Sunday, June 30, 2019

Charles River: MassDOT stands up to the bad guys again. Cambridge Commuter Rail deservedly hurt.

Charles River: MassDOT stands up to the bad guys again.  Cambridge Commuter Rail deservedly hurt.

1. General.
2. The latest meeting.  MassDOT’s project.
3. The latest published plan possibly modified.
4. The reality of the bizarre passenger proposal.
A, Passenger Service on the Grand Junction Railroad.
B. A private and highly hated exit from I90 for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
C. Summary.
5. West Station under the latest MassDOT proposal.
6. A responsible alternative.  A rapid transit connection between BU Bridge / Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Square.

1. General.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has a problem.

They have an Interstate highway (I90) on the Boston side of the Charles River from Magazine Beach which they think needs to be rebuilt.  At the same time, a change in toll taking technology has rendered the existing exit outmoded.  The changes have created the major possibility of straightening out and thus speeding up the Interstate plus getting rid of a large amount of asphalt.

That work should not be unusually difficult.  However, Harvard University has purchased the underlying land and Harvard University wants a private stop added to the passenger railroad line running through the area.

The situation is further complicated by the usual games from activists in Cambridge.  They want major changes in a railroad track going through the eastern part of Cambridge.  They want to add passenger service in a manner which would mess up traffic on five already overloaded Cambridge local streets.

They thus want to use technology which has been outmoded for more the better part of a Century.  Their “improvement” would create passenger train service running across those city streets and creating the sort of mess which railroaders have avoided and have been undoing for the last Century.

These scornful statements about railroading coming from me are coming from a person with two years railroading experience at a low labor management level including six months actual on the ground experience.

Neither of these goals really has much to do with the needed rebuilding of the Interstate.  But, in the background is a plan for a private off ramp from the Interstate to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The private off ramp is strikingly close to being a destructive highway route which was defeated forty years ago by Cambridge activists.  This private exit is an update of what was then called the “Inner Belt.”.

The lovely plans would devastate the last remaining animal habitat in this part of the Charles River, including the one remaining undestroyed part of the formerly mile long habitat of the 38 year resident Charles River White Geese.

2. The latest meeting.  MassDOT’s project.

On June 20, 2019, I attended the Advisory Group meeting on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s rebuilding of I90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) on the Boston side of the Charles River.

Here is an official photo of I90 showing Magazine Beach on the Cambridge Side, to the right.  This is one area in which the Cambridge City Council and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation are in the process of massively destroying trees and animal habitat while the Cambridge City Council spouts non stop lies of environment sainthood.

Pretty much all of the highway running from the bottom up to the left is being torn down and rebuilt.  The highway next to it, Soldiers Field Road, is a state limited access boulevard which is being rebuilt as part of the I90 work.

To more efficiently use the area, I90 is being rebuilt at ground level with Soldiers Field Road and various train tracks above it.

3. The latest published plan possibly modified.

The latest thinking of MassDOT presented at the June 20, 2019 meeting was not passed out in hard copy and does not seem to be available on line yet.

Here is the version passed out in April cropped to the area most directly impacting the Charles River.

The area shown in the above photograph is the straight area running diagonally from the lower right between the bends in the highway.

4. The reality of the bizarre passenger proposal.

A, Passenger Service on the Grand Junction Railroad.

The passenger service which the bad guys are trying to sneak in after strongly losing in public discussions would follow the route of the Grand Junction railroad.  Here is a MassDOT map of the Grand Junction marked up by me to show the major streets which would be devastated by the Commuter Rail suddenly crossing those highways at grade..

Such addition of grade crossings on major city streets is more than a Century out of date.  A lot of money has been spent replacing grade crossing with overpasses and underpasses.

The connections to the I90 construction area are in the bottom left of this plan and the bottom right of the project plan.

B. A private and highly hated exit from I90 for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Here is that area of the April 19 map of the project plan, blown up.

The Grand Junction Railroad connection to the I90 area is shown in the lower left of the Grand Junction map.   That connection is shown on the bottom right of the I90 plan.

One biggest part the bad guys are trying to sneak in is a rebuild of this railroad as it crosses the Charles River.  THIS WORK IS NEVER PUBLICLY MENTIONED.  THE WORK IS A POLITICAL PARIAH IN CAMBRIDGE.  People are proud of beating the Inner Belt 40 years ago along pretty much the same route.

Rebuilding that bridge is key to building the updated “Inner Belt.”

The updated Inner Belt / personal exit to MIT was first proposed by the area transit agency (the Massachusetts  Bay Transit Authority) in 2003 as part of a study with a nonsensical explanation.

The study proved that an updated Inner Belt could be built OVER THIS BRIDGE if the bridge were rebuilt.  It would connect to the bridge from I90 through ramps going eastbound (right) from the east bound ramps of I90, bottom right, looping up and connecting to the rebuilt bridge.  Connection would be made for traffic to I90 west in a fairly straight forward manner.  Given the space available, access to and from the West is the only possibility.

C. Summary.

At the June 20, 2019 meeting, the bad guys reenforced their fight for rebuilding of this bridge to the MassDOT presenter.  MassDOT has repeatedly fought to keep the I90 project restricted to work in Boston, the south / Boston side of the Charles River.  The Charles River is the dark gray area showing in these maps. 

The rebuttal of the speaker to a bad guy this time was the strongest, clearest communication of the situation I have seen.  What the bad guys try to sneak through as minor was described as a highly expensive project which would require separate approval.


End of that dirty trick, under whatever euphemism used.

5. West Station under the latest MassDOT proposal.

The key part of the discussion involves “West Station,” another major change politically sneaked through as a necessary beauty, “no big thing.”

The relevant part of the reduced map crop in section 3 shows about a third of the way up on the right.

Here is the west station portion of the April 2019 plan.

Never mentioned in the fight for this PERSONAL station for Harvard on the east-west railroad is the close proximity of the rather new Boston Landing station.  Boston Landing is NOT THAT FAR OFF THE PLANS TO THE LEFT / West.

The Brown / Reddish structure in the middle of these plans in West Station.

The top two tracks connect to the Grand Junction and also to rail storage as part of the South Station Commuter Rail system.  Note how they narrow to one track in either direction.

The bottom two tracks would be above and below a platform in the middle of the east-west main line.

The change proposed on June 20 would run the last two tracks, without the platform, along the bottom of the construction area to allow maximum speed for through trains.  That would comply with the needs of suburban commuters and Western Massachusetts traffic.

A fifth track and platform would be added between these two tracks and the two tracks showing above them in the April plans.  This siding would allow passenger service to West Station.  The fifth track creates a terminal for shuttle service from Boston Landing Station, half a mile or so to the left of the area on the main map.

This change is major.  It makes excellent sense if you are running a railroad.  The service to and from the west needs to be as fast as possible to satisfy the needs of long distance rail transportation.

The change also reflects the reality of the situation.

MassDOT has been forced to provide a private station for Harvard.  But that station makes no operational sense as a major part of a railroad.  The Boston Landing station is so close that a second station in the area is silly.

The ridership projections are so low that, actually, neither station makes any operational sense, singly or combined.  But the politics are such that the project will include West Station, no matter how stupid.

West Station’s supposed greatness is its access to that new route through Cambridge.  But, they will have to get the money AND PUBLIC SUPPORT.  That route will not come for about a decade after the rest of the project, and the route is nonsensical.

MassDOT has PUBLICLY studied the route glorified by the bad guys.  MassDOT found that the route makes no sense for anybody outside of Cambridge / MIT’s Kendall Square development area, and (see below) a new rapid transit line could be more functional without being destructive like the nonsensical Ground Junction commuter rail.  Plus, of course, the Century out of date road crossings would make already bad traffic in Cambridge that much worse.  Very significantly the environmental outrages in the animal habitat on the Charles River are inexcusable.

6. A responsible alternative.  A rapid transit connection between BU Bridge / Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Square.

This would provide the MEANINGFUL rapid transit connection which has been PROMISED and that is greatly needed by the North Allston neighborhood which abuts the project.  This is an area I have lived in (close to the proposed Franklin Street station), and I strongly agree with the frustrations of the current residents.

Green Line A would greatly reduce traffic on the overloaded Red Line rapid transit between Park Street and Harvard Station by being more convenient for people in Back Bay who need to get to Harvard Station and beyond.

Thus it would provide MIT and company improved service at Kendall / MIT on that portion of the Red Line in place of the commuter rail service their group is trying to sneak into the I90 rebuild out of the public view.

The rerouting of the I90 / Mass Pike rebuild so that I90 is on the ground with Soldiers Field Road above it could greatly facilitate Green Line A.  The configuration would allow putting Green Line A above the Mass. Pike between the BU Bridge and he future Harvard construction.

Common sense for the greater good.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Charles River: The Cambridge City Council’s SECOND SECRET initiative being initiated.

RE: Charles River:   The Cambridge City Council’s SECOND SECRET initiative being initiated.

1. Introduction.

I have been overwhelmed.  Here are photos of the Cambridge City Council’s second SECRET project at Magazine Beach taken in the last few days.

To put it in perspective, I am attaching the map provided by the City Council’s “Kind of activist” of Magazine Beach showing the previously SECRET funds allocation by, apparently, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

For simplicity of use, I have divided her map into thirds, the western, middle and central portions.

Area 2 in the middle photo is apparently designated for massive deniable destruction.  Two trees have recently been destroyed.

The area above the designated areas in the first / left photo is of particular interest.  DCR and Cambridge destroyed two trees next to the MicroCenter building which were included in the destruction plans filed with the Cambridge Conservation Commission and destroyed two trees in front of the MicroCenter parking lot WHICH WERE NOT DISCLOSED TO THE CAMBRIDGE CONSERVATION COMMISSION.

Neither area is included in the current formerly secret segment, al though this group includes portions of the street, Magazine Street, which ends at the central part, and which was not included in the destruction report.

2. Photos from, approximately June 15, 2019.

3. Photos from, approximately June 24, 2019.

4. Photos and explanation from June 25, 2019.

The chopping has begin in earnest. They’re clearing much of the underbrush along the river’s edge, from in front of the old magazine over to the new deck. They also replaced the stones on the “kayak beach” with gravel. The cut brush is stacked up and a Bobcat is hauling it to the chipper. They seem to be taking 1-2” diameter small trees/brush. I would say about 25% of the total greenery has been removed so far all along the area.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Massive Tree Destruction and Funding Games, Coming Magazine Beach Destruction, part 5.

The level of dishonesty in the fight of the Cambridge City Council, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and their cheerleaders for destruction on the Charles River is outrageous.

The following letter was delivered to the Cambridge City Manager on June 10, 2019, and to the Cambridge City Clerk on the same day for delivery to the Cambridge City Council at its next meeting.  It is reformatted to fit this medium.

One of the samples of reality included in this letter was my personal encounters with the people funding the destruction lobby.  My encounter with the funders of the destruction lobby resulted in a response that more than 50% had been handed a bill of goods.

Is it any surprise that the Cambridge City Council and the Department of Conservation and Recreation are playing funding games to permit lies of sainthood by the Cambridge City Council?

The numbers are as follows:

The Cambridge City Council would appear to be running for reelection based on a claim to be defending the trees of the city.

A woman who is not running for reelection supported this nonsensical claim in debate claiming she did not want any trees destroyed.

My video on the destruction of hundreds of trees between the next two bridges east of Magazine Beach is posted at  The City Council’s public “position” was to yell at circuses traveling on the public ways for animal abuse with total silence about the trees destruction and heartless animal abuse ongoing SIMULTENEOUSLY by Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

My publishing of the OFFICIAL FILED PLANS for destruction at Magazine Beach presented by me to the Cambridge City Council is posted at

As noted in the below letter, the official filed plans called for the destruction of 54 mostly excellent trees.  I document the increase to 56 shortly after filing of the plans by me, and the subsequent increase to 58.

But the Cambridge City Council will run for reelection based on yelling at the other guy for actions which are a pittance, when compared to the outrages on the Charles River.

All the incumbents running for reelection will keep the outrage which is environmental reality in Cambridge, MA, as secret as possible.

* * * * *

Gentlemen / Ladies:

Please excuse my silence in front of you during the past months.  On April 1, I suffered a very major injury which kept me inpatient for five weeks, and I really have not fully recovered since then.

I do note that on April 1, you received part 4 in this series, going into the reality behind your vote further cementing the division of funding between the Cambridge City Council and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.  The City Council gets to claim sainthood and the DCR does the dirty stuff.

It rather is distressing to see the first implementation of the division of funds has already occurred.

Here is the relevant part of the funding map first disclosed by the City Council’s “kind of activist” in support of this vote.

Area 1 is the area that the City Council gets to brag about.  Area 4 is the area that the City Council gets to claim lack of responsibility for IN THIS JOINT PROJECT, whose shared nature the City Council brags about when convenient.

The City Council and the DCR have increased Magazine Beach destruction to 58 from the previous 56.   The added destruction is ABOVE THE DIVIDING LINE across from and to the right of the building which was abandoned for 80 years.

Here are the latest excellent trees destroyed:  If any of you wish to, please point out where destruction of these trees was included in the destruction plans.

Here are the filed destruction plans for this area.  They are marked to show the presentation in my June 6, 2017 analysis presented to the Cambridge City Council.

I do not see this destruction disclosed.

Cambridge and the DCR have since destroyed two trees on the sidewalk in front of the MicroCenter Parking lot which were lovingly cared for by the owners.  That increased the 54 in the June 6, 2017 report to 56.

Here are those destroyed trees which were kept secret in the Cambridge Conservation Commission report.

This destruction shown above increases destruction at Magazine Beach to 58.

I spent a lot of time in the area of this latest destruction during festivities sponsored by the City Council’s “kind of activist” as a way of thanking folks providing funds to help the destruction she fights for WHILE KEEPING THE DESTRUCTION SECRET even from people footing the lobbying bill.

I talked to a lot of folks involved in the celebration.

Very clearly, at least half of the folks participating in the celebration of work at Magazine Beach by the DCR and the Cambridge City Council were getting told only of the politically responsible parts of the project. They had been told about the excellence of the politically responsible parts.

They were kept from knowledge about the truly reprehensible parts, including this increase of destruction from 56 to 58 trees in the area allocated by the funding games to the DCR..

This part of the park is heavily vegetated with large numbers of doomed, now excellent trees.

I remember observing the mulch shown in the picture at the top of page 2 [ed: above].  It had just been spread.  I assumed that dumping mulch around trees meant they were safe from the City Council / DCR depredations.

Once again, Cambridge and the DCR remind me of probably the most important thing to remember on the Charles River:


The area where so many people who have been lied to were being fed is to the left of the 80 year vacant building in this area.

Here is a photo of the part the city council was bragging about in this latest SECRET vote.

The fine print would indicate that there appear to include yet another barrier to free animals access to the area where they have fed for most of the past 38 years.  The heartless animal abuse is, of course, never mentioned.

And here is a photo of the residents for most of the last 38 years and who are being further starved.

The photo was taken the day they learned they were being deliberately starved.


Robert J. La Trémouille