Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A different view on MassDOT — State Hearing on Transportation Delays

1. General.
2. MassDOT complaints.

1. General.

Tuesday evening, September 14, 2011, I attended the state environmental office’s hearing on delays of a number of projects.

Most visible were the Green Line extension to Tufts University in Medford / Somerville and plans to scrap planning for a connection between the Blue Line subway at Government Center / Bowdoin Station to Charles Station at the southern end of the Longfellow Bridge.

Handicapped activists raised long comments against MassDOT’s handling of hearings on the Green Line extension. They supported the delay at least in part based on their claims of misbehavior. A number of people, most associated with Somerville, objected to the delay. It appears that the line will now not be completed prior to 2018, rather than 2015 or so.

MassDOT explained the change as giving in to the inevitable.

I was one of the few commenting on the apparent latest death of the Blue Line — Red Line connector. This short tunnel would get people off the Green Line between Government Center and Park Street stations in Boston and eliminate one transfer in making changes between the two lines. This would clearly be a great improvement for people who need to go related routes. It be an improvement in reducing congestion in the core subway.

The stated reason for this was lack of apparent future funding to go forward.

Green Line supporters blamed funding problems on highway costs (the Big Dig) being improperly allocated to the MBTA.

When I was done, both sides on the Green Line dispute thanked me for my comments defending the Blue Line — Red Line connector.

2. MassDOT complaints.

At the end of the meeting, I explained to both MassDOT and to the objectors that I had been tempted to speak in defense of MassDOT based on my experiences on the Charles River. I did not do so because the comment would be solely attacks on Cambridge and the Department of Conservation and Recreation and would not really have relevance to MassDOT.

Nevertheless, MassDOT has been a breath of fresh air in the really rotten situation in Cambridge.

The outrageously destructive behavior of Cambridge and the DCR has been beneath contempt. Their goals are “reprehensible” and demonstrate “outrageous misbehavior”, to quote the Superior and Appeals Courts on Monteiro. Their tactics are comparable. The most recent secret public meeting on the impending destruction of the Alewife reservation is just one sample.

The fake group which has fought for the destruction of the core reservation for 15 to 20 years was created after consultation with the Cambridge Development Department. I was at her initial organizing meeting. She clearly admitted it.

The fake neighborhood association fighting for the destruction of the Charles River admits to being created at the request of the Cambridge City Manager.

The first of these fake groups, in the central city was likewise created working with the City Manager’s people and has done a lot of harm.

A multitude of organizations run around praising / fighting for destructive behavior by the city and clearly work closely with the city.

They work together and praise each other, frequently stating goals exactly the opposite of reality. Formal proposals commonly have fine print belying lovely claims.

False statements out of the DCR and its predecessor have been legion.

The lies out of the City of Cambridge are usually more sophisticated than from the DCR, but when it counts flat out lying is not surprising. An excellent example is the lie that the only option on the Urban Ring rapid transit proposal is Cambridge’s silly and destructive streetcar route. I proposed the Kenmore Crossing seven years befer it was adopted as a formal option by the state. I can provide the state’s maps of the two option. It is still on the table and has been funded by $10 million from the state for Yawkey Station in a location only working with the Kenmore Crossing. Yet Cambridge’s friends keep on putting out the lie.

It should not be necessary to disprove flat out lies. In Cambridge and in dealing with the DCR, it is commonly necessary.

The folks in these destructive groups clearly work together and have a number of other so called community entities which spout the nonsense coming out of Cambridge / the DCR. These people are clearly friends with each other, and these entities work for each other’s goals. They commonly give themselves lovely (and frequently flat out false) names.

They have done a lot of harm and are fighting for even more harm with commonly bizarre projects.

MassDOT has conducted responsibly located meetings and a lot of them. MassDOT has meaningfully stood up to people fighting for destruction.

I have well earned contempt for Cambridge and the DCR.

I have respect for MassDOT.