Monday, June 30, 2014

Mass. Pike (I90): Rapid Transit or another Cambridge con?

1. Green Line A, more detail.
2. Cambridge Machine proposes the Mass. Pike be rebuilt where Green Line A should go.

1. Green Line A, more detail.

Green Line A is the workable way for rapid transit to service Harvard’s new Medical School location.

It is the way to connect the Harvard Medical School to the world.  On one end, it would connect to the existing Green Line B / Commonwealth Avenue and then to Kenmore Square.  On the other end, it would connect to the existing Harvard Square Station by a tunnel which continues to exist but which has not been in active use since the Red Line went beyond Harvard Square.  It was intended to connect to the then subway storage yards, which are now Harvard’s JF Kennedy School of Government and the Charles Hotel complex, and the JF Kennedy Park on Memorial Drive.

Green Line A must fit between the Mass. Pike viaduct (soon to be torn down) and Boston University.

Green Line A could create stops at BU West, the new Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Business School, but the key stops for the neighborhood point of view would be two on North Harvard Street, one at Cambridge Street, the second at Franklin Street or Western Avenue.

I am going to have to do work on this off computer, but, here is the MassDOT map of the future Harvard Medical School.  The viaduct is the upper right area.  The middle is the future Harvard Medical School plus whatever gets created in this rearrangement.  The left side of this triangle is Cambridge Street, Allston, MA.  The small structures to the left of Cambridge Street are the residential neighborhood.

I handed out my previous map to the MassDOT committee last Wednesday evening.  It shows Green Line A placed in the right side of the viaduct, where the Cambridge Machine now proposes to move the viaduct, thus preventing Green Line A.  The better concept for Green Line A (soon to be placed on paper) would run Green Line A through the Medical School area to the street which hits Cambridge Street perpendicularly pretty close to the middle point of the neighborhood.  This is North Harvard Street.

The tall buildings next to the viaduct are Boston University’s new dorms.  That would be the first stop on the Green Line A.  Somewhere in the middle of the Harvard Medical School area would be the second stop.  After leaving the dorms, Green Line A would go underground and stay underground.  This would be “cut and cover”.  Basically, it would be created by digging an open trench for the subway line and then covering the trench over with highway or a building.

Storage for cars used on this line should be created parallel to plans for storage of trains servicing South Station.

The third stop would come at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Cambridge Street

Following North Harvard Street to the left, just before it goes off the map, it strikes another street which comes up from the lower right.  This is Franklin Street and is a reasonable square abutting the neighborhood.  This should be the second neighborhood stop.

Proceeding off this map, North Harvard Street goes to Harvard Square.  It travels, across Western Avenue, past the soon to be destroyed Charlesview formerly affordable housing complex, and between Harvard Stadium and Harvard Business School.

Green Line A should turn left just before Harvard Stadium, and then turn right behind Harvard Stadium, proceeding upwards toward Harvard Square and that still existing tunnel.  It would go under the Charles River.

A stop should be created for Harvard Business School / Harvard Stadium under North Harvard Street where Green Line A turns.

Behind Harvard Stadium should be created an underground layover area for trains waiting to go into Harvard Station.  A small yard could be created in this area to provide flexibility in access to the stump end at Harvard Station, all underground.

2. Cambridge Machine proposes the Mass. Pike be rebuilt where Green Line A should go.

A very professional engineering type presented this package to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation committee last Wednesday night.

The proposal would move the Mass. Pike viaduct on top of the area needed for Green Line A.

The result, of course, would be to shaft North Allston by restricting rapid transit to the future Harvard Medical School.  Because Green Line A could not exist.  The viaduct would be moved where Green Line A needs to be.

By contrast, Harvard’s Gold Plated Red Line extension would only have one stop, for the Harvard Medical School, between Harvard Square and, possibly, the Harvard / Longwood hospitals, although another stop might be proposed near the Fenway Park stop of the Green Line D (Riverside) Branch.

The biggie, of course in the Cambridge Machine proposal would be the environmental destruction in Cambridge associated with that proposal, but that NEVER gets mentioned.

After all, the con is the con.