MassDOT


Bay State Bike Week Is Here!

Many of you may already know that May is National Bike Month, and if you didn’t know then you should check out our blog about it here.  What you may not know is that Massachusetts has its own biking celebration during the month of May.  Bay State Bike week takes place this year from May 14-20, and anyone is welcome to participate!  There are events going on across the entire state including festivals, bike breakfasts, film screenings, scenic rides, charity bike rides, bike repair classes, and much more.

Another great thing about Bay State Bike Week?  Anyone can plan and submit an event!  Presented by MassBike in partnership with the MassDOT, Bike Week festivities rely on the creativity of their participants.  All that is needed to plan an event and get it on the Bay State Bike Week calendar is a location, name for the event,  date and time, and description of the activities that will be taking place.  Event organizers can submit their event to Bay State Bike Week’s website here.

Want to make your bike rides a bit more interesting?  Sign up for the MassCommute Bicycle Week Chanllenge!  Sign up with your business, school, municipality, or on your own!  This competition is free and open to anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Massachusetts.  How it works is that you keep track of the miles you bike, submit them online and your stats are accrued to your school, place of employment, and community.  You can then keep track of how you’re doing on the leader board.  Some healthy competition never hurt anyone, sign up today and makes your miles count for yourself and your community!

Boston is hosting their own celebration of bikes as well.  In honor of bike week, riders are invited to join in on one of 9 group rides from surrounding Boston areas, all of which end at Boston’s City Hall.  Once the bikers arrive at City Hall, there will be a free breakfast, refreshments, vendors, a small expo area, and shops who can examine and repair bikes.  The other great thing about this event is that it’s free to sign up!  Participants are asked to register so that the organizers can get an accurate head count for the event.  For more information on the convoy routes and departure times you can click here.

There are endless ways to get involved with Bay State Bike Week!  Even pledging to bike to work/school on those days is a great way to participate.  Get up and get active this month, bike week is a great excuse to spend some time outside this spring!

Photo By: cdsessums

 

 

 

South Coast Rail Project Moves Forward

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has finalized the legalities with CSX Transportation to gain the rail lines necessary to restore the commuter rail service between the South Coast region and Boston.

“Helping this region realize the promise of South Coast Rail has been our focus since day one… While others have stopped at talking about this project, we are making it happen. This agreement is another important example of our commitment to bringing this project one step closer to reality.”

– Gov. Deval Patrick Governor

Timothy Murray, the Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, spoke further on the subject that the partnership with CSXTis a major milestone and will be critical to use this investment to leverage future job growth transportation services, and economic development is communities like Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford. Murray however wasn’t the only one to further discuss the purchase as Senator John Kerry noted this will link the economies, businesses and homes of NewBedford and Fall River with Boston. Kerry continued since 2005 more than $30 million in federal funding was obtained from Congress because this development will be so beneficial to the economy and environment.

Further developments and a major stepping stone crossed by the South Coast Rail was a new request released June 10th for the reconstruction of three rail bridges in New Bedford. This past February  $20 million was awarded to MassDOT by the Obama Administration in competitive TIGER funds to be used in replacing deteriorating railroad bridges. Construction on local bridges will begin in the fall.

For more information about the Patrick-Murray Administration visit: www.mass.gov/governor/agenda.

Massachusetts License Plate Lottery Open!

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation begun accepting application for the 2010 Low Number License Plate Lottery yesterday. Those who enter their names into the drawing are hoping for 179 of the most sought after Massachusetts license plates including: R12, F17 and 55A.

“Every year the plate lottery generates thousands of applicants because all drivers have an equal shot at winning one of these coveted plates… Last year more than six thousand people participated and this year we expect even greater interest.”

– Registrar Rachel Kaprielian.

Applications for the license plate lottery are available in all RMV branches and online at: www.mass.gov/rmv/forms/registration.htm. To be accepted all applications must be postmarked no later than August 9th 2010. Postcard entries, as indicated by MassDOT, will not be accepted. Those who have won the lottery and do not register their vehicles by December 31, 2010 will forfeit their license plates and will be offered to a list of 25 alternative winners who will be chosen during the main drawing.

The lottery winners will be announced at a live drawing at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum Saturday August 28th at 11:00 am. Admission to the museum and the current “Curve Appeal” exhibit will be free to all applicants. For official drawing details and a complete list of the plates up for drawing visit: www.mass.gov/rmv. Lottery winners will be posted on the RMV website Monday, August 30th.

Massachusetts License Security Lock Down

Brand new Massachusetts driver’s license and ID’s have been released today with increased security features. The new cards have been put into production this week as new drivers and license renewals come through the RMV. The added security measures will help with law enforcement, banks, retailers and liquor establishments in validating the cards.The new license styles include an outline of Massachusetts that gleams when held to light. The old licenses were secured by ghost images of the driver’s picture, a kinegram or metalized optical device and ultraviolet-sensitive inks.

he Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has also required the manufacturer to set up a facility in Massachusetts for quicker delivery and to set up new jobs, the first time in over a decade they were manufactured locally.

Current driver’s licenses, identification cards, commercial driver’s licenses, junior operator and under 21 licenses will remain valid until their next renewal date. The Massachusetts registry expects to distribute approximately 1.4 million of the new cards to customers over the next year. The new licenses will be phased in over the next five years as drivers are required to renew their licenses.

Reduced RMV Lines!

The PatrickMurray Administration has moved forward in an effort to make transportation agencies more accountable and strengthen customer service. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) introduced two new RMV initiatives this month that will encourage saving time for driver’s visits to the RMV to cancel a vehicle registration.

An average of 45,000 customers visit an RMV branch to cancel their vehicle registration a month. Prior to the new implementations drivers would have to wait in line at a branch to turn in their plates and receive a proof of cancellation. Today massDOT posted two additional options to cancel a vehicle’s registration:

  • Option 1: Visit the RMV’s online branch at www.mass.gov/rmv to verify plate cancellation. The customer will be instructed to destroy or recycle their license plates and need not visit a branch to return them.
  • Option 2: Under a pilot program available in the Watertown branch and expanded to Wilmington, Worcester and Plymouth by the end of the month, customers will be able to return their plates using a touch-screen kiosk in the branch lobby without waiting in line. Customers will use the touch-screen kiosk to print their own cancellation notices and deposit their canceled plates into the kiosk.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has made a large move encouraging drivers to use the online website by offering additional services through the RMV website. Drivers applying for a new license or converting an out-of-state license may fill out the majority of the paperwork online and be ready to complete the transaction in a branch, decreasing the amount of time spent in the branch itself. Other online services offered by the RMV include: license and registration renewals, ordering a Fast Lane transponder, driving record and crash police reports, reviewing a registration, title or lien, and signing up to become an organ and tissue donor.

Online plate cancellation was added to www.mass.gov/rmv website last month as a soft launch.  Thus far the online cancellation has been used by 3,230 customers. Although this service is only a small portion of RMV operations, programmers are looking adding other simple service transactions to self-help kiosks such as paying tickets or citations.

Bay State Bike Week Announced!

MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) will be partnering in an effort to make the Bay State Bike Week a state wide event. The two organizations working together hope to reach across the state and involve as many commuters as possible. The Bay State Bike Week will take place May 17 – 21st to promote biking as a safe, economical, healthy and environmentally-friendly activity.

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, commonly known as MassBike, promotes a bicycle friendly environment and encourages bicycling for commuting, as a recreational activity and for fitness. The organization was founded all the way back in February of 1977 and knows its way around Massachusetts. MassBike is an important group in regards to legislation as well fighting for bike safety legislation and bicycle friendly communities.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation hopes to encourage biking as an alternative mode of transportation to other pollutant generating ways as well. MassDOT began the Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan in 2008 to promote the activity throughout the state. This piece of legislation provides a listing of existing on and off road bicycle facilities that includes paths, projects in the pipeline, and long term proposals.

To kick off the 2010 Bay State Bike Week already has a website set up at: www.baystatebikeweek.org. Here bikers and prospective participants can find out what the week’s all about and how to get involved.

Five Dollar RMV Fee Rescinded!

Monday a new five dollar fee was put into effect for drivers who spoke with a Massachusetts RMV representative over the phone or at a branch looking to renew a license, a registration or request a duplicate license. Many drivers saw this registry fee as a “back door” tax. The new charge came as an unpleasant surprise to both drivers and politicians. The measure was meant to encourage the use of the online RMV system to complete transactions rather than visiting a branch in an effort to decrease operation costs.

Due to much outrage and distaste by the public and lawmakers alike, the five dollar fee has been removed. The Registrar stated in its rescinding publication it understands the government’s concern in that the additional five dollar fee would bring an unduly burden on Massachusetts drivers and in the future will not charge drivers for speaking with a representative on the phone or in a branch. The five dollar charge has been rescinded by the RMV; those who paid the fee yesterday should receive a refund via mail within the next two weeks.

The RMV’s motivation behind the rescinded fee however should not be forgotten; online services not only save the RMV money, but drivers time as well. Over the last year the Massachusetts RMV added eight new online services to better serve drivers. You can check them out at: www.mass.gov/rmv. Before going into a branch MassDOT recommends residents to first check the online website and if possible to complete transactions online, saving themselves the hassle and time of going into a branch.

MassDOT reform with Jeff Mullan

Governor Deval Pattrick announced this month he will appoint Jeff Mullan as the new Secretary and CEO of MassDOT. Jeff Mullan will begin his new position November 1st. Welcomed with the new position he will overlook  the Massachusetts Department Of Transportation reform.

The new transportation system will condense it’s current operations into four divisions: highway, transit, aeronautics, and RMV. In addition to these four divisions is the Department of Planning and Programming, responsible for planning the state’s network of roads, bridges, tunnels, and airports.

To watch a video of Govenor Deval Pattrick and Jeff Mullan’s statements click here.

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