Sunday, May 13, 2007

Insider: Cambridge pols have secret definition of environmentalism.

Bob La Trémouille reports:

The latest edition of North Cambridge's The Alewife newspaper features a comment by a Cambridge political insider that Cambridge's political activists have their own secret definition of "environmentalism."

Inasmuch as I keep on saying that "environmentalism" is protecting the environment, I am showing my lack of contact with the real world in Cambridge.

Sam Seidel is a former (current as well?) member of the Cambridge Conservation Commission. Seidel ran for city council last election. Seidel writes a regular column for The Alewife. I was concerned about what I saw him writing last issue so I responded.

Seidel was given an opportunity to respond to my letter. The editor showed a lot about what was going on by the way Seidel's letter was printed in the hard copy edition. My letter was printed in full. Seidel's response was printed in part and continued to a back page. Trouble is that, when you go to the continuation page, there was no continuation.

I hunted through the paper and found the continuation. I then realized why the editor had made the continuation so hard to find.

Seidel voted for the environmental destruction which has occurred and which is pending at Magazine Beach. Seidel apparently has no problem with the ongoing destruction of thousands of trees at Fresh Pond in Cambridge. Seidel apparently has no problem with the destruction of hundreds of trees pending for Memorial Drive. Seidel clearly has no problem with the destruction of wetlands and animal habitat at Magazine Beach. Seidel clearly has no problem with the introduction of poisons at Magazine Beach and has no problems with the deliberate starvation of the Charles River White Geese.

Seidel very clearly stated that my problems with these things indicates just how out of touch I am.

Cambridge's core group, it appears, has its own secret definition of "environmentalism." My failure to comport with the secret definition of "environmentalism" shows just how out of touch I am with the in crowd in Cambridge politics.

How dare I expect environmentalists to be pro-environment!!!!

I have tried to give you folks a link to the wisdom of Mr. Seidel, but the best I can find from The Alewife's on line edition is:

If you can do better than that, please let me know and I will pass it on.

Harvard Admits Subway Plans as Part of Urban Ring

Bob La Trémouille reports:

Harvard has admitted to working for a privately beneficial, very expensive heavy rail subway which it wishes to be added to the state's Urban Ring subway plans. The subway would be a branch of the heavy rail Red Line project.

The apparent route is as follows: It would run from the existing Harvard Station east of Harvard Stadium and south of Harvard Business School. It would generally go under a new boulevard Harvard proposes for that location, apparently extending under the rail yards in Allston, then under the commuter rail which runs south of the Massachusetts Turnpike. It would turn at Park Drive and go underground to the Longwood / Harvard Medical Area, the location of Harvard Medical School.

There is a track location in place running from the Harvard Station bus tunnel to a location just west of Harvard's JFK School. The end of the tunnel is under a path way connecting JFK park to Elliot Street and the Harvard Square Hotel. This connected a temporary station to the red line during construction of the Alewife extension. Connection of that track to the existing red line is probably not possible without major changes to the existing Harvard Station lobby.

Thursday morning, May 12, Harvard's planning people met with staff and members of the board of Massachusetts' Metropolitan Area Planning Council in a public meeting in Harvard's Holyoke Center administration building in Harvard Square. The topic was Harvard's expansion plans for Allston. The meeting room was a room, the "Allston Room," dedicated to the Allston expansion. It is located on the first floor corridor of the building.

Harvard's official plans for their Allston campus can be seen at: This on-line presentation repeats a lot of things communicated at the meeting.

I was struck by one item which was not officially presented but which explains options, very expensive options, in the state consultants' developing Urban Ring proposals.

This is taken from their website. It is a good diagram of part of the Allston plans. Significantly omitted are their plans for the Allston rail yards which are located on the map marked "to LMA."

The route described at the beginning is my extrapolation of fine print in the consultants' options and of a map presented in the presentation.

I questioned Harvard's representative on the side. He was extremely candid about wishing a red line subway running from Harvard Square to Harvard Allston to Harvard Longwood.