Last night, December 10, 2014, I attended a presentation on the Mass. Pike (I90) work in the Honan Library in Allston. The location is very common for neighborhood presentations. I was surprised to see the meeting scheduled since MassDOT and the environmental people had a much larger, formal meeting in Brighton High School not that long ago.
It turned out to be a presentation to the Allston Civic Association.
I was determined to keep my mouth shut, until . . .
The MassDOT folks did their usual professional, competent explanation of their plans.
What surprised me was a person who followed the formal presentation. He had his own slides, including among other things, the position of the Boston Architects group.
His presentation on West Station stood out.
I have posted my environmental analyses to the state environmental people on the pending Mass. Pike and South Station work.
West Station is a commuter rail station which was added to the project with money that suddenly showed up. It is proposed to be abutting Boston University property on the end of the project away from Cambridge Street. Here is the original project area map with my suggesting Green Line A spur superimposed.
West Station would go on the upper part of the right side of the orange triangle in the photo, close to the larger rectangular structure. The green line is the possible Green Line A Spur.
The presenter’s comments stood out because, since last hearing such a pitch, I realized that the rearrangement of South Station in Downtown Boston is severely deficient.
The planners have apparently planned the project so that it will hold expansion of service to South Station by adding tracks to handle projected trains to Fall River and New Bedford. The planners have, as I understand it from their comments, expanded South Station so that added tracks for the new service will fill South Station to the max, leaving no room for further expansion.
My comments on both of the environmental reviews, South Station and Mass. Pike (I90) called them deficient because the expansion of South Station will prevent receiving added traffic associated with West Station, thus forcing all West Station traffic on the Grand Junction railroad, through the forced residence of the Charles River White Geese and repeatedly blocking traffic on major Cambridge arteries.
Here is the MassDOT map of the Grand Junction in Cambridge showing the conflicts, my thick arrows added. The Destroyed Nesting Area is next to the river at the bottom left.
Here is Cambridge’s map show their intended attack on the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese. The major commuter rail service would be in addition to one to three trips a day servicing yards on either end of the route.
Traffic would go from slow moves with very kind train personnel to multiple trips on as rapid a schedule as can be achieved. Minor danger would go to very major danger with a lot of killings likely.
Cambridge's J shaped highway toward the bottom would destroy the quiet of the Destroyed Nesting Area in addition to the multiple destruction of vegetation by agents of the DCR. The highway would devastate the forced home of the Charles River White Geese.
This outrage follows upon a mass pogrom of long time resident animals at the previously untouched Alewife reservation in West Cambridge. Cambridge explanation is to yell at private developers destroying other parts of the same reservation while Cambridge’s vileness as secret as possible. Cambridge is also imminent destroy at least 22 excellent trees on the Cambridge Common.
Cambridge would add to their shared outrage on the Charles River by putting up fencing blocking walks between the Destroyed Nesting Area and the wild area east of it where the Charles River White Geese are forced to do much or their nesting because of all the ground vegetation destruction in their nesting area by agents and friends of the Department of Conservation and Recreation / City of Cambridge.
Another thing which stood out in the after presentation presentation on West Station was the emphasis by the speaker that West Station would give residents meaningful access to Back Bay Station and South Station.
There were two major lies of omission (favorite type of lie) in the package: the blocking of added traffic at South Station, plus the true infrequency of commuter rail compared with what the neighborhood would consider adequate service.
I pointed out the likelihood that the neighborhood would not get South Station / Back Bay service based on the limits of the South Station work. He was aware of it, and sloughed off the limitations.
MassDOT did not make this wild promise. The person speaking after them did.
I have heard such nonsense repeatedly during discussions. I had to drag out of the South Station planners that they are setting up South Station so that it cannot expand. Thus all traffic from the pushed West Station would go through the eastern part of Cambridge with major environmental nightmares.
One key is that MassDOT has studied the desirability of the Cambridge route. They found it next to useless except for Kendall Square. The Allston folks would be interested in South Station and Back Bay Station, and the Green Line A spur would be excellent for Back Bay Station. Allston, like most folks would not be attracted by the Cambridge route which the Cambridge government and its friends want and have used the usual corrupt tactics in the past trying to get.
My environmental letters are posted at:
I90 Comments; http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/charles-river-mass-pike-project-runs.html.
South Station Analysis: http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/south-station-expansion-project.html
Expansion of I90 comments: http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/expansion-of-i90-change-thoughts-to.html
This is not a unusual problem.
But MassDOT did its usual professional job.