Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge. III. Major transportation “planning” problems.

Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   III.  Major  transportation “planning” problems.

1. General.

2. Problems with “reliable” sources.  General.

3. Easily explainable but conflicting reports from the same source, the Boston Globe.

A. Red Sox Report.

B. Landsdowne Station Project.

C. Combined.

4. Creation of the Kenmore Superstation and related issues.

5. My photos of the Landsdowne Station complex from June 9, 2021.  

A. Brookline Avenue relationship.

B. Relationship of project to Red Sox properties.

C. Relationship of project to Landsdowne Station, I90 and Beacon Street.

6. Relationship of Project to the Urban Ring.

A. General. 

B. The Urban Ring Without Cambridge.

C. The Urban Ring Alternatives.

7. Summary.

1. General.

This is the third report in a series   

A. The first segment was: “Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   I.  A personal prequil,” at  https://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2021/05/.  

B. The second segment was: ““Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   2.  Very early history. PARTIAL transportation analysis” at:  https://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2021/06/cambridge-city-council-considers.html

2. Problems with “reliable” sources.  General.

I have very severe problems with machinations / “reports” coming out of the City of Cambridge, especially its Development Department, but also from the Cambridge City Council since there is a very strong likelihood that many actions taken by the Cambridge City Council are drafted by the Development Department.  They rubber stamp the Development Department, they make themselves responsible for the nonsense they put out.  That decision is a decision which they have no business disavowing.

In part II of this series, I apologized about spending so much time on transportation issues.  Very quickly after this post, I found a strange combination of excellent graphics and defects in the excellent graphics.  The reality is that these conflicts are readily explained, but have not been adequately explained.  This contrasts drastically with too much stuff coming out of City of Cambridge / Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s hands which deviate from reality and whose deviations look like they are kept as secret as they can get away with.

The core part of the situation relevant to these reports is the reporting of development around the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Landsdowne (formerly Yawkey) Commuter Rail Station.

The Boston Globe published a report on development around the Red Sox’ Fenway Park based on an excellent map from the Red Sox that omitted the Landsdowne Commuter Rail Station construction.  Then, researching sources, it develops that the best citation the developer has on its project is a recent report by the Boston Globe on the project.

This project is crucial because it relates to the “Urban Ring” plans.  I will go into the conflicts below, the short explanation is that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is preventing major and irresponsible destruction being fought for by the DCR and Cambridge at the Destroyed Nesting Area / Wild Area.  Cambridge and the DCR have given the impression the destruction is for the “Urban Ring” transportation proposal, but the reality is that the “Urban Ring” will not go through Cambridge’s preferred Urban Ring route.

As usual, Cambridge and the DCR are trying to destroy what is in their control IN SPITE OF THE REALITY OF THE fact that the Landsdowne Station project around the MBTA Landsdowne Station destroys the supposed need for that destruction.

I will go into the “Urban Ring” oddities below, but start with the Landsdowne Station information oddities.

3. Easily explainable but conflicting reports from the same source, the Boston Globe.

A. Red Sox Report.

Here is the recent Boston Globe / boston.com  map, June 8, 2021, https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2021/06/07/fenway-park-construction-plans/?p1=recirc_mostpopular, from Red Sox sources.  It concerns but omits the Landsdowne Station project.

The Globe’s article and map goes into great apparent detail about development around Fenway Park.  The Globe article admits there are omissions.  They do not say what, in spite of this major and obvious omission.  

The very big project at Landsdowne Station is simply marked with the MBTA’s T logo and identified as Landsdowne Station.  The nearest this article’s graphics come to recognizing this major project is a shadow in the area of the graphic.  The major streets Beacon Street and Brookline Avenue run at angles from left and left bottom to the top of the graphic, with Beacon Street the upper street and Brookline Avenue the lower, on either side of Landsdowne Station.  The report includes several other maps and presents the Red Sox position on development coming.  

Three MBTA Green Line branches are created by a split at Kenmore Station.  Two of the three go through this area underground.  Green Line B is on Commonwealth Avenue, slightly above the map area.  Green Line C goes under Beacon Street.  Green Line D goes under the T logo which identifies Landsdowne Station.

The first stop on Green Line D is to the left of the map area.  It is named, appropriately, the “Fenway Park Station.”  Green Line D comes to the surface through a portal which is a little bit to the upper left and off the map from the “Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates” building in the lower left corner.  A pedestrian way connects Green Line D and the Fenway Park Station to the HVMA building site and to a side street off the map which ends at the HVMA building site.

B. Landsdowne Station Project.

Here is the massive Boston Globe graphic created by the developers and obtained from their webpage.  The graphic dominates a Boston Globe newspaper page which the developer reprints.  This reprints relevant pages of the Boston Globe on April 19, 2021.  The reproduction by the developer is at https://meredithmanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/041921_Boston-Globe-print_Fenway-Center.pdf.  

The two massive buildings on the left are part of the Landsdowne Station projects omitted in the Red Sox area map.  They are physically completed, at least on the outside, but are not acknowledged in the 6/8/21 publication.  The buildings have principal entrances from Beacon Street and Landsdowne Station with access from Brookline Avenue for pedestrians and vehicles.  

The two less large buildings between the larger of the two externally completed buildings and Brookline Avenue, have not been started yet.  They are proposed to be above I90.  A major selling point by the developer is the transportation access of the project.  The developer’s web page shows significantly larger buildings than are shown in this graphic.  The graphic appears to be newer than the contrary information.  I assume this graphic replaces the webpage’s contrary information.

I took a lot of photos on June 9, 2021.  Many are below.  The purpose of the photos I am presenting is to establish the relationship of the existing buildings to Landsdowne Station, to local streets, and to the coming Kenmore superstation under the Urban Ring plans, contrasted with the TWENTY YEAR LIE from the Cambridge Development Department that there were not even alternate plans from the plans favored by the Cambridge bureaucrats.  

The bureaucrats said that the Urban Ring crossing which includes this, the existing location of Landsdowne Station did not exist as an alternative for the Urban Ring.  The bureaucrats, FOR TWENTY YEARS OR MORE insisted that the only Urban Ring version which existed in planning was the bureaucrats’ favorite which would move the station about half a mile from the existing location.  No one familiar with the plans agreed with this outrageous lie.

The completed buildings physically include most of the Landsdowne Station platform complex.

The coming buildings will rather clearly include the connection between the Kenmore MBTA facilities (CITGO sign) and most of the rest of the Landsdowne Station platforms.  My photos from June 9 go into what that area looks like now, including shots through the area over I90 where one or two coming buildings will be located, at least in part.

The developer’s rendition shows the relationship to Kenmore Square (CITGO sign), and two bridges across the Charles River.  The nearer bridge, in the upper middle of the graphic, is the “Mass. Ave. bridge.”  The abbreviations are never spelled out in normal usage, but legally, it is the “Harvard Bridge.”  Toward the upper right corner is the Longfellow Bridge.  The large green facility on the right is the Boston Red Sox’ Fenway Park.

The upper, Cambridge, side of the Charles River is the area which has been deforested by the DCR with Cambridge assistance.  The worst destruction SO FAR, occurred in January 2016.  More than 150 mostly excellent trees were destroyed between the BU Bridge (off the graphic a few blocks to the left) and the Longfellow Bridge.  

The DCR has since planted saplings, partially as replacements for excellence which should not have been destroyed, and partially they have planted saplings which they should have planted decades ago.  The Cambridge / Boston Hyatt Regency Hotel is about a block to the left on the Cambridge side.  The Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese is about three blocks to the left, with the Wild Area a block earlier.  

My video on this portion of the ongoing outrages may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTplCCEJP7o.  

C. Combined.

The Red Sox graphic shows other developments proposed around Fenway Park.  Plus it shows streets on the far side of Fenway Park from the Landsdowne project.  The big shadow toward the left in the Red Sox version would appear to be a general acknowledgment of the Landsdowne project.  “David Ortiz Drive,” marked in the area identified as “Brookline” is, I understand, a public street connecting Landsdowne Station and the project to Brookline Avenue.  A connecting pedestrian walkway is to the left of David Ortiz Drive, albeit with more physical separation than would normally be seen for a sidewalk.

The Landsdowne developer rendition puts things in a much broader perspective than the Red Sox.  The Red Sox provides detail of proposals, around Fenway Park, other than the Landsdowne project.

Both graphics are accompanied by new reports explaining the graphics.

4. Creation of the Kenmore Superstation and related issues.

The area of the Landsdowne project at Brookline Avenue is key from a transportation point of view.  This is the area where a tunnel connecting the Landsdowne Station project (and Fenway Park) to Kenmore Station needs to go to create the Urban Ring’s Kenmore Superstation consisting of the three Green Line branches and the MBTA Worcester Commuter Rail and a new, heavy rail branch of the MBTA’s Orange Line subway, the “Urban Ring.”.  

Going outbound, the Worcester Commuter Rail’s first stop west of Landsdowne Station is at Boston Landing.  The Boston Landing station straddles the historical boundary between Boston’s Allston and Brighton neighborhoods.  It is perhaps a mile beyond where Harvard University wants its own private Commuter Rail station to be built.  

Inbound from Landsdowne Station, the first stop is Back Bay Station.  The Worcester Commuter Rail line terminates at South Station.  From South Station, there is DIRECT bus connection to Boston’s Logan Airport and parts of South Boston and Boston’s North Shore by the “Silver Line.”  The buses are designed for tunnel usage as appropriate.  There is also direct Red Line subway service at South Station connecting to the MBTA subway system.  Above the tracks in the South Station terminal and connected to the South Station facility is the main Boston bus terminal.  The bus terminal is in the process of a 50% expansion bringing it even more into the South Station transportation complex.  MassDOT has been hoping to add tracks to the South Station terminal for new train service which could possibly now end at Back Bay Station.

In addition to the Green Line, its branches and the Landsdowne Commuter Rail, the Kenmore Superstation, under the “Urban Ring” plan which includes Landsdowne Station in place (and is the obvious winner of the two Urban Ring alternatives in spite of more than two decades of lies from the Cambridge bureaucrats)

would have a new subway connection to downtown Boston by an “Urban Ring” Orange Line spur which would fork off the MBTA’s Orange Line at Ruggles Station and have an intermediate stop at the Harvard / Longwood Medical Center.  

As part of the existing Orange Line, the new line would connect to the Red Line at “Downtown Crossing,” one stop from the increasingly massive South Station complex and 

have a direct Commuter Rail connection to South Station at Ruggles Station.

Plus South Station has direct “Silver Line” channelized bus service to Logan.

Below I will analyze the “Urban Ring” plans and how this project interrelates with and PREVENTS destructive tricks supported by the City of Cambridge.

5. My photos of the Landsdowne Station complex from June 9, 2021.  

A. Brookline Avenue relationship.

This photo is taken from the Fenway Park side of the Brookline Avenue bridge over I90.  The divider crossing Brookline Avenue is the edge between the bridge and that portion of Brookline Avenue closer to Kenmore Square.  Seen in the distance are the two buildings so far constructed of the Landsdowne Station project.  The building visible to the left is between the Landsdowne project and Brookline Street.  Its exact location is spelled out in the Red Sox graphic above.

Here is a closer photo from the sidewalk seen in the prior photo.

The object at the bottom of the picture almost certainly contains utilities normally buried under public streets.  My estimate is that the utilities will wind up as part of the final  building in that portion of the Landsdowne project, built in air rights.  A tunnel to the existing Kenmore Square station is likely planned to go in this location as part of the project building fronting on Brookline Avenue.  Visible above the highway in the distance is Beacon Street on which the two existing Landsdowne Station project buildings front.

Moving to the other end of the bridge, here is a better view of the relationship of Landsdowne Station to the Landsdowne project, to I90 and to Beacon Street.  Pedestrians cross over the tracks from the David Ortiz Drive (left) side of the station to get to the outbound platform.  The largest project building is better shown above and below.

Here is a closer view of the not yet covered portion of the station platform.  It is taken from the parking lot of the building between the station and Brookline Avenue.  I90 is visible beyond the station.  The largest project building is at the upper left.  The bridge connecting the outbound tracks to the inbound tracks and David Ortiz Drive is the thin structure parallel to the top of the photo.  Nearer buildings on the right face on Beacon Street.  Boston University facilities are located in all or part of  the buildings.

This is a reverse view from the station’s upper structure.  Note the grass which is visible in prior pictures.  Also note the bridge which is Brookline Avenue.

B. Relationship of project to Red Sox properties.

Here are two photos of the Brookline Avenue view of the two completed buildings.  

The first shot is down David Ortiz Drive with the plaza of the big building and the station entrance straight ahead.  The building to the right is the one also shown in the upper photos.

The second shot is from the pedestrian way next to David Ortiz Drive.  

The parking lot, David Ortiz Drive and the walkway are identified as “Brookline” in the Red Sox graphic in the Globe presentation of the Red Sox plans.  I parked in the parking lot several times as part of a my multiple day Spooky World gig in Fenway Park during the 2011 Centennial of Fenway park.  That was my third season acting on Spooky World.  

While I was shooting these photographs, a bus from the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area made a run down David Ortiz Drive and past the station entrance.

C. Relationship of project to Landsdowne Station, I90 and Beacon Street.

Here are two photos of the project’s plaza showing relationship to the station, to Beacon Street and to Beacon Street properties.  Note in the first photo that the staircase to the right connects the station facility to the outbound station platform without connecting to the plaza.  Also note the curved top fence to the right next to the building.  The access to the plaza from the station is through doorways that look like they could be secured.

Here is the relationship of the plaza to the station outbound platform, to I90 and to Beacon Street.  Note, once again, the internal station staircase to the outbound platform and note the fence with the curve at the top protecting plaza users.  There is an elevator in the station building.  Looking straight ahead, there is a staircase directly to the plaza from the outbound platform of the station, located not far from Beacon Street.  There is a, closed during my shoot, companion staircase to the inbound side from the plaza.  The structure vertically between the plaza and the platform would be a roof to protect passengers from the elements.

6. Relationship of the project to the Urban Ring.

A. General. 

I initially started work on the Urban Ring subway proposal in the 1980's.  At the beginning, the plan crossed the Charles River THROUGH the Wild Area located east of the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese, destroying the Wild Area.

This struck me as wildly wasteful.  Additionally, the southern, Boston / Brookline side of the Plan was highly controversial and even more destructive.

In 1986, because of the irresponsibility of the proposed subway crossing I proposed the subway cross the Charles River further east in a configuration which became called the Kenmore Crossing.  The Kenmore Crossing was adopted as an alternative plan by the MBTA in the early 1990's.  This definitely looks like the winning alternative. 

FOR MORE THAN TWO DECADES, the Cambridge Development Department consistently did not acknowledge the existence in planning of the Kenmore Crossing when talking about the very major Urban Ring planning.  They clearly only told people about their favored plan, giving the very clear communication that their favored plan was the only plan in existence.

In the mid 2010's the Cambridge City Manager in an analysis to MassDOT of South Station redevelopment reaffirmed Cambridge’s interest in the “Urban Ring.”  In Cambridge’s established world of fake meanings for terms, it is impossible to tell if “Urban Ring” as used by that City Manager included both official Urban Ring alternatives or just the only alternative recognized by the Cambridge Development Department, the original Cambridge-preferred route which would destroy the Wild Area.  The Cambridge preferred alternative would also move Landsdowne Station to a location about a block from Marsh Chapel, the heart of Boston University’s campus, a distance of perhaps half a mile from the location under the Landsdowne Station development.

Here is a crop of the developer’s graphic from the Globe report showing the developer’s Landsdowne Station project.

The Urban Ring was slated to run in the Grand Junction railroad right of way and originally continue to the Wild Area, destroy the Wild Area and then cross the Charles River.

The tall building on the Cambridge side near the left edge contains Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate student married housing.  The green area to its right is MIT’s athletic fields.

Beyond the married housing and the athletic fields is Vassar Street and then were some small buildings.  Beyond the small buildings is the Grand Junction right of way.  At the top right is the Mass. Ave. Bridge.  The bridge becomes Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge and crosses the Grand Junction right of way.

My proposed Kenmore Crossing would have the Urban Ring subway turn toward the river after Massachusetts Avenue, travel under the playing fields and under the Charles River to Kenmore Square (marked by the CITGO sign) amd then go under Brookline Avenue and meet up with the portion of Urban Ring shared by both river crossing proposals.

The Kenmore Crossing rather clearly is now the winning route for the Urban Ring subway route.  Detailed analysis below.

The Cambridge bureaucrat favored initial Urban Ring alternative was intended to have connections to Green Line B and to the Commuter Rail.  The connection to Commuter Rail required moving Landsdowne (then Yawkey) Station to wherever the Urban Ring wound up.  That location became the intersection of Mountfort and St. Mary’s Streets, a block from Boston University’s Marsh Chapel.  The Cambridge preferred alternative had major problems creating direct access to all the Green Line branches.  

At this relocated Landsdowne station, it would connect to the Commuter Rail and connect to Green Line B in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue at Marsh Chapel by a tunnel under St. Mary’s Street to the southern sidewalk.  Passengers would cross the inbound side of Commonwealth Avenue to get to Green Line B.

B. The Urban Ring Without Cambridge.

The Kenmore Crossing proposal kept Landsdowne Station in place and gave the Urban Ring direct connections through Kenmore Station to all three Green Line branches, B, C and D.

I communicated the Cambridge wishes to move Landsdowne Station to the Landsdowne developer at a show and tell of his project in a meeting room in Fenway Park.  He was shocked.  Not that long later, as these things go, the legislature put a lot of money into upgrading Landsdowne Station to its current full station status.  In my photos, I have shown the connection to the Urban Ring project, Kenmore Station, and the Kenmore Crossing.

In the meantime, MIT has built a massive new dorm between Vassar Street and the Grand Junction right of way in the area shown above, as I commented with regard to my cropping of the developer’s graphic.  This massive new building greatly increased the cost of using the Kenmore Urban Ring River Crossing because of major changes in the tunnel caused by the size of the building.

The Cambridge City Council gave MIT very major zoning benefits to build that massive dorm.  The Cambridge City Council and MIT shot themselves in the foot.

The Urban Ring was being considered to go from Ruggles Station on the Orange Line south of downtown Boston to Community College or Sullivan Station on the Orange Line north of downtown Boston.

Cambridge and MIT have greatly increased the cost of running the Urban Ring Kenmore River Crossing route through Cambridge with the construction of that building.  BUT converting the Urban Ring into a spur off the Orange Line at Ruggles to the Harvard / Longwood Medical area and then ending at the Kenmore Superstation satisfies the most important goals of the Urban Ring:

(1) Excellent transportation for the Longwood / Harvard Medical Area.  The value of this one stop to the metropolitan Boston area and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts greatly exceeds the value of all Cambridge stops on the Urban Ring.  The Longwood / Harvard Medical area is one of the largest revenue producers in the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and it is growing rapidly.  That growth is the reason for the likelihood that Harvard Medical School will be moved to Harvard’s coming Allston Village - Soldiers Field Road campus.

(2) Connection to the Orange Line, to at least 3 of the 4 Green Line branches, and to Commuter Rail, both at Landsdowne Station and at Ruggles Station where the Orange Line spur would fork off.  Plus better service to Fenway Park.  The fourth Green Line branch, Green Line E, goes up Huntington Avenue above the Urban Ring subway route.  It is a block from the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area Urban Ring station.

        The value of the Landsdowne and Ruggles transfers cannot be overstated.  Massachusetts is in the process of extending the Worcester line to Springfield, increasing the value of Landsdowne.  Ruggles connects to the Providence / Rhode Island T.F. Green Airport by direct service and to the Amtrak Northeast Service either by transfer or by an upgrade of Ruggles.  As of fall 2023 Commuter Rail is scheduled to provide direct service to South Station from Fall River and New Bedford.  Direct Ruggles connection and a shorter trip from Fall River and New Bedford is in planning for the 30's.  The complexities in the latter are way beyond the scope of this report.

(3) Reduction of traffic on the overloaded Red Line between Park Street and Harvard Station through Cambridge can be achieved by my Green Line A proposal.  My proposed Green Line A spur would greatly decrease the overload on the Red Line by giving Back Bay traffic an alternate means to get to the Red Line at Harvard Station without going through the overloaded portion of the Red Line.   

Green Line A would readily join Green Lines B, C and D in connecting to the Urban Ring at the Kenmore superstation.  

Note also that Green Line A would provide direct transportation to Harvard Medical Students coming from Harvard’s campus in planning at Allston Village - Soldiers Field Road to the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area.  This would be accomplished WITHOUT THE MASSIVE EXPENSE OF HARVARD’S RED LINE DEEP BORE SPUR.  Harvard’s proposal WOULD ALSO REQUIRE REBUILDING HARVARD STATION.  And really be a private shuttle for Harvard with little other use.

Here is my Green Line A proposal.

Is the Cambridge portion of the Urban Ring really necessary?   

In any case, the BIG cash cow, the Medical Area, gets badly needed transportation, including access to Logan through the Orange Line with Red Line Connection at South Station to the Silver Line to the airport, or with Commuter Rail connection directly at Landsdowne Station (also outbound to the Worcester line) or Ruggles Station (several train lines outbound) to South Station and the Silver Line. 

C. The Urban Ring Alternatives.

Here are graphics received from the MBTA which have been posted on this blog before on multiple occasions.  These are two maps of the Cambridge part of the Urban Ring analysis, and one map of the Boston part of the Urban Ring analysis.

(1) Cambridge.

(A) Cambridge bureaucrat preferred route.

Here is the City of Cambridge bureaucrats’ preferred route in Cambridge.

Here is a photo of the excellent Wild Area on the Charles River which would be destroyed by this route:

Cambridge and the Department of Conservation and Recreation are still fighting to destroy this excellence.  Now they call it a bike path.  In the typical Cambridge maneuvering, they have a committee supposedly reviewing the bike path.  At last check, all plans (and many exist) between Memorial Drive and the Charles River are kept secret.  In the meeting I attended a question by a concerned committee member about tree destruction was talked around, multiple possibilities 'being considered."

Here are the destruction plans, taken from the plans for the January 2016 outrage, but not done then.

The Wild Area is on the right.  ONE TREE IS SHOWN out of this thick woods.  Obviously given the dishonesty which is normal from Cambridge and the DCR, the balance are planned to be destroyed.

The destruction is rather clearly being included in "Phase 3" destruction plans by the DCR.  Public hearings were fraudulently conducted claiming the project’s east boundary to be the BU Bridge.

The following slide was included in the presentation, providing the, as usual, SECRET definition of “BU Bridge.”

The right hand (eastern) extreme includes the Wild Area.


My recent analysis of the fake bike path is posted on the Charles River White Geese page with a link at http://www.friendsofthewhitegeese.org/ar1.htm,   The official Cambridge publication is at http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2394&Inline=True, pages 131 to 161.

(B) Kenmore Crossing.

This crossing is described in detail above.  The Mass. Ave. bridge shows over the Charles River to the right of the route.

There is a dot on the route at Mass. Ave., the second dot to the right of the turn.  The first dot shows the turning of the Urban Ring subway to go  under the MIT playing fields.

The massive dorm since built by MIT with MAJOR upzoning benefits provided by the Cambridge City Council is on top of the curve below the first dot between the Grand Junction railroad and Vassar Street.  My analysis is that the construction of this building makes an Urban Ring terminal at the Kenmore superstation highly appropriate, as stated in detail in  the analysis.

(2) Boston Side.

The Cambridge bureaucrat preferred crossing is to the left, the Kenmore crossing to the right.

There are two lines showing these routes before they merge.  It is easier to notice them backing up from the shared area.  The shared area includes the curve at the bottom left of the map.  That curve is at the beginning of the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area.  In this configuration, it would go under a building of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center which used to be the Massachusetts College of Art.  

Moving up, a broken line curving to the top left if visible, plus another straight broken line going diagonally up to Kenmore Square is visible.  The former is the Cambridge preferred route.  Landsdowne Station would be moved a half mile to a mile from its current location to the corner of St. Mary’s and Mountfort Street, a block from Marsh Chapel, the heart of Boston University.

The latter line is the Kenmore Crossing.  This line becomes quite solid before becoming broken again at Kenmore.  The top of the solid line is the Landsdowne project.  The broken portion of the line above the solid segment depicts the portion of the Urban Ring subway proposed to go under the Charles and to pass under Kenmore Square.

The other end of the Urban Ring route is at Ruggles Station on the Orange Line and on other Commuter Rail lines.  An Orange Line spur could readily be created.  Transfer would be necessary to Commuter Rail should that be wished rather than going to the Red Line and traveling one stop to South Station.

Should MassDOT scrap the portion of the Urban Ring in Cambridge, expenses of the route would be greatly reduced by ending the Orange Line spur without building it under the Charles River and under the existing Kenmore Square complex.  Note my extended discussion above.

7. Summary.

The Cambridge City Council is studying whether to change its form of government.

It is my opinion that Proportional Representation worked well UNDER RENT CONTROL because there were two parties which kept an eye on each other.

There is a lot of dishonesty in the development planning bureaucracy and its friends.  The two party system helped protect Cambridge from that dishonesty.  I have multiple zoning victories in Cambridge were made in front of the Cambridge City Council under Rent Control.  Almost all of my victories were opposed by the city bureaucracy.  My victories included about 85% of Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Central Squares on Massachusetts Avenue.  One of the victories was filed in response to a City Councilor request when we persuaded the City Council to defeat a destructive piece of zoning drafted by the Development Department. 

The outrage associated with Urban Ring planning includes at least 20 years, mostly post Rent Control, in which the Development Department FLAT OUT LIED about the alternatives in Urban Ring planning. 

That nonsense is further demonstrated in planning for the Grand Junction railroad which has been an integral part of Urban Ring planning.

The only way that the  TWENTY YEAR LIE have the results Cambridge was fighting for would be for the Cambridge preferred Urban Ring alternative to prevail.  That would move Landsdowne Station in spite of state involvement in upgrading Landsdowne Station at the apparent request of the developer after I informed the developer Cambridge wanted to move it.  And the developer is in the process of spending a very large amount of money based on that station remaining where it is.

I have not wasted the reader’s time on the many other defects in the Cambridge bureaucrat preferred alternative.  

The reality is that the Kenmore Crossing is excellent without stating more, and I have spelled out why.

The progress of the Landsdowne project reaffirms the bankruptcy of that TWENTY YEAR LIE.  That TWENTY YEAR LIE would be unlikely to work in a situation not as corrupt as the government situation in Cambridge.  Elected members of the Cambridge City Council, because of the “transfer” system have very major reason to get together on a story that they will all tell the voters.  There is no incentive for city councilors to worry about nonsensical development claims being proven nonsense by one or more other members of the City Council.

The divisions created by the two party system were definitely helpful in my zoning victories..

The government system in Cambridge desperately needs to end the encouragement of fraud on the voters on development issues.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge. 2. Very early history. PARTIAL transportation analysis.

Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   2.  Very early history. PARTIAL transportation analysis.

1. General.

2. The 60's, the two party system in Cambridge Government.

3. The 60's into the 70's, the “Mass. Pike” (I90).’

4. My bicycle commute to Boston University.  I90 realities today.

5. Relationship to Transportation Plans.

A. Green Line A.

B. Harvard’s Massive Alternative

C. Transportation Summary.

6. To be Continued.

1. General.

This is the second report in a series   The first segment was: “Cambridge City Council considers rewriting the functioning of the City of Cambridge.   I.  A personal prequil,” at  https://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2021/05/.  

2. The 60's, the two party system in Cambridge Government.

During the 60's, I was watching the Berlin Wall go up from too close a perspective for me, giving the UMass Amherst Dean of Students cause to call me the “Most dangerous student on Campus,” and working in Baltimore and Philadelphia.  In the spring of 1970, I visited Washington, D.C. where I perched in a high spot and begged the demonstrators to provide peace in their demonstrations. 

I have no personal knowledge of the occurrences in Cambridge during the 60's except as I interpret what was told me.

It is my understanding that James Leo Sullivan of Lowell, MA, was, for a time in the 1960s, City Manager of the City of Cambridge with Robert Healy, also of Lowell his assistant.

James Leo was removed as City Manager against his wishes.

Radicals, similar to those who convinced me of their incompetence at UMass Amherst, were apparently very active and got things done in Cambridge.  The most important achievement was Rent Control.

Rent Control, in my opinion, made Cambridge’s government work from the 1960's to the 1990's.  

Rent Control made Cambridge’s government work because it created a two party system in the Cambridge government, pro Rent Control and opposed to Rent Control.  Crucial was that the groupings created a situation in which each group kept an eye on the other.

Dating back to the 1940's, Cambridge has had a city council elected at large by “proposal representation.” The City Council, in turn, hires a City Manager to run the city.  Under proportional representation, the voters vote for candidates by order of preference.  The voters number candidates on the ballot starting with #1, favorite, and then by higher numbers based on lower levels of favoritism.  If the candidate you voted for, through winning or losing, cannot use your vote when it is counted, your vote goes to your #2 if that candidate can use it, and so forth.

Under this system, voters voted for slates of people with similar positions.  Thus it paid to have an overlap in positions with other candidates because “transfers” were most likely to go to people with similar positions to the #1, etc. on a particular ballot.  The key position starting in the 1960's was always on Rent Control.  Supporters and opponents formed very clear parties and kept their eyes on the activities of the opposite party.

3. The 60's into the 70's, the “Mass. Pike” (I90).’

The 60's saw very significant building of super highways in the United States in general and a lot of destruction in existing cities in particular.

Activists in Cambridge have been given credit for killing a highway called the “Inner Belt” which did a lot of destruction in Boston.  The Radicals were involved in the destruction of the “Inner Belt.”

In the early 70's, much more important than my, albeit spectacular, activities when I was a summer intern in the Massachusetts Governor’s office, was the final killing of the “Inner Belt” by the governor for whom I was interning.  

4. My bicycle commute to Boston University.  I90 realities today.

During my first semester as a post grad at Boston University Law I lived in an apartment in the North Allston neighborhood of Boston less than a mile from the, in progress, “Massachusetts Turnpike” (I90).  I90 follows the Charles River on the Boston side after it passes my former place in Allston.   It then  runs through the middle of the Boston University campus, passing under a large bridge bearing the southern end of the Boston University Bridge and two blocks or so of Commonwealth Avenue.  

A large area of I90 / the Mass. Pike near where I lived is now owned by Harvard University.  Harvard University is in planning to make most of this area Harvard’s Allston Village - Soldiers Field Road campus.  The most important future occupant of that coming campus has long looked like the Harvard Medical School.  

The zoning vote a year plus ago by all NINE of the Cambridge City Councilors to destroy Harvard Square zoning protections looks like preliminary activity to pay Harvard to move a lot of Harvard’s Harvard Square facilities to Harvard’s coming Allston Village - Soldiers Field Road campus.  

Nine Cambridge City Councilors want more retail in Harvard Square in place of housing and historical buildings.  The historical buildings would be “conserved” in accordance with a 200 page documents dictating the politically correct way to destroy historical buildings.  

Allston Village is already an active student haunt.  Allston Village would be made much more a student haunt by the new Harvard campus.  Allston Village could very possibly replace Harvard Square as one of the Boston areas big tourist magnets.

In the process, the Beacon Park railroad yard which was formerly in the future Harvard Medical School location has been moved to Worcester.  Both the railroad yard and the land occupied by I90 were purchased by Harvard, subject to public transportation needs.  A massive collection of highway ramps is being removed and the highway is being straightened.  This rebuild would move I90 closer to the western end of Boston University and to part of Boston’s South Allston neighborhood.

Here is a more recent view of I90 and Soldiers Field Road following the Charles River on the Boston side.  I90 is raised.  Below it is “Soldiers Field Road,” the boulevard following the Charles River on the Boston side.  To the right in the photo is the Charles River and then Cambridge.  My commute followed Memorial Drive, the partner boulevard on the Cambridge side.  

Every building shown in this photo is part of Boston University.

The Cambridge City Council has passed a vote which seemed to support moving highway facilities into the Charles River in the area shown in this photo from about the bend on.  

The most visible person speaking in favor of this destructive project was the Harvard Faculty Member who led the fight for destruction of Harvard Square’s meaningful zoning protections.  

This Harvard Faculty Member’s destructive, but Harvard favorable, activities have consistently failed to mention her employment by Harvard.  

I commuted by bicycle from North Allston to Boston University during my first semester at BU Law.  My route was along the Charles River on the Cambridge side between the River Street and Boston University Bridges.  I crossed both bridges over the Charles River in the process.  My final lap over the BU Bridge has since become a key feature in the 40 year residence of the Charles River White Geese.  

Here is another recent view of I90 just before it passes under the BU Bridge and Commonwealth Avenue.

The structure in the distance is the Grand Junction railway bridge.  The local transit operator, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, in 2003 proved that an off ramp could be built to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from this location.  

The near side of I90 is the east bound side.  The proposal would run an off ramp from this side of I90 over I90 and connect to the Grand Junction railway bridge.  The MBTA proposed that the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge be widened by cantilever construction in the downriver side.  In this photo the addition would be nearer the camera.  East is to the right, the destination of the inbound traffic.

Here is a view with the camera turned slightly to the right.[0547]

At the bottom left corner is the outbound side of I90, shown further from the camera above.  To the right is the BU Bridge.  The nearest opening under the BU Bridge is Soldiers Field Road.  The second opening is the Grand Junction Railroad.  The large building is a former Ford / Polaroid Plant more recently owned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, as near as I understand things, is now owned by Harvard University.  This building is on the northern / far side of Memorial Drive, across from the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese. 

Here is the reverse view of the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge, photo taken from the BU Bridge.  The structure on the left is the low wall protecting pedestrians on the western facing portion of the BU Bridge.  Slightly beyond the railroad bridge is Soldiers Field Road.  The building visible near the far end of the wall, during my bicycle commute, was a Cadillac - Oldsmobile dealer.  It is now part of Boston University.

Moving the camera in the direction of view, here is a view of the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge   heading toward Boston, A green traffic sign above I90 is visible almost straight ahead, looking at its edge and part of one side of the sign.  Looking really closely, traffic can be seen on that part of the highway.  The right side of the bridge and one of the two channels shown above is visible near the camera and to the right.  The smaller bridge going over Soldiers Field Road is clear in the prior photo. [

Here is the Cambridge end of the Grand Junction Railroad Bridge.  

To the left is the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese. Their prior mile long habitat has been reduced to the Destroyed Nesting Area and the luscious food there destroyed.  On the right is the Wild Area.  The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the current owner, has plans to destroy all but one tree in the Wild Area.  

The downriver (east) edge of the BU Bridge is slightly visible in the bottom left corner.

Here is a summer photo of the doomed Wild Area.

Here is a photo of a goose family.  The gander on the right is Bumpy, the long time leader of the gaggle.  He was assassinated by a serial goose killer who apparently graduated to rape and murder at the Destroyed Nesting Area after the very noisy silence of the Cambridge City Council on his killing of  mother geese on their nests and then of Bumpy.  

The Cambridge City Council spent an hour discussing the rape and murder, but did not want to know where it occurred.  One city councilor identified the location, swallowed her words, looked around guiltily and joined the rest of the City Council, talking about Harvard Square.  She, post incumbency, has followed up in the fight to destroy habitat on the Charles River.

Starting in my second semester, I lived about a mile from Boston University in Cambridge’s Mid-Cambridge neighborhood, a few buildings from what was then the Cambridge Hospital.  That rearranged my bicycle commute to Boston University so that the only part on the river was over the BU Bridge.

Here is a more recent drone photo of the area of the BU Bridge where I traveled by bike when I lived in Allston and in my much longer residence in Cambridge.

This is a still taken from minute 10.55 of “From Cambridge to Boston with the DJ Inspire 1 Drone footage,” posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN-OmMzvHhw.

In the bottom right hand corner is the BU Bridge.  The triangular area to the left has now been the Destroyed Nesting Area of the Charles River White Geese for 40 years, with the currently doomed Wild Area the upper portion of the triangle.  To the very left is Memorial Drive on a bridge over a “rotary” under Memorial Drive at which the BU Bridge ends.

The extremely tall building above the Charles River and slightly to the right of center is the 22 story Boston University Law School.

The building barely visible to the left was formerly a Ford / Polaroid plant.  More recently it belonged to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Last I heard, it now belongs to Harvard University.

5. Relationship to Transportation Plans.

A. Green Line A.

To put the situation in better perspective, here is my proposal for a new “Green Line” A streetcar system running from the BU Bridge / Commonwealth Avenue in the area of the rebuilt I90 /  Mass. Pike.  Green Line A would ultimately connect to Harvard Station on the MBTA’s “Red Line.”   Boston is on the left / below.  Cambridge is on the right / above.

Proceeding from the bottom right, at the very corner, the yellow road is I90.

Moving up a little bit, the blue line makes a sharp turn.  The blue line is my proposed Green Line A.   At the point of the sharp turn is where Green Line A would go from air rights in the I90 corridor to the Commonwealth Avenue Green Line right of way.  The Commonwealth Avenue line is called Green Line B.  The previously existing Green Line branch A was removed decades ago.

Here is a photo of the connection viewed from the Green Line B right of way. [0648]

This photo is taken on the Commonwealth Avenue / BU Bridge bridge over I90.  The building whose edge is seen to the left is the former Cadillac - Oldsmobile Dealer.  Straight ahead and to the right is the beginning of the Boston University buildings west of the BU Bridge and between the Charles River and Green Line B.  The metal highway divider in the lower right corner separates the road bridge covering of I90 from the road bridge covering of the MBTA’s Worcester commuter rail line which adjoins I90 in this area.

For the connection, the street car tracks would fork to the right about the location of the car and GO OVER THE EDGE of the bridge above the commuter rail line and proceed in the I90 right of way along with the Worcester line.  The latest Harvard game seeks to add a stop to the Worcester line in the planned Allston Village - Soldiers Field Road campus where the Harvard Medical School would be located.

Moving to the left and up on my Green Line A plan (here is another copy), the second proposed stop on the new Green Line A would be for the relocated Harvard Medical School.  This is the point where Harvard wants a private commuter rail stop on the Worcester line.  The blue lines to the right of the Green Line A stop / proposed private commuter rail stop would be a yard for street cars running on Green Line A.

The next stop would be at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Cambridge Street in Allston.  This is the edge of residential North Allston.  At this point I turned on my bike route to go over the Charles to Cambridge and followed the river to the BU Bridge.

The next stop after Cambridge Street is in the North Allston neighborhood, North Harvard Street and Franklin Street.  I lived on a dead end side street parallel to Franklin Street and one block beyond Franklin Street.  My bike commute very quickly reached Cambridge Street and turned off the proposed Green Line A route toward the Charles River.  At the very top of the map are three proposed locations for the Harvard Square Green Line A terminal directly connecting to the Red Line.

B. Harvard’s Massive Alternative.

Harvard and its friends have proposed a much more expensive “deep bore” Red Line spur which, south of Harvard’s new campus, would run to the left of and FAR BELOW I90 to near the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston.  This is the current location of Harvard Medical School.  This massive expense would create a quick connection between the Medical School classes and housing and the hospitals at which the medical students would train.

There is a very major difference between the Harvard proposal and Green Line A at Harvard Station.

Until the 1970's, Harvard Station was the northern terminal of the Red Line, with a yard for Red Line trains between the current station and the Charles River through a tunnel which, for the most part, still exists.  Green Line A would go under the Charles River and then under JFK Park in a location designed to accommodate a subway line without destroying trees.  

After the park, Green Line A would go under an existing pedestrian path which separates the Charles Hotel and Harvard’s J.F. Kennedy School of Government.  Under that path it would connect to the still existing train tunnel which ends at the J. F. Kennedy School of Government.  The JFK school replaced the subway train yards.  One or two pedestrian elevators have been built blocking the tunnel between there and Harvard Station proper.  One elevator is adjacent to the main Red Line part of the station.  One or both of the elevators would have to be moved.

By contrast, the Harvard proposal would tear up the existing Harvard Station.  Harvard’s new subway line would be start at Porter Station, the next Red Line station after Harvard Station.  Harvard’s proposal would split the existing line to create a spur to the Harvard Medical School area and then to the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area.

The existing subway station is in the way of Harvard’s beloved fork so it the existing Harvard Station would have to be rebuilt.

Harvard’s construction destroying and replacing the existing Harvard Station would, of necessity, dominate Harvard Square proper.

C. Transportation Summary.

Green Line A would run on bridge construction above or part of I90 and the future Harvard Medical School, etc.  It would then be built “cut and cover” under North Harvard Street from Cambridge Street to the Harvard Business School / Harvard Stadium area south of the Charles River.  It would then go under the Charles River.

Connection to the Harvard Medical School would be by way of Kenmore Station on Green Lines B, C and D.  There currently are very well organized bus connections from Kenmore Station and Landsdowne (Yawkey) commuter rail station to the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area.

The Harvard / Longwood Medical area is one of Massachusetts’ biggest cash cows.  It badly needs major transportation improvements.  The Urban Ring subway proposal would connect Kenmore / Fenway Park / Landsdowne Commuter Rail station by an “Orange Line” Spur to Harvard / Longwood Medical Area and then to downtown Boston (and from there Logan Airport) on the Orange Line by way of Ruggels Station.

I originally proposed the Kenmore superstation as a response to Cambridge maneuvers which would have moved Landsdowne Station.  The legislature greatly upgraded Landsdowne (Yawkey) Station reaffirming support for the Urban Ring concept after I informed the developer of Cambridge’s plans.  The Kenmore superstation would connect commuter rail with Green Line A / B / C / D and the Urban Ring, should the Urban Ring go forward.

Here is a photo of the upgraded Landsdowne Station.  It, along with Kenmore, is currently connected to the Harvard / Longwood Medical Area by well organized bus service.   Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox is across the street from the two buildings on the right.  The light array is part of Fenway Park.  Visible to the left is I90.

Harvard’s private train station at the proposed Harvard Medical School relocation is redundant to the Landsdowne  Station inbound from Harvard’s proposed private station, and redundant to the Boston Crossing station about a mile outbound from Harvard’s proposed private station.  The Boston Crossing station could easily be connected to Harvard’s Medical School by bus service as well.

6. To be Continued.

My apologies for the extended transportation analysis.  This entire situation involves a very major part of the Boston area.  Cambridge’s games have repeatedly lost, with help from me and, more importantly, from the HIGHLY responsible Massachusetts Department of Transportation.  The transportation analysis fits my commuting route.  The powers that be in Cambridge are playing a whole bunch of other dirty tricks.

Also of major importance is MIT’s attempt to get a private I90 exit using the MBTA 2003 plans to widen the Grand Junction Railroad bridge.  This is currently being sold as a bike path.

I have communicated this outrage to the Cambridge City Council at its March 15, 2021 meeting.  The official City Council record is posted at http://cambridgema.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2394&Inline=True, pages 131 to 161.

A less complicated view to find of that letter is posted with a link on the Charles River White Geese web page at http://www.friendsofthewhitegeese.org/ar1.htm,  

Note, however, that this analysis is of necessity abbreviated.  There are more transportation activities possible which would really turn this analysis into a book.  

In the meantime, Cambridge keeps fighting for environmental destruction and lying about environmental sainthood.