Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Updates: Monteiro, Anti bike Western Avenue “bike path”

1. Monteiro.
2. Anti bike Western Avenue “bike path” proposed, running to Charles River.

1. Monteiro.

Papers continue to be filed at the Appeals Court. The most recent filings were December 22.

Cambridge has filed more documentation concerning the case in Superior Court.

Attorney Laura R. Studen is now representing Ms. Monteiro and her fellow plaintiffs in the Superior Court case. Their technical name is now "appellees".

2. Anti bike Western Avenue “bike path” proposed, running to Charles River.

The Cambridge Chronicle printed my letter in its December 23, 2010 edition. It was the second letter on the editorial page, excellent positioning. The letter is posted at

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Grieving goose in need for companion in southwestern Ohio

We have been informed of a 12 year old White China Goose in the Cincinnati area of Ohio whose mate has died.

She lives on a main street and is frantically looking for her mate. This could be deadly for her as well.

The two have been pets of an elderly couple who would be pleased to either take a companion goose to keep her company or to release her to people who have geese with whom she might be happy.

Please pass on at will.

Thank you, and ignore my prior post which erroneously stated that the problem has been corrected. That post has been deleted.

Bike lanes and the BU Bridge project


As a follow up to a NYTimes editorial of 12/17/10 headed "There Oughta Be a Law" on problems with cyclists in NY City as well as the items in my earlier Email being forwarded, the 12/23/10 issue of the NYTimes includes five (5) Letters to the Editor. (No direct URL seems available; to access such letters, one would have to go to the NYTimes website and follow links.)

The most interesting letter from Louise Hainline et al should be read to apply it to the situation with the BU Bridge when the work project is completed. Here's a portion of a paragraph:

"When new bike lanes force the same volume of cars and trucks into fewer and narrower traffic lanes, the potential for accidents between cars, trucks and pedestrians goes up rather than down."

The BU Bridge project when completed will be reduced from 4 to 3 motor vehicle lanes with the addition of two bike lanes.

Another point raised in the letter:

"Furthermore, the D.O.T. data's lack of credibility is reinforced by our own videotapes. These show that the Prospect Park West bike lanes are used by half the number of riders the D.O.T. says, and that cyclists are not riding to commute as originally contemplated but are recreational users who could be better served by enhancing the existing lane 100 yards away in Prospect Park."

There are extensive bike lanes on the Boston side along the Charles River where no motor vehicles are allowed. Many of the bikers do not have cars and could use public transit. Many bikers in the area of the BU Bridge are college students at BU, whose biking may be for economic and other convenience reasons. This is truly a really small minority of people. It is far from clear that their efforts will result in any significant reduction of motor vehicle traffic. But it seems clear that motor vehicle traffic will be adversely impacted, with traffic issues leading to environmental issues. This is why I used the "tyranny of the minority" reference in the Email forwarded herewith. The problem is that motorists and pedestrians are not as well organized as the minority of cyclists. But this is changing in NY City. Perhaps like weather patterns, such concerns will come here.

Archie Mazmanian

Ed: Prior posting is at:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome Ellen, Farewell Marilyn

Welcome to Ellen Schloss as the new Financial Director of Friends of the White Geese.

Ellen’s day job is manager of Beaks and Noses, Inc., a very clean halfway house for tropical birds.

She is a long time friend and a good friend. She has some good ideas and is hitting the ground running.

Thank you Ellen.

Marilyn Wellons is departing and will no longer be cochair. I will temporarily assume the title of chair. Marilyn was cocreator of Friends of the White Geese and has done a lot of good work over the years.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Comments on relocation of Allston Freight Yards

A very major part of the environmental destruction on the Charles River is Harvard’s purchase of the Mass. Pike (I90), the Mass. Pike exit facility, and the Beacon Park Railroad Yards in Allston.

That is right, Harvard owns a key part of the Mass. Pike. They purchased it from the state a few months after the MBTA’s study proved that the Grand Junction railroad through the nesting area of the Charles River White Geese, and its bridge across the Charles River could be used as an exit from the Mass. Pike.

An incredible amount of the destruction pending or accomplished can be explained as part of this project.

Harvard’s other maneuvers lead to the conclusion that Harvard plans to move Harvard Medical School to this Allston freight yard / Mass. Pike exit ramps location. All they have to do is empty it.

Part of the emptying is moving the freight yards. The plan for the freight yards is to move them to Worcester, MA.

Marilyn Wellons has commented on the Environmental Notification Statement on this matter, and provided us her comments, which are printed below.

I have reviewed the most recent issue of The Environmental Monitor at I do not see this listed, so I assume the deadline is past.

Apologies to Marilyn. There was definite confusion in the receipt of this report.

December 13, 2010

Secretary Ian A. Bowles
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office [Aisling Eglington], EEA No. 14673
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Aisling Eglington

Re: ENF No. 14673, CSX Worcester Expansion Project

Dear Secretary Bowles:

The ENF before you is narrowly focused. Its premise is that the Beacon Park Terminal (BPT) be closed and that its multimodal transportation functions move to Worcester.

The closing of BPT however is not a fait accompli. It is, according to the Memo of Understanding (MOU) between CSX and the Commonwealth, contingent on, among other things, determination of the environmental consequences of that closing and the expansion of the Worcester Terminal. Because it is so narrowly focused it cannot make the case for the asserted advantage to the region compared to retaining and modernizing BPT.

Specifically, and to cite only one aspect, Proponent’s reasoning at, Regional Emission Reductions—that the replacement of old equipment at Worcester and reduction of emissions, combined with the elimination of emissions from old equipment at a closed BPT is a straightforward benefit—is inadequate. The asserted advantage here misses the advantage to the region of the alternative, i.e., replacing old equipment at Beacon Park Yards and retaining its advantage for rail freight in the urban core.

There is a more significant problem. Throughout the public process involved with this proposed major change in transportation for the Boston MPO, EOT has failed to answer questions repeatedly raised about its effect on air quality in the region. At the March 25, 2010 public meeting on the state’s Freight Study, EOT stated in response to this specific question that there were no actual figures available to the public for air quality assessment, only a “guess” that it would improve—as the ENF now argues. EOT also confirmed that the actual numbers would not be forthcoming (Steve Olanoff question, Ned Codd response).

The ENF widens its scope from Worcester itself to assert regional benefits from the closure of BPT. It does not however advance regional data to support the claim that this is a greater benefit than the alternative it fails to discuss. Indeed, the ENF claims only a “general evaluation” rather than the detailed analysis required for, at minimum, greater credibility if not validity. If the percentage of “goods currently delivered to the Beacon Park Terminal via rail are ultimately delivered to points West of Boston by truck” are “significant,” the ENF should provide that percentage and supporting data. The ENF omits them (p. 5-17).

Given that the Allston Landing Multimodal Transportation Study, a prior work, addresses this and other issues of the proposed move, the continuing gaps in data and analysis are remarkable. The RFR for the Allston Study, posted by the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction (EOTC) on 26 January, 2004, was awarded to HNTB. It was to consider “landside freight rail access to the Port of Boston, a commuter rail station, Urban Ring service, and the reconfiguration of the Massachusetts Turnpike. . . . [and] rail freight service as now conducted at Allston Landing South and connections to the local street system.” Consideration of these issues in a modernized BPT, as well as of the consequences of moving CSX’s multimodal operations to Worcester, are the proper scope for MEPA review now.

In commissioning the Allston study, EOTC affirmed the importance of “ensuring that a solid freight network [continue] to serve the port [of Boston], the City of Boston, and the New England region. To that end, EOT will be conducting a study to explore ways to assure a strong port-to-rail connection, at Allston Landing” (EOT long-term plan, quoted in Atlantic Northeast Rails & Ports, 05#03A, 18 March 2005, p.10).

The Commonwealth failed to allow completion of this comprehensive study and release of its draft. Its scope and preliminary findings would seem to bear directly on questions the ENF before you avoids asking. I urge you to require the full EIR the project actually demands for compliance with Federal law.

The ENF alludes to “future expansion” of the Worcester Terminal (5.0) and to an ultimate projection of not 150,000 container lifts per year but up to 200,000 (5.9.3), presumably the result of the undescribed future expansion. It is not clear whether the traffic analysis reflects both the full expansion with these additional lifts and the state’s assumed 70% increase in truck freight by 2030.

The discussion of wildlife habitat at 5.2.1 is admitted to be incomplete. The ENF does not, unfortunately, require the noting of urban wilds that give harborage to valuable species, e.g., skunks, raccoons, and possums, all natural predators of rats, or of their value to migrating songbirds. The projected destruction of trees and the urban wild around the scrap yard would be a major loss and should not be ignored.

A proper EIR may confirm the advantages of expanding Worcester and closing BPT as the ENF asserts. The ENF before you cannot and does not do so. I therefore also urge you to issue a Certificate requiring a full Environmental Impact Review that analyzes the true scope of the alternative to expansion of the Worcester Terminal.

Yours sincerely,

Marilyn Wellons

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bicycle Oddities

1. Introduction.
2. Archie, New York Times, December 19, 2010.
3. Letter to Cambridge Chronicle.

1. Introduction.

I have commented on a bizarre bike path proposal in Cambridge on Western Avenue, connecting with Memorial Drive. The project is very destructive to bicycle use.

The project’s lack of value bears striking resemblance to the bizarre environmental destruction at Magazine Beach. In turn, the Magazine Beach project’s heartless animal abuse combines with bizarre environmental destruction in a project which is difficult to justify except as contractor welfare.

The powers that be in Cambridge are fighting, among other destructive projects, for a bicycle highway destroying massive amounts of riverfront and habitat.

Most recently the Cambridge City Council has announced a crackdown on bicycle lawlessness. I find the timing highly suspicious, after the reaction to the bike path nonsense on Western Avenue.

Archie Mazmanian offers comparable traffic nonsense in the below communication, followed by my proposed letter to the editor of the Cambridge Chronicle.

2. Archie, New York Times, December 19, 2010.

Today's NYTimes Week in Review section includes, on page 9, Bruce McCall's "Op-Art" feature titled "Shakedown Street" which might with humor reflect Cambridge officials on bike lanes, etc. A link to it might be appropriate for your Blog.
Archie Mazmanian

The URL is:

3. Letter to Cambridge Chronicle.

RE: Bikes, law enforcement and the Cambridge City Council

I have a couple of problems with the City Council’s supposed crackdown on bicycle lawlessness and with Councilor Kelley’s place in the situation.

First of all, I do not believe in coincidences, especially when dealing with the Cambridge City Government.

Cambridge recently announced a strikingly irresponsible bike path proposal for Western Avenue.

All of a sudden we see a remarkable reversal of position on bicycle safety from a city council which has long not wanted to know about dangerous biking.

Is this public safety? Or is it a shakedown to protect a bizarre project from very justified complaints from a well organized group with contempt for law?

I think pedestrians, drivers and other bicyclists should be protected from Cambridge’s culture of lawless bicyclists because the lawless bicyclists are dangerous, not because bicyclists, whether lawless or not, are properly objecting to a strikingly irresponsible project.

And, as usual, there is no proof, but a horrible stench.

Secondly, Mr. Kelley’s position on bicycle lawlessness is to favor of lawless bicycle operation.

Both Kelley and the recently deceased Bill Walsh look to me like products of lawless subcultures.

Walsh went along to get along. That was the way, he apparently thought, the way to do business with the banks. Thus mortgage practices which have been found illegal.

But Walsh’s lawlessness had nothing to do with his responsibilities as a city councilor and his lawlessness constituted no threat of physical bodily harm to third parties. And it was pretty secret.

Kelley admits publicly to lawlessness. Kelley’s public lawlessness demonstrates contempt for laws he is sworn to uphold.

Kelley’s admitted public lawlessness sends a very clear message to impressionable children that you do not have to obey inconvenient laws.

Kelley has publicly stated that he has been involved in collisions with pedestrians.

I have a friend who was laid up for six months when she was run down by a sidewalk bicyclist. I have seen contempt demonstrated for the handicapped by lawless bicyclists.

Walsh’s record as a public servant was impeccable. I prefer Walsh to the current city council.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friends of the White Geese, online approaches to raise awareness.

Thank you to Irene S. Muniz Frias for her excellent report on the Charles River White Geese posted at

She not only did an excellent job on the video, but her write up is well worthy of being posted on this blog.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monteiro, "Reply" Filing by Cambridge in Appeals Court

We have been following the civil rights action of Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge because this case shows a legally significant outside opinion as to the functioning of the Cambridge, MA, city government, and because the process could result in the removal of the Cambridge City Manager, a key participant in the environmental destruction ongoing on the Charles River.

We have reported the filing of Cambridge’s brief in the Appeals Court explaining its position on this matter, and the filing of Ms. Monteiro’s brief giving her side.

On December 13, 2010, Cambridge filed in the Appeals Court its “reply” brief, responding to Monteiro’s positions.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Official Status of the Urban Ring Citizens Advisory Committee now posted

1. Background.
2. Update.

1. Background.

On November 26, 2010, Archie posted a report on the November 22, 2010, Urban Ring Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting. That report, with my reply, is posted at

2. Update.

Archie supplements our report with the following:


EOEEA Secretary Bowles' response of 6/22/10 to MassDot Secretary Mullan's letter of 1/22/10 is now available at the new Urban Ring website:

Link on "Documents" at the top and scroll down to "MEPA Filings & Correspondence" and a click on the first item listed will access this response. This response spells out the current role of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) with MassDot as Phase 2 slumbers (as noted in the post on your Blog of my and your comments on the CAC's 11/22/10 meeting).

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Malvina Monteiro v. City of Cambridge Ready to Go Forward in Appeals Court

The Monteiro brief was filed and accepted on November 24, at the same time, apparently, as the filing of the motion to allow it late, a common way to do a late filing.

When the filing of the brief was posted on the docket, I cannot tell. It was certainly after the filing of the motion because when I saw the motion and reported it here, the motion was the most recent posting.

Note that the dispositive action came on November 29. The papers could very likely have been on the judge’s desk until then and were not posted until after the judge responded. The November 26 action is in the middle of the November 24's on the docket indicating this group of documents was in a pile and posted when the clerk came to them in the pile.

If anybody is aware of the posting of the briefs on line, I would certainly appreciate being informed of their location. Thanks.

The docket entries are:

11/23/2010 #14 Objection to any attempted late or subsequent filing of appellee's brief, filed by City of Cambridge.

11/24/2010 #15 MOTION to extend brief due date of Malvina Monteiro.

11/26/2010 RE#14 Noted. See action on paper #15. *Notice.

11/24/2010 RE#15: Allowed. The brief is accepted this date. *Notice.

11/24/2010 #16 SERVICE of brief for Plaintiff/Appellee Malvina Monteiro.

11/24/2010 #17 OPPOSITION to #15 filed by City of Cambridge.

11/29/2010 RE#17 The appellee's brief was accepted for filing on 11/24/10. The action allowing the filing of the brief is to stand. The appellant's objection to the accrual of postjudgment interest after 10/12/10, the date the appellee's brief was originally due, is referred to the panel designated to decide the appeal. *Notice.