Sunday, April 30, 2006

Nice Words From the Charles River Watershed Association

Daejanna Wormwood Malone reports:

Hi Bob, Last sunday (April 16, 2006) between 6 and 7am, there is a program on WZLX about various subjects in the state...this week Rob Zimmerman of the MWRA( or DCR for all I know)spoke about the water quality and the plan they have to improve the whole Charles River.

Apparently out beyond Waltham the river is questionally swimable, but the lower basin (starting at Watertown Falls) is still unfit most of the time. Rob even said the Basin by the jail has its good days, however, the waste on the bottom is toxic to man and any other beast as well. He is trying to devise a method of bottom waste removal and money to pay for it.

The program was an hour long and Zimmerman mention BRIEFLY the White Geese and mentioned what an asset they are to the public visiting Boston/Cambridge, moreover, their waste is not enough to effect the quality of the basin water because at least twice a day it is brackish water open to the ocean via Boston Harbor.

Those two sentences are not much but I listen weeklyto the light topics and maybe it reached a larger audience??? I certainly hope so.

Just thought you needed to read about it. Hope your spring goes well...and the wall is not "eroded"by passing boaters...I am looking into a way to desolve the material safely is anyone else?

Happy Spring, Blessed Be...



Thank you for the good report. The Charles River Watershed Association is difficult to separate from the rest of the bad guys.

Their presentation to the people in Allston featured them bragging about intention to destroy native vegetation at Herter Park across from WBZ in Brighton.

Their friends from the Charles River Conservancy behave about as sickly from an environmental point of view as you can get. The Charles River Conservancy is the entity which is now on a twice yearly scalping of vegetation at water's edge along the Charles. This scalping is exactly what the CRWA was proposing at Herter West, just further back.

In the period from 2003 to 2005 the CRC ran around the first 10 miles of the Charles River poisoning as many goose eggs as they could get away with.

I am totally unaware of any negative words from the CRWA about the CRC.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

letter to the Boston Conservation Commission about further illegal clearing on the Charles River

On April 19 the Charles River Conservancy applied to the Boston Conservation Commission for permission to do yet more work on our Charles River public parklands. Given the CRC's history of work contrary to provisions of the Wetlands Protection Act, I submitted this letter to the Commission:

To the Boston Conservation Commission:

re: Request for Determination of Applicability from the Charles River Conservancy for pathway and landscaping improvements adjacent to the Eliot Bridge, Soldiers Field Road, Charles River (100-foot Buffer Zone to Inland Bank)

When considering this request and related filings by the CRC and/or the DCR, please consider the organizations’ history regarding the Wetlands Protection Act and your Commission’s orders. Because of this history, CRC projects bear a heavy burden of proof that they are in the public interest. The evidence of the CRC’s work along the river indicates they are not.

Your site visits in 2004 confirmed the CRC’s illegal destruction at Herter West and from there to the Anderson Bridge. As a result, you ordered, among other things, that
no vegetation management activities by volunteers, including cutting and pruning, shall occur on any property owned or managed by the DCR along the Charles River in Boston without direct supervision by DCR or Charles River Conservancy staff. (letter, Chris Busch to DCR Commissioner Abbott, January 13, 2005.)

On Friday, March 10, at 12:40 p.m. I came upon a solitary CRC “volunteer” cutting the waterfront plants from the Northeastern boathouse downriver near the catalpas. Please see the enclosed photographs of the CRC worker, who identified himself as Kenny and said he was cutting the plants “for the regatta” (October’s Head of the Charles?). Kenny said he had worked with the CRC’s Evan Moss the previous weekend and that Mr. Moss had agreed he could continue to cut during the following week, as he was indeed doing, unsupervised.

This incident underscores the DCR’s previous misrepresentations to the Commission about its willingness or ability to supervise “vegetation management” by its agent, the CRC. Contrary to the agency’s statements at your hearings and on your site visits to Herter West, the chainsaw-wielding, then-CRC Board of Advisors member Lawrence Coolidge was not a “loose cannon” in October, 2003 when he and other CRC “volunteers” illegally destroyed much of that urban wild. Mr. Coolidge not only participated in the project but funded it, as the CRC’s website continues to acknowledge. The website also reports the DCR’s approval of plans for that project. Please see

Kenny, the unsupervised CRC “volunteer” on March 10, wore a Harvard cap and was working on the riverfront near Harvard’s planned Allston museum. As at nearby Herter West in 2003, the effect of this CRC work is to transform the Charles River parkland from the rural landscape its designers intended for us city dwellers to an office park for Harvard University’s corporate interests.

The DCR’s repeated failure to prevent such work indicates a policy of approval, although it is possible its “vegetation management” is only mindless. To get rid of an oriental bittersweet on the lagoon behind the Publick Theatre, for example, Mr. Moss’s workers destroyed every goldenrod and aster in full bloom there last September, revealing the theater’s dumpster and backside. Clear-cutting of the riverbank like Kenny’s keeps open vistas to the cars on the opposite shore. The DCR admits “invasive” false indigo holds the riverbank for free, yet weakens and kills it through the CRC’s perpetual clear-cutting. (How many acres of eroded riverfront parkland, how many acres of heron and herring habitat have we lost because of such “vegetation management”?)

The Wetlands Protection Act and your Commission have held the DCR to a higher standard of stewardship than this. Please keep the DCR’s and CRC’s history of actual destruction in mind when considering the CRC’s present request for continued work on our precious parkland and when reviewing DCR-CRC “vegetation management.”

Yours sincerely,
Marilyn Wellons

Boston Conservation Commission meeting April 19, 2006

On April 19 the Charles River Conservancy applied to the Boston ConCom for permission to do yet more work on our public riverfront parkland.

By the time I got to the meeting Richard Corsi (DCR)and Evan Moss (CRC) were finishing their presentation. I have the plans and plant list.

The project is to do things with "native plants" and "pervious surfaces" at the Eliot Bridge right where the CRC's "volunteers" previously cut down so many trees and shrubs for the Head of the Charles.

During public comment I distributed the letter (also posted) and photos about the DCR's unsupervised "vegetation management" on the Charles in March of this year, contrary to the Commission's previous order.

Summarizing the letter, I told the Commission that DCR and CRC representatives speaking to the ConCom had previously misrepresented CRC and DCR responsibility for illegal clearing in the past (October, 2003), that the unsupervised clearing was continuing, that the DCR and CRC were turning the riverfront into an office park for Harvard rather than protecting it as a public resource.

The ConCom voted to allow the project. One member admonished the DCR and CRC to supervise the "volunteers" and said I should monitor the project and tell the ConCom of any further violations. He then asked if I had anything to say. I replied that any ConCom remedy would come too late, after the damage.

The ConCom member said he was certain there would be remedies--did I remember the cherry trees? The Boston ConCom certainly did go after the DCR to get the donated Japanese cherries removed from the Esplanade, I know.

However, when dealing with outright vandalism, it's hard to remedy the destruction. The urban wild at Herter West still lacks the nice screen of plants that insulated it from the noise and sight of cars and commercial buildings on Soldiers Field Road. (This was among the things CRC Board of Advisors member and funder of the CRC project illegally cut down with his chain saw in 2003.) Can't paste the trunks and branches back on the trees and shrubs once they're gone.

And this unsupervised "vegetation management" is the third time the CRC has been involved in illegal doings on the river. The ConCom has previously taken steps to stop the damage, and the DCR and CRC have repeatedly violated the Commission's orders.

1.) In late February, 2002, my husband and I came upon CRC Board of Advisors member Lawrence Coolidge who was cutting down trees and other plants within one hundred feet of the river without an Order of Conditions from the Boston ConCom for the work. The Commission determined the DCR (then MDC) knew of Coolidge's illegal work, and in October, 2002 got a restraining order against the MDC to prevent further such vandalism.

2.) In September, 2003, Mr. Coolidge (still on the CRC Board of Advisors) was nevertheless at it again, this time paying for a major DCR project. He and other CRC volunteers again cut down and cleared trees and other plants illegally, as mentioned above. Having determined the clearing was beyond anything permitted, the BostonConCom informed the DCR Commissioner in January, 2005 that ". . . no vegetation maintenance activities by volunteers, including cutting and pruning, shall occur on any property owned or managed by the DCR along the Charles River in Boston without direct supervision by DCR or Charles River Conservancy staff" (letter, BostonConCom to DCR Commissioner, January 13, 2005, p. 2).

3.) Nevertheless, in March, 2006, an unsupervised CRC "volunteer" was cutting plants illegally on the Boston side of the river downriver from the Northeastern boathouse as described in my letter to the Boston ConCom. This time the ConCom took no action against the CRC apart from warning it to be sure to supervise the "volunteers" and the one member's asking me to monitor the CRC project just approved.

After the meeting the CRC "volunteer" coordinator asked why I hate him. He said once again he'd like to work with me (having said the same when I confronted him about his so-called supervision of the "volunteers" last fall when they indiscriminately cut down beautiful fall wildflowers behind the Publick Theatre. After denying any ["native"!] goldenrod had been cut down, he admitted having told his people they could clear cut). I tried to explain I don't hate him, I dislike the organizations he works for and with, and that he should get out of such unsavory company.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Waddling and Dangerous Commute to Get Food for the Charles River White Geese — with Love from Boston / Cambridge Drivers

Bob La Tremouille reports:

In the early evening of Tuesday, April 18, I was coming across the BU Bridge when I encountered a group of geese commuting to the grass under the Memorial Drive overpass. The grass really is quite poor for the most part, but eight plus strikingly irresponsible city councilors and the Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation / Metropolitan District Commission are starving the Charles River White Geese.

There is some access to the grass on the Charles River across from the Hyatt Regency Hotel, but the quantity of that grass is quite inadequate given the sick starvation situation which continues to be inflicted on the Charles River White Geese at Magazine Beach.

The Charles River White Geese are cautious pedestrians. In the goose meadow, they walk up to the area next to the sidewalk which is next to the goose meadow. They meander for awhile.

Then they go through the opening that was created in the meadow fence by the irresponsible behavior of the State DCR/MDC and of Boston University.

Then the Charles River White Geese stand on the edge of the sidewalk to the on ramp to Memorial Drive. They look at that luscious grass.

The Charles River White Geese look both ways and keep on looking both ways. They finally get up the nerve and decide it is safe to cross. They cross the on ramp to Memorial Drive to get to that luscious grass.

Trouble is that, after all that deliberation, they walk like geese. They slowly and deliberately meander as they cross the on ramp. They tie up traffic.

Last night, when I got there, most of last night's group was across the on-ramp to their beloved grass. One single China gander remained on the off ramp next to the grassy area.

Thinking it over, that China gander was probably the leader of the group, keeping an eye on the two stragglers who were having a difficult time getting up the nerve to cross. He was probably encouraging them on and serving as a beacon to show them where to go.

Once the stragglers got up the nerve to cross, the two stragglers had a difficult time crossing the off ramp rapidly and directly. The two stragglers walked like geese.

I came along on my bike and shushed the China gander to the grass, and I may have exacerbated the situation with the stragglers by moving the China gander, their leader, off the ramp.

I then got off my bike and went back to shush along the stragglers. Once the stragglers got the hint, they moved along rapidly.

The lady who was the first in the long line patiently waiting for the geese to cross gave me a loving thanks for helping the geese along. A gentleman who had been way behind her in line then pulled over to give me rather striking praise for helping the hungry geese to their grass.

From Boston-type drivers, as usual during these food crossings, there was not the slightest irritation at the geese crossing to get to their badly needed grass. No horns, no gripes, just praise to me for helping the Charles River White Geese through a dangerous situation.

Bostonians and Cantabridgians love the Charles River White Geese.

The problem of the Charles River White Geese is eight plus belligerently reprehensible Cambridge City Councilors, a truly sick state bureaucracy, and the heartless and very vocal development lobby which is the most visible beneficiary of the sick, environmentally destructive situation on the Charles River in Cambridge, MA, USA.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ongoing Zoning Proposals and Environmental Destruction in the Fresh Pond Area of Cambridge, MA, USA

Bob La Tremouille reports that he has submitted the following letter to the Cambridge Chronicle.

The downzoning supported by the Cambridge Chronicle is on the north side of Concord Avenue in Cambridge, about a block east of the Fresh Pond reservation.


Cambridge Chronicle

Thank you for the editorial supporting the downzoning of the Cambridge Self Storage site across from the Armory on Concord Avenue. The reality is that the zoning proposal, while it would decrease allowed construction by 40%, still allows construction 50% larger than the residential neighborhood. The existing zoning is an example of bad regulation of development by the City of Cambridge. Our city already is by far the most densely developed city in the Commonwealth and clearly one of the densest in the country.*

I hope the Chronicle will join me in opposing really destructive initiatives in the SAME neighborhood. The big problem is the usual problem with regard to overdevelopment and environmental destruction: bad behavior by the Cambridge City Manager and his representatives.

One block away from the zoning change area, on the other side of New Street, the City Manager has filed for a third time a strikingly irresponsible upzoning.

The Self Storage site currently allows construction 2½ times the density of the neighborhood. The city manager is proposing 12 times neighborhood density at the whim of his appointees in the area north of Concord Avenue and west of New Street, running most of the way to the Burger King.

The City Manager wants his people to be allowed to permit construction 50% denser than HARVARD SQUARE north of Concord Avenue where the two shopping areas now sit. The upzoning would allow the same incredible density in the parking lots north of the railroad tracks in the Alewife Station area.

The City Manager has already started massive destruction of trees on the south side of Concord Avenue half a block west of New Street and continuing beyond the Burger King.

Visible to the public is the massive destruction of trees near Neville Manor. Less publicly visible is strikingly irresponsible destruction of healthy trees in Fresh Pond Reservation and much more irresponsible plans to come.

The City Manager wants to plant a thousand saplings between Concord Avenue and Fresh Pond. Thousands of healthy trees are in his way. So the City Manager is destroying thousands of healthy trees to make room for 1000 saplings.

This is part of a package in many parts of the city where the city manager has commonly destroyed mature trees to put in saplings or to put to replace perfectly good parks with “new” parks with much less numbers of trees.

The city manager is responding to the open space money in the community preservation tax which we voted for. We voted for a new tax for new open space. The city manager is destroying existing open space with that money to put in saplings and barren plazas.

The heartless, deliberate starvation of beautiful animals on the Charles River is part of this sick mentality, as is the destruction of Charles River wetlands to put in designer plants.

So thanks for supporting that one zoning proposal. Can I get the Chronicle to support meaningful opposition to our strikingly irresponsible City of Cambridge elsewhere in the same neighborhood?

* Explanation to the editor: you will hear numbers about residential density. We are among the three densest residentially in the state and near the top in that category in the country as well.

Those RESIDENTIAL DENSITY numbers are misleading because of our massive commercial development. Somerville, also in that top three residentially, has half per capita our commercial density. Chelsea is also nowhere near us in commercial development.

Fresh Pond Logging to Resume April 18 - 21, 2006

Bob La Tremouille reports:

The City of Cambridge has issued the following announcement with regard to logging at Fresh Pond during the week of April 18 to 21, 2006:


Fencing of trees and of the project site area has been the focus of
Northeast Sector Project work [between Concord Avenue and Fresh Pond] in the past week. Soil management work is in process, and will continue into the summer.

Next week's forecast:

Some landscape management work will take place next week. Concord
Avenue and the Perimeter Road will be the focus areas for the trimming and
felling of trees.

The construction fencing for the Northeast Sector Site is scheduled to
be installed next week. The black fencing will be placed around the
perimeter of the project, and will be removed as the new vegetation
becomes established.

For more information:

Please stop be either of the projects websites for more information:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cambridge City Council Listens to Massachusetts Dept of Comm's & Rec. on Storrow Drive Work, 4/6/05

Edited by Bob La Tremouille

1. Introduction.
2. Marilyn Wellons Reports.
3. Kathy Podgers Reports.

1. Introduction.

The Cambridge City Council conducted a meeting at 11 am on April 6, 2005 on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's plans for Storrow Drive.

You will recall that, while the DCR will discuss integration of the project with the publicly favored Longfellow Bridge project, the DCR refuses to discuss coordination with the highly destructive work on Memorial Drive.

Both projects are clearly precursors to the DCR work on Storrow Drive.

2. Marilyn Wellons Reports.

This is an abbreviated report:

Karst Hoogeboom, Deputy Commissioner for Planning and
Engineering was the ranking DCR representative at the
hearing [Ed: in front of the Cambridge City Council, April 6, 2005, 11 am. Next to no notice was given and the meeting was conducted in the day, minimizing public knowledge or participation]. Others included engineering and public
relations consultants. DCR planner Karl Haglund used
the March 27 and 29, 2006, Power Point presentation

Councillor Kelley was chair. Councillor Davis, Deputy
City Mgr. Rossi, Police Commissioner Watkins, Asst.
City Mgr. for Traffic & Paarking Susan Clippinger, and
City Clerk Margaret Drury attended.

The presentation included the table with data
supporting the DCR's statement that Memorial Drive is
at 21% (low, am inbound) to 57% (high, pm outbound)

However, in response to Commissioner Watkins's
question about the effect of Mem Drive's traffic
lights on traffic flow, the DCR's traffic engineers
said the traffic signals render the table's data
meaningless. The DCR will have a better idea of Mem
Drive's capacity by September.

Officials praise the DCR for its open process but if
they present data they know are flawed, what does
"open process" mean? Someone please remind me when
the next public meeting is--I hope it's before
September so they can correct the table for public

The results of other traffic surveys, including the
origin-destination study (suggested by a member of the
public--not the DCR--at the very first meeting in
February at the State House), will be done this
spring. On that study, Watkins noted the DCR plans
indicate no traffic count at the Pike exit into
Cambridge. DCR responded that not all counting spots
are on the DCR's map shown in the presentation (the
Pike exit was shown).

As we know, the Power Point presentation focuses on 4

A3: Rehabilitate Existing Tunnel to Achieve 40-Year
Service Life;
B4: At-Grade Parkway with Traffic Signals;
C2: Old and New Tunnels, No Arlington Street
Westbound Exit (with vent buildings);
D2: New Tunnels with At-Grade Local Traffic (without
Vent Buildings).

Haglund said the size of vent buildings in option D2
would depend in part on traffic volumes--lower volumes
mean smaller vent buildings. I take that to mean
success in the DCR's previously stated goal of
permanently reducing traffic on Storrow by 30,000 to
50,000 vehicles per day could make option C2 more
attractive, especially to people in Boston.

At the Cambridge City Council hearing, the DCR seemed
to back off the goal of a permanent reduction, saying
they're looking at whether it would be possible. They
did say traffic on Storrow is heavy all day long. If
so, would whatever traffic is diverted to Mem Drive,
whether temporary or permanent, assume this pattern?

Responding to a comment from the public, Haglund
asserted that the Storrow tunnel is in imminent danger
of falling down, hence the urgency of the
environmental review and choice among options.

However, at earlier meetings the DCR has said there
can be no work on the Storrow tunnel til the
Longfellow Bridge is fixed, and mentioned a five-year
timeline. When I asked Haglund about the connection
of the Storrow work with the Longfellow work and work
on Mem Drive, he didn't comment on the bridge but said
the Mem Drive "Historic Restoration" wasn't connected
to the Storrow work.

(The DCR repeatedly refuses to discuss the timing of
these three projects or their relation to each other.
After a transportation meeting in Boston April 12, an
EOT consultant thought it reasonable to assume the DCR
is waiting for the results of the Harvard-funded
study, "Transportation Alternatives in Allston,"
before going public with its own plans to tie in to
that component of the whole puzzle. The Allston
report will be out in 6-8 weeks--the scope was
recently extended, not completely recast, as I
previously have reported.)

Of course these projects are physically and logically
connected, even if, as Haglund said of the Mem Drive
"restoration," they're bureaucratically separate. He
commented that the Mem Drive project reduced the
number of travel lanes as though that would mean
reduced traffic--but Storrow has two lanes in each
direction and carries a very intensive load. More
important than the number of lanes is limited access
(like Storrow now). Mem Drive, with the removal of
over 300 parking spaces between the BU and Longfellow
bridges, has much more limited access than before that
phase of "restoration." (The Director of EOT plans
couldn't figure out why, if the DCR's goal was to
reduce traffic on Mem Drive, they would would limit
access as they did by removing the parking spaces.)

Further plans for the "Historic Restoration" call for
straightening out Mem Drive in addition to adding the
westbound turns (toward the BU Bridge) from the Mass
Ave. Bridge outbound already accomplished. And of
course cutting down hundreds of trees will improve the
sight lines while providing the DCR cover for its
actual increase in Mem Drive's capacity ("the original
plans for Mem Drive didn't include all those trees").

The DCR presents its Storrow tunnel crisis as a
problem but also as an opportunity. I believe all
Storrow tunnel options are said to increase parkland,
some, obviously, more than others. This, as we know,
if a powerful argument. Increasing parkland has
allowed the DCR to eliminate all that public parking
on Mem Drive even as they work to make it Storrow's

Failing at maintenance, allowing its assets to
deteriorate, and then billing the crisis as an
opportunity sounds like the DCR's very familiar method
with its parkland. This keeps its planners in
business, sopping up money from mere snow clearing,
trash pickup and other maintenance of swimming pools
and their former skating rinks.

The DCR elides the problem that new tunnels couldn't
support canopy trees and that such trees would be
destroyed to construct the tunnels. Again, this
recalls the DCR's work on Mem Drive, where hundreds of
mature canopy trees will be cut down, even without a
tunnel. So many opportunities, so little actual green.

Cambridge Deputy City Manager Rossi asked about who
would bear the costs of policing traffic during the
construction and whether the state would pay for a
traffic consultant for Cambridge. Answers were The
State to the first question, Don't Know to the second.
(Boston has also asked for a state-funded traffic

Police Commissioner Watkins was most concerned with
the effect of all this on traffic and on the Mem Drive
roadway surface itself.

Marilyn Wellons

3. Kathy Podgers Reports.

Briefly, we met in Sullivan Chambers, and Craig Kelley seemed to be a main leader. we, the public, were all allowed to speak twice. The slide show seemed to be the same as at the Morse school.

Several new people came and spoke. When I mentioned that Mayor Reeves told me that I cannot use City Hall to announce the address of my blog, several folks came up to me and asked for it.

One thing interesting to me, was the presence of Police Commissioner Watson, who seemed to have been invited there for the purpose of supporting the claim we needed "mitigation" as funds to "repave" Memorial Dr after all the years of diverted Storrow Drive traffic tears it up.

This seems to be a maneuver (by those who claim they represent folks in Cambridge) to hi-jack my comment that the DCR needs to listen to folks in Cambridge and talk about our issues.

One thing is sure, I do not want mitigation to be more money for more highways, parkways or whatever! Enough already!

One thing I mentioned was wanting to hear "bird song." I pointed out trees were not enough, we needed understory.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

DCR Meeting on March 29, 2006, Storrow Drive Reconstruction and Cambridge: The Party Line / Newspeak and Reality

Bob La Trémouille Reports:

1. Introduction.
2. Report from the Party Line, April 3, 2006.
3. Your editor’s on line response, ca. April 3, 2006.
4. Your Editor’s Letter to the Boston Globe, Ca. March 30, 2006.
5. Initial response from the Party Line, ca. March 30.
6. Councilor Kelly, April 7, 2006.
7. Editor’s Responses to Kelly, on line, April 7, 2006.
A. Directly on issue.
B. More General.
8. The Party Line, April 7, 2006.

1. Introduction.

On March 29, 2006, the Department of Conservation and Recreation conducted a meeting on its plans for Storrow Drive at the Morse School in Cambridge directly across Memorial Drive from the Starvation Zone at Magazine Beach.

The following was distributed on April 3, 2006, by people who give the impression that they find controversy offensive (and give the impression that they are neutral on massive environmental destruction). It is unedited except to remove identification of the guilty:

2. Report from the Party Line, April 3, 2006.

We are all Cambridgeport residents and who were in attendance at last week's DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) public meeting on Storrow Drive Tunnel Reconstruction options. This is to provide a brief report on the meeting and the DCR's on-going design and development of the project . The design options and more are outlined at the DCR website and further info may be obtained through DCR's public outreach contact person Nancy Farell. See DCR website contact info below. By way of background, Dept. of Conservatin & Recreation was transferred responsibility for the former MDC, and thus is responsible for Mem Drive and Storrow Drive (river areas).

[Ed: I somehow lost the DCR website info. The party line blends in the consultant’s position with their own Newspeak. I edited out the distinction and in editing signature blocks, edited out the website references the Newspeak people were alluding to.]

DCR confirmed that the Storrow tunnel reconstruction could take 2-4 years (depending which reconstruction strategy is implemented), and thus there will be a long period of traffic diversion involving increased traffic on Mem Drive, Mass Pike, area streets and bridges. Thus we want to emphasize this is an important citywide and regional transportation/traffic issue likely to impact our area, and it is important to let DCR and our city and state representatives know we need this to be implemented in a manner that is responsive to area concerns. State Reps. Alice Wolf and Mary Walz were in attendance, as were City Councillors Henrietta Davis and Craig Kelly.

It appears that the studies and planning will continue well into the fall of 2006 and that, if a final plan is approved, construction would not begin [until after the Longfellow Bridge repairs/reconstruction is complete and thus it is difficult for DCR to predict a begin date for the Storrow tunnel project]. At present, DCR assumes the project will be funded by state funding [through the sale of bonds]. Four major categories of addressing the redesign of Storrow Drive were highlighted and these 4 categories had various subdesigns. The different design options are set forth in the DCR website (see website info below). A Cambridgeport resident suggested a cut and cover tunnel design under the Charles river which would restore all of the Esplanade. Others suggested DCR work with MBTA to implement incentives for use of Mass Transit during the tunnel reconstruction. Other mitigation suggestions and concerns were voiced.

We recall the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) saying they would continue to have open workshops on traffic issues when the analysis of their data collection is complete and that a September public meeting will be scheduled to go over the various traffic studies that will be conducted in the next month or two. We note DCR saying, despite some short-term reconfigurations, they would commit to no net reduction in trees, but perhaps increase trees and other landscaping amenities over time depending on the final design. Their main presenter was a recognized author on the subject of the Charles River, who appeared concerned with many bigger issues, including environmental concerns.

The accessibility of the DCR staff to answer all calls, take feedback, and try to provide an open process was mentioned several times during the presentation. We recognize there are tendencies in any bureaucracy not to be as open as all would like and we need to be vigilant and, as necessary, critical on behalf of our neighborhood. However, we believe we will have more credibility if we pursue such vigilance and offer our comments and criticisms in a balanced manner. The proposed tunnel reconstruction appears to be a complex and major project and the many details and mitigation proposals are beyond the scope of this email. However, we want to alert the list serv readers to the existence of an ongoing, dynamic and important public input process that is underway, and we are hopeful this will be of assistance as a partial introduction to and update on the subject. Remember, citizens and neighborhood groups can make a huge difference in these projects. Years ago, it was citizens groups that caused elected officials and planners to take heed of neighborhood concerns and radically alter and actually discontinue some of the objectionable Inner Belt highway contsruction proposals. So, it is incumbent on us to remind our State Reps, City Councillors and DCR that any Storrow reconstruction proposal be implemented only after careful and comprehensive consideration of Cambridge and other neighborhood needs. Given the fact that the closure of Storrow Drive for tunnel reconstruction could divert 100,000 cars a day, this is a project warranting community oversight and participation.

3. Your editor’s on line response, ca. April 3, 2006.

Lots of stuff about "cooperation and coordination," with the reality strikingly different as usual for Cambridge.

They need Memorial Drive straightened out and want to destroy all those trees. The DCR/MDC says they will coordinate with the Longfellow Bridge project.

They flat out refuse to discuss the Memorial Drive coordination.

It is also interesting that the as-secret-as-possible meeting on the traffic counts seems to be unmentioned.

4. Your Editor’s Letter to the Boston Globe, Ca. March 30, 2006.

This was distributed in the form of a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe on about March 30:

Reports about openness of the Department of Conservation and Recreation concerning the Storrow Drive project were demonstrated to be extremely inaccurate at a meeting in Cambridge on March 29, 2006.

The moderator flatly refused to discuss the relationship between the Storrow Drive project and environmental destruction on Memorial Drive which is rather clearly aimed at easing the Storrow Drive reconstruction.

Memorial Drive is in the process of having more than 449 to 660 trees destroyed in number interrelated projects. All the parking on the river side between the BU and Longfellow Bridges has been destroyed. Memorial Drive is being straightened out to handle the traffic from Storrow Drive.

Repeated questions about the Memorial Drive parking loss and ongoing tree destruction were answered by bragging about the tree protections on Storrow Drive.

The moderator, Mr. Karl Hoaglund, announced that most members of the public will be barred from attending a future meeting on traffic projections.

Mr. Hoaglund, in addition to being a high DCR official, has very visible association with the Charles River Conservancy. The CRC has supported the environmental destruction in Cambridge including this massive tree destruction and the bizarre ongoing project at Magazine Beach. The latter project along with a project across from the Hyatt has featured starvation attacks on the Charles River White Geese which are now in their 19th month. The CRC has poisoned every goose egg they can get away with on the first ten miles of the Charles River for the past three years.

Looks like "openness" for Boston with the usual backroom dealing and environmental destruction for Cambridge.

5. Initial response from the Party Line, ca. March 30.

Dear Readers: A factual report on the Storrow Drive Closing presentation yesterday evening is forthcoming from [Identification of the guilty omitted.] Please look for it. Thank you.

6. Councilor Kelly, April 7, 2006.

Councilor Kelley sent out the following after a maximally secret presentation DCR to the Cambridge City Council on April 6. This presentation was conducted during the day with absolutely minimal public notice. Marilyn did attend and has promised a report.

I consider the first paragraph irrelevant, but Councilor Kelley considers it relevant and I will grant him the courtesy of including it.


While there may not be a connection directly between these issues, they are related and they are also related to a shooting in Jefferson Park in February, bricks being thrown through windows in North Cambridge a few weeks ago, loud little scooters running endlessly around Rindge Field at night and so on. Point being, our current policing efforts are not, around these issues, making people feel comfortable and it's not just a Cambridgeport, or North Cambridge, or Riverside, problem. So the question is, what systemic things can Cambridge as a City, to include the CPD but also youth services and the Cambridge Housing Authority and the school system and neighborhood groups and individuals and so on down the line do to make people more comfortable with our levels of safety and overall nuisance.

As someone said yesterday about the DCR's distinction between their upcoming Storrow Drive work and their ongoing Memorial Drive work, it is odd to have bureaucratic separation of things that are physically and logically related.


7. Editor’s Responses to Kelly, on line, April 7, 2006.

A. Directly on issue.

The DCR connects and will coordinate the Storrow Drive work with the Longfellow work. They will not connect and allegedly will not coordinate the Storrow Drive work with the Memorial Drive work.

The difference is that they claim to be pro-environment and are flat out lying on Memorial Drive. The hundreds of trees being destroyed, the flat out deliberate starvation of beautiful animals, the deliberate destruction of wetlands, the twice annual destruction of native vegetation, the connection to the off ramp from the Mass. Pike - these are are matters of great shame. These are all good reasons to fire a lot of people, both at the DCR and in the City of Cambridge.

So they will not talk and they know the City of Cambridge will support them in not talking.

There is no sanction for refusing to talk. There is great sanction for living in reality.

B. More General.

One side of the problem is the complainer saying "they do not listen to us."

A much more serious part of the problem is people who consider meaningful complaints "impolite." You can say anything you want. Just do not be so "impolite" as to make meaningful complaints.

8. The Party Line, April 7, 2006.

In apparent response to a number of issues raised by Kathy Podgers, some ostensibly sensitive souls are talking about splitting the listserve quoted above. They do not want to be disturbed by reality.

Note, however, that such people commonly are very happy to have the sort of Party Line report distributed. They are just disturbed that somebody would mention negative things.

To quote:


I don't think that the bantering that fills all of our mailboxes is a healthy way to share or refine ideas or that it serves us as a community. What I want from our list-serv are notices of meetings and major neighborhood events/reasons to be concerned. 5 or so such notices a month would serve me well. At our monthly meetings we can discuss these neighborhood issues as a community. We need to hear from more than the 4 or 5 folks who regularly present their points of view on the list-serv. They do not a community make.


Note: The Party Line demands squelching “offensive” talks but have no response to those mentioning offensive things. Their response is censorship and reports positive in tone with key omission of matters which will never be discussed by them EVEN AFTER IT IS DONE.

Interestingly, the meetings which the Party Line favors are censored by the chair and at least one key councillor (Henrietta Davis) repeatedly shouts down those who talk reality.

At the same time, the Party Line repeatedly talks about “openness” by the DCR. What they find offensive are statements that prove the “openness” to be a lie.

This is the way things are done.

This is why Cambridge is on exactly the opposite environmentally from their lovely claims.