Monday, August 31, 2009

Memorial Drive Trees, White Geese, Atlanta’s BeltLine, EOT’s Urban Ring Phase 2.

1. Memorial Drive trees + White Geese.
2. Atlanta's BeltLine vs. EOT's Urban Ring Phase 2

The following well written comments are from Archie Mazmanian.

1. Memorial Drive trees + White Geese.

Despite its traffic signals, Memorial Drive is preferable to Storrow Drive because of its trees. But apparently no more. Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees” comes to mind, a poem that many of us learned to recite in grade school. MA General Laws in Chapter 87 addresses public shade trees. For cities and towns, these trees are entitled to a “public hearing” that is duly noticed before being cut down. Alas, the rule is different for state highways. But perhaps the public can have its hearing with motorists honking while on Memorial Drive, to give voice to the bark of the trees that had no bite.

And this honking can give voice to the Charles River White Geese, the innocents is all this. This honking can be a form of public assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment. Let’s be heard. Let the elected officials hear us, loud and clear.

Some years back, here in Brookline, a proposal to expand Hall’s Pond and its sanctuary included a plan to cut down several weeping willow trees along one of its banks. These lovely trees had served a valuable purpose environmentally for many years and were healthy. Some of us in the Cottage Farm and Longwood Neighborhoods made our voices heard and the weeping willows were saved. In fact, a few more weeping willows were planted. Just enter Amory Park and take a look at these weeping willows and what they continue to contribute. Even in winter months, these willows have a patina. One of my favorite jazz songs is “Willow Weep for Me.” A letter to our local weekly from me set forth its words in support of our efforts to save them. These willows still weep for us, tears of joy for the pleasures they continue to provide.

But who weeps for the Charles River White Geese? Not our politicians. Children in the area of the River will be deprived of the joys of the White Geese, the joys of nature that many of us and our children enjoyed. Who would hear our weeping? So honk, honk, honk! If the politicians won’t listen, don’t get mad – get even. There is a word for what is done to people that is being done to the Charles River White Geese. So let’s honk, honk, honk!

2. Atlanta's BeltLine vs. EOT's Urban Ring Phase 2

I recently learned of Atlanta's BeltLine project addressing greater Atlanta's public transit problems. Information is available at its website:

I learned of this from Truthout, an August 30, 2009 article titled: "Gentrification Fears Dog Sustainable Transport" available at:

The BeltLine project is fairly new, compared to EOT's Urban Ring; however, it seems to be further advanced, based upon browsing through its website. Many more issues are addressed with the BeltLine project than with Phase 2 of the Urban Ring. Perhaps EOT and the Citizens Advisory Board might benefit from taking a look at the BeltLine, which appears to be more ring-like than the Urban Ring.

The Urban Ring is stale. It lacks the ground-up support displayed by and for BeltLine.

Yesterday's (8/30/09) Sunday Boston Globe at page 2 of the Metro Section, Starts & Stops, features "Bridging the interests of commuters, construction" and the BU Bridge repair project that will further reduce its travel lanes to two. (Earlier, its four lanes had been reduced to three.) A suggestion has been made to increase the number of crosstown buses using the BU Bridge, as if that would solve problems. In this same issue of the Globe, check out its lead editorial in the Ideas Section: "In this summer of roadwork, more needs to be done to relieve jams." Yes, transportation has long been a mess in MA with its divided government going back 18 years; but the last two years with Democrats fully in control have not been much better.

Meantime, the trees on Memorial Drive have lost their bark to the bite of the chainsaws. The Charles River White Geese are being silenced as they are further segregated in the course of their ultimate demise. Isn't it time to speak up? Who's in charge?