Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cambridge Chronicle: BU Bridge and related DCR / Cambridge Bad Works

Bob La Trémouille:

The following letter was printed in the August 14, 2008, edition of the Cambridge Chronicle, page 10, under the editor inserted title, "Environment? What environment?"

The anonymous gripe reference is to an anonymous complaint line maintained by the paper from which they print selected comments.

I have not compared versions in detail, but I noticed one minor edit in the Chronicle while preparing this report.


Your anonymous gripe about the closing of the BU Bridge’s western sidewalk for repairs has great value.

The DCR announced the closing on May 20, 2008. The repairs may start the week of August 10.

This is part of a pattern of bad DCR performance.

A quick look at the Boston end of the bridge will show a brand new two lane turn from Commonwealth Avenue. An entire block of greenery was destroyed to create that two lane turn.
The DCR, apparently, has placed markings on the left lane of the new two lane turn PROHIBITING use of the left lane.

Further destruction of vegetation in the Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese, east of the Cambridge end of the BU Bridge, is related to the sidewalk project. Some trucks ran over ground vegetation so the DCR’s Charles River Conservancy (CRC) wiped out that vegetation.

They regularly destroy protective vegetation in the nesting area and along the Charles River.

The sidewalk plans were announced to destroy the northern end of the nesting area.

The DCR and Cambridge installed a wall of bushes blocking access from Magazine Beach to the Charles River. The CRC heralded this wall as an boon to swimming through a swim-in after the DCR and Cambridge started starving the Charles River White Geese for the project.

The DCR heralded the starvation in years of statements that they intended to do no harm to the Charles River White Geese. The years of promises were explained by a statement that starving them is not harming them.

Scheduled next is destruction of GREEN maintenance at Magazine Beach for replacement by CHEMICAL maintenance, paid for by the City of Cambridge.

This introduction of chemical maintenance follows on Ebersol Field near Mass. General. The chemicals did not work so the DCR tossed on Tartan. The next day the Charles River was dead from the harbor to the BU Bridge.

Of course, the chemicals will destroy the eggs of birds eating the chemicals. The DCR, through the CRC, has been destroying the eggs of as much waterfowl as they can get away with for years now.

So enjoy the sidewalk project. It is part of a very bad record on the part of the DCR and Cambridge, but both will tell you how green they are. Just do not look at the environment and do not expect minimal competence.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DCR Belligerently Incompetent on BU Bridge Work and Elsewhere

Bob La Trémouille reports with responses in Section 5.

1. Introduction.
2. BU Bridge Sidewalk Project.
a. Sidewalk work – traffic closures THREE MONTHS EARLY.
b. Environmental Vileness of the Sidewalk Project.
3. The Boston Side of the BU Bridge.
a. Preexisting situation.
b. Improvements.
(a) Traffic channel to the BU Bridge.
(b) Carlton Street Bridge.
c. Summary.
4. The Governor’s attitude toward traffic.
5. Responses.
a. Marilyn Wellons, Anderson Bridge.
b. Bob, Longfellow Bridge.

1. Introduction.

The governor has announced a series of major bridge improvements. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)’s work in the BU Bridge area raises very meaningful question, once again, as to whether the DCR should be disbanded as incompetent to perform its construction function.

2. BU Bridge Sidewalk Project.

a. Sidewalk work – traffic closures THREE MONTHS EARLY.

On or about May 10, the DCR closed the westernmost of the four traffic lanes crossing the BU Bridge, causing severe traffic impact. This was for sidewalk work.

The DCR has just announced that NOW, after three months of traffic impact by the closing of that traffic lane, the DCR is going to START the sidewalk work.

b. Environmental Vileness of the Sidewalk Project.

In accordance with the DCR’s total lack of fitness to manage wildlife, the DCR’s plans, last I heard, were to destroy the northern end of the last remaining undestroyed part of the habitat of the Charles River White Geese. The DCR, through its agent the Charles River Conservancy (CRC) has destroyed almost all of the other ground vegetation in increments in the five years the CRC has been routinely destroying ground vegetation for the DCR.

3. The Boston Side of the BU Bridge.

a. Preexisting situation.

The heaviest traffic which crosses over the BU Bridge from the South comes from the Fenway by way of Park Drive and Mountfort Streets and from the Riverway, Longwood and Brookline by way of Carlton Street. These two lanes of traffic merge on a bridge over the Mass. Turnpike which bridge is the extension of Carlton Street.

The Carlton Street Bridge strikes Commonwealth Avenue one block east of the BU Bridge. The bridges and roads in this area have been reorganized as a complicated, modified, traffic circle.

Traffic from the Carlton Street Bridge at Commonwealth Avenue can turn right onto Commonwealth Avenue toward that part of Boston University and toward Kenmore Square.

Traffic from the Carlton Street Bridge can go straight onto a short street which feeds to Storrow Drive East. This is the major route to downtown Boston.

Traffic from the Carlton Street Bridge can go left, either to the BU Bridge or to the portion of Boston University to the west and to Allston.

Traffic on the Carlton Street Bridge is a massive jam up during rush hour. The overwhelming majority of the traffic on that bridge goes over the BU Bridge.

There long has been a mandatory left turn sign requiring the traffic in the left lane to turn left. If it went straight, it would have to fight through very large numbers of cars going to the BU Bridge. That would be very dangerous.

This traffic has long gone through a one lane channel which leads from Commonwealth Avenue to the BU Bridge. The traffic volume is such that commonly two lanes have tried to fit into that one lane channel.

There was an excellent row of greenery on the Boston University side of the sidewalk in this area, between a parking lot and the sidewalk.

b. Improvements.

(a) Traffic channel to the BU Bridge.

One of the first things done in the “improvements” was to destroy that block long row of greenery.

This seemed like a necessary evil, given the traffic situation in that one lane channel with two lanes of traffic using the one lane, and the DCR has increased the size of the channel to two lanes.

They just put in the street markings.

After destroying that excellent greenery to put in two lanes of right turn traffic, the DCR has put down traffic markings which prohibit the use of the left lane of the two right turn lanes for driving.

So the DCR has spent massive amounts of money and destroyed excellent vegetation to create a turn lane which it prohibits using.

(b) Carlton Street Bridge.

The traffic coming off the Carlton Street Bridge has so much traffic going to the BU Bridge that the traffic needs both lanes, and the left lane long has had a sign requiring a left turn.

That sign has been replaced with a sign that requires the left lane to turn left and TELLS THE RIGHT LANE TO GO STRAIGHT OR TURN RIGHT, NOT TO GO LEFT.

Another flatly and simply stupid traffic direction.

c. Summary.

The DCR has spent big bucks on “improvements” which, by its traffic markings and signs, it has tossed into the trashcan, IF THE TRAFFIC MARKINGS AND SIGNS ARE OBEYED.

4. The Governor’s attitude toward traffic.

This Governor has indicated distress at the way people drive in Massachusetts.

A very major factor in the habits of drivers is contempt displayed by the governments of Massachusetts toward highway safety.

The DCR with its THREE MONTH EARLY lane closing on the BU Bridge and its FLAT OUT STUPID signage and marking on the Boston side has displayed contempt for highway safety and toward highway regulation.

If the Governor is serious about highway safety, the Governor will discipline the people responsible for this stupidity and discipline them very publicly.

The Governor should also IMMEDIATELY end the further stupidity planned for Magazine Beach and for the Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese to the east of the BU Bridge, and the governor should reverse FIVE YEARS OF OUTRAGES there.

5. Responses.

a. Marilyn Wellons, Anderson Bridge.

Marilyn reports the following concerning the intersection associated with the Bridge on the Boston side of the Charles River:


The DCR has also changed the intersection at Soldiers Field Road and North Harvard Street just before the Anderson Bridge.

Formerly two northbound lanes could go straight across the bridge. Now the DCR has restricted the right lane to right turns only, Consequently cars going straight or turning left (to go west on Soldiers Field Road) now line up single file at the light.

When the light changes, cars going straight must move to the right to go around cars waiting for the left turn through southbound traffic from the Anderson Bridge. When they do so, however, they run the risk of being hit from behind or sideswiped by cars in the right-hand, "right-turn only" lane that are in fact going straight--contrary to the DCR's new signs and lane-markings.

It really is an ordeal to navigate this intersection.

b. Bob, Longfellow Bridge.

The Longfellow Bridge is the bridge connecting Kendall Square, Cambridge to Beacon Hill, Boston and the Massachusetts General Hospital.

This bridge on the Boston side feeds into Charles Circle.

In the middle of Charles Circle is Charles Station on the MBTA’s Red Line, which was recently rebuilt along with the traffic circle which is under Charles Station.

The Longfellow Bridge going eastward into Boston feeds to the south of Charles station into a much more complicated road system than the road system which previously existed, and the old road system was complicated.

The two land bridge approach expands into three lanes, the left lane very promptly deadends.

There is a sign telling traffic where to go.

The right lane is directed to go right, to Charles Street, or straight ahead to Cambridge Street.

The middle lane is directed to go straight to Cambridge Street.

The left lane is directed to turn left into what is now six lanes of traffic under Charles Station, organized three lanes, divider, three lanes. The left lane then ends and cannot go straight. Traffic on that lane must turn.

As with the BU Bridge, the traffic turning left into those six lanes under Charles Station is too much for the left lane. The left lane cannot go straight. It must turn into one of those six lanes under Charles Station.

The center lane, because of the marking is prohibited from turning left and ordered only to go straight.

As at the BU Bridge, this is flatly and simply stupid.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Update on Monteiro case

Bob La Trémouille reports:

I have been keeping folks up to date on the events in this case insofar as is possible strictly from the docket.

The reality is that, just looking at the docket, the situation looks decidedly strange.

On May 23, 2008, the second jury in the case of Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge presented its verdict. The Cambridge Chronicle has reported that the jury’s verdict found that Cambridge had harmed the plaintiff with damages exceeding $1 million because of Cambridge’s retaliation against the Black Female plaintiff for her filing a complaint of discrimination in violation of her civil rights. The jury further found that Cambridge should pay penal damages in the amount of $3.5 million.

This jury verdict, if it stands, could possibly be considered reason to fire the Cambridge City Manager.

On June 19, 2008, the judge conducted a hearing at which time, the plaintiff moved that judgment be entered in accordance with the jury verdict. The defendant, the City of Cambridge, sought a new trial or, in the alternative, reduction of damages.

On July 3, 2008, the City of Cambridge filed "Post Trial Submissions."

On July 13, 2008, the City of Cambridge filed a motion to supplement the record on appeal.

On July 25, 2008, the plaintiff filed a response to Cambridge’s "Post Trial Submissions."

Now, on August 4, 2008, the City of Cambridge has filed a "MOTION to strike plff Monteiro’s memorandum in response to deft’s supplemental post-trial submission." Also noted as part of this filing is plaintiff’s opposition and a notice of filing under Superior Court Rule 9A which governs motion practice.

I do not know what is in the papers. They are on the judge’s desk. I have no knowledge of what was done in the trial. All I know is what is in the docket.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Cambridge, MA: A Primer on What Passes for Environmentalism

Bob La Trémouille reports:

A week ago, the Cambridge Chronicle printed a letter to the editor objecting to a new park being built in the eastern end of Central Square.

Yesterday, July 31, 2008, they printed the following response from me with consolidation of a number of paragraphs:


The Columbia - Main Park project is highly unusual from the Cambridge City Council in that, as far as I know, it does not feature wanton environmental destruction.

Extreme bad examples are:

Fresh Pond where a massive number of HEALTHY trees are being destroyed because they are in the way of saplings.

Explanation: Golly gee, won't it look nice!!! Besides, we don't count trees we destroy. We only count trees we plant.

Magazine Beach pending: Destruction of GREEN maintenance to replace it with CHEMICAL maintenance. The prototype is Ebersol Fields near Mass. General. The chemicals did not work so the DCR dumped Tartan. The next day the Charles was dead from the harbor to the Mass. Ave. Bridge and the results of the poisoning recur every year.

The chemicals have the side effect of poisoning feeding birds and destroying their eggs.

Explanation: Golly gee, won't it look nice!!!

Magazine Beach accomplished: Wetlands and animal habitat destroyed to wall off the Charles River with a bizarre wall of bushes.

Explanation? The developer funded Charles River Conservancy conducted a swim in to celebrate blocking off swimming. Some of the usual types say you have to be crazy to call this bizarre wall of bushes bizarre.

Simultaneously with blocking all of the waterfront at Magazine Beach, Cambridge put up a wall blocking off access to the grass at the Hyatt.

One hundred percent denial of their food to the Charles River White Geese.

Explanation: The DCR repeatedly denies intent to harm. They say that starving them is not harming them.

Or you might want to talk to some of these supposedly environmental groups containing friends of the city council / city manager. They do not want to know nothing.

So, live sweet. Ask any one of your beloved city councilors.

They will brag that they are pro-environment.

They are just shocked if you look at the environment. They want you to look at their lovely buildings and their lovely saplings.

The best thing that could happen to the environment in Cambridge would be for the $4.5 million CIVIL RIGHTS JURY judgment against the City Manager to go final.

That might force nine extremely bad city councilors to fire the Cambridge City Manager.