Saturday, March 15, 2014

Letter: Trains use the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge

1. Introduction.
2. Question.
3. Response.

1. Introduction.

We have done several reports on the ongoing attempts to run exit traffic from I 90 (Mass. Pike) to Cambridge by way of the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge.

I got the following email in response to the second of the two reports. Links are provided in my response. I have slightly edited my response without changing its substance.

One explanation may be of value. In both of my photo reports, I point out a highway sign. In the first report, that highway sign is directly ahead if you simply follow the train tracks. In the second report, emphasizing the view from Boston, the sign is quite visible and I point out the connection to the Grand Junction Bridge in that background. The below response includes comment on what is on that highway sign.

I am attaching the usual satellite / areal map of the area from a government environmental report in 2006. I will not bother you with yet another detailed explanation of the photo. Either you do not need it, or, hopefully, the markings on the photo which I put there will be adequate.

The BU Bridge is identified to the right in the photo. The railroad bridge in question is visible running under it.

If that does not work, my explanation in the links, hopefully, will be adequate.

I appreciate a good question.

2. Question.

Isn't it true that the BU railroad bridge (a double set of tracks bridge with tracks only on side) is used daily to move train sections between North and South stations for the commuter rail?

And that this is the only connection between the two without going all the way out to 495?

3. Response.

That is the reason the MBTA study called for widening it by placing a third pathway to the east of the bridge. I believe it was proposed as sort of a cantilever arrangement.

The need for the third pathway is the reason why the machine is conning the bike highway lobby to widen the underpass under Memorial Drive, under the lie that it is for a bike highway.

It will be for a bike highway until Harvard needs its off ramp. Harvard purchased the future Harvard Medical School area several months after the report was published. Also occurring shortly after the report was the approval of a U Turn (which is reflected on that highway sign). The U-Turn makes the Grand Junction conversion viable for both directions rather than just to / from the west, which was the MBTA proposal, until the MBTA "suddenly" discovered that the cost of the project far outweighed the value of a Newton - Cambridge direct bus line. Strange, that limitation was obvious from the beginning.

When Harvard gets its off ramp, the bike highway will be rerouted where it should, responsibly, be put in the first place, to connect to Vassar Street at the point where Vassar Street right turns a few feet from the railroad tracks, and then to Memorial Drive by a much shorter route. I provided photos of the turn / connection in the pair of photo analyses, both from the road and the railroad side. Please check the blog,

The more recent of the pair of reports is at:

The earlier is at:

Also of interest is the immediately prior report, presenting the MassDOT / DCR "connectivity" report, at During the initial presentations of this study, the engineers expressed scorn for the lie that is at the basis of the highway lobby's "bike" highway to connect to Boston. They call the connection impossible.