Friday, March 31, 2017

Charles River: Propaganda “meeting” on Mass. Pike (I90) proposals

1. Introduction.
2. The developers’ meeting, general.
3. The access to Cambridge being destroyed.
4. Destruction of the Charles.
5. Commuter rail.
6. “Protective” Organizations.
A. General.
A-1. The organization kept out of the propaganda machine.
B. Starvation Wall at Magazine Beach.
C. Starvation skillfully created at Hyatt Regency Hotel.
D. Starvation at the Destroyed Nesting Area.
E. The Wild Area.
F. The “Good” “Protective” Organization on the agenda.
7. The Real Issue: A Private Mass Pike Off Ramp for MIT.
8. Thanks to MassDOT.

1. Introduction.

Last night, March 30, 2017, the fake group which is fighting for massive destruction on the Cambridge side of the Charles River expanded its scope to the Boston side as well.

These “meetings” have been de rigour on the Boston side a week or so before presentations by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Mass. Pike (I90) plans.  As is the custom, the announcements neglected to mention that the meetings were from the development community to talk folks into all the lovely development they want to add to an ALMOST totally responsible MassDOT proposal.

A key factor omitted was that the real public meeting on the Mass. Pike  will be conducted on April 13, 2017, 6:30 pm at the Morse School opposite Magazine Beach in Cambridge.  By contrast, this meeting started at 7 pm in a venue which they knew would have a mandatory closing of 9 pm, all the better to prevent inconvenient comments by responsible people.  The fake group fighting for destruction on the Cambridge side has used repeatedly used this tactic since they started fighting for the destruction of those 150 trees.

I have been aware of these development sector organizational meetings in the Allston neighborhood of Boston.  This time, in Cambridge, was the first time I attended one.

2. The developers’ meeting, general.

The meeting started with a brief description of the proposed MassDOT plans.  Here is a map of the proposal passed out by MassDOT who had their key person present, but he said very little.

The meeting followed the fake groups’ mantra in Cambridge, MA, USA to an incredible extent:

“Don’t look at what I am destroying.  Look at what I am telling you to look at."

A bunch of highly destructive proposals were sweetly described by their advocates, who proceeded to tell nearly nothing about what they were fighting for.

3. The access to Cambridge being destroyed.

The public comment session was outstanding for the large number of people who objected to MassDOT’s only known defect:  killing the existing off ramp to Cambridge from the boulevard on th Boston side of the Charles River, by a right turn off a ramp from that boulevard (Soldiers Field Road also known as Storrow Drive) to the River Street Bridge.

On the map, that no longer existing off ramp would go to the bridge at the top of the map crossing the Charles River.

Here is a close up of the River Street Bridge.  The green area to its left and down is where MassDOT proposes to kill the off ramp.

The reality is that MassDOT is the adult in the room with Cambridge and the state bureaucrats from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.  They are constantly bombarded with outrageous demands.  Every so often a bad idea slips through.

4. Destruction of the Charles.

The meeting trotted out a list of development professionals who sounded oh, so sweet.

One of the more notable comments came from a developer type who wants to dump fill into the Charles River on a large scale.  This would come in the lower right of the project map, second above.

At this point, the Mass. Pike is on a raised highway.  It proceeds to the left where it would be moved to a nearly east west configuration instead of the current configuration which pretty much fills the upper part of the triangle which is the subject of the proposal.  Those yellow lines are streets which would function as Mass. Pike exits and give the framework to Harvard’s planned Medical School plus.

The developer with his lovely fill bragged that he would not destroy 90% of the Charles River between that diagonal portion of the Mass. Pike and Cambridge.

English translation:   He wants to destroy 10% of the Charles at this point.

Surprisingly, since next to nothing was said about these various destructive proposals, next to nothing was said about the supposedly planned bike paths.

The key area of destruction is at the far right end of the map.  Here is a MassDOT aerial or satellite photo of the BU Bridge / Grand Junction Bridge area.

The 10% of the Charles River destruction is on the left bank of the Charles River, at this point and further up.  The 10% destruction piggy backs on a proposal from an architect's group with the usual lovely name, A Better Boston or something like that.

"A Better Boston" or whatever wants to build up pretty much all the Boston side at the raised "throat" of the Mass. Pike which has not been built upon.  They would destroy the riverbank which has supported a DCR bike / pedestrian highway.  They would destroy the active animal habitat in that embankment, replacing nature with a concrete supporting wall.  They would build above the Charles River as well.  They VERBALLY minimize the portion of the Charles River they would destroy.

After the closeup, I am providing another copy of the project plan.  The area being destroyed is the riverbank and the Charles River next to the narrow portion of the project on the right.

Here is a closer photo of the key Grand Junction railroad bridge, taken from the BU Bridge looking toward Boston.  The Grand Junction bridge divides the animal habitat on the Cambridge side, the goose meadow and the thick woods, both of which would be destroyed by the developer professionals.  At the bottom right of the area photo above is the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese.

Here is a photo of the thick woods the development community wants to destroy.  To the left is the Grand Junction bridge.  To the right is the BU Boathouse.  Looming over the BU Boathouse is the Hyatt Regency Cambridge hotel.

To the far left is a large tree in the Destroyed Nesting Area which would probably be destroyed, with other excellent trees, and, of course, habitat in the Destroyed Nesting Area as part of the many projects floating.

Here is a photo of the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese.  Another common mantra is “Do not look at our heartless animal abuse.  We won’t discuss it if you won’t."  Or simply an indignant shout down as was inflicted by the "A Better City" architect during the propaganda meeting.

The tree at the far left in the preceding photo is to the right of this area and above.  The railroad bridge is to the far right of the photo.

Clearly the most dramatic point in the propaganda meeting was when I was shouted down trying to get details of the destruction on the Boston side.  I had the nerve to mention that the edge of the Charles River is animal habitat.

5. Commuter rail.

The noisiest pitch by the developer types was for commuter rail on the Grand Junction under whatever euphemism will work.  This was previously killed by MassDOT.  The Cambridge Machine ran around last time yelling, “You can’t win.  You can’t win.  BUT HAVE WE GOT A DEAL FOR YOU.”

Not mentioned during the propaganda session was the large number of major city highways which would be interrupted by commuter trains going though busy intersections closed for the trains.

The arrows indicate the MANY city highways crossed and regularly blocked by this nonsense.

But, as usual, they sounded so sweet, and since the meeting was skillfully stacked to be developers, developers, developers, you did not hear much else.  And naturally, they omitted the large ground swell against their, yet again, sneaked in proposals.

6. “Protective” Organizations.

A. General.

Properly controlled “protective” organizations were included in the meeting which, in reality are as controlled as the fake group which sponsored the meeting.

A-1. The organization kept out of the propaganda machine.

To give you a sample of the reality which was censored from the propaganda  in favor of influenced “activists”, Friends of the White Geese has been an Attorney General recognized charitable (but taxable) organization for more than 15 years.  I am the chair.

During August 2000, the local State Representative went on Cambridge Cable and proclaimed that I had advocated his assassination.  He was responding to a flier distributed by Friends of the White Geese which, in turn, responded to a letter by him in the Cambridge Chronicle.  We quoted his advocacy of “humane treatment” for the Charles River White Geese.  The letter and the words sounded so beautiful.  We sarcastically replied by advocating “humane treatment” for him within the contents of damning his hypocrisy.  Clearly the lovely words of the State Representative were not as beautiful as they were presented in his letter.

I have been actively working as a meaningful environmental protector in the City of Cambridge since 1974.  In my first major meaningful action, I obtained a preliminary injunction against the destruction of a key park in Mid Cambridge.  I obtained the preliminary injunction ON APPEAL, which is next to impossible.  

Assisting meaningful environmentally protective groups, and by vote of the Cambridge City Council, I have been involved in more changes of the Cambridge zoning ordinance than any other person not employed by the City of Cambridge.  My achieved changes, were often subject to the objections / dirty tricks of the Cambridge City Manager and influenced individuals.  My changes include approximately 85% of Massachusetts Avenue (Cambridge’s main street) between Harvard and Central Squares, and environs.  One of my changes is the only citizen achieved change in the Alewife district of Cambridge.  Our changed resulted in the  returning of a large parking lot to the environment between Alewife Station, the rapid transit Red Line terminus, and the super highway Route 2.

I personally saved a 19th Century building on the eastern edge of Harvard Square from demolition, through vote of the then Cambridge Rent Control Board.  I personally caused the reversal of the City Manager’s destruction of a park in East Harvard Square, with the help of a lot of people responding to my leafleting next to a suddenly vacant lot.

The City Manager destroyed that little park for expansion of a business which could not legally expand under my east Harvard Square Downzoning WHICH PASSED 10 DAYS BEFORE THE DESTRUCTION over the City Manager objections.

He created a magnificent little gem as an obvious apology to the City Council.  Arrow and Mass. just east of the then Inn at Harvard.

Our censorship in the supposedly responsible presentation and the shouting down of a key question by me shows exactly how objective the propaganda meeting was.

B. Starvation Wall at Magazine Beach.

Notable was the falsely named “Charles River Conservancy.  This group conducted a “swim in” on the destruction at Magazine Beach in the 2000s which prevented access to and from Magazine Beach to the Charles River to starve the Charles River White Geese and which turn a river abutting playing field into an entity which might as well be ten miles from the Charles River.

But they are doing the important stuff.  They are working to fulfill the goal of the Department of Conservation and Recreation to kill off or drive away all resident animals.

Here is are photos of the wall, first from the Magazine Beach side.

Then from the Boston side.

This is an adult woman standing in the only opening.

And here is the blockade on the Cambridge side should the Charles River White Geese have the nerve to go through that opening to try to feed where they have fed for most of the last 27 years.

The fraudulently named “Conservancy” has never explained how walling off the Charles River and the Magazine Beach playing fields would help swimming in the Charles.  But lovely sales pitches do not worry about reality.

I have mentioned the Charles River White Ducks who have spent most of their lives on the Cambridge side.  The first year they lived on the Charles River was spent in the area which so many lovely “plans” would grievously destroy.  This is the location the Boston shot was taken from.

The falsely named “Charles River Conservancy” has regularly fought for destruction of nature on the Charles River, making the word “Conservancy” in their name a flat out and blatant fraud.  But developer types create such lovely names.

This fake "Conservancy" aggressively supported the just completed destruction of hundreds of trees between the BU and Longfellow Bridge, and bragged about maneuvering legislation to that effect, reading through the euphemisms.

C. Starvation skillfully created at Hyatt Regency Hotel.

This outrage includes introduction of a barrier to keep the Charles River White Geese from another established feeding grounds at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  This photo is from last Saturday, March 26, 2017.

In the distance is the BU Boathouse which is at the eastern end of the threatened thick woods.

Here are photos in the opposite direction from last December.

An independently produced video of the Charles River White Geese feeding in this location may be viewed at  Thousands of views.

D. Starvation at the Destroyed Nesting Area.

And I passed the entrance to the destroyed nesting area before the propaganda "meeting."  The lie was that this is a public park.  So they block the entrance.  Why?  The Charles River White Geese feed off the grass across the on ramp.  And the state bureaucrats are doing the best they can to kill or drive away resident animals, particularly the most visible victims of their destructiveness.

And a photo of the gaggle eking out their deliberately starved life in the area where the DCR has already done such massive harm, and all these lovely developers want to destroy.

The dirt which dominates this area has been deliberately created by the DCR and its friends.  Gravel has been dumped in the middle of the dirt.

These photos are from taken just before the developer dominated meeting of March 30, 2017.

E. The Wild Area.

Plus, of course, the thick woods omitted from last nights plans which the developers are drooling to destroy.

This photo is before the destruction of 2016.

F. The “Good” “Protective” Organization on the agenda.

The “good” protective organization which was included in the developer package was deafeningly silent about the destruction of all this habitat and trees, but it loudly claims that it is defending the Charles River watershed.

7. The Real Issue: A Private Mass Pike Off Ramp for MIT.

The Elephant in the Room very clearly associated with so many of these development types is the fact that, in the early 1970's, Cambridge activists killed a super highway a block east of the Grand Junction and, as a result saved the Boston area from a lot of super highway destruction which has befallen so many cities.

In 2003, the local transit authority, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority studied the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge in connection with the nearby Mass. Pike (I90) and determined that it was full feasible to run a highway off the Mass. Pike over the Grand Junction Bridge into the turf of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, right up the Grand Junction.

Following is a photo of the Grand Junction Bridge heading toward Boston from a different angle than the prior photo. For your convenience I am repeating the prior photo.

Note the green HIGHWAY sign straight ahead and to the right. That is over the westbound side of the Mass. Pike. Note the macadam and snow almost straight ahead. That is a support area just off the westbound side.

The photo is taken, again from the BU Bridge. The railing and concrete strip to the left on the photo is the sidewalk on the western side of the BU Bridge.

Directly below, with the 07 marked on it, is the Grand Junction Bridge. You will notice that the Grand Junction Bridge is divided to hold tracks in two directions. The near side is not in current use, but is readily available.

The concrete building straight ahead is owned by Boston University. The bridge decking seen below that building is Commonwealth Avenue, Boston which goes over the Mass. Pike on this bridge. Following the decking to the right, you see where the decking gets narrower. That is the bridge by which Commonwealth Avenue runs over the Mass. Pike (I90). The silver line going under the near part of that overpass is the near edge of the Mass. Pike.

 As can be seen in this photo, the Grand Junction is aimed at the Mass. Pike and turns.

Without going into a massive proof here, the MBTA demonstrated that it is feasible to run an off ramp for eastbound (going left) traffic on the far side of the Mass. Pike over the Mass. Pike to connect to the Grand Junction Bridge. Connection to west bound traffic (going right) on this side is quite direct.

Here is a photo from overhead showing the relationship of the Mass. Pike. and the Grand Junction (to the right behind the tree).

The macadam area shown in the prior photo is straight ahead. Above it is the green highway sign. Westbound traffic is in the near half of the Mass. Pike. Eastbound traffic is on the far half. Obviously a connection to the westbound traffic would be simple.

 Here is a very clear view of the macadam area taken from over the eastbound side.

Here is a photo of the area of the Mass. Pike eastbound taken a bit further away, with the macadam area and the Grand Junction still visible.. Note all the empty room.

And here is a view of the empty area, train tracks. All that is necessary is to build an off ramp above the train tracks from Mass. Pike eastbound and swing it over the Mass. Pike to the Grand Junction for direct connection of eastbound traffic to the Grand Junction. PLENTY OF ROOM.

The MBTA did engineering evaluation and demonstrated that a third lane can be cantilevered off the far side of the Grand Junction Bridge so that the Grand Junction Bridge will hold two auto lanes and one railroad lane.

And here is an MIT satellite photo showing the connection of the Grand Junction bridge (under the BU Bridge on the left) to the Grand Junction (right to left in the middle of the photo), with MIT all over the place. MIT is massively developing.

But part of the “bike path” nonsense includes massive destruction of habitat and environment in Cambridge, the Wild Area woods to the east of the Grand Junction and the Goose Meadow to the west of the Grand Junction, and, by the way, here is a map from the files of the Cambridge City Council in the key 2006 report, showing the bike highway construction in the Destroyed Nesting Area.

The “path” to the right goes under Memorial Drive. It proceeds to further destroy the Destroyed Nesting Area. The “path” to the left goes up to the sidewalk of the Memorial Drive on ramp. A STEEP SLOPE currently holding a staircase illegally constructed by Boston University in 1999.

And so many of those great sounding people yelling for a bike path smell of MIT.

A bike path widening of the Grand Junction Bridge is politically correct. A defeated Super Highway widening is not politically correct.

Let us not be stupid.

Of course, the “bike path” nonsense is a stalking horse for a private off ramp to MIT from the Mass. Pike. 8.

8.  Thanks to MassDOT.

This meeting is part of a series which did not seem to be intended when MassDOT made its December 2016 presentation of the apparently final package for environmental review, in Union Square, Allston, Brighton.

The December 2016 meeting was notable for my objection to killing the right turn off Soldiers Field Road to the River Street Bridge to Cambridge.  That comment put on record the reality that the package includes very real harm to Cambridge.

That one comment was apparently replied to by this series of meetings in Cambridge, including the development professionals’ addition of this stacked developers’ meeting which said next to nothing about real plans but sounded so sweet.  A lot of people talking sweetly including controlled “protectors” of the environment.

I have attended as many meetings of their working group when the details are discussed as I have been aware of.

Although I have repeatedly asked to be placed on the mailing list, I still do not get notices of meetings, another concession to the development community.  Reality is offensive to the development community.  MassDOT can only go so far in standing up to such aggressive destroyers.