Thursday, December 08, 2011

MassDOT tables Grand Junction Passenger Service; Cambridge Pols push environmental destruction anyway

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation conducted a neighborhood briefing on the status of its study of passenger service on the Grand Junction Railroad in Cambridge. This is the track that runs through the eastern part of the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese. The proposal would be very harmful to the Charles River White Geese and to the environment abutting the Charles River.

MassDOT has determined that, as of the current situation, passenger service on the Grand Junction has significantly less value than using the expansion of South Station in Boston to receive expanded Worcester / Framingham service. So they are tabling the concept to work on expanding South Station.

They emphasized that Framingham / Worcester service needs to expand and that the best way to do that is to put the added trains on the South Station route. The big problem they have is that there is no money to expand South Station and it would be very expensive since it would require tearing down the main Post Office mail handling facility in Boston. The post office is amenable, but the post office expect Massachusetts to bear all associated costs.

The actual expansion in South Station is targeted as part of returning train service to the “South Coast”, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton, MA. That project is also deferred. Apparently because of the money problem as well.

MassDOT will post the slides from the presentation on their website on December 9. This report is based on my memory of the presentation and I am giving my best memory.

The numbers which stood out to me were MassDOT’s projections of service under the most extreme usage they projected for the Grand Junction. Under this projection, total daily ridership would increase by 300 passengers, and, with a stop near Kendall Square in Cambridge, 500 passengers would be using that stop.

The way the numbers work indicates that, after the new Kendall passengers, ridership would DECREASE elsewhere on the service. This is my point and my understanding of what I got out of them on questioning.

Basically, this just makes no sense to them or to me. So they are going to work for the expansion of South Station and, if they cannot expand South Station, will look once again at adding trains to North Station by the Grand Junction.

The Cambridge Pols had their usual destructive contingent out. The Pols have organized the highway lobby in a very aggressive manner. These are the same types who are fighting for massive environmental destruction on the Charles for their silly highway proposal there.

They emphasized that they want their new highway following the Grand Junction no matter what. As with their destructive proposal following and running in the Charles River, these individuals could care less about the environmental harm or heartless animal abuse.

Cambridge City Councilor Henrietta Davis, of the needless destruction of the core Alewife reservation as part of that bizarre project which cannot achieve its stated objectives but which could be done in the parking lot across the street, very piously supported this highway concept with its harm to the environment and the animals of the Charles. Davis is highly consistent. She, however, has the nerve to claim to be an environmentalist.