Friday, January 07, 2011

Cambridge con artists propose move of Worcester/Framingham trains to Grand Junction

1. General.
2. The unbeatables just got beat.
3. The con — harming the folks they claim to be helping.
4. The Urban Ring Subway.
5. The losers cry they can’t lose.

1. General.

The Cambridge Day newspaper, at , has, I am told, reported on plans for a rather bizarre passenger rail passenger route through Cambridge, with environment damage and more animal abuse at the Charles River. This route would be very severely harmful to the Charles River White Geese.

The report gave the impression that the proposal was supported by Cambridge City Councilor Leland Cheung. Cheung, according to the paper, seems to be defending this pretty much on the grounds that it is politically correct.

The actual quote reads: “The reality is, when you look at who’s behind it — the people who are involved with it already — it’d be a stretch to think we could stop it from happening,” Cheung said after the meeting, referring to the Grand Junction line. “I’ve been doing a lot of work to try to at least get a stop in Cambridge. If they’re going to come through, the worst thing would be for them to go through and not even stop in the city.”

Councilor Cheung has major support in the MIT and Harvard communities.

The English translation of Cheung’s quoted position is that stops in Cambridge could make moving Framingham/Worcester commuters to the Grand Junction more palatable. One of those likely stops would be highly destructive to the Cambridgeport neighborhood. The on grade crossings would be highly destructive to the heavy Cambridge road traffic.

There is a lot going on here and, as usual, a lot not being said.

The most common aspect to the Cheung position is one I have been hearing almost nonstop from the bad guys for the past 35 years: You can’t win. You can’t win. You can’t win. BUT HAVE I GOT A DEAL FOR YOU.

I have been hearing these pitches and hearing these pitches. I have a lot of victories during that period. Usually my chance of success gets better the further I keep the people making these pitches away from me.

As now, it is always nearly impossible to tell if somebody regurgitating the standard con is a con artist or a victim. The con situation in Cambridge is so normal that whether a particular person is con or victim is irrelevant. The followers follow very belligerently.

2. The unbeatables just got beat.

These unbeatable people seem to be going for this rail line BECAUSE THEY JUST LOST A VERY MAJOR VOTE AT THE HANDS OF THE LEGISLATURE.

The loss was with legislature’s vote to rebuild Yawkee Station where it is and funding that vote with $20 million.

3. The con — harming the folks they claim to be helping.

The con artists are highly destructive to the environment and keep pushing transportation proposals which may line their or their friends' pockets or expand their royal domain but which are inferior to the alternative transportation proposals.

Moving Framingham/Worcester commuters to the Grand Junction will be very destructive to the Charles River environment and its animals, and will be very harmful to Cambridge, both with regard to the sudden appearance of at working grade crossings and trains using them, and with the harm to neighborhoods that will be caused by the stations the con artists want.

The con artists cry over commuting needs of Framingham/Worcester while the con artists fight against those needs.

They cry that Framingham/Worcester needs more station tracks to park their trains. The con artists neglect to mention that South Station, where Framingham/Worcester now goes, is in the process of a massive expansion forced by the South Coast rail project. The state is buying and destroying the adjacent South Postal Annex to put tracks there. Those tracks are much more than is needed by South Coastal. Those tracks can support expansion of Framingham/Worcester.

The reality is that the con artists are fighting to move Framingham/Worcester to the Grand Junction because the con artists lost the key legislative vote which spent something like $20 million to rebuild Yawkee Station.

Moving Framingham/Worcester to the Grand Junction would make Yawkee Station quite useless.

4. The Urban Ring Subway.

The real fight is over the Urban Ring subway system which I have been working on for 25 years.

This proposed new subway line would connect Charlestown/Orange Line to East Cambridge / Green Line to Kendall / Red Line to Mass. Ave. / MIT rail crossing and then cross the Charles River by either of two routes. On the Boston side, they would connect to the Longwood Medical Area, and then to Ruggles / Orange Line.

There are two possible crossings of the Charles River.

The con artists' proposal is by far the inferior. First because they want streetcars rather than Orange Line Subway, second because of Yawkee Station’s location. Yawkee Station’s location has been decided by the $20 million rebuilding project. That location provides excellent connections between Framingham/Worcester commuters and the new Urban Ring / Orange Line spur (downtown fast), and all three Green Lines coming in to Kenmore. In addition to providing rapid cross town connection (in contrast to streetcars), it would connect locations on the ring to downtown by a direct route. The obvious phase 1, to Kenmore by the Longwood Medical Area from Ruggles, is badly needed by the hospitals there, which are a crucial part of the state economy.

The proposal with that Yawkee Station location also provides excellent connection to Fenway Park.

The con artists alternative is far inferior: in locations, in connections and with regard to support for the Red Sox. At absolute minimum, their streetcars are far inferior to Orange Line subway with direct downtown connection.

The con artists have lost the key vote. Excellent transportation for Framingham/Worcester in that vote is the key.

Their response: the irresponsible proposal to move Framingham/Worcester to the Grand Junction and far inferior service on that line for Framingham/Worcester combined with environmental destruction, heartless animal abuse and direct harm to Cambridge on road transportation with active grade crossings.

5. The losers cry they can’t lose.

The con artists are doing the usual con artist argument: They can’t lose, they can’t lose, they can’t lose, but have they got a deal for you.

But the con artists are fighting this fight because they have lost.

The con artists are crying “politically correct,” and “transportation is golden” over yet another inferior proposal.

But this is Cambridge, MA, and the con artists own Cambridge politics.