Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Harvard University formally changes its plans for its expansion in Boston’s Allston neighborhood.

1. Harvard University publicly announces a major change in its public announcement of its plans for the Allston neighborhood of Boston.
2. Context.
3. Contact for Governor Patrick.

1. Harvard University publicly announces a major change in its public announcement of its plans for the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

Harvard has recently filed an “Environmental Notification Form” changing its official description of its plans for Allston.

Harvard’s short range plans as announced are less than previously proclaimed, but Harvard has drastically shortened the period it is publicly communicating.

The impression, possibly false, is that, since Harvard has cut back in the near term, it is also cutting back in later years. Such an assumption ignores the ongoing destruction on the Charles River to facilitate Harvard’s expansion.

To provide just one example, the destruction of hundreds of trees between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge on the Cambridge side of the Charles is a direct assistance to moving the Brighton / Cambridge exit from Harvard’s properties to the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge. Bond approval for this destruction is included in Governor Patrick’s budget, which seems to be proceeding in the legislature.

Harvard’s write up is so concise and so communicative that it would be silly of me to attempt to pass it on in these pages. I probably would wind up using more words than Harvard does.

The posting is at

One aspect which could use elaboration is on the plan posted on the last page. It is marked as 28 Travis Street. This is, apparently, the one Harvard project in the ground. On the plan, Travis Street runs vertically. It hits Western Avenue very close to North Harvard Street which, in turn goes into Harvard Square.

The north side of the street is the Charlesbank affordable housing project which Harvard has forced to be sold to Harvard.

2. Context.

The biggest single environmental problem on the Charles River is the multitude of destruction being accomplished to ease Harvard’s empire building on the north side of the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.

Looking at the Charles River, the expansion starts with Western Avenue and the Western Avenue Bridge and extends south beyond River Street / Cambridge Street / the River Street Bridge to include an area larger than Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. This latter area currently constitutes the Brighton / Cambridge exit from I90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) and the Beacon Railroad Yards.

The Railroad Yards are being vacated by the railroad, which is relocating the facilities to Worcester, MA. I have recently reported on consideration of use of the Beacon Yards by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Transportation for overflow daytime storage of trains working out of South Station, Boston. Beacon Yards, by rail mileage, is only about four miles from South Station.

3. Contact for Governor Patrick.

It really is not nice to destroy hundreds of excellent trees, particularly since it is silly to consider the package which obtained Patrick’s blessing was pushed through clearly fraudulent tactics.