner, along with technical assistance on any recommended steps to take based on the results. MassDEP will also share sample results, location, and well owner information with the local Board of Health for the municipality where the wells are located.
CMRPC to Host "Community One Stop for Growth" Overview Session

Recently, the Commonwealth unveiled its new Community One Stop for Growth funding request platform. The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC) and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) will host an overview session for the new service tomorrow, February 12th, at 10:00 AM, exclusively for CMRPC communities.

Click here to register for the event. CMRPC communities included within the 495/MetroWest Partnership's service area are Berlin, Hopedale, Grafton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Upton, and Westborough.

Community One Stop for Growth is a streamlined application process that will allow applicants—including municipalities, public entities, community non-profits, and private companies—to use a single portal to access ten different grant programs. The portal connects prospective applicants to multiple grant programs offered by EOHED, DHCD, and MassDevelopment, and offers tailored guidance and collaborative review.
Transportation Committee Meeting March 4th

The Transportation Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will meet on Thursday, March 4th at 8:30 AM. Our featured speaker at the meeting will be Barry Lorion, District Highway Director for District 3, who will discuss regional roadway projects both upcoming and underway. The meeting will take place remotely via Zoom. Click here to register for the meeting; our Transportation Committee meetings are open to all interested persons, with advance registration.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Transportation Committee focuses on regional mobility and enhancing transportation options in the region, addressing areas such as municipal roads and bridges, highway infrastructure, traffic congestion, commuter rail, regional transportation authorities, transit modernization and long-term visioning, interagency coordination, workforce transportation, complete streets projects, and transportation policy.
Watch the Conversation: Municipal Government Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest Panel Discussion

This week, the Energy and Sustainable Development Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a special forum as part of its series on the impact of COVID-19 on our region, "Municipal Government Response to COVID-19 in 495/MetroWest." This panel discussion focused on how municipal governments across our region have responded to the pandemic. You can view this insightful discussion online at this link!
The 495/MetroWest Partnership extends our thanks to our panel, which included Sgt. Ed Burman of the Ashland Police Department, Foxborough Town Manager Bill Keegan, Shrewsbury Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las, Acton Town Manager John Mangiaratti, and Wayland Town Administrator Louise Miller. Check out coverage of the event in The MetroWest Daily News.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.