Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Further attacks on the north side of the Charles River.

Further attacks on the north side of the Charles River.

0. Severe Harm Proposed to River Street Bridge Access over the Charles River for Cambridge Residents.
1. Letter Introduction.
2. Key parts of the proposal.
A. Current Situation.
B. Overview of the proposal.
C. Off Ramp being Destroyed.
3. A reasonable alternative.
4. The Context.
5. Manager and City Council must evaluate their Development Department.

0. Severe Harm Proposed to River Street Bridge Access over the Charles River for Cambridge Residents.

The following is a letter hand carried to the Cambridge City Manager and Cambridge City Council on December 12, 2016.

I would moderate it slightly by commenting that the real attackers of the City of Cambridge seem to be the Cambridge Development Department through its robotic appointees and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

MassDOT has been the adult in the room, defending the Charles River between these two destructive children.  It looks like MassDOT simply got overwhelmed by the kiddies on this one.

It should be noted that the Cambridge City Manager was just appointed and he, probably, was not aware of just how irresponsible his Development Department is.

I consider this attack just another step on the environmental destruction being fought for by the kiddies.  The difference is that the Cambridge Development Department, itself, is going along with its fellow in destruction at the expense of the City which it claims to be working for.

The letter to the Cambridge City Council and City Manager is modified to convert it to the more restrictive web format by addition of sectioning which did not appear in the original letter and by location of graphics (and references) to work better on line.

The area in question is the south side of the Charles River across from Magazine Beach which in turn is being subjected to outrageous attacks.

This area formerly held a railroad yard and is dominated by exits from I90 (Mass. Pike) to Cambridge, Brookline, and the Allston and Brighton Neighborhoods of Boston.

Harvard University now owns it, subject to transportation rights held by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Harvard is maneuvering to move its Medical School and other uses to the location.

The state is straightening out the highway in such a manner as to make the area more useful to Harvard and to abutting areas.

1. Letter Introduction.

[Addressed to Cambridge City Council and Cambridge City Manager]

The Department of Transportation, SUPPORTED BY CAMBRIDGE APPOINTEES, is proposing to severely harm Cambridge access to the River Street Bridge from the Boston side.

To my great shock, the plans of the Development Department for the Charles River got even worse in a bombshell dropped at last Thursday’s Public Meeting in Union Square, Allston by the Department of Transportation working group on the Massachusetts Turnpike.  When I objected, I was informed that all of the robots appointed by the Cambridge Development Department approved of this outrage, and, of course, rubber stamp “opinions” are to be expected from people appointed by the Cambridge Development Department.

Here is the plan announced last Thursday.  It is split in half because of limits on my scanner.

[Ed:  For a few days, I had the wrong version of the plans posted here.  The more detailed edits of the plans below were correct.  Sorry about that.]

2. Key parts of the proposal.

I have cropped out the relevant part of the new plan and the plan describing the existing conditions.  Here are the access to the River Street Bridge from Memorial Drive and the Mass. Pike (I90) before and after the change, from the MassDOT working group’s plans.

A. Current Situation.

The current situation has the Charles River at the top.

Here is the cropped out portion from the plan describing the existing conditions.  [The brown line is the area covered by the study.]

The current situation has local traffic on Soldiers Field Road westbound feeding directly to the River Street Bridge in a pattern which provides less than perfect access for Cambridge folks on Soldiers Field Road, but it works.  It is a lot better than crossing by the Harvard (Mass. Ave.) Bridge or the Anderson Bridge (to Harvard Square).

Much more massive Interstate traffic off the Mass. Pike constitutes a very massive influx from a ramp which connects into Cambridge Street, Allston and then to the River Street Bridge.  But the Interstate Mass. Pike traffic is separated from the local traffic on Soldiers Field Road westbound, to the great advantage of local traffic.

B. Overview of the proposal.

The proposed plan has the Charles River at the right.

The Mass Pike working group, apparently with UNANIMOUS support of the [Cambridge] Development Department’s robots, proposes to destroy the direct connection from Soldiers Field Road westbound and to merge that traffic into the very heavy traffic from the Mass. Pike.  That will have obvious severely harmful impact on the Cambridge commuters who rely on the River Street Bridge to get to Cambridge.

Here is the overview.

C. Off Ramp being Destroyed.

To show the proposal more closely, here is my crop out from the plan showing in detail the proposed new situation at Soldiers Field Road and the River Street Bridge.

The line and dot coming from the bottom right emphasizes that there will be NO OFF RAMP directly to the River Street Bridge.

D. How it works.

Working from the map in section B.

The proposed new traffic pattern is shown as follows.  Traffic from Soldiers Field Road westbound [on the right] would be forced to go through INTERSTATE traffic from the Mass. Pike to get to the River Street Bridge.  Everybody who tries to get off the Mass. Pike to get to Cambridge is well aware of the mess that is that off ramp, and the local traffic would be added to Interstate traffic.

The connection, in yellow, is toward the bottom right of the map.  It connects Cambridge local traffic to Interstate Mass. Pike exiting traffic.  The Interstate traffic from the Mass. Pike runs on a proposed road parallel to Soldiers Field Road.  The connection to the Mass. Pike can be seen in blue and orange below the proposed connecting road.  There is a separate road for traffic to the left to and from Brighton, Allston and Brookline.  Should you wish to review that road, it may be seen on the attachment.

3. A reasonable alternative.

Please note, however, that this connection would be a great improvement WITHOUT THE DELETION OF THE DIRECT RAMP FOR CAMBRIDGE LOCAL TRAFFIC TO THE RIVER STREET BRIDGE.

The westbound ramp to the River Street Bridge is currently overloaded by traffic turning left at the top of the ramp and going to Allston and to the Mass. Pike.  Closing the left turn at the top of the ramp [as a result of] moving that traffic by the proposed connection would greatly reduce traffic on the off ramp and make the left turn off the off ramp unnecessary, removing one cycle from the traffic lights leading to the River Street Bridge, and greatly improving access to Cambridge for Cambridge local traffic.

The proposal with destruction of the direct ramp to Cambridge is nuts, but the proposal exactly fits in with the long standing outrages from the Cambridge Development Department.

4. The Context.

I have submitted a number of communications to the City Council on the various outrages going on on the Charles River, and more recently, have included transmittal to City Manager DePasquale in my continuing series on the destruction proposed for Magazine Beach.

Now retired City Manager Richard Rossi bragged to a public meeting at the Main Branch of the Cambridge Public Library about all the “improvements” Cambridge was bringing to the Charles River.  In the tradition of Manager DePasquale’s three predecessors, the important, really bad stuff was always omitted in such presentations, lying through omission.

Hundreds of trees have been wantonly destroyed between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge.  I have provided you individually and collectively with my video documenting this outrage, or you may view it on line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTplCCEJP7o.

I am in the middle of my detailed analysis to you of the outrages proposed for Magazine Beach.

5. Manager and City Council must evaluate their Development Department.

Clearly these pending outrages must be stopped, but more importantly, the City Council and City Manager DePasquale must really evaluate the belligerent lack of responsibility of the Cambridge Development Department as demonstrated not just through these latest outrages, but also through the first phase at Magazine Beach in the 2000s, the recent destruction on the Cambridge Common, the destruction of 3.4 acres of irreplaceable woodlands at Alewife, the destruction of 50 street trees in Kendall Square, the destruction of those hundreds of trees between the BU and Longfellow Bridges, and the pending destruction of 54 trees at Magazine Beach.  The latest outrage is made significantly worse by a very clear and falsification of the plans which I have mentioned in my letters to you.  The falsification is the DCR and fake neighborhood association submittal of a plans which lied that 10 trees being destroyed were in fact three trees being destroyed.  And this is just a partial list of outrages.

Another major problem is that, over a period of 42 years, Manager DePasquale’s three predecessors steadily learned who can be “trusted” and pretty much only people they trust have tended to be appointed to key positions.  The destruction of the life of Malvina Monteiro as so roundly condemned by three levels of Court clearly communicated what could happen to appointees and other  people who deviate from the thoughts ordered by Mr. DePasquale’s predecessors.  Monteiro’s life, of course, was destroyed because she stood up for women’s rights.  Some key evaluations of Mr. Healy’s behavior toward Ms. Monteiro from Trial Judge and Appeals Court panel, respectively, include “reprehensible” and “ample evidence of . . . outrageous misbehavior.”  The jury spoke by awarding more than triple PENAL damages in addition to over a million dollars real damages.

The Development Department needs reorganization.  The nicest thing that can be said about this series of destructive outrages is that you clearly have too many “planners.”  It looks like your “planners” are making work for themselves to justify their existence and, in the process Making Work for the Contractors of the City of Cambridge.

On the broader problem, Manager DePasquale clearly wants to implement the wishes of the residents of the City of Cambridge.  He clearly seems like a normal human being who would be offended by the Totalitarian tactics of his predecessors.  Control of the voters through the massive organization created during the regimes of his three interlocked predecessors and control of appointees AND NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS through stunts / warnings such as the Monteiro outrage are things Manager DePasquale will hopefully dismantle.

You can save the City of Cambridge money and resources by ending the repeated outrages of the Development Department and friends and by reducing the size of the Development Department.  In the process, you can IMPROVE services to the City of Cambridge by reducing outrageous destruction.

You must protect Cambridge residents NOW by killing the MassDOT Mass. Pike working group  proposal to kill Cambridge’s use of the westbound Soldiers Field Road off ramp to the River Street Bridge.


Robert J. La Trémouille
Enclosures:   As Stated.

Addendum:  Copies of the Court Opinions in Monteiro v Cambridge may be reviewed at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/judge-issues-decision-denying.html, and at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2016/09/charles-river-latest-magazine-beach.html.