Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kendall Destruction Starts Wednesday June 18. Cambridge, MA, USA

1. Notice of destruction.
2. Targets of destruction.
3. Contacts, Miscellaneous.

1. Notice of destruction.

Misha has forwarded the following email from what passes for a state government in light of totally irresponsibility on the part of the City of Cambridge, but Cambridge has those nice Cambridge Machine folks joining in Cambridge’s lies of sainthood.


Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2013 15:59:39 -0400
From: "pa, massdot (DOT)"
To: "MassDOTPublicAffairs (DOT)"
Subject: Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Preliminary Work -Main Street,

Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project

Notice of Upcoming Construction Activities:

Main Street, Cambridge Preliminary Work

Median tree removal begins Wednesday, June 19, 2013 and
Modifications to median begin Monday, June 24, 2013

Bridge construction and traffic changes anticipated to begin in mid-July

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's (MassDOT) design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV (WSC), will begin preliminary work on Main Street in Cambridge to prepare for Traffic Stage 1 for the first phase of construction of the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

The first phase of the activities will begin on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 and entails removing trees located just north of the MBTA's Kendall station portal. The trees must be removed to allow the contractor to install jersey barriers across the median to shift traffic traveling to Boston (on the upstream side of the bridge) to the downstream side. The tree removal was previously announced at a City of Cambridge Tree Removal Hearing and at meetings and hearings during preliminary design for the project. The second phase entails additional median modifications to facilitate the traffic shift. Site restoration will occur once construction is complete.
In the first phase of construction, Boston bound traffic will be shifted to the downstream side of the bridge so the upstream side can be demolished and reconstructed. Cambridge bound traffic will be detoured using Craigie Bridge. Implementation of the traffic shift is now planned for mid-July. We will notify you two to three weeks prior to the shift via e-blast, website, social media and media outreach. A public meeting will also be scheduled to provide details on traffic management and monitoring.

To report issues or concerns or for questions related to construction, please use the dedicated project hotline, 617-519-9892, or email address, longfellowbridge@state.ma.us. You can also visit the website at www.mass.gov/massdot/longfellowbridge for updates and other information. To be added to the project email or US Mail distribution lists, please contact Stephanie Boundy, Public Outreach Coordinator for MassDOT's Accelerated Bridge Program, at 857-368-8904 or stephanie.boundy@state.ma.us.

2. Targets of destruction.

Misha comments:


I figured out what those trees are. They are on the median right next to
where Red Line emerges to the surface, after Kendall Square
stop and before going over the bridge to Boston.

Five nice pines + a bit of small trees nearby.

I have no idea why they can't install their jersey barriers
without killing those trees. But those trees all have notices of
public hearing on May 16 attached to them, so, I guess, nothing much
can be done to protect them, since we missed that notice :-(

Anyway, I am going to forward you a photo of those pine trees...


[Reduced Photo]


The problem is that Cambridge has nine very bad city councilors plus a corrupt Cambridge Machine which repeatedly lies that the nine very bad city councilors are holier than thou. This situation is now made worse by a city newspaper which has turned itself into a house organ for the irresponsible city councilors and their machine.

The con games get printed by the Cambridge Chronicle as if we had saints. Responsible replies now seem to be uniformly censored.

3. Contacts, Miscellaneous.

Massachusetts Governor’s Office email form: http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituentservices/contact/.

State environmental people, DES Hotline: ESF.Hotline@state.ma.us.

MassDOT Accelerated Bridges Program: 857-368-8904 or Stephanie.Boundy@state.ma.us

All Massachusetts Legislators’ emails: http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/emails-for-all-massachusetts.html.

Cambridge, MA, USA city councilors: Council@cambridgema.gov.

Plus the links provided in the above email.


For people listening to Boston Sierra Club endorsements of environmentally destructive members of the Cambridge City Council, you should be aware that

(1) using the world’s definition of “environmentalism,” there are no environmentally responsible members of the Cambridge City Council, and

(2) there are Cambridge Machine activists very visible and apparently very active in the Boston Sierra Club.

If you are talking to a person associated with the Boston Sierra Club, do a credibility check. Ask if they are familiar with the “Urban Ring” rapid transit proposal. This is a subway proposal designed to link the existing subway spokes. I have been working on it since 1985. Cambridge raised the project in a comment to an environmental Impact Statement in the last month or so.

If the Boston Sierra Club “expert” answers “yes,” that he / she is familiar with the Urban Ring rapid transit proposal, ask how many rail options there are. If the answer is “one,” you are getting the flat out lie put out by the City of Cambridge.

Cambridge’s flat out lie is that, of the TWO rail options, the only one that exists is the environmentally destructive streetcar option which the City of Cambridge supports. This option would be highly destructive to the environment near the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese.

The reality is that THE STATE LEGISLATURE HAS SUBSIDIZED THE OTHER OPTION, the responsible Orange Line / heavy rail option, the Kenmore crossing. The state legislature has subsidized the expansion of Yawkey Station as part of the massive Fenway Park area project which has gotten recent press.

Cambridge’s nonsensical proposal would move Yawkey Station three blocks. The Cambridge proposal would not work without moving Yawkey Station. The Kenmore Crossing uses the now subsidized and being expanded Yawkey Station as part of a brilliant megastation.

You should immediately respond to such nonsense from a Sierra Club “expert” by having nothing more to do with this person. Whether the person is stupid or venal is irrelevant, the person has no credibility and is not worthy of your time.

It is frequently difficult to pin these irresponsible people down in general. The deviant behavior in my test is extreme. They are pious in their demands that, if you are politically correct and pro environment, you have to rubber stamp them. Please do not waste your time arguing about destruction they can wiggle around.

Turn your back on them and walk away fast.

Harvard University talks: Transportation, and the Harvard Medical School Triangle, Allston, Charles River, MA, USA

1. Introduction.
2. Harvard’s situation.
3. Harvard’s Comments.
A. General.
B. Specific construction already planned or pending.
(1). Mass. Turnpike Reconstruction.
(2). Electronic Tolling.
(3). Street System Improvements.
(4). Expansion of Rail Track Service.
C. Existing rights in Beacon Park Yard.
D. Additional Considerations.
4. Conclusion, temporary.

1. Introduction.

Harvard University has recently made public comment on transportation planning in the area of the planned Harvard Medical School triangle, on the south side of the Charles River just east of the River Street Bridge / Cambridge Street, Boston, MA, USA / River Street, Cambridge, MA, USA. The comments are on line at http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/25/Docs/ScannedLettersFromMEPA_ENF_042613.pdf. Harvard’s comments appear at pages 57 to 64.

The core habitat of the Charles River White Geese is the opposite side of this not particularly wide river, a mile habitat centered on the BU Bridge, the next bridge to the east.

I quote Harvard’s comments below in great detail. Harvard has been busy. Harvard’s listing of “Competing MassDOT Transportation Priorities” looks highly dangerous. I have thus quoted the most important comments verbatim.

Planning and maneuvers to make the planned Harvard Medical School Triangle work as a Medical School for Harvard University are rather clearly a core part of the environmental problems existing and being created in this area of the Charles River.

The massive amount of work pending in the area of the planned Harvard Medical School Triangle is incredible. And remember that Harvard bought this area after the local transit people showed a Mass. Turnpike off ramp could be constructed to Cambridge over the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge.

The wording of Harvard is that some very big work is imminent. And that work could greatly expand the environmental destruction, although, as usual, environmental destruction is never mentioned.

I have been deferring work on this report because its potential is so massive. However, I have been pulled out of my deferral of this work by my report on June 18, 2013, posted at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/more-road-work-around-harvard.html, concerning replacement of the Cambridge Street bridge over the Massachusetts Turnpike. This bridge is located close to the northern tip of the planned Harvard Medical School Triangle.

I am quoting a lot and give you link to the full package. I would love to get your input. I, myself, will not further analyze except for background matters.

This report is too much work as it is without further new analysis.

2. Harvard’s situation.

Ever since I first became particularly concerned about the environmental problems on the Charles River, I have been increasingly aware of a vast amount of interrelationship of things going on or attempted to be going on.

I most recently directly reported on Harvard’s empire building at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/new-hospital-by-harvard-university-at.html.

Harvard’s relevant comments came concerning the expansion of South Station in Boston. The plans are to tear down the central mail processing facility (Fort Point Station) which is directly east of South Station and move the facility maybe a mile to the east. In place of the postal facility would be constructed additional railroad tracks. These tracks are needed for the addition of commuter rail service to Fall River and New Bedford, MA, the Massachusetts South Coast.

This is the second relatively recent expansion of South Station. This resumed service (after half a century) would service communities south of communities to whom service was resumed in 1997. The added service has its own difficulties since, as it is, South Station has a problem storing trains not needed during the middle of the day. The trains bring folks into Boston in the morning and are not needed again until the evening. There is not enough room for the trains to sit during the middle of the day with the addition of the South Coast service.

I most recently reported on the South Station expansion and Harvard’s comments at http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/harvard-university-speaks-out-on-beacon.html.

Harvard’s problems come from the fact that, when Harvard purchased Beacon Park Yards and the Mass. Pike (I90) off ramps, the state included a proviso that Harvard’s use of the land purchased would be secondary to transportation use of the properties.

The environmental analysis includes consideration of various alternatives to park those trains during the day. The location which looks the most sensible to me is Beacon Park Yards. The freight railroad which has been using Beacon Park Yards is relocating the function to a new yard facility near Worcester, MA. From Harvard’s point of view, that leaves Beacon Park Yards as an ideal location for Harvard Medical School. Use of Beacon Park Yards to layover trains during the day on service to South Station would definitely put a cramp in Harvard’s plans.

3. Harvard’s Comments.

A. General.

Harvard says that use of Beacon Park Yard for layover of South Station trains during the day could kill its planned use of the property for relocation of its Medical School and other facilities. It requests that much more analysis be provided.

Harvard wants to separate the analysis of South Station expansion and the creation of layover facilities. One reason Harvard wants to separate the two issues is that South Station is already deficient for layover facilities without the expansion. “The expansion of South Station is clearly desirable with or without increased layover, so is in no way reliant upon achieving increased layover/layup capacity.”

Harvard argues that alternate layover locations should be greater considered.

Harvard thinks greater analysis should be made on Commuter Rail needs.

Harvard suggests that greater analysis should be made into alternative train technology with less layover needs.

B. Specific construction already planned or pending.

Harvard argues that other “Competing MassDOT Transportation Priorities” in the Beacon Park Yards area should be considered, as follows.

(1). Mass. Turnpike Reconstruction.

First is reconstruction of the Massachusetts Turnpike Brighton - Cambridge exit. Harvard says that this has been an urgent need in planning for the Massachusetts Turnpike.

“Harvard has assumed that significant portions of Beacon Park Yard will be required on an interim basis to support the Mass. Turnpike reconstruction work. Harvard also recognizes that there is an urgent need to minimize the impact of construction disruption on the surrounding communities and the area’s reginal and local roadway network. . . . Given that substantially the same land parcels are involved with reconstruction and repair of the Mass. Turnpike, an operational analysis and construction staging plan for the Mass. Turnpike reconstruction work must be part of any anslysis of the use of Beacon Park Yard for layover uses.”

(2). Electronic Tolling.

“Governor Patrick and MassDOT have publicly announced the State’s intention to implement electronic tolling along the Mass. Turnpike in the near term future, and this cannot be accomplished at the Allston toll location without the reconstruction or replacement of the Allston interchange / viaduct . . . Electronic tolling will require straightening out segments of the Mass. Turnpike adjacent to Beacon Park Yard, a reality not reflected in the ENF. This straightenint will compete with the need to expand the land available for passenger rail facility expansion within a constrained space. Thus, the revised design of this portion of the Mass. Turnpike should be considered in evaluating the viability of Beacon Park Yard as a layover facility.”

(3). Street System Improvements.

“The ENF also does not consider street system improvements that are needed in and around Beacon Park Yard to improve permanently, one of Boston’s worst intersections ‒ the confluence of the Mass. Turnpike Allston ramp, Cambridge Street, and a servicde drive with Soldiers Field Road and its adjacent service road. In additin, the current condition of the two 50± year old Cambridge Street bridges, over the Mass. Purnpike itself and over Mass. Turnpike off ramps, is poor. Reconstruction or replacement of these bridges is urgently needed. Further, as part of the on-going transportation planning work Harvard has undertaken subsequent to its acquisition of Beacon Park Yard a decade ago, Harvard has engaged in discussions with public agency officials and stakeholders about the need to create a viable street system in this area. The potential for planning and developing this series of new and reconfigured streets may be jeapardized if the heart of Beacon Park Yard is to be permanently utilized as an MBTA layover facility. The siting of a permanent layover facility in Beacon Park Yard must be evaluated against these transportation system needs.”

(4). Expansion of Rail Track Service.

“[ed: Paragraphing improved] There is a need to replace the single track-constrained Boston Main Line with a multi-track layout in order to provide adequately for a multitude of objectives, including

(i) expanded commuter rail service,

(ii) the introduction of DMU service [ed: the other type of rail technology mentioned by Harvard], and

(iii) the introduction of inter-city Ametrak service on the inland route. This must be accomplished in a manner that is well-integrated during the construction period for the Mass. Turnpike reconstruction work, i.e., in a manner that maintains rail access to South Station and addresses rail operations on the Grand Junction rail line.”

C. Existing rights in Beacon Park Yard.

Extensive discussion. Very important. The detail is massive. I definitely and simply do not consider it appropriate to even attempt to paraphrase Harvard’s position without major work.

D. Additional Considerations.

Analysis of Impacts on Amtrak Inter-city Service, design guidelines, consistency with area plans and development and west station / commuter rail service, air pollution, acquisition costs are all provided.

4. Conclusion, temporary.

As you can see, there is a massive amount of work needed to fully comprehend where Harvard is coming from.

I have quoted the transportation analysis in great detail because it scares me.

The Secretary has issued a response to all filings including the Environmental Notification Form and Harvard’s Comments.

The Secretary’s certificate may be read at http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/mepacerts/2013/sc/enf/15028enf.pdf.

The Environmental Notification itself is massive. It is posted at http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/25/Docs/efs/EnvironmentalNotificationForm.pdf.

There is a lot of work needed to fully evaluate what is going on here.