By SCOTT JACKSON
Temple Street will be closed to vehicles next week so the road can be rebuilt as part of the Adam Green transportation project, and the portion of Hancock Street between the United First Parish Church and City Hall will permanently close to traffic June 24.
Chris Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch, said Temple Street would be closed to vehicular traffic Tuesday through Friday of next week – May 31 through June 3. The portion of Hancock Street between Granite Street and Temple Street will be closed to northbound traffic during that time as well, with vehicles detoured onto Maple Street.
Pedestrian access to both roads will be maintained, and southbound traffic on Hancock Street will be unaffected by next week’s work.
Walker said area businesses would be notified about the road closures this week.
“Starting this week, someone will be by all the businesses,” he stated.
Temple Street will be rebuilt next week as part of the Adams Green transportation project, Walker said. The road will be lowered six inches as part of the process.
The rebuilding of Temple Street is the last part of the roadwork underway in Quincy Center necessary before the portion of Hancock Street between the United First Parish Church and City Hall closes to traffic permanently. A new city park will be built between the two historic buildings.
Walker said the closure of the portion of Hancock Street between those two buildings has been scheduled for Friday, June 24.
The closure of that stretch of the road will bring about a shift in traffic patterns, with vehicles now traveling in both directions on Temple Street and Washington Street adjacent to the United First Parish Church. New traffic signals installed as part of the roadwork project will also come online at that point.
The city plans on reaching out to the public about the change in traffic patterns, using electronic message boards among other methods.
“There will be plenty of that,” Walker said when asked about public outreach.
Once the new traffic pattern begins, traffic headed southbound along Hancock Street in Quincy Center will now travel on Washington Street next to the church. Two lanes will be available at the intersection where Washington, Coddington and Temple Streets meet – one to take a right onto Temple and then back onto Hancock Street and the other to continue along Washington Street or turn left onto Coddington Street.
Southbound traffic on Temple Street would flow in one direction until reaching a new raised crosswalk where Hancock Street resumes. At that point, three southbound lanes would be available heading into the intersection with Granite Street – a right-turn only lane onto Granite Street, a center lane to stay on Hancock and a lane to turn left onto Maple or Chestnut Streets.
Traffic headed northbound on Hancock Street would travel in one lane in the 1300 block between Granite Street and Temple Street. About halfway up Temple Street, traffic would split into two lanes – one allowing vehicles to take a right onto Washington headed southbound towards Quincy Point or go straight ahead onto Coddington, and the other a left-turn only lane that would lead back to Hancock via Washington Street.
The pending closure of Hancock Street is not the only change coming to Quincy Center, as the city-owned Ross Garage closed for good Monday. Demolition of the parking garage, which first opened in 1972, is expected to being next week and will be completed by June 30, William Geary, the special counsel to the mayor for downtown development, told The Sun previously.
Two temporary lots will open to accommodate vehicles displaced by the closure of the garage. The larger of the two will be located on the vacant Messina-owned parcel at the corner of Hancock Street and Hannon Parkway, adjacent to the Cliveden Place development. The second lot will be located on the city-owned land directly across Hannon Parkway from Messina lot.
Geary said the two temporary lots would have room for a total of 120 vehicles, and the open-air surface presently next to the Ross Garage had about 80 spaces available. The city also hopes to shift some of the vehicles over to the Hancock Lot, which Geary said had approximately 160 extra spaces available on average on a daily basis.
Once the Ross Garage is demolished, a new surface lot would be built on its footprint. The temporary lot there would have room for approximately 200 vehicles, and should be ready to open by the fall.
Quincy Public Schools’ Director of Elementary Curriculum & Programs Erin Perkins was unanimously appointed as the new Director of Special Education at Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting.
Perkins’ appointment is effective July 1, and the appointment timing will allow for transition planning with Director Judy Todd prior to her retirement at the end of June.
AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005.
Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people will travel compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.
“Americans are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel in numbers not seen in more than a decade,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices, and millions of people from coast to coast are ready to kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway.”
AAA estimates that Americans have saved $18 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and prices are at the lowest levels in 11 years. The strong labor market and rising personal income are also motivating people to travel for Memorial Day this year.
Low gas prices driving increase in auto travel this Memorial Day
Nearly 34 million (89 percent) holiday travelers will drive to their Memorial Day destinations, an increase of 2.1 percent over last year as a result of lower gas prices. Air travel is expected to increase 1.6 percent over last year, with 2.6 million Americans taking to the skies this Memorial Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will fall 2.3 percent, to 1.6 million travelers.
Massachusetts families also expected to travel more
AAA estimates that 844,000 Massachusetts residents plan to travel over Memorial Day, 786,000 of them by car. Both numbers mirror national trends as the highest seen locally since 2005.
AAA to rescue more than 350,000 motorists this Memorial Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 350,000 motorists during the Memorial Day holiday travel period, with the primary reasons being dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the nearly 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
Memorial Day travelers heading to warm weather destinations & cities
Many Memorial Day travelers will head to warm weather destinations and historic American cities to kick off their summer travels. The top destinations this Memorial Day weekend, based on AAA.com and AAA travel agency sales, are:
- Myrtle Beach
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- South Padre Island
Download the AAA Mobile app before a Memorial Day getaway
Before setting out for Memorial Day, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
With the AAA Mobile app, travelers can also find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants via TripTik Travel Planner. AAA’s is the only rating system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property on an annual basis. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades.
AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 62 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Atty. Gen. Maura Healy Tuesday unveiled a new public information campaign to encourage people to call 9-1-1 for emergency medical services at the first signs of a drug overdose.
Along with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel and members of the law enforcement community, state officials launched the $250,000 Make the Right Call campaign to promote the Massachusetts 911 Good Samaritan Law.
This law provides protection to individuals seeking medical assistance for themselves or someone else experiencing a drug-related overdose, including opioid-related overdoses, without the risk of charges of possession of a controlled substance.
“With nearly four people dying per day from opioid-related overdoses, our administration is pleased to introduce another campaign to raise awareness and help more people get access to the treatment and services they need,” said Governor Baker. “I am pleased to stand with the Attorney General and members of the law enforcement community to unveil the Make the Right Call campaign as another tool aimed at curbing this horrific public health crisis from our communities.”
The goal of the new campaign is to save lives by increasing the use of 911 in overdose situations.
Make the Right Call targets active users of opioids and their friends and families with a simple message that they shouldn’t be afraid to seek help when they see an overdose. The campaign includes billboards, and advertisements on street furniture and other public environments where overdoses can take place. Viewers are directed to the website for more information on what to say when calling 911, what to do while waiting for help to arrive, and where they can access the overdose reversal tool Naloxone, more commonly called Narcan.
The use of naloxone has risen quickly over the past three years. In 2015, there were over 9,000 incidents during which emergency responders utilized naloxone; up from 5,443 in 2013.
“The Good Samaritan law removes a key barrier that prevents people from seeking help in an overdose emergency,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “No one should die because a friend or stranger is too afraid to call 911. Our goal is to educate people about this law because nothing is more important than saving a life. We will continue to partner with law enforcement and the Administration to make sure this important message is heard.”
Additionally, the Department of Public Health and the Attorney General’s Office have partnered to produce a special “Roll Call video” which explains the importance of the 911 Good Samaritan Law to members of the law enforcement community, who play such a key role in responding to overdose situations and saving lives. The five-minute video features public safety officials who have seen the positive impact of the Massachusetts 911 Good Samaritan Law, and also includes the compelling testimony of one Massachusetts resident whose life was saved because of a 911 call – and who is now in long-term recovery. The Roll Call Video will be shared with public safety partners in every police department in Massachusetts.
“Opioid abuse is a medical disease, and an epidemic,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “As such, we must treat it like an illness with prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery options for everyone. The Good Samaritan law plays a critical role in allowing people to treat an overdose as they would another sudden medical illness—by calling for medical help when it is needed most.”
Make the Right Call also includes a grass-roots component to spread the word. Posters which feature the campaign messaging can be ordered at no charge by municipal agencies, community organizations, churches, businesses and others by visiting the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.
“The opioid epidemic continues to impact families, friends, and neighbors in every corner of Massachusetts,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel. “We must continue to do everything in our power to save lives, and stem the rate of opioid deaths.”
By SCOTT JACKSON
Mayor Thomas Koch wants Quincy represented in new LED signage proposed for Boston Scientific’s facility on Commander Shea Boulevard, and a spokesman for the medical device maker said the company would work with the city on the matter.
Boston Scientific went before the Planning Board May 11 seeking approval for plans to place a 30-foot tall by 88.5-foot wide on top of its south warehouse at 500 Commander Shea Boulevard. The sign would be Quincy’s largest, according to Planning Director James Fatseas.
The sign, as proposed, would include the company’s name in blue lettering; the LED sign would shine white from dusk to dawn. The sign would be visible from I-93 in Boston, according to representatives from Boston Scientific who spoke at the meeting.
The Planning Board did not vote on the proposal at Fatseas’ request; the hearing was continued to June 8. Fatseas said the mayor would like to see Quincy included in the branding for the facility, and wanted more time to review options with the company.
“We’d like an opportunity to have a further conversation with Boston Scientific regarding this sign. We’re very, very happy with Boston Scientific. I’m sure that we’re going to a place where we’re comfortable,” Fatseas said.
“This would be, in fact, the largest sign in the city of Quincy – by far – and the opportunity to discuss that at a later date is important to the mayor.”
Planning Board member Glen Comiso echoed the same sentiment.
“I like the idea of advertising that we have technology here in Quincy. I only wish that it was clear that it was in Quincy,” Comiso said, noting drivers who see the sign from the highway might assume the building is in Boston, not Quincy.
A spokesman for the company said Monday Boston Scientific would work with the city on other possible options for branding on site.
“Since our founding in the Boston area more than 35 years ago, Boston Scientific has been dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. We are considering options for branding our global distribution headquarters in Quincy,” Tom Keppeler, Boston Scientific’s senior manager of global media relations said in an email.
“We look forward to working with the city to consider options that add to the Quincy and Boston landscape, show our commitment to, and roots in, the area, and adhere to our brand standards.”
In other business May 11, the Planning Board also:
Approved the Quincy Housing Authority’s proposal to renovate the parking lot at Tobin Towers at 80 Clay St. The project will increase the number of parking spaces on site from 90 to 112, add a new entrance/exit on Wentworth Street, improve drainage, and include a new pavilion area for residents of the building.
Approved a request to raze the existing three-unit home at 17 Bates Ave. and replace it with a three-story, five-unit home.
Continued to June 8 a hearing on the proposed 30-condo building at 28-34 Chapman St. in Wollaston.
Approved a five-year housing production plan. The production plan states Quincy will need an additional 4,000 units of residential housing in the next five years, and outlines goals to create new affordable housing units. The City Council must still approve the plan.
Gave a negative reccomendation to a proposal by Councillor Joseph Finn that would require downtown redevelopers to comply with the city’s affordable housing ordinance. Downtown redevelopment projects are currently exempt from the city’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.