Saturday, February 18, 2006

DCR Proposal to Move Storrow Traffic to Memorial

Bob Reports:

1. Marilyn's Analysis for Publication.
2. My Short Analysis.

1. Marilyn's Analysis for Publication.

The following was written by Marilyn on February 14, 2006, between the Department of Conservation and Recreation meetings on February 13 and 15 in which the DCR, as usual, contradicted themselves. The DCR flatly refused to provide their timetable for further destruction on Memorial Drive but was very happy to give timetables on Longfellow Bridge and Storrow Drive work.

This analysis was in the form of a letter to the Cambridge Chronicle, too late for February 16 (weekly) publication:

The other shoe is falling

In 2003, Harvard bought the 51 acres in Allston
containing the Mass Pike exit to Cambridge a few
months after the MBTA's feasibility study showed the
pike exit to Cambridge could be moved to the Grand
Junction rail bridge that goes under the BU Bridge.
Such a move would free up the valuable riverfront land
for Harvard's own purposes.

Harvard and the Pike Authority forgot to include a
permanent easement for the Pike and freight yards in
Allston, so the sale was halted til they were

Harvard's big plans for Allston give us reason to
monitor all transportation and other development plans
on the Boston side very closely. As one State
official said, "we assume Harvard didn't buy the Pike
land in order to be the landlord of the Pike and the
freight yards."

The DCR's meeting on the Storrow Drive tunnel repair,
held February 13 at the State House, indicated the
other shoe is dropping.

Storrow Drive handles 92,000 cars a day, Memorial
Drive only 30,000. The DCR says the Pike is very
close to capacity, Mem Drive is way below. So when
the tunnel is closed for years, traffic will be
diverted to Mem Drive. The DCR would like some of the
temporary diversions to be permanent.

As we know, the DCR has been preparing Memorial Drive
to handle that traffic: limiting access,
straightening it out, instituting new westbound turns,
cutting down all those trees. And the MBTA has showed
it was feasible to use the Grand Junction rail bridge
to move the Pike exit to Cambridge from its current
location. And Cambridge has provided the Cambridgeport
Roads project to connect to the Grand Junction rail

In brief, diverting many of those 92,000 daily auto
trips from Storrow Drive to Mem Drive is likely to be
permanent, with the addition of a new Pike exit to
Cambridge as provided in the old Inner Belt.

There is a lot going on on the Charles River instead
of the sort of public rapid transit all of us want--to
say the least.

Marilyn Wellons.

2. My Short Analysis.

I sent the following out to two lists between the two meetings:

. . . Unfortunately, money which should be spent on public
transportation is being wasted on cars.

I just got back from the state house meeting on the rebuilding of
Storrow Drive's tunnel. They intend to close that tunnel for years. They
figure the Mass. Pike is close to capacity now and that Memorial Drive
is way below capacity.

We are seeing another part of the conversion of that rail bridge to an
off ramp from the Mass. Pike.

Memorial Drive is being straightened out, with destruction of 449 to
660 trees and a major part of that railroad right of way, to relocate the
traffic from Storrow Drive during that work.

. . . . I think the numbers are something like 90,000 on Storrow in the
[tunnel] to 30,000 on Memorial Drive.

There is a lot going on on the Charles River instead of the sort of
public rapid transit all of us want. The rapid transit is being relocated
as part of this package to support Harvard's Mass. Pike campus.