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 – www.theurbanring.com - 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.