Our reports have included a great deal of detail about the planned rebuild of Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) in Boston on the south side of the Charles River from Magazine Beach.
This project is being conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) which owns the highways and the bridges abutting the Charles River, including I90. The parklands are owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR.)
MassDOT has a new consultant added to the team which has been assisting MassDOT in the planning for this project.
People who fought for outrages already achieved on the Cambridge side of the Charles are fighting for many changes which would damage in Cambridge and for a change WHICH WOULD DESTROY ABOUT HALF A MILE OF CHARLES RIVER RIVERFRONT in the project area.
The new member of the consulting team LED the predecessor of the DCR, the Metropolitan District Commission when the MDC created the terrible plans which have now been implemented by the DCR.
Here is a state created satellite photo showing the relationship between I90 and the Magazine Beach playing fields.
The Magazine Beach Recreation Area WHICH UNDER IMMINENT THREAT OF OUTRAGEOUS DESTRUCTION includes the playing fields and extends way up that side of the Charles River as far as the green trees can be seen.
I90 is on the left. This highway area is the area which is the current focus of the I90 planning study, as near as I can gather. This latest study is based on orders of the Massachusetts Environmental Secretary.
The principal part of the area in the I90 planning is much larger area than the area in the picture. It is to the left of the curve on the left. That area is not relevant to the current study.
In the area of study, running between the two bends on the Boston side is an area which would be destroyed by one of the alternatives under consideration. People who supported the accomplished outrages on the Cambridge side support the destruction of those trees and the riverbank on which they stand.
And the guy who approved the destruction of hundreds of trees on the Cambridge side is now a consultant on the I90 project.
To the right of and not showing in the photo is the BU Bridge and the Destroyed Nesting Area, the ghetto which is all that is left of the formerly mile long habitat of the Charles River White Geese, which, in turn, was centered on the BU Bridge.
To the right (east) of this photo, including the DNA, is the area which was the target of the destruction of hundreds of excellent trees by the entity which currently owns the parkland on the Cambridge side of the Charles, the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Here is MassDOT’s overall map of the area:
The area at the bottom left is part of the area shown in the satellite photo. The BU Bridge can be seen crossing the river.
January 2016 destruction of hundreds of trees, APPROVED BY THE NEW CONSULTANT, ran on the upper (Cambridge) side of the Charles River almost from the BU Bridge, crossing the Charles at the bottom left, past the Mass. Ave. Bridge (officially the “Harvard Bridge”) and almost to the Longfellow Bridge, the next bridge up.
The Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese is on the Cambridge side of the river, to the right of the BU bridge and under Memorial Drive which follows the river.
We have recorded the destruction of the hundreds of excellent trees destroyed in January 2016 in our video posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTplCCEJP7o.
The Cambridge City Council and the DCR are currently working to destroy 56 more excellent trees starting at the playing fields and running west, plus other destruction. This is the next stage of the destruction approved by the new consultant. Our analysis of those plans with photos is posted at http://focrwg.com/agenda1.html.
Here is an on the ground photo showing only part (to the right) of the area which could be destroyed should the I90 changes be implemented.
It is our opinion that the Department of Conservation and Recreation and its predecessor are / were unfit to manage the environment, especially the environment of the Charles River.
The new consultant who led the meeting of the advisory committee discussing changes to the area in the above pictures APPROVED THE DESTRUCTION ALREADY ACHIEVED. I certainly do not think less unfavorably of him than I do of his destructive, incompetent agency..
2. Formal Objection.
[We have XXXX'd out one individual's name. While his name has significance to the addressees of the letter, this blog has been viewed in more than 100 countries, and the identity of this person is of no relevance to such a broadly read publication. The reference is so peripheral, it is not of value herein.]
A. Body of objection.
The following letter is being sent by me, individually and on behalf of Friends of the White Geese to the state environmental secretary, the state secretary of MassDOT, the Cambridge City Manager, and the Cambridge City Council objecting to the presence of this person as a consultant on the I90 study.
* * *
Gentlemen / Ladies:
On August 15, 2018, representing Friends of the White Geese, I attended a presentation to the I90 Advisory Committee primarily by a consultant from, I presume, Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc. I have attended as many meetings of this committee as I have been aware of and have been able to attend. I have repeatedly asked that I receive notification of the meetings. In spite of the repeated requests, I have received no such notification.
You will recall that the most important change to date in the plans for the I90 rebuild were based on our recommendations, the creation of a direct connection from the main project area to Soldiers Field Road inbound east of the hotel complex. In spite of this, and in direct violation of my request, I do not believe I have ever received notification of any meeting of the advisory committee.
Additionally, I have a dramatic record of achievements in the City of Cambridge. I have previously provided you with an abbreviated communication of my record. It is attached again so that there is no confusion. When I previously provided the secretaries this document, it was printed back to back. That resulted in problems with the copy received by members of the Cambridge City Council. That copy lost the meaning of my record document because only one side got copied internally in the City of Cambridge.. So the attachment is now on separate sheets to reduce difficulties in Cambridge, and to allow my record to be meaningful communicated to people reading official records of the next Cambridge City Council meeting.
At the August 15, 2018, meeting, I was surprised to observe that Nathaniel Cabral-Curtis, the usual meeting coordinator, was absent, and that the meeting was run by an older gentleman whom I did not recall having seen at any prior meetings. I was sitting next to XXXXXXXXXX who had many exchanges with the coordinating gentleman in my presence.
In response to my questions, XXXXXXXXXXX informed me that the gentleman running the meeting was formerly the head of the Metropolitan District Commission, and that he was now acting as a consultant.
In the past, except for my difficulties getting notice of meetings, I have been highly impressed with the performance and apparent independence of the consultants.
There has been severe harm inflicted on the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The harm was done by the Department of Conservation and Recreation based on plans which it inherited from the MDC on the Charles River. The plans were very clearly inherited by way of planners who had moved to the MDC when the MDC was disbanded. The plans were quite consistent with my understanding that at least some legislators voted to destroy the MDC because the MDC was so destructive of public property.
The harm to the Charles River was based on plans which date back to this consultant’s tenure with the MDC, with regulatory approvals that date back to his tenure. Thus the plans approved by him were beyond any reasonable period of value because of expiration dates under the relevant statutes. The time situation with regard to the age of destruction approvals was extreme. Nevertheless the legislature voted to exempt these outrages from normal re-initiation of reviews which would be required based on the extreme amount of time which had passed. Thus the destruction approved by the consultant went ahead without updating of reviews.
Very clearly those outrageously destructive plans say a lot as to the proclivities of this consultant.
My video reporting the outrages inflicted based on these MDC plans approved by this consultant as MDC Commissioner is posted on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTplCCEJP7o. An analysis of the “improvements” by an international expert may be viewed at https://youtu.be/dWyCdcWMuAA.
To make the situation worse, the DCR is now implementing plans which are very clearly related to these outrages east of the BU Bridge. The DCR now appears to be very close to more massive destruction, this time at Magazine Beach, as spelled out in my communication of June 6, 2017, and published on the website of the Friends of the White Geese at http://focrwg.com/agenda1.html. Possibly imminent destruction is targeted at another 56 mostly excellent trees.
I have objected to the apparent intention to have the DCR permanently manage properties created by the I90 rebuild based on the extreme incompetence and destructiveness of the DCR managing these plans created under the responsibility of this person who is now acting as a consultant. Additional grounds for objection include a large number of other instance of destructive behavior and heartless animal abuse, both during his leadership, and since his departure.
Based on the strikingly bad record of this consultant with regard to the Cambridge side of the Charles River, it is highly clear that (1) this consultant has a severe conflict of interest on matters concerning the Charles River, and (2) he has a terrible environmental record on the Charles River
We have gone from a situation of professional, independent behavior by Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc. to a situation where a key member of their team has strikingly filthy hands ON THE CHARLES RIVER.
It is no longer still appropriate for Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc. to be trusted as the consultant under the circumstances.
Robert J. La Trémouille
Selected Activist Experience, Central Cambridge
[Ed.: Document is two pages. One page is the zoning map. The other page is this explanation of notes on the zoning map. In the original, this is a columnar table. That does not directly convert to blog format. So here is a less pretty translation without changing the content otherwise.]
I Maple Avenue Downzoning, C-1 to B
II Marie Avenue Park. First neighborhood Open Space zoning.
III Cambridge St, N Side C-2 districts btwn Hospitals changed to C-1. C2B buffer created around Youville.
IV Mellen Street Downzoning. The C-2A area and the C-1 which it surrounds were previously zoned C-3.
V Cambridge Common. Opposed the destruction of the excellent thick park in Harvard Square corner .
VI I90 study I proposed Green Line A spur from Comm. Avenue / BU Bridge to Harvard Medical to Harvard Station.
Originated idea of connection of Harvard Medical Area to Soldiers Field Road east of BU Bridge.
VII JFK Park was laid out so that cut and cover construction of a subway tunnel.
VIII Harvard Houses district. C-3 Ward changed to C-1.
IX Area in Harvard Square deleted by Ward petitioners from Ward petition as result of flat out lie.
X Ward Petition. C-2B and O-2 areas, previously C3 / O3, plus the Harvard Houses area, south side of Mt. Auburn Street.
XI Saved the historical building at 10 Mt. Auburn at the Rent Control Board.
Block changed from Business B to Res C-1 by Ward
XII Personally saved Guffey Park at Arrow Street and Mass. Ave., in front of 2 Arrow Street..
XIII Kerry Corner. Zoning created here, the balance of the C-1, and the SD14 district were probably GREATLY influenced by my saving historical 10 Mt. Auburn.
XIV Corporal Burns Playground. Helped save from Harvard expansion.
XV La Trémouille Petition as warped by rogue steering committee. Business B became BB-1, BB-2.
La Trémouille petition downzoned most of Green Street between Hancock and Sellers from Mass. Ave. zoning to neighborhood zoning. There were a number of related clean ups on the boundaries on Green Street.
XVI Anderson Petition. O-3 to C-2B. Clean ups of Green Street as noted in XV.
XVII Office to Office 1. Created less dense Office Districts than Office 3.
XVIII Palmer Street. Objected to destruction of every tree on the street because the trees “blocked the sunlight.” Page 2
[Ed: This is a cropping of the Cambridge Zoning Map. The location of “VI” is Harvard Square proper. Most of the organge areas marked “C-3" are the core of Harvard University. The biggest area, middle left, is the world reknown Harvard Yard. Running from “VI” to the right to the Red BB / BB-2 / BB-1 areas, then Orange C-2B, follow by O-3 in blue is Massachusetts Avenue, the main street of Harvard University. The O-3 district to the right is Cambridge City Hall which, in turn, is the western end of Central Square, Cambridge. Central and Harvard Squares are the two principal business districts (Squares) of Cambridge.
[The Harvard Square shopping district runs from the red and blue areas at the right through the blue O-3 and orange C-2B areas. The bottom of the O-3 district is Mt. Auburn Street, another major boundary of the Harvard Square business district. At the very bottom of the map is the Charles River, with the Boston / Cambridge boundary marked in the middle. The whitish diagonal line toward the upper left corner indicates a break in the area depicted. Above and below the break are portions of Harvard’s Law School and science / engineering facilities.]