Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Leslie University promises to destroy trees (for the City of Cambridge)

Bob reports:

1. Introductory.
2. Porter Station Park.
3. Town-Gown Meeting, February 7, 2006.

1. Introductory.

You put Cambridge planners anywhere near a park and the first thing they do is destroy trees. Then they put in saplings and brag about the saplings.

In the 70’s and 80’s, the MBTA extended the Red Line from Harvard Square to Alewife. As part of that extension, the MBTA put in parks. Now the City of Cambridge is “improving” those parks.

One of the “improved” parks is next to the Harvard Square Hotel and across from the Charles Hotel, in the Brattle Square portion of Harvard Square. This was a small park with bike parking and 8 to 12 trees.

Last year, the trees were just reaching maturity. So the powers-that-be destroyed them and put in 8 to 12 saplings and bike parking.

Similarly, at Inman Square at about the same time in the late 70's / early 80's, the city created Vellucci Park. It was a magnificent, thick woods two years or so ago. So the city destroyed the woods, left a few trees and installed a relatively barren plaza.

Their explanation was "too thick." At about the same time, Cambridge destroyed a four story high grove of 8 to 12 trees at the Squirrel Brand affordable housing project ("wrong pedigree") and replaced the trees with grass.

I could go on and on. Cambridge brags about these events. They brag about the saplings installed and do not mention the mature trees needlessly and heartlessly destroyed.

2. Porter Station Park.

Another of the targets for the last year or so has been a lovely little park built by the MBTA when they built Porter Station.

A useful map is at The area of interest is at the right hand top side of the map. The map may be blown up into great detail.

We are now going through the second iteration of sale of air rights at Porter Station. What is never mentioned (more than can be avoided) are the plans for destruction of the park at Porter Square.

Last year, the developer proposed to “improve” the park by converting the park to retail. That developer proposed to destroy all the trees in the Porter Station park and put a retail building in their place.

Last year’s developer kept the plans as secret as possible, and emphasized on questioning that he was keeping the Cambridge development department happy with this proposal.

3. Town-Gown Meeting, February 7, 2006.

Tuesday evening, February 7, 2006, Leslie University made their “Town-Gown Report” to the Cambridge Planning Board. Leslie University is also considering buying those air rights at Porter Station. Leslie University is also proposing destruction for the park at Porter Station.

Leslie is proposing to destroy part of the trees.

Leslie, obviously, is keeping Cambridge’s environmentally sick City government happy with these plans.