Thursday, July 30, 2009

Professor Gates, the Rule of Law, and the City of Cambridge, MA

Bob La Trémouille reports:

For the past several weeks, the national press has done a lot about a Harvard professor arrested on the porch of his home after he had been seen doing what looked like breaking in to his home. Professor Gates may or may not have been on the receiving end of a violation of his civil rights by the police officer who arrested him. He made national press by alleging racism as the cause of the civil rights violation.

The basic principle in the Gates battle is the rule of law. On this score, whether you believe Gates or the police, Cambridge looks bad.

A judge and jury recently found Cambridge deliberately violated a former employee's legal rights. The city is appealing a $5 million judgment concerning its retaliation against Malvina Monteiro because she claimed racial discrimination. One of the judge’s many points is that Cambridge is held to a higher standard because of the city’s duty to enforce the law. The judge and jury found Cambridge deliberately violated Monteiro’s legal rights.

A recent, telling example of Cambridge’s approach to the rule of law occurred at a public meeting after the Gates case broke. At issue was a Cambridge rule restricting use of specific playing fields to persons making advance reservations and paying a $90 reservation fee.

Neighbors of Russell Field in North Cambridge report kids have been thrown off the empty field when they tried to play informal, pick-up games without official approval. This rule is apparently the plan for Cambridge-administered playing fields on Department of Conservation and Recreation parkland at Magazine Beach as well.

Before the ongoing bizarre construction began, the Magazine Beach fields were available to all members of the public unless another use was specifically scheduled. The Boston Conservation Commission has now forced the DCR to post notices saying this is the rule at Ebersol Fields on the Charles River near Massachusetts General Hospital.

In Cambridge, however, the city’s parks manager told a North Cambridge public meeting on Wednesday, July 22, that he would continue to prohibit the use of Russell Field by those without official approval. However, he expected the Cambridge police not to enforce that rule against pick-up games. He seemed to instruct an officer in the room to that effect, in front of his boss, the head of the Department of Public Works, who did not object.

It is silly to call this position anything other than official contempt for the rule of law.

The judge in the Monteiro case condemned the City of Cambridge’s contempt for the law.

Throughout the country, no matter whom people believe in the Gates incident, people are condemning contempt for the law.

The Cambridge City Council should give Cambridge, MA a government with respect for law.

[Ed: An earlier version of the above was printed very prominently among many Gates letters by the Cambridge Chronicle in its July 30, 2009 edition. This version of the letter differs only to add explanatory material about the Gates debacle and to correct a couple of typos. The title used by the Cambridge Chronicle was: "Gates, the rule of law and business as usual in Cambridge."]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Archie Mazmanian reports:

Before addressing this question, allow me to report on yesterday’s (7/28/09) Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Phase 2 of the Urban Ring. The major item of interest since the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) filed its Notice of Project Change (NPC) on June 30, 2009, concerns the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’’s (MPO) upcoming Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) that it is anticipated will not provide for the Urban Ring Phase 2 (or Phase 3 of the Silver Line) because of lack of non-federal funding. This means there will be no New Starts submittal this year for Phase 2’s Northern Tier (that may be otherwise ready to go). Ned Codd of EOT is aiming for a New Starts submission in 2011. This is as a result of the Federal Transit Agency’s (FTA) requirement that New Starts submittals seeking federal funds must identity the non-federal funding portion.

[Ed: The “northern tier” is the Urban Ring Phase 2 bus/highways proposal north of Cambridge and Boston harbor, with service into Cambridge as far as Kendall Square. The “southern tier” is the balance of the Phase 2 bus proposal.]

With respect to the Southern Tier described in the NPC, it continues to face major infrastructure impediments with the Charles River crossing, the LMA/Fenway/Academies area tunnel and the Allston (read: Harvard) connection. While the Northern Tier costs are estimated at $486 million (in 2009 dollars), costs for the Southern Tier are estimated at $2,220 million (in 2009 dollars) Based upon public transit projects with higher priorities than Phase 2 of the Urban Ring (as well as Phase 3 of the Silver Line), it appears quite clear that the LMA/Fenway/Academies area tunnel estimated to cost $1,850 million (in 2009 dollars) will be changed to surface routes through that area.

The Charles River crossing remains, in my view, the most critical aspect of the Southern Tier since it serves as the keystone for connections to the LMA/Fenway/Academies area and Allston (read: Harvard). The costs for the Charles River crossing are estimated at $130 million and at $82 million for the Allston connection (again in 2009 dollars). No estimated costs were provided for the surface routes through the LMA/Fenway/Academies area since a great deal has to be worked out with stakeholders in that area.

The Commonwealth has a deal with CSX, the details of which have yet to be worked out, to acquire the Grand Junction Rail Line (GJRL) in Cambridge to and under the BU Bridge and the rail lines on the Boston side of the River. CSX would continue freight operations on that line such that the two buslanes to be installed for Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses along the GJRL would not interfere with CSX’s freight operations.

In addition to CSX, the Charles River crossing must come to terms with BU to accommodate a tunnel under the Boston side of the BU Bridge from the west to the east surfacing on BU land that includes its Academy that would be demolished and relocated elsewhere. Ned Codd referenced BU’s Master Plan. I pointed out that I have long served as a member of the City of Boston’s BU Master Plan Task Force (as a representative of a Brookline residential neighborhood) and that BU has not as yet presented a proposal to that Task Force regarding this tunnel or the establishment of a “beach” from Commonwealth Avenue at the Bridge down to the Charles River over Storrow Drive that might include the closing of University Road which provides convenient access to and from Storrow Drive east for auto commuters.

As for the LMA/Fenway/Academies area, stakeholders there can speak effectively for themselves about “suitable” surface routes through that area for Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses. In fact, more than one such stakeholder spoke up at yesterday’s CAC meeting.

So who’’s being railroaded and by whom? Think about the major players involved: EOT, BU, Harvard and CSX. Who’’s got leverage? Surely not the residential communities impacted by the Charles River crossing, the Allston connection and the LMA/Fenway/Academies area. Being railroaded in this matter is not good public transit policy.

Near the close of yesterday’s meeting, I noted that Las Vegas provides betting odds for just about anything and I wondered what odds it might set for Phase 2 - probably longer than MA Lotteries.
Reminder: Public comments on the NPC are due by August 7, 2009. Go to EOT’’s website: for details.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Build it and who will come?

The following letter from Marilyn Wellons was printed in the on line edition of the July 23, 2009 Cambridge Chronicle and in the hard copy on page 11, with the above title:

—News that Central Cambridge Baseball is barely surviving (“The battle to save Central Cambridge Baseball,” Chronicle, July 16, page 18) compounds the city’s squandering of our tax dollars at Magazine Beach.

Build it and they will come? Central Cambridge already has Lindstrom Field, barely 200 yards from the chemically maintained, expensive new field aglow with chemicals that Cambridge is installing on Magazine Beach state parkland. As reported, Cambridge Little League apparently hopes the new field will attract more players than Lindstrom.

Whether parents want their children playing on chemically maintained, endocrine-disrupting turf is one problem. Another is that in return for paying $1.5 million, Cambridge gets to restrict use of this and the other field under construction to those persons it approves. So while the good news is that fewer people will be exposed to the toxins, the bad news is that all the people who previously enjoyed unrestricted, safe access to fields maintained by Mother Nature are out of luck and out of the picture. Same goes for migrating waterfowl and residents animals.

We’ve already paid more than $60 million to clean up the Charles River. This project’s pricey earthworks — again, paid for by Cambridge taxpayers — are designed to keep the new fields’ toxic runoff out of the river. Will they prevent astronomical algae blooms like the ones fed since 2006 by runoff from the project’s prototype at Ebersol Fields in Boston? Maybe the kids staying away from Little League ball will come to the new field to watch the algae bloom offshore.

With a city government like ours, is it any wonder, as Yogi Berra said, “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them?”

Green Street

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are the Feds maiming Canada geese? Report on an injured goose

In October, 2007, we reported on an injured Canada goose found feeding along the Charles River. The goose's right foot was missing and it seemed in pain when it tried to stand or walk. It was, however, eating, with much help from its friends at WBZ.

After discussion about whether to remove it, we took it to Maple Farm Sanctuary in Mendon, MA. The goose spent several weeks eating and resting, and in December we released it at the goose meadow, where it seemed to know some of the other geese. It stayed and was fed with the others there.

(As readers of the blog know, the Charles River Urban Wilds Initiative keeps the Charles River White Geese, confined to the grassless goose meadow since September, 2004, from starvation. With the DCR's and Cambridge's campaign against all waterfowl on the river, this means mallard ducks and Canada geese, including several injured ones, also get food.)

On July 20, 2009 I saw a footless Canada feeding near the Weeks Footbridge, and have tried to confirm that it's the injured one from 2007. Instead what I learned from Cheri at Maple Farm Sanctuary is that US Fish and Wildlife banding of Canadas has led to numerous spontaneous amputations of the foot. If the band doesn't allow for growth and proper circulation, the foot dies and falls off. Cheri saw about fifteen Canadas with this injury in the winter of 2007-08.

Her husband saw something fall off one of the migrating Canadas overhead that winter. The object he retrieved was its foot, with band. Cheri spoke with officials at US F&W, who may have acted to stop the cruelty. She's seen fewer geese with this injury this past winter.

So the goose I saw July 20 may or may not be the injured one from 2007. There are many more out there, too many to tell. In any case this goose, too, was continuing to feed.

Cheri ( sends her greetings to readers of this blog.

Marilyn Wellons


Archie Mazmanian reports.

1. Harvard’s Secret (And Not So Secret) Allston Land Purchases.
2. Harvard’s Endowment Grows.
3. Why Allston?
4. “Harvard In Allston” Exhibit.
5. Harvard Adds To Institutional Assaults On Allston.
6. Harvard’s Major Investments In Science.
7. Harvard Seeks Urban Ring Connections.
8. Charles River Crossing, Other Impediments, To Southern Tier.
9. Harvard’s Campus In 2050!

This title might remind moviegoers of Robert Redford’s 1992 film of that name. I use it here to describe Harvard University’s campus in 2050.

1. Harvard’s Secret (And Not So Secret) Allston Land Purchases.

Google searches reveal some of the mysteries of Harvard’s land acquisitions in Allston. However, the picture is clouded as Harvard has long been engaged in long range planning for its future in Allston.

In 1997, Harvard disclosed that it had secretly accumulated 52 acres of land in Allston, 14 parcels located in commercial/industrial zoning districts. A 2001 Harvard Magazine article makes reference to Harvard having acquired 100 acres in Allston; but it is not clear whether this included or was in addition to the earlier secret acquisition. The article does disclose Harvard’s “wish list” including “graduate-student housing, a museum, conceivably a whole new campus for some of the landlocked professional schools in Cambridge.” Then Harvard President Rudenstine “proposed allocating a total of $500 million to the project over the next five years.” This funding would come from Harvard’s endowment that exceeded $19 billion as of June 30, 2000. The article noted that “if endowment returns diminished, or became negative, the proposed five-year spending could be slowed.”

2. Harvard’s Endowment Grows.

Harvard’s endowment returns continued to grow to about $36.9 billion as of June 2008, before the financial crises later that year, with the endowment now rumored to have declined to $26 billion. [“Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” comes to mind for some reason.] So Harvard was well positioned to continue funding its Allston project over such five-year period. What is not clear is the extent to which Harvard increased its Allston real estate holdings that may presently comprise 350 acres (not counting the Beacon Rail Yards approximately 600 acres that Harvard has acquired the underlying rights in).

3. Why Allston?

Harvard would have preferred to expand in Cambridge, but as noted by spokesperson Kathy Spiegelman (Harv. L. Bull., Summer 2002) “[s]ince most of the campus in Cambridge is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, and displacement of those neighborhoods was not in the university’s interests, or in the realm of possibility, it was necessary to look to other places.”

4. “Harvard In Allston” Exhibit.

The Harvard Gazette of June 8, 2006, features “Harvard takes first Allston steps, refines master plans” by Lauren M. Marshall and B. D. Colen of the Harvard News Office that refers to Harvard’s dealings with Allston communities regarding its then openly proposed Allston campus, a 50-year master plan Harvard was developing. “To that end, the University opened the ‘Harvard in Allston’ exhibit room in the Holyoke Center arcade in October 2005.” The article does not disclose the surreptitious steps taken by Harvard over several decades in its long range planning that resulted in the acquisition of so many acres of land in Allston, a story that remains to be told.

5. Harvard Adds To Institutional Assaults On Allston.

Several years ago, Harvard had built graduate-student housing along the Charles River in Allston. Harvard also recently acquired the Guest Quarters Hotel adjoining the MA Turnpike Extension Allston ramps. Harvard had earlier discussed plans for a museum in Allston. Community activists in Allston (and Brighton) had for years been battling the impacts of expansions of Boston University and Boston College into their neighborhoods. Now these activists have to face the giant Harvard with its much deeper pockets, substantially more than BU and BC combined, with a much more ambitious project, an Allston campus of some 250 acres.

6. Harvard’s Major Investments In Science.

Harvard developed plans for a major science center in Allston and work on the foundations started. However, because of current financial problems, further development of this project beyond completion of the foundations is questionable. Allston residents are concerned that Harvard’s delays in the development of its extensive Allston holdings will negatively impact their neighborhoods.

7. Harvard Seeks Urban Ring Connections.

This science center was to be a significant part of Harvard’s long range investment in science, from Cambridge to Allston to the Longwood Medical Area (LMA), so critical to the economy of the Greater Boston area. In 2005 Harvard openly “wanted in” on Phase 2 of the Urban Ring for a connection to its proposed Allston campus that would also connect with Harvard’s interests in Cambridge and the LMA. As a result, Harvard became a stakeholder in the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) that has been addressing the Urban Ring project. This resulted in a delay of the Phase 2 process. Why Harvard, with presumably its long range plans for Allston underway, waited so long is not clear, even though surely it was long clear to Harvard that proper public transit would be required to service its proposed Allston campus. (Recall that decades earlier the A Branch of the Green Line that had serviced Allston and Brighton had been shut down, replaced with grossly inadequate cross-town buses.) Perhaps Harvard was continuing with secret acquisitions of land in Allston and was concerned that “going public” too early might inflate prices.

In any event, Harvard quite quickly came up with a lengthy tunnel proposal for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring that would accommodate connections between the LMA, Harvard’s proposed Allston campus and Harvard Square. However, the costs involved would be much greater than federal and state funding that might be available, such that the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) did not ““approve”” this long tunnel. (In fact, because of funding problems, EOT currently has dropped the shorter tunnel it had proposed for the LMA/Fenway/Academies area.)

8. Charles River Crossing, Other Impediments, To Southern Tier.

Phase 2's Charles River crossing is a major impediment to what is now referred to by EOT in its recently filed Notice of Project Change (NPC) for Phase 2 as the “Southern Tier” of the Urban Ring that includes the LMA/Fenway/Academies area, the BU Bridge area and Harvard’s proposed Allston campus. With Harvard’s deferral of development of its Allston science center and other aspects of such campus added to the Charles River crossing problems, the issues facing the Southern Tier continue unresolved.

9. Harvard’s Campus In 2050!

But let’s jump ahead to the year 2050, by which time many of these issues may be resolved. Harvard’s campus in Allston may exceed in size its Cambridge campus. The May 20, 2004 issue of the Harvard Gazette includes an article titled “Harvard faculty brings Allston into focus” with “A vision of Harvard a half-century from now” as considered by Harvard faculty task forces on “Allston’s potential from the perspective of Harvard faculty …….” [Note: These task forces did not include members from Allston communities.] The article references 200 acres of land in Allston that “Harvard is in a unique position to think very long range, laying the framework today for the Harvard of decades from now as both sides of the Charles River merge into one campus.” Professor Dennis Thompson, chair of one of these faculty task forces, is quoted: “We do not want to establish a satellite campus in Allston, but rather to create a single campus in which the [Charles] river is an attractive center rather than a forbidding obstacle.”

So just imagine, then, in 2050, Harvard’s description of its single, consolidated campus with the words: A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT.” How modest.

By 2050, the current concerns of Allston residents and others impacted by Harvard’s land acquisitions and decades of development may long be forgotten just as many over so many years impacted by the Big Dig may have forgotten their many years of inconveniences with its eventually successful Charles River crossing. Hopefully, the Urban Ring’s Phase 2 Charles River crossing will also prove to be successful, wherever it may be located. If the Charles River White Geese Blog remains viable in 2050, perhaps the public’s interests in protecting the Charles River will continue, although I wouldn’t expect Harvard students to be fly-fishing –– or swimming - in the center of Harvard’s campus that the Charles River happens to run through.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Archie Mazmanian reporting, Bob Editing.

1. Archie.
2. Bob response. Nice work Archie.

1. Archie.

In the movie “Animal House” with trouble brewing for the members of the Dartmouth-like fraternity, the call was put out for “Road Trip.” Perhaps there should be a call for a Road Trip to examine the Charles River crossing contemplated for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring as set forth in the Executive Office of Transportation’s (EOT) Notice of Project Change (NPC). Of course, this Road Trip would be on foot.

A good starting point for this Road Trip might be the Cambridge side to (1) traverse Magazine Beach, (2) examine the rotary under the Memorial Drive overpass with its many ways running to and from it, (3) the nesting grounds of the White Geese between the easterly side of the BU Bridge and the BU Boathouse, (4) the Grand Junction Rail Line (GJRL) under the BU Bridge, (5) the River shore easterly to the Hyatt Hotel, and, if time permits, (6) locating the continuation of the GJRL north of Memorial Drive.

With this portion of the Road Trip, consider the changes that might be required to the rotary and its ways to accommodate Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses for access to and from the BU Bridge if that turns out to be Phase 2’s Charles River crossing, considering also how the GJRL easement area in Cambridge might be utilized with the addition of two (2) lanes for these 60-foot articulated buses. Also consider that if the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge were to serve as Phase 2’s Charles River crossing, how two (2) lanes for these 60-foot articulated BRT buses would be added to the trestle and their impact on the Charles River.

Then cross the BU Bridge, taking care to observe from both sides – but for safety reasons one side at a time – the Charles River. In particular, on the westerly side of the BU Bridge, note with care the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge as it crosses Storrow Drive in Boston and then turns westerly. If the GJRL trestle is to serve as the Charles River crossing, the added two (2) lanes for Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated buses would extend southerly over Storrow Drive and then easterly via a tunnel under the BU Bridge on the Boston side to the easterly side, surfacing in the area of the BU Academy that would be demolished; in addition, these two (2) bus lanes may have to be expanded westerly towards the rail yards to accommodate Harvard’s proposed Allston campus. Also, while on the BU Bridge, note the traffic and in particular 40-foot buses in traffic and imagine they were Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses if the Phase 2 Charles River crossing is to be by means of the BU Bridge.

On the Boston side, take Commonwealth Avenue east, use the pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive (in back of BU’s Marsh Chapel) to access the walkway on the southern shore of the Charles River to observe the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge from both sides of the BU Bridge. In particular, from the westerly side of the BU Bridge, consider the addition of the two (2) bus lanes and their route under the BU Bridge via a tunnel, surfacing on the site of the BU Academy as noted above, if the Charles River crossing for Phase 2 is to utilize the GJRL trestle.

Then return to Commonwealth Avenue and head towards the BU Bridge. At University Road, consider traffic issues its closing might entail regarding access to and from Storrow Drive east; BU has proposed such a closing for its plans for the BU Academy site down to the Charles River. Take a close look at the BU Academy site, where a Phase 2 tunnel would surface to accommodate the Charles River crossing via the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge. Also, take a good look at the southerly side of Commonwealth Avenue which from its sidewalk southerly is in the Town of Brookline, and in particular the Carlton Street bridge over the MA Turnpike Extension. BU has its eyes, long range, on the development of air rights parcels over the Extension from Essex Street (the extension of the BU Bridge to its south) to St. Mary’s Street, bounded on the southerly side by Mountfort Street. (Mountfort Street would serve as a portion of the Phase 2 route between the Charles River crossing and the Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area.)

The next step of this Road Trip would be to observe the westerly side of the BU Bridge at Commonwealth Avenue. That’s where the MA Turnpike Extension from the west dips sharply under Commonwealth Avenue to the Extension’s trench easterly of Essex Street. A significant portion of Commonwealth Avenue is itself a bridge at the BU Bridge, the extent of which can be identified by metal expansion joints in the roadway. This bridge is in need of significant infrastructure replacement, a major undertaking. The B Branch of the Green Line on Commonwealth Avenue crosses this bridge, with trolleys required to reduce speed to a crawl because of this bridge’s condition.

Looking northerly from Commonwealth Avenue over the MA Turnpike Extension where it dips, the GJRL over Storrow Drive can be observed. Consider the addition of two (2) bus lanes at this point to the GJRL to accommodate Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses that would swing easterly under the BU Bridge by means of a tunnel surfacing on the easterly side in the area of the BU Academy if the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge serves as Phase 2’s Charles River crossing; in addition, consider two (2) lanes extending westerly in the area of the rail lines to service Harvard’s proposed Allston campus – and how such may tie-into the two (2) lanes in the tunnel under the BU Bridge to the BU Academy area.

But if Phase 2’s Charles River crossing is by means of the BU Bridge (and not the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge), then Phase 2’s service of Harvard’s proposed Allston campus may require the use of Commonwealth Avenue westerly of the BU Bridge.

While at Commonwealth Avenue, observe traffic patterns in the area to get some idea of traffic issues if the Charles River crossing for Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated BRT buses were to be over the BU Bridge, keeping in mind the recent reduction of the BU Bridge from four (4) to three (3) lanes, as well as the use of Commonwealth Avenue westerly of the BU Bridge to service Harvard’s proposed Allston campus.

While on this Road Trip, keep in mind that a major goal of Phase 2 would be 7-minute trip frequencies to encourage riders to take these 60-foot articulated BRT buses for cross-town transit trips rather than taking a radial line into the hub in downtown Boston and then out to a destination on another radial line. And consider the engineering feats that would have to be addressed if the Charles River crossing is by means of the GJRL trestle under the BU Bridge.

Hopefully this Road Trip might disclose some good ideas or recommendations, addressing issues with the Charles River crossing and encourage a “tripper” to review EOT’s NPC and respond to it with public comments. [Reminder: public comments are due by August 7, 2009.]

By the way, in the course of this Road Trip, don’t forget the plight of the White Geese on the Cambridge side of the Charles River that will only worsen with Phase 2’s Charles River crossing. They deserve better, having provided for many decades joy to children and other nature lovers. Their little bit of space cannot be permitted to be destroyed.

For a spectacular view of the Charles River showing both sides taken easterly of the BU Bridge see:

2. Bob response. Nice work Archie.

The proposal for change talks about a lot of difficulties in the "Southern Tier" proposal including problems with the Grand Junction.

Archie's excellent analysis flags at least one very major possible defect for which I thank him. To the extent more sinks in, I will try to further study.

The one that stands out reenforces a point which he has been making to me for some time with my not fully gronking him.

Archie has repeatedly commented on the difficulties associated with widening the Grand Junction Bridge as is proposed by the state. He has driven that point home very effectively above.

In particular, he reminds me on the MBTA analysis which first demonstrated the engineering feasibility of an off ramp from the Mass. Pike to Cambridge to and from the west only.

The limitations of the approach were underscored by the fact that, all of a sudden a moribund concept to create a Mass. Pike U turn at the Allston Exit became not only active but also implemented. Supposedly, this U turn allows traffic from Back Bay to go to the airport by way of Allston. I understand it is essentially unused for this purpose.

However, that U turn makes the exit to Cambridge by way of the Grand Junction bridge an exit for traffic coming on the Mass. Pike both to and from the west and to and from the east.

The important point, however, is that the bus proposal on the Grand Junction going to University Road and then to Yawkey has to do EXACTLY what the T said could not be done in that location and more so.

The T said it was not feasible to connect the Mass. Pike to and from the east and the Grand Junction bridge. The busway proposal would require ramps even mnore convoluted than that.

Nice work, Archie.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Urban Ring since 2002

Bob La Trémouille edits:

1. Introduction.
2. Archie.
3. Marilyn.
4. Editor.

1. Introduction.

Archie Mazmanian passes on the following with a link to a 2002 Arco Forum presentation on the phase 2 Urban Ring. The Arco Forum is located in an atrium at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on JFK Street between Harvard Square and the Charles River.

2. Archie.

Perhaps visitors to your Blog might be interested in the Harvard Gazette issue of July 18, 2002 article titled "Ring around the city: Rappaport Institute explores Urban Ring," by Beth Potier, available at:

A lot has happened - or not happened - with respect to Phase 2 of the Urban Ring in the seven (7) years since this exploration. I am not aware that the Harvard Gazette has since reported on the Urban Ring or whether the Rappaport Institute has engaged in further explorations. Of course, this article appeared several years before Harvard revealed its secret real estate purchases of approximately 250 acres in Allston for expansion of its campus and its subsequent desire to connect this with Phase 2 of the Urban Ring. This article was also published long before Harvard acquired the lands underlying the Beacon Yards rail system.

Financial issues were a concern back in 2002. Since then the financial plight of MA and the rest of the nation has added to this concern. And Harvard's endowment decrease resulting from recent national and worldwide financial woes has put the brakes on Harvard's development of its Allston campus. As a result, the major portion of Phase 2 now called the Southern Tier is recognized by the Executive Office of Transportation as up in the air because of major impediments in addition to financing. As noted in an earlier post, these major impediments relate to the Charles River crossing at the area of the BU Bridge and surface routes in lieu of a tunnel in the busy Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area, through which Phase 2's 60-foot articulated BRT buses would have to maneuver, largely in mixed traffic.

With respect to the Charles River crossing, auto commuters face great frustrations in their daily commutes in the area of Commonwealth Avenue/BU Bridge/University Road/Carlton Street bridge on both sides of the Charles River. Recently they have been honking with these traffic conditions. Perhaps these auto commuters should be heard from (other than by honking) as stakeholders at public meetings on Phase 2 and with public comments on the EOT's Notice of Project Change. (Reminder: such public comments are due by August 7, 2009.) It seems as if the Commonwealth, Boston, Brookline and Cambridge are not coordinating efforts to minimize the impacts of work on the BU Bridge, especially the major infrastructure project that will commence later this year and probably last well over a year until completion. And even after such completion, the auto lanes on the BU Bridge will remain at three (3), recently reduced from four (4) lanes. Honking is not an effective means of getting a message across to the authorities. These auto commuters should unite and make their voices heard.

3. Marilyn.

Harvard announced its secret purchases in Allston in 1997, as I remember. There were additional purchases after that, and Mass Pike's sale of the Beacon Yards in 2000? The point is the Rappaport report was written when the Allston stuff was semi-public and well underway.

There was a chronology online at that omits Harvard's initial announcement of its secret purchases. The chronology dates those from an initial purchase of 52 acres from 1987-1993.

4. Editor.

The T did nonsense about an express bus route from Newton to Cambridgeport using the Grand Junction bridge. That proved the bridge capable of handling a Mass. Pike off ramp to and from the west.

Then Harvard Purchased the Beacon Yards.

Then the U turn was built at the Allston Tolls, supposed to allow Back Bay traffic to go west and then to the airport, in reality to turn the Grand Junction Mass. Pike exit into a access for both directions of traffic. This made the Beacon Yards available for Harvard to build on.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


Bob La Trémouille reports:

1. Introduction.
2. Archie’s analysis.
3. Response.
a. History of the Urban Ring dates to the 80’s.
b. Northern v. Southern Tier.
c. Light v. Heavy Rail.

1. Introduction.

Archie Mazmanian has presented a well thought out paper on Bus Rapid Transit versus Light / Heavy Rail.

The analysis is copied in part 2. Because he has done such a good job, I feel like giving my two bits worth following Archie.

My response will be technical. Archie has done such a good job, I think it would be inappropriate to do back and forth’s giving my perception of history and trying to come to agreement. He wrote a good analysis. I will give it its proper respect. I will just respond.

2. Archie’s analysis.

When the Urban Ring was spawned by the MBTA some 14 years r so ago, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), a system of 60-foot articulated buses, was its standard for Phase 2. There had been no debate about this standard nor had the concept of BRT been the brainchild from the ground up of public transit riders. Rather, this was the decision of MBTA. After 14 years, it is time to have such a debate. Phase 3 of the Urban Ring calls for light/heavy rail. The failure to implement Phase 2 over such a long period of time might suggest the BRT approach has failed.

Growing up in Roxbury in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and beyond in Jamaica Plan through the ‘60s into the early ‘70s, I was a frequent rider on the elevated Orange Line on my trips to and from downtown Boston while in college, law school and then in my law practice. Shifting the Orange Line route and tearing down the elevated structure was a good thing for residents along Washington Street from Forest Hills to downtown Boston. But these residents did need good, reliable public transit. They were promised light rail on Washington Street with dedicated rights of way.

Eventually, after too many years, the MBTA did come up with public transit (the Silver Line) on Washington Street, but not in the form of light rail with dedicated rights of way. Rather, the MBTA shifted to a BRT system. However, instead of providing truly dedicated rights of way for this BRT system, the MBTA provided buslanes along some portions of Washington Street. The problem with buslanes is that they can and do accommodate mixed traffic in the absence of strict law enforcement. The result for the Silver Line was slow and unreliable public transit. Residents had been deceived: They were promised light rail with dedicated rights of way but instead got the BRT system on this surface route of Washington Street.

The Silver Line along Washington Street has been a failure. A second phase of the Silver Line’s tunnel to the airport area has been a success but only because of its dedicated and exclusive right of way in this tunnel. But the connection between these phases, Phase 3, has bogged down because of disputes of neighborhoods affected and the expense of another tunnel. The surface routes between Phase 1 and Phase 2’s tunnel cannot provide appropriate dedicated rights of way.

EOT has taken over from the MBTA and continues with the push for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring with a BRT system. While a BRT system might work in certain communities with broad boulevards, the Phase 2 routes do not provide such broad boulevards. So EOT has to resort to the gimmick of buslanes in an effort to satisfy the Federal Transit Agency’s funding requirement of a minimum of 50% of dedicated rights of way. As noted above, without strict law enforcement, buslanes end up with mixed traffic, eliminating Rapid from BRT.

The current Southern Tier proposal in EOT’s Notice of Project Change would involve greater ridership than the Northern Tier. EOT has been unable as yet to settle upon proposed surface routes in the Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area. EOT has to overcome the major impediment presented with the Charles River crossing that requires accommodations with CSX regarding the Grand Junction Rail Line, including the trestle bridge under the BU Bridge. This major impediment also affects the Allston connection that would service Harvard’s proposed Allston campus as well as Harvard’s potential development of the Beacon Yards. If such an accommodation cannot be made, then the BU Bridge would serve as Phase 2’s Charles River crossing and the Allston connection would be via Commonwealth Avenue westerly of the BU Bridge. Frankly, the BU Bridge/Commonwealth Avenue area has too many traffic and transportation problems currently and the addition of Phase 2’s surface routes would only make them worse. This would affect both sides of the Charles River.

So perhaps it is time to start a serious debate on Bus Rapid Transit versus Light/Heavy Rail. While a BRT system may work in Bogata, Colombia, with its wide boulevards, it will not work along the Southern Tier with its narrow, curved and heavily traveled streets. In other parts of the US, the utilization of the BRT system is being questioned, including in a Washington Post editorial, Sunday, July 12, 2009, involving Maryland’s “purple line” that would connect with the District of Columbia’s Metro system. After some 14 years, it is finally time for a real debate on Phase 2 of the Urban Ring and to consider going directly to Phase 3 with light/heavy rail. If a BRT system on the Urban Ring cannot provide timely trips, its passengers will revert to light/heavy radial lines into the hub in downtown Boston and then out on another radial line to destinations. If Phase 2 were to be approved as currently proposed, we might be stuck with it and never get to Phase 3. Now is the time to speak up and demand a debate.

3. Response.

a. History of the Urban Ring dates to the 80’s.

Archie comments about the spawning of the Urban Ring 14 years ago, as a bus phase 2, real rapid transit phase 3.

I have been working on the Urban Ring since 1985. It was a rapid transit proposal then. Only later did it get watered down to buses. In the middle, the state adopted my alternate Kenmore Crossing as a second possibility for crossing the Charles River, compared to the original thoughts of crossing next to the BU Bridge.

b. Northern v. Southern Tier.

Archie talks of Southern Tier and Northern Tier in this week’s proposal. There are a lot of lovely maps at, but, basically, the Northern Tier is a bunch of busways mostly north of Cambridge and north of Boston Harbor. The Southern Tier is the rest of the “phase 2” bus package.

The Northern Tier is separated out, in my opinion, because it makes sense for buses. The Southern Tier is so much nonsense.

c. Light v. Heavy Rail.

Light rail is street cars. Heavy Rail is the Red Line and the other big guys.

There are people running around trying to confuse the two, and they are indulging in quite irresponsible behavior trying to confuse the two.

The reason they are trying to confuse the two is that they are also fighting for the BU Bridge Crossing in the Rapid Transit phase 3.

The dirty tricks come from the fact that the Phase 3 BU Bridge crossing is light rail and the Phase 3 Kenmore Crossing is heavy rail.

The purpose of the Urban Ring is to provide a viable crosstown alternative to going downtown in the Subway system. Light rail cannot provide the speed needed to get people off the downtown subways. So the people fighting, for other reasons, for the BU Bridge crossing, use any and all techniques to fool people into an inferior alternative.

One of the key techniques is to give the impression that there is meaningful competition between the two alternatives. I have elsewhere in this Blog gone into very detailed analysis between the two.

My analysis is confirmed by the nonstop dirty tricks.

Just one example of too many:

There is a “transportation” group in the Boston area whose board has been fooled into supporting the BU Bridge without ever being told that they are supporting the BU Bridge Crossing and without ever being allowed to discuss the comparative merits.

There seem to be two willful activists involved and a much larger number of victims. The two activists clearly have no concern with fair play.

Any attempt to question this silly position has been replied to with cyberabuse by one of the two.

The other of the two is the head of the organization. He supports cyberabuse “on the grounds of free speech.” When the victim publicly objected to receiving off line abusive emails, the victim was permanently thrown off the listserve by the “leader.” Cyberabuse is protected by free speech. The victim objecting to cyberabuse gets the cyber death sentence.

That says a lot as to the level of discourse. And the real purpose is to protect the BU Bridge light rail Phase 3 crossing from meaningful discussion once the two have fooled the board into supporting it without telling them that they are supporting it.

I do not think Light and Heavy Rail should be confused. The bad guys have good reason for confusion. They have no merit to their position.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Monteiro case, Hearing Scheduled, Odd Clerk’s Notice

Bob reports:

The plaintiff’s motion to correct the judgment has, apparently, been scheduled for hearing on August 26.

There have been oddities in the record concerning filing(s) by Cambridge on July 3.

This first appeared as a notice of the filing of a letter from Cambridge apparently pointing out to the judge (I can only see description, not content) that the plaintiff’s motion was improper as filed after the filing of Cambridge’s notice of appeal. Cambridge reaffirmed its notice of appeal.

On checking this morning, this entry, which I very clearly saw a few days ago, has been replaced with a notice of filing of transcripts by Cambridge on July 3.

Fancy Bus Lanes in Context

Archie provides the following with regard to the “rapid transit” buses proposed as part of the Urban Ring:

BREAKING NEWS! BRTs in Bogata, Colombia!
July 11, 2009 – New York Times – Page 1
Found at:

This front page article by Elisabeth Rosenthal is quite long but worthwhile reading. It tells the reader quite a bit abut BRTs and their use in foreign countries and in the U.S. Phase 2 of the Urban Ring would utilize 60-foot articulated BRT buses. Consider EOT’s Locally Preferred Alternatives for Phase 2 and issues involving dedicated routes. Take a careful look at the NYT front page photo showing BRTs and passengers in Bogata. Then check out this in the inside page:

“But with [Bogata’s] wide streets, dense population and a tradition of bus travel, Bogata had the ingredients for success. To create Trans-Milenio [Bogata’s BRT system], the city commandeered two to four traffic lanes in the middle of major boulevards, isolating them with low walls to create the system’s so-called tracks. On the center islands that divide many of Bogata’s two-way streets, the city built dozens of distinctive metal-and-glass stations. Just as in a subway, the multiple doors on the buses slide open level with the platform, providing easy access for strollers and older riders. Hundreds of passengers can wait on the platforms, avoiding the delays that occur when passengers each pay as they board.”

Since EOT is now planning for surface routes through the dense Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area, how might EOT replicate Bogata’s success on that areas streets?

In fact, a major problem with EOT’s Locally Preferred Alternatives routes is the failure to provide truly dedicated BRT busways in critical areas. Rather, EOT gets to the minimum Federal Transit Agency requirement of 50% dedication by including buslanes that can also accommodate mixed vehicular traffic in the absence of strict (and expensive) enforcement, as demonstrated on the MBTA’s Silver Line on Washington Street in Roxbury, South End and downtown Boston.

And consider the BU Bridge reduced from four to three lanes: what if any dedication can be provided for these BRT buses and also accommodate auto commuters?

This BREAKING NEWS! should be reflected in public comments (due by August 7th) on EOT’s NPC.

Publication Update

Bob reports:

The Cambridge Chronicle published my analysis of the DCR meeting as a highly featured op ed in their July 9, 2009 edition, top of the column, all six columns, opposite to the editorial page. The version published was my edit down to 800 words, essentially what I passed on to you a week ago.

The Chronicle underscored its good performance with the first letter printed below my oped. This was a letter from Jane Rich objecting to the use of poisons to fertilize a park in the central city and to fertilize Magazine Beach.

Jane calls the use of poisons in violation of a very clear Cambridge ordinance.

Reality is that the hypocrites in Cambridge do a lot of lying. Lovely ordinances which they violate at will are a very key part of their lying.

Reality is the Charles River. Reality is poisons, heartless animal abuse, and aggressive environmental destruction from hypocrites who claim to be Green and who claim to be decent human beings.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Urban Ring Notice of Project Change: Charles River

Bob editing, Archie Mazmanian principal author.

1. Introduction.
2. Archie’s Analysis.
a. CSX.
b. BU.
c. Harvard.
3. Archie Follow Up.

1. Introduction.

Archie provides a thoughtful analysis of the Urban Ring proposals in light of the current proposal to emphasize a northern tier (north of Cambridge, with connection to Cambridge) and to provide different emphasis to an oddly handled southern tier which includes most of the Cambridge portion, plus the Charles River and everything south of the Charles River.

Archie lives two blocks directly south of the BU Bridge in Brookline, just off Essex Street which is the extension of the BU Bridge. Archie has been very busy in area planning and transportation planning.

My only edit is to add outline formatting to his already bulleted analysis.

The document is available at, with comments due August 7.

2. Archie’s Analysis.

The two (2) major impediments to what is now called the Southern Tier of Phase 2 of the Urban Ring are: (1) the Charles River crossing and (2) Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area. For the latter, EOT is now proposing surface routes instead of a tunnel; stakeholders in that area can be expected to respond sharply to this Plan B “No Tunnel” route(s) through this congested area. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in that area is not confined thereto.

So let’s focus on the Charles River crossing that impacts communities on both sides of the River in Boston, Brookline and Cambridge, where EOT’s principal obstacles are: (a) CSX, (b) Boston University and (c) Harvard, perhaps in various combinations.

a. CSX.

The utilization of the Grand Junction Rail Line (GJRL) for Phase 2’s 60-foot articulated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses is required not only to avoid using the BU Bridge by means of the GJRL under the BU Bridge but to provide access for the Allston connection for Harvard’s proposed Allston campus (250 acres) PLUS the potential development of Beacon Yards (600 acres). While Harvard has humongous real estate development potentials for Allston, CSX has to be assured of maintenance of certain of its rail lines, including under the BU Bridge and relocation of certain of its operations in Beacon Yards.

b. BU.

Utilization of the GJRL under the BU Bridge requires an arrangement with BU regarding a connection by means of a tunnel under the Boston side of the BU Bridge to the easterly side in the area of BU’s Academy. What might BU require in exchange? For one, BU will have to relocate its Academy, where, BU has yet to disclose. Also, BU wants to develop air rights over the MA Turnpike Expansion along the southerly side of Commonwealth Avenue in Brookline between Essex and Carlton Street bridge and between the latter and St. Mary’s Street, bounded on the southerly side by Brookline’s Mountfort Street. In addition, BU has been floating the idea of a BU “beach” on the northerly side of Commonwealth Avenue (Boston) presumably covering over a portion of Storrow Drive down to the Charles River. BU’s “beach” proposal seems to include the closure of the short University Road that provides convenient commuter access to and from Storrow Drive East. This is all long range on the part of BU due to its lack of funds.

c. Harvard.

Harvard owns the land underlying Beacon Yards (600 acres) in Allston. If Harvard, CSX and the Commonwealth can work out a deal to relocate CSX operations in Beacon Yards, a humongous tract could then be available for development by Harvard that could rival the Prudential Center and South Boston’s Seaport District, convenient to the Charles River and Harvard’s Cambridge campus. Rumor has it that Harvard would like to see a relocation of the MA Turnpike Extension’s Allston exit/entrance that might permit for a spur to utilize portions of the GJRL for a connection – including under the BU Bridge? – to Cambridge for motorists (as well as for Phase 2’s BRT buses). But Harvard isn’t quite ready to develop even its Allston campus because of financial concerns.


That’s what drives real estate development. CSX, BU and Harvard are connected at their hips in development in the area associated with the Charles River crossing that would surely impact already serious traffic and transportation issues in the area of the BU Bridge faced by residential communities on both sides of the Charles as well as commuters through the area. Recall the voice in the movie “Field of Dreams” – “If you build it, they will come” – but who will pay for the required infrastructure for this development that Phase 2 would service? Will BU and Harvard pony-up or will taxpayers bear the freight for the benefit of these tax-exempt nonprofits? By the way, what would be the impact of such development on the residential communities in the area? And will commuter traffic worsen?

More commentary is to come on the Charles River crossing for Phase 2.

3. Archie Follow Up.

I like your edit.

My hope is that residents of Allston will awaken to realize how they may be impacted by Phase 2 in conjunction with Harvard. Based upon my attendance at most CAC [ed: federally ordered, I think, Urban Ring Citizen’s Advisory Committee] and other public meetings on the Urban Ring, Allston-Brighton folks are seldom in attendance because of the many battles they have with Harvard, BU and BC. Allston-Brighton is an orphan area of Boston and poorly treated.

Also, my hope is that residents of all adjoining neighborhoods will understand the roles of the institutions with Phase 2 of the Urban Ring and realize that what's good for these institutions is not necessarily good for their residential communities.

Remember, there was very little involvement of residential neighborhoods impacted by the Big DIG as it was being planned, so their inputs were not availed of. Troops on the ground must get involved with Phase 2 of the Urban Ring and register their concerns.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Urban Ring Notice of Project Change

[Ed (Bob La Trémouille): DOT gives the impression that they are, for now, backing off all but the "northern tier" parts of the Urban Ring, mostly north of Cambridge. The fine print seems to attempt to keep parts of the "southern tier" alive through odd maneuvers. Nothing should be taken for granted.]

Archie Mazmanian reports:

The Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) has posted at its website – - its Notice of Project Change (NPC) filing of June 30, 2009. (To access the NPC, go to this website, click on Reference Materials, then click on Current Materials and under the heading Notice of Project Change – June 30, 2009 (2), download 07-Jul-2009 Notice of Project Change.)

A note of caution: The NPC is 526 pages long. But this should not discourage visitors to your Blog who are not on a payroll of a municipality or institutional stakeholder from reviewing the NPC. The guts of the NPC are set forth in “Attachment 6: Project Change Description – Supporting Details.” At a minimum, read Pages 19 through 34 of Attachment 6; but be aware that the pagination on the NPC download is different, so that Sheets/pages 35 through 50 should be accessed AND PRINTED OUT.

Section “6.4 Response to Comments on RDEIR” begins at Sheet/page 52, continuing at great length (paginated 1 through 232). Unfortunately, the download Sheets/pages differ, making it difficult maneuvering to selected responses. Sheets/pages 52 through 54 set forth various Categories of Comment Letters that EOT’s responses relate to, listing names in such Categories. Because of time limitations, I would suggest that visitors to your Blog might focus on EOT’s responses to “Individual Comments” and selected “Community Advocacy and Organization Comments” and selected “Institution Comments.”

Beginning AFTER Section 6.4, there appear the actual Comment Letters annotated and separated into the various Categories described in Section 6.4. Maneuvering through the Comment Letters can be very time consuming as well as difficult because of different paginations as noted above.

Hopefully, the above will serve as a guide to visitors to your Blog in reviewing the NPC. The public comment period is scheduled to begin July 7th and close August 7, 2009. Beginning in the next day or so, I plan to provide commentary on the NPC, in particular as it impacts the BU Bridge area that has long had serious traffic and transportation issues for commuters and adjoining neighborhoods. EOT is suggesting with the NPC a half a loaf approach for Phase 2 of the Urban Ring with a Northern Tier that is relatively inexpensive and set to go without too many obstacles (impediments), whereas much more time is needed for the Southern Tier that includes the Charles River crossing, the Longwood Medical/Fenway/Academies area as well as the Allston connection (read Harvard) because of many overwhelming obstacles (impediments), financial and otherwise.

Visitors to your Blog residing in communities in Cambridge, Boston (Allston and the Fenway in particular) and Brookline must pay close attention to the NPC’s impacts on their communities in the Southern Tier to make sure that existing traffic and transportation problems are not exacerbated. They must take the time to submit their comments on the NPC.

EOT is keeping its “hat in the ring,” i.e., the Urban Ring, even though difficulties – some insurmountable – with the Southern Tier may bring tears to the eyes of residents in these communities that would not be tears of joy.

You may post this on your Blog if you wish.

Monday, July 06, 2009

DCR "Public Hearing" Nonsense, A Responsible Proposal for the Charles River

Last Tuesday, June 30, the Department of Conservation and Recreation held a “public hearing” on the Boston University campus concerning the BU Bridge Repair project.

The “public hearing” was an excellent example of bad faith as the DCR papered over continuing, needless environmental destruction and heartless animal abuse.

This is part of a series of strikingly irresponsible projects being progressed in spite of lack of merit. The protagonists routinely use whatever technique is available to further unworthy ends.

Key in the BU Bridge Repair project is not the needed repairs, but the totally unnecessary destruction included in it. It is no wonder that none of the three “public hearings” on this destruction have been conducted in Cambridge near the destruction in spite of very clear promises to do so. A related, non-destructive project has had a public hearing in the Morse School.

The BU Bridge Repair project furthers destruction of habitat aimed at the very popular and valuable Charles River White Geese. It destroys all the undestroyed vegetation in their nesting area just east of the BU Bridge. Half of the destruction is for staging that should be placed under Memorial Drive where staging was placed for the BU Bridge sidewalk project.

The project completes the destruction of all ground vegetation located between the BU Bridge and the BU Boathouse. The rest of the ground vegetation has been destroyed in stages since the DCR and Cambridge confined the Charles River White Geese to this tiny portion of their mile long habitat in September 2004. It would turn three quarters of the nesting area into a construction zone, leaving the geese with one quarter of the nesting area, all of which has been denuded of ground vegetation by the DCR. Even the tiny amount of grass under Memorial Drive across the on ramp would be taken from them.

In September 2004, the DCR and Cambridge started starving them. It was a two pronged attack. Half their food was taken from them by the City with a plastic starvation wall at the edge of the Charles River across from the Hyatt. Their food at Magazine Beach was blocked first with excavation, and then with a bizarre wall of introduced vegetation which has no business on the Charles River.

The DCR has repeatedly promised “no intent” to harm the Charles River White Geese, starting with their attack on the Nesting Area in fall 1999. The DCR explains that, in their world, starving the Charles River White Geese is not harming them.

Currently also pending is the replacement of Green playing fields at Magazine Beach with SMALLER poison maintained playing fields. The decrease in size is “needed” to put in an expensive drainage system to carry away poisons which have no business being dumped on the banks of the Charles River.

In addition to starving local animals, the Cambridge City Council is also taking Magazine Beach away from the general public. Magazine Beach, which has been used for pick up sports activities for the better part of a Century, will be prohibited for use without specific advance permission. This is an extension of the police enforced prohibition of neighborhood pick up games at Russell Field.

The Boston Conservation Commission, when faced with a similar situation at Ebersol Field near Mass. General Hospital, ordered signs posted allowing public use when not scheduled through central scheduling. The Boston Conservation Commission disagrees with the Cambridge City Council’s intents at Magazine Beach.

The DCR has informed the Cambridge Conservation Commission of its intent to destroy hundreds of healthy trees, including every cherry tree, between the BU and Longfellow Bridges. The DCR, working closely with Cambridge, is offended that Memorial Drive has hundreds of mature, healthy trees which did not appear on 19th Century plans for what was then a treeless tidal wetlands. Obama stimulus moneys will be used with Governor Patrick’s blessing.

Part of the tree destruction project will include reinstatement of the plastic starvation wall across from the Hyatt.

Maximum secrecy can be expected. If people know what is going on, they might object, and that would involve people knowing just how bad the Cambridge City Council and Governor Patrick are when it comes to environmental destruction, heartless animal abuse, and denying public services to the public.

Responsible behavior would defer the BU Bridge Repair project until Magazine Beach is livable for the Charles River White Geese. Key in the livability would be destruction of the bizarre starvation wall, return to Green Maintenance and killing of the silly, expensive drainage system which is not needed for green maintenance. The nesting area, as well, should be allowed to the Charles River White Geese for uses as they deem fit, including the nesting uses which they have done there for 28 years. Destruction should be limited to needed destruction, not the outrageous staging use which belongs under Memorial Drive.

It would also be minimal for the Cambridge City Council to behave as responsibly as the Boston Conservation Commission and return Magazine Beach to use by the public when it is not otherwise scheduled.

Plus, it would be nice to refrain from destroying hundreds of healthy, mature trees because they do not appear on a 19th Century plan for what was then a treeless tidal wetlands, and do not do that part of the starvation attacks.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Monteiro Case: Plaintiff wants decision changed; Cambridge works on appeal package

1. Plaintiff files to change Judgment.
2. Cambridge still working on appeal package.
3. Analysis.

Bob Reports.

1. Plaintiff files to change Judgment.

The plaintiff filed the following on June 26:

1 Plaintiff Monteiro's Motion To Clarify, Alter And Amend The Court's
2 Judgment On Jury Verdicts Dated June 2, 2009 And Request For Hearing;
3 Defendnat's opposition to Plaintiff Monteiro's Motion To Clarify,
4 Alter And Amend The Court's Judgment On Jury Verdicts Dated June 2,
5 2009

2. Cambridge still working on appeal package.

The Court filed the following on June 24:

1 Court received Letter from Joan A. Lukey: In response to your letter
2 dated June 19, 2009 and pursuant to Mass R. App. P. 8(b)(1) and
3 9c(2), I hereby certify that: 1. All transcripts have previously been
4 ordered. 2. The following transcripts have been completed and are on
5 file with the Court: May, 5, 2008; May 6, 2008; May 9, 2008; May 12,
6 2008; May 13, 2008; May 15, 2008; May 16, 2008; May 19, 2008; May 20,
7 2008; May 21, 2008; May 22, 2008; May 23, 2008. 3. We have previously
8 requested the transcripts for May 7, 2008 and May 8, 2008. I am also
9 formally re-requesting these two transcripts by separate
10 correspondence to Court Reporters Kristin Simonini and Melissa
11 Spirito, respectively. The Transcripts for the above mentioned dated
12 comprise the entire transcript.

3. Analysis.

I do not have any of the papers. These reports are based on the on line court docket. Most such items are just the title of documents. The line numbers showing on the left margin are direct copies of the docket.

There rather clearly is something in the Court’s judgment which the Plaintiff is unhappy with. Cambridge would have been aware of this motion before Cambridge filed notice of appeal since the motion is served on the other party and the responding party has an opportunity to serve a response.

As far as the appeal letter goes, Cambridge filed notice of appeal. Then Cambridge has a duty to ensure the court’s records are adequate for review by the appellate court before the records are forwarded to the appellate court. Cambridge is saying by this letter that it still needs at least to add two days of trial transcripts before the file is ready for appeal.