News from Town Manager/Board of Selectmen
Posted on: November 2, 2018
MBTA Tree Trimming and Clearing along the Right-of-Way
The MBTA is committed to providing safe, reliable, on-time service to our Commuter Rail customers. As part of this commitment, we must ensure that vegetation along our rail network is managed annually to prevent trees and other types of vegetation from falling on the tracks or interfering in any way with service. We recognize that in some instances the vegetation management program has created concerns for residents living alongside the right of way. This letter is being sent to inform you of the steps the MBTA is taking to address the concerns communicated to us by your state and local officials.
While we will adhere to best practices regarding vegetation management, going forward, working with the Town of Needham and its tree warden we will exercise a measure of discretion over the extent of the clearing that takes place. We need to ensure that the right of way is safe and clear of any potential hazards.
To the best of our ability, we will endeavor to be selective in the amount of vegetation clearing that takes place. However, we must emphasize that in some areas the vegetation we are required to clear could result in a significant change from what it looks like now. While we understand the aesthetic impacts of removing trees, our first obligation is to ensure the rail right of way is safe for use for our customers and our employees. To that end, vegetation clearing seeks to remove any visual obstruction or potential falling hazard, as well as reduce situations where falling leaves can create “slippery rail” conditions. Unchecked growth in certain areas can also impact the ability of the line’s signal and communications equipment to properly function. All that said, we do promise to exercise discretion over tree removal where we can.
Our vegetation management program along the Needham Line will resume on November 4, 2018 and will continue through the remainder of the fall season, as resource availability allows. In an effort to keep the community and neighbors along the corridor informed, we will routinely provide notification in advance of work that is expected to take place. This information will be posted on the Town’s web page and updated as work proceeds.
Lastly, understanding that this work can produce noise, we are prohibiting our contractor from starting work before 9AM on Sundays.
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding while we perform this necessary project.