Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A visit to two construction zones, Memorial Drive and the Destroyed Nesting Area, Charles River, Cambridge, MA, USA

1. Visit, analysis of environmental situation.
2. Impact of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

1. Visit, analysis of environmental situation.

Late yesterday afternoon, a little after 4 pm, I visited the gaggle of the Charles River White Geese at their Destroyed Nesting Area. I have frequently reported on the ongoing outrage in what should be their inviolable home. I have quite recently reported on the plans to close for construction Memorial Drive to the north of the DNA and move traffic to the on and off ramps, one of which directly abuts the DNA.

I approached Memorial Drive from the Cambridge side. The Boston area works to maximize accidents by confusing drivers through use of multiple names for the same road. Memorial Drive has four to six names between its start near the Boston (TD) Garden and Arlington Center. To add to the confusion, the managers also apply their own names to parts of Memorial Drive.

Memorial Drive is elevated at the BU Bridge above a rotary which channels traffic among the various roads. The elevated portion is called the Reid Overpass. The area of work on the Reid Overpass is very clear looking at it either from the north or from the south. The entire STRUCTURE is not under construction. In particular, the portion next to the Destroyed Nesting Area is not under construction.

This area is exactly where the railroad workers would be parking and the metal building would be located if Massachusetts had a responsible government. The Cambridge (northern) side of this area is closed with a fence from the ground to the overpass, and pedestrians east of the rotary are protected by a constructed tunnel. But access from the side facing the on ramp and the Destroyed Nesting Area is wide open, and construction ends at the pedestrian tunnel.

Rerouted Memorial Drive traffic was moving with no great impediment on the Cambridge / north side of Memorial Drive. There were no police on this side. Traffic was responsibly yielding coming down the off ramp as it approached the traffic circle under Memorial Drive. There was a very slight back up, but it was no big thing.

As is normal, the south side of Memorial Drive with its access to and from the BU Bridge was more complicated. State Police were directing traffic in place of the stop light next to the Destroyed Nesting Area.

The first item I noticed on approaching the Destroyed Nesting area is that the large metal building has been replaced by a less large metal building. The southern end of the replacement building was as irresponsibly close to the Charles River as its predecessor.

Company vehicles were parked in the parking area created at the entrance in the most irresponsible part of the BU Bridge work. There is one parking space. Two vehicles were parked. The second was on the leg of the new crushed stone highways which is intended to receive Governor Patrick’s proposed highway.

Privately owned vehicles were still being parked in the grossly irresponsible location at the foot of the hill. The ground is getting badly pounded down. The large dumping of crushed stone remains at the foot of the leg of the new crushed stone highway which is intended to connect to the Cambridge City Council's irresponsible leg of its north-south highway.

The Charles River White Geese were doing their best to live through this outrage. During nesting season, they tend to do a lot of wandering. They were wandering among the irresponsibly parked privately owned vehicles. A number of them wandered up the hill supporting the on ramp, including babies who were probably about two or three days old.

The governor’s form email contact is:

The email addresses for members of the state legislature are posted at

The traffic outside the Destroyed Nesting Area really was not that terrible for a rush hour, and I imagine the traffic copy right outside the entrance was helpful in that respect.

2. Impact of the Boston Marathon Bombing.

During Red Sox home games tends to be the worst traffic. Yesterday, the Red Sox were on the road.

If the Copley area is shut down when the Red Sox return home, it probably would have minimal impact on this area, if any impact. The area of the shutdown comes within a few blocks of Fenway Park to the southeast side of Fenway Park going away from the Destroyed Nesting Area.

It is very difficult to fully predict the impact of the shutdown on traffic, and I have no intention to get in the middle of what could be a bad mess.

The shutdown closes traffic in the area to that portion of Boylston Street which was Ground Zero. That area is one way away from Fenway Park. The shutdown closes traffic on Massachusetts Avenue which bounds the parkland named the Fenway to its east. The shutdown closes traffic to and from Huntington Avenue east of Massachusetts Avenue. Huntington Avenue is the main road west of the Fenway parkland area.

The closing of Massachusetts Avenue could cause alternate route traffic to move traffic through the Fenway Park area. I do not know. I do know that I saw no meaningful impact in Central Square, Cambridge, through which Massachusetts Avenue passes, and the situation outside the Destroyed Nesting Area was not particularly surprising. The Back Bay bombing closure starts three blocks south of the Charles River on the Boston Side. Massachusetts Avenue crosses over the next bridge to the east from the BU Bridge.