Friday, November 09, 2018

Charles River: Improving the I90 rebuild proposal and protecting the environment once again.

Charles River: Improving the I90 rebuild proposal and protecting the environment once again.

The Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has asked for comments on a report from an advisory committee she has appointed on improvements to her staff’s proposal for the the narrow portion of the rebuild of I90 across from Magazine Beach.

As is usual, the destruction lobby in Cambridge is pushing for changes which would damage the Cambridge environment including but not limited to the Charles River White Geese.  As is normal, our transit proposal is far more effective and responsible than the outrage attempted to be sneaked in by the bad guys.  They cannot win if they behave honestly.  So they do not behave honestly.  Business as usual in Cambridge, MA, USA.

Here is our letter of comment with copy to the Cambridge City Council and the Cambridge City Manager.

November 7, 2018

Stephanie Pollack
Secretary and Chief Executive Officer
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160
Boston, MA   02116

RE: IRT, I90 Allston Rebuild

Madame Secretary:

1. Introduction.
2. Any and all construction north of the southern bank of the Charles River should be rejected.
3. That portion of the study team’s modification of the Highway Viaduct alternative which supports the viaduct on cantilever in both directions is commendable.  This is both because of open space improvements and because it adds another meaningful option for public transportation which is wanted, needed, AND PROMISED.

1. Introduction.

I am writing individually and as chair of Friends of the White Geese because the terrible things attempted to be sneaked into the I90 project greatly affect the animals, water and vegetation of the Charles River, and there are lot of people lying about which side they are on, and trying to do those terrible things through the guise of working on the I90 Allston rebuild.

In support of my activities I am enclosing a partial activist résumé.  The destructive people trying to use the I90 rebuild have the absolute horror that the voters might be aware that there are responsible people standing up to their destructive outrages.  My enclosing my partial activist résumé does a lot of debunking of that nonsense.  Of additional interest in this forum is the fact that I proposed the Kenmore Crossing on the Urban Ring rapid transit proposal five years before the MBTA made it part of the package.  The Cambridge City Manager brought up Urban Ring subway considerations in his comments on the South Station Expansion project, although, last I heard, the Cambridge Development Department had denied the existence of the Kenmore Crossing for a minimum of 21 years.

I attend as many meetings of the advisory committee on the I90 rebuild as I am able to, both resulting from my own needs and the consistent failure of the administrators to give me notice of meetings.

There are basically two groupings in Cambridge.  The voters want one thing.  The people who control the political establishment want strikingly different things.

The pols live in two worlds.  They need to get reelected.  The voters would not elect them if the voters were aware of what the pols are doing.  The pols have a distressing requirement under law to keep the voters informed of what they are doing.  So there is a conflicting situation, begrudging publicity of the very terrible things the pols are really doing, combined with false communications to the voters in an attempt to fool the voters as to what is going on.

The pols have, from their point of view, a very terrible situation.  They want to keep the people pulling their strings happy, but they also want to get reelected

For 40 years, I have been between the two entities, getting a lot done that the voters want done with the very real recognition of the massive secrecy in the pols.

I am copying this communication to the Cambridge City Council in order to use, horrors, the public record situation of the Cambridge City Council to communicate reality to a, perhaps, important part of the voters.

That massive secrecy is in the middle of doing very great harm on the Charles River and elsewhere in Cambridge.  I fail to get notices of these I90 meetings while destructive operatives get those notices.

You have appointed the IRT and have given a deadline of November 16 for comments.  If you have a lower level manager you want to handle the comments, please pass this comment on to the lower level manager.

Basically, I have two points.

One is all the dirty tricks being sneaked in in Cambridge which the people who control the pols have seen they cannot get done if the voters are aware of what they are doing.  So they are trying to sneak in those failures of responsibility into the I90 planning WITHOUT IT GETTING OUT TO THOSE NASTY PEOPLE, THE VOTERS.  Your people have done a very good job, insofar as possible, of limiting the I90 project to I90 as opposed to the dirty stuff the Cambridge operatives are trying to sneak in in spite of the voters.  But they are still trying.

Secondly, it is possible to achieve very valuable public transportation improvements coordinate with the I90 project which will achieve what voters in Cambridge AND IN BOSTON need and have been told they are getting.  That would be by the creation of a new branch of the Green Line running from the BU Bridge / Commonwealth Avenue area to BU West, to the main project area / the future Harvard Medical School, to the North Allston neighborhood, to Harvard Business School / Harvard Stadium, to Harvard Station.

Such a route would achieve very major goals being bragged about for the I90 project, plus it would greatly benefit the Red Line between Park Street and Harvard Station INCLUDING KENDALL SQUARE by rerouting a lot of passenger traffic originating in the Back Bay to Green Line A.

2. Any and all construction north of the southern bank of the Charles River should be rejected.

First of all, there are serious attempts to get this project to destroy portions of the Charles River to build portions of the project above the Charles.  Absolutely not.  We have learned better.  There is no need to destroy any part of the Charles River or of the animal habitat on either side of the Charles River, including but not limited to both banks of the Charles River.

Additionally, the rebuilding of any portion of the Grand Junction railroad south of I90 is a blatant violation of public comment needs and probably deliberate fraud on the public on the part of key actors in Cambridge.

No meaningful presentation of these concepts to Cambridge residents has been allowed as part of this study in striking contrast to the prior study by MassDOT of use of the Grand Junction for passenger train use.

But nonsensical claims of general support are bizarrely made.

The prior study was public and meaningful.  It resulted in very significant expression of public antipathy toward the concept, in particular because it blocks six major streets in Cambridge adding to existing traffic problems, as marked on the above MassDOT plan of the eastern part of Cambridge.  The great public outcry IS BEING PREVENTED THIS TIME BY THE UNDER THE COUNTER MANEUVERS.

* * * *

[label]  Intersections impacted by Commuter Rail proposals.  Yielding major objections with MEANINGFUL public input.  PLUS MAJOR CHARLES RIVER DAMAGE

* * * * *

Additionally, prior MBTA plans (2003) for an off ramp to Cambridge from I90 showed a highway through the thickly treed Wild Area woods between the Grand Junction and the BU Boathouse, as shown on the attached photo.  Another outrage coming from dirty tricks by people who cannot get these things when they operate other than in the shadows.

Cambridge residents are very proud of defeating THE INNER BELT when it was proposed without the secrecy of the current maneuvers.  [ed:  Interstate highway which would have created a swath in Cambridge about a block east of the Grand Junction.]

Many of the same people fighting for this destructive AND AS SECRET AS POSSIBLE option previously fought for the outrage on January 2016 in which the DCR / Cambridge destroyed hundreds of trees between the BU Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge.  This outrage was presented in our video / slide show posted at  The “review” for this destruction, by special legislative fiat, was accomplished based of supposed reviews something like a decade earlier held in blatantly inconvenient locations supposedly for interested Cambridge residents.

These plans were included in the plans for the January 2016 outrage as far as the Wild Area and the related Goose Meadow between the Grand Junction and the BU Bridge.  Note that the plans show exactly ONE tree NOT destroyed in the Wild Area plus the destruction of an excellent tree in the Goose Meadow which graces the BU Bridge and its circle.  Here is a photo of the doomed and excellent tree.

These are the last remaining animal habitats in this part of the Charles River.  Here is a photo of the doomed magnificence.

During this review, operatives now seem to be fighting for this destruction under the guise of improving BU Bridge traffic

All this destruction is being kept secret by the machinations of related bureaucrats by supposed advocates from the public.


Here is a photo of the most visible victims, the gaggle of the Charles River White Geese which has been in residence since 1981.  Their habitat spanned a mile of the northern bank of the Charles River when these outrages started.  They were cherished as valuable residents in signs posted by the DCR until Cambridge started proposing destruction.  People commuted from the suburbs to join them.

That habitat has been ruthlessly reduced to the Goose Meadow between the BU Bridge and the Grand Junction, plus a small use of the Wild Area primarily in desperation seeking ground vegetation for nesting in spite of the belligerent destruction of as much ground vegetation as they could get away with by the DCR and its agents.

The photo includes but a small, again most visible, portion of the other free animals which are under attack by the DCR and Cambridge.

They have been heartlessly abused in a long series of outrages by Cambridge and the DCR.  The ghetto into which served as their nesting area and protection against the worst of the elements during most of their 37 year residence.  Most of the ground vegetation in their ghetto has been destroyed by the DCR and its friends.

All construction south of the southern bank of the Charles River should be prohibited because it is being conducted in secret AFTER LOSING WHEN PUBLIC NOTICE WAS ALLOWED.

3. That portion of the study team’s modification of the Highway Viaduct alternative which supports the viaduct on cantilever in both directions is commendable.  This is both because of open space improvements and because it adds another meaningful option for public transportation which is wanted, needed, AND PROMISED.

This excellent concept, on the north side, allows a commendable increase in open space by moving Soldiers Field Road partially under the viaduct.

On south side, the cantilever provides another alternative for the project to provide MEANINGFUL public transportation, as opposed to the nonsense being proposed, commuter rail, which, in turn, is, at minimum, a violation of public trust because this project is being used to secretly obtain destructive commuter rail on the Grand Junction railroad in Cambridge after it was rejected by a MassDOT study after meaningful public comment massively rejected it.

North Allston residents have demanded and deserve meaningful public transit, a Green Line A spur coming off the Commonwealth Avenue B line, connecting to the major part of the project area, the future Harvard Medical School and related uses, connecting to the North Allston neighborhood by two sensible stations, at North Harvard and Cambridge, and at North Harvard and Franklin, both locations which can readily hold the stations.

Additionally, Harvard would get ready connection for its medical students to the Longwood / Harvard Medical Area at Kenmore Station with future truly excellent service bu Urban Ring orange line subway connecting to a Harvard Medical Area station as proposed as Louis Pasteur and Longwood, and then providing direct same seat connection to the Orange Line inbound through Ruggles Station.  They would also get better transportation for their Business School and Stadium.

Nonsense provided by Harvard Medical Area “representatives” of providing shuttles to West Station for commuter rail remains nonsense because Yawkey Station is half the distance from the Harvard Medical Area.  Yawkey Station would, under the Urban Ring subway, become a part of the excellent Kenmore - Yawkey station with direct Green Line transfers to A, B, C, and D branches.

At the northern end of the Green Line spur, meaningful public transit could have direct connection to Harvard Station through the tunnel which still remains from the pre-Alewife extension Red Line.

I provided extensive analysis of multiple options in my comments on the last review.

Here, once again, is the proposal as I submitted it before.  The big difference is that, in addition to the reasonable location between the viaduct and Boston University, with a BU stop at its new facilities on the former armory site, the cantilever design allows the Green Line construction under the southern cantilever, moving further away from Boston University.

The previously proposed version between the viaduct and Boston University can easily be constructed by creating switches on the B line on the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, with two Green Line A tracks going over the side of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge onto its own bridge structure, dropping down to that location between the viaduct and Boston University.

The version allowed by the cantilever construction would allow construction further from Boston University property with a connection to Green Line B further east on its right of way.  Green Line A would be constructed under the Commonwealth Avenue right of way a sufficient distance to allow the proper slope for the Green Line vehicles moving between Green Line B and Green Line A.

Connection to Green Line B would need space close that that needed for existing storage between the operating tracks, and, as such, would cause no more a disruption in car traffic than the existing Green Line B right of way.

One track should be laid between the two traffic paths of Green Line with switches to and from trackage to and from Kenmore Station.  Single track territory would only be necessary in that portion where trackage at the Commonwealth Avenue level is being transitioned to trackage UNDER the Green Line B right of way, and then connecting to double trackage and proceeding to under the cantilever.

The access track could also be used to turn around subway trains which could  terminate at Boston University.

The biggest problem with construction under the cantilever would be possible interference with auto traffic crossing the Green Line B right of way to the extent that the transition is necessary from below the Green Line B right of way to the Green Line B right of way through an area currently used for auto crossing.

The connection could be coordinated with current discussion to reduce Green Line stations in the Boston University area.


Robert J. La Trémouille

Atch: Partial Activist Résumé.

[Ed.  The résumé is two pages.  The first is a table explaining the second, a marked up zoning map.  This medium cannot read the fancy formatting of the table.  So it is converted to a much more simpler format.]
Robert J. La Trémouille
Selected Activist Experience, Central Cambridge

I Maple Avenue Downzoning, C-1 to B
II Marie Avenue Park.  First neighborhood Open Space zoning.
III Cambridge St, N Side  C-2 districts btwn Hospitals changed to C-1.  C2B buffer created around Youville.
IV Mellen Street Downzoning.  The C-2A area and the C-1 which it surrounds were previously zoned C-3.
V Cambridge Common.  Opposed the destruction of the excellent thick park in Harvard Square corner .
VI I90 study I proposed Green Line A spur from Comm. Avenue / BU Bridge to Harvard Medical to Harvard Station.
Originated idea of connection of Harvard Medical Area to Soldiers Field Road east of BU Bridge.
VII JFK Park was laid out so that cut and cover construction of a subway tunnel.
VIII Harvard Houses district.  C-3 Ward changed to C-1.
IX Area in Harvard Square deleted by Ward petitioners from Ward petition as result of flat out lie.
X Ward Petition.  C-2B and O-2 areas, previously C3 / O3, plus the Harvard Houses area, south side of Mt. Auburn Street.
XI Saved the historical building at 10 Mt. Auburn at the Rent Control Board.
Block changed from Business B to Res C-1 by Ward
XII Personally saved Guffey Park at Arrow Street and Mass. Ave., in front of 2 Arrow Street..
XIII Kerry Corner. Zoning created here, the balance of the C-1, and the SD14 district were probably GREATLY influenced by my saving historical 10 Mt. Auburn.
XIV Corporal Burns Playground.  Helped save from Harvard expansion.
XV La Trémouille Petition as warped by rogue steering committee.  Business B became BB-1, BB-2.
La Trémouille petition downzoned most of Green Street between Hancock and Sellers from Mass. Ave. zoning to neighborhood zoning.  There were a number of related clean ups on the boundaries on Green Street.
XVI Anderson Petition.  O-3 to C-2B.  Clean ups of Green Street as noted in XV.
XVII Office to Office 1.  Created less dense Office Districts than Office 3.
XVIII Palmer Street.  Objected to destruction of every tree on the street because the trees “blocked the sunlight.”