Enhancements planned for Otis Street MBTA bus stops; Hingham’s parking fines amended

Photo by Yassine Khalfalli on Unsplash

April 6, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer

Improvements to two Otis Street intersections with MBTA bus stops are planned for Otis Street/Governor Long Road and Otis Street/Broad Cove Road to enhance accessibility, subject to the required permitting process.

The Select Board approved both projects Tuesday night at the request of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, subject to Hingham DPW stipulations.

The Governor Long bus stop improvements are less complicated that the Broad Cove Road enhancements. Both projects involved public input.  The Governor Long improvements include the addition or reconstruction of the concrete sidewalk, handicapped-accessible ramps, granite curbing, signage, and striping within the town right-of-way on Otis Street and would take from about 5 to 10 days to complete --weather permitting -- according to Town Engineer J.R. Frey.

The Broad Cove Road bus stop work involves in part reconstruction and reorientation of that intersection, "consistent with the proposed construction planned for the Rte. 3A improvement project," according to Frey.

Other planned improvements include sidewalk work, handicapped-accessible ramps, granite curbing, a new guardrail, bump-outs to help reduce speeding in the area, among others.
"The purpose of these projects is to make inaccessible bus stops accessible," MBTA Project Manager Natasha Vance told the board.

Subject to necessary approvals, the Broad Cove Road project would take about a month to complete, weather permitting. Neighbors will be notified prior to construction.

A couple of abutters to the planned area of improvement asked if trees and bushes on private property would be trimmed and whether there could be less-frequent stops by the bus at that location.

Frey said only the portions of trees on private property that would interfere with the project would be trimmed and that eventually they would grow back. Concerns about the speed of traffic traveling through that area were reiterated by another resident.

In other business at the meeting, the Select Board approved the Traffic Committee's revised parking fee structure.  Increases relate to:

  • Fire Department-related fines for parking within 10 feet of a hydrant or fire lane obstruction, from $25 to $50
  • Obstructing a sidewalk/crosswalk, from $20 to $25; and
  • Parking within 20 feet of an intersection or more than one foot from a curb, from $15 to $25.

The Traffic Committee also recommended, and the board approved, adding the following fines:

  • $50 for parking in a designated electric vehicle space
  • 25 for a bicycle lane violation (blocking the lane); and
  • $25 for parking outside the marked lines of a parking space.

Select Board Chair Joseph Fisher noted that through grant funding, electric car charging stations will be installed around town and that the grant requires that a community receiving such a grant award initiate such a parking fine.

Select Board member Liz Klein noted that an initial proposal to increase the fine for parking in a handicapped-parking space, first offense, from $100 to $150 could not be approved because in order to do so, the town by-law would need to be changed.

These fines are comparable to surrounding towns, Police Chief David Jones said. The late-fee structure for overdue fines will remain the same.

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