Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Grand Junction Railroad: Cambridge, MA, USA, Loses on Commuter Rail, Reaffirms Highway, animal abuse and environmental destruction

1. Introduction.
2. Cambridge, MA, USA reaffirms support for environmental destruction. Pick on the environment and free animals.
3. Grand Junction Commuter Rail.
A. Summary.
B. MassDOT’s transmittal.
C. Executive Summary.

1. Introduction.

The extremely bad government in Cambridge, MA, USA lost a big vote in its attempts to put commuter rail at street level.  That summary is section 3, below.

The bad guys responded with a vengeance, reaffirming their heartless animal abuse and environmental destructiveness.  That report is section 2, below.

2. Cambridge, MA, USA reaffirms support for environmental destruction. Pick on the environment and free animals.

Interesting con. They do tend to be inventive in their rottenness.

Representative / Councilor Toomey was the key opponent of Commuter Rail on the Grand Junction. Toomey supports using the right of way for a new small vehicle highway in his part of the city, East Cambridge, as stated in an irresponsible report from what passes for planners in Cambridge.

Probably the most environmentally destructive and most animal abusive City Councilor is Henrietta Davis. Naturally, she loudly claims to be an environmentalist, but under Cambridge’s secret, lying definition.

Toomey sent a letter to a business group in Kendall Square supporting highway use on the Grand Junction Right of Way. Davis turned that into a nine member (of 9) signed support for the proposal.

The pols in Cambridge always prove it a mistake to say “they would never stoop so low.”

The highway as proposed further destroys the nesting area of the Charles River White Geese and builds a fence separating the core nesting area from adjacent woods which are also part of the goose habitat, especially for nests. With, of course, environmental destruction.

There is a responsible alternative which makes a lot more sense and costs less money, and only changes the southern tip.

Instead of heartless animal abuse and environmental destruction, the responsible alternative would cut the road to the east before Memorial Drive, run it between two buildings and run it over to the bend of Vassar Street a little before Memorial Drive, then connect to Memorial Drive. The alternate route is shorter, faster, and humane. But this is the really destructive City of Cambridge, MA.

It is always a serious mistake to expect responsible behavior out of this extremely bad city government.

One key prior report is posted at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/cambridge-city-council-committee-defers.html. This was a committee meeting which supposedly tabled the matter. Naturally, it was sneaked through the entire city council without meaningful public notice.

That is the way things are done in the City of Cambridge, MA, USA.

3. Grand Junction Commuter Rail.

A. Summary.

The Grand Junction railroad line is on the hill to the east of the last refuge of the Charles River White Geese. It has been used to connect a rail yard in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, MA to the North Station rail complex in Boston, MA.

On February 22, I recently provided an extended analysis of the Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation on a lot of related issues. That report is posted at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/massachusetts-transportation-secretary.html.

Cambridge, MA, USA claims to be pro environment and pro women’s rights.

These hypocrites got their comeuppance on an attempt to get commuter rail running through the city at street level. The pols lied by giving an impression they were opposed by public statements while they sicked the Cambridge Machine on well intended people using the usual game. They tried to control folks with false statements of opposition: you can’t win, but have we got a deal for you.

Too many people refused to sucker, so this particular con did not work.

MassDOT publicly announced they would not be going forward in a public meeting and have recently made it formal. The non use of the Grand Junction for Commuter Rail is contingent on expansion of Boston’s South Station, the south and west terminus for passenger rail. That seems to be going through.

Here are the transmittal and the Executive Summary copied directly from the document.

B. MassDOT’s transmittal.

On February 14, 2012, Matthew Ciborowski announced the final report, providing a link to it.



I am happy to report, that after a delay, MassDOT’s final report on the Grand Junction Transportation Study has now been posted to the MassDOT website. The full report is available at: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/planning/Main/CurrentStudies/GrandJunctionTransportationStudy.aspx.

The report concurs with the discussion and decisions announced in a December 2011 public meeting. MassDOT is currently not pursuing any further analysis of the potential for passenger rail along the Grand Junction corridor in Cambridge and Somerville. The corridor will continue to be utilized for its current freight and equipment-movement functions. As demand continues to exist for expanded service from metrowest communities into Boston via commuter rail, MassDOT is focusing on the South Station Expansion project (http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/southstationexpansion/Home.aspx) in order to achieve additional capacity.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Matthew Ciborowski
Matthew Ciborowski | Office of Transportation Planning
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Room 4150, Boston, MA 02116
phone 857.368.8845 | email matthew.ciborowski@state.ma.us
For news and updates check out our blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportationor follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot

C. Executive Summary.


The Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) has completed an analysis of the feasibility of providing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail service along the Grand Junction Railroad right-of-way (ROW), which is used by CSX local freight trains, by the MBTA for transferring equipment between the north-side and south-side commuter rail lines, and by Amtrak for transferring equipment for the Downeaster to and from the Southampton Street Yard. The Grand Junction ROW provides the closest and most direct connection between Boston’s North and South stations, via Somerville, Cambridge, and Beacon Park Yard (in Allston). As a result of MassDOT’s purchase of many CSX rail lines, and of the Grand Junction acquisition specifically, a proposal was made for some of the train service that is to be added to the MBTA Framingham/Worcester Line in the future to be routed via the Grand Junction to North Station, thereby allowing for new connections and destinations to be served, while also relieving congestion at South Station. The Grand Junction Transportation Feasibility Study was conducted in order to evaluate the feasibility, benefits, and impacts of this proposal.

This analysis examined the existing transit characteristics of MBTA Framingham/Worcester Line trains using the MBTA 2008–09 Systemwide Passenger Survey. CTPS collected traffic, pedestrian, and bike counts in the study area in order to understand the impacts on users of the various crossings of the Grand Junction ROW. Potential future service plans were developed for this study in order to test the ridership effects of changes in train frequency, train travel times though Cambridge and Somerville, and the potential construction of a commuter rail station near Cambridge’s Kendall Square for a 2035 planning horizon year. Traffic and safety impacts at the six vehicular grade crossings and two pedestrian grade crossings along the branch were also evaluated. The study compares these impacts and ridership to a future “no-build” scenario in which all trains on the Framingham/Worcester Line terminate at South Station, as they do currently.

The analysis showed several benefits and burdens associated with this project.

● A number of passengers (both in existing and future conditions) on the Framingham/Worcester Line would benefit by routing train service to North Station via Cambridge.

● It would improve train capacity and provide flexibility for train operations at South Station.

● It would provide an opportunity to serve a major employment center (Kendall Square) with more transit options.

● It would enable passengers to make a new connection between North Station markets and the Kendall Square market in Cambridge, a connection that is not currently served by a direct rapid transit service.


● The proposed changes in commuter rail schedules to accommodate the shift of trains to North Station would reduce options for riders who would prefer going to the Back Bay or South Station areas.

● Additional train trips along the Grand Junction ROW would have an infrequent moderate impact on vehicular traffic and on pedestrian and bike trips at several grade crossings in Cambridge.

● Some commuter rail diesel locomotive emissions would be shifted from Boston to Cambridge.

● Utilizing this lightly used right-of-way and building a new station would require new capital investment.

● Operating and maintaining this service and a new station would increase the MBTA’s operating costs.

Based on the findings of this analysis, MassDOT has determined that the greater density of trip demand in the Back Bay and Financial District make the South Station route more desirable for the majority of travelers on the Framingham/Worcester Line. Although the Cambridge-to-North-Station connection via the Grand Junction Railroad is a feasible approach to relieving track and platform congestion at South Station, MassDOT is also actively pursuing an expansion of the tracks and platforms at South Station. Therefore, MassDOT does not intend to actively pursue the implementation of Framingham/Worcester Line commuter rail service over the Grand Junction Railroad at this time.