Urban Ring since 2002
Bob La Trémouille edits:
Archie Mazmanian passes on the following with a link to a 2002 Arco Forum presentation on the phase 2 Urban Ring. The Arco Forum is located in an atrium at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on JFK Street between Harvard Square and the Charles River.
Perhaps visitors to your Blog might be interested in the Harvard Gazette issue of July 18, 2002 article titled "Ring around the city: Rappaport Institute explores Urban Ring," by Beth Potier, available at:
A lot has happened - or not happened - with respect to Phase 2 of the Urban Ring in the seven (7) years since this exploration. I am not aware that the Harvard Gazette has since reported on the Urban Ring or whether the Rappaport Institute has engaged in further explorations. Of course, this article appeared several years before Harvard revealed its secret real estate purchases of approximately 250 acres in Allston for expansion of its campus and its subsequent desire to connect this with Phase 2 of the Urban Ring. This article was also published long before Harvard acquired the lands underlying the Beacon Yards rail system.
Financial issues were a concern back in 2002. Since then the financial plight of MA and the rest of the nation has added to this concern. And Harvard's endowment decrease resulting from recent national and worldwide financial woes has put the brakes on Harvard's development of its Allston campus. As a result, the major portion of Phase 2 now called the Southern Tier is recognized by the Executive Office of Transportation as up in the air because of major impediments in addition to financing. As noted in an earlier post, these major impediments relate to the Charles River crossing at the area of the BU Bridge and surface routes in lieu of a tunnel in the busy Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area, through which Phase 2's 60-foot articulated BRT buses would have to maneuver, largely in mixed traffic.
With respect to the Charles River crossing, auto commuters face great frustrations in their daily commutes in the area of Commonwealth Avenue/BU Bridge/University Road/Carlton Street bridge on both sides of the Charles River. Recently they have been honking with these traffic conditions. Perhaps these auto commuters should be heard from (other than by honking) as stakeholders at public meetings on Phase 2 and with public comments on the EOT's Notice of Project Change. (Reminder: such public comments are due by August 7, 2009.) It seems as if the Commonwealth, Boston, Brookline and Cambridge are not coordinating efforts to minimize the impacts of work on the BU Bridge, especially the major infrastructure project that will commence later this year and probably last well over a year until completion. And even after such completion, the auto lanes on the BU Bridge will remain at three (3), recently reduced from four (4) lanes. Honking is not an effective means of getting a message across to the authorities. These auto commuters should unite and make their voices heard.
Harvard announced its secret purchases in Allston in 1997, as I remember. There were additional purchases after that, and Mass Pike's sale of the Beacon Yards in 2000? The point is the Rappaport report was written when the Allston stuff was semi-public and well underway.
There was a chronology online at www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=349511 that omits Harvard's initial announcement of its secret purchases. The chronology dates those from an initial purchase of 52 acres from 1987-1993.
The T did nonsense about an express bus route from Newton to Cambridgeport using the Grand Junction bridge. That proved the bridge capable of handling a Mass. Pike off ramp to and from the west.
Then Harvard Purchased the Beacon Yards.
Then the U turn was built at the Allston Tolls, supposed to allow Back Bay traffic to go west and then to the airport, in reality to turn the Grand Junction Mass. Pike exit into a access for both directions of traffic. This made the Beacon Yards available for Harvard to build on.