Thursday, November 26, 2009

State Urban Ring Comments Between The Lines

Archie Mazmanian provides the following. He is adding to his report published immediately below at

I apologize to Archie for the delay in posting this follow up.

Bob La Trémouille


Former EOT Secretary Aloisi, Jr.'s October 29, 2009 letter to EOEEA referenced in the preceding post titled “Urban Ring Phase 2 + Mark Twain” includes:

"2. An Early Start on Rail in Phase II:

The CSX agreement with the Commonwealth makes a rail option for Urban Ring service in part of the corridor running from East Boston through Chelsea and continuing along the Grand Junction tracks to Allston very achievable. The existence of such a dedicated right-of-way, along existing tracks, is a highly promising alternative that will be further explored. The cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of DMU service for this portion of the Urban Ring corridor in the Phase II timeline need to be explored."

Will the Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) pay much attention to this at its December 1st meeting? This rail option has been discussed for several years but not extensively by the CAC at its many meetings while the CSX deals with the Commonwealth and with Harvard remained to be resolved.

Consider the extent to which the Grand Junction trestle under the BU Bridge would have to be expanded for such rail, including environmental issues to be addressed. Also consider the potential benefits to Harvard with respect to its potential commercial development of the now Harvard-owned Beacon Yards after CSX’s operations have been relocated.

Some of us have suggested abandoning Phase 2 and going directly to Phase 3's light/heavy rail. Perhaps Aloisi's proposal might be considered as Phase 2.5. But that leaves up in the air the most important and anticipated heavily trafficked southerly portion of Phase 2 that would service the Longwood Medical Area with Bus Rapid Transit (either on surface routes or via an expensive tunnel), which may not be compatible with rail AND the Charles River crossing for Phase 2 whether on, over or under the BU Bridge.

Yes, as suggested in the preceding post, there is much to read between the lines of the letters recently posted at the Urban Ring website. We’ll have to patiently await the December 1st meeting to see if the CAC is on track with this.