Worcester-Cambridge rail link opposed, no one states the obvious

from the Boston Globe:

A proposal to extend the Worcester/Framingham commuter rail line through Eastern Cambridge to North Station met stiff resistance last night during a community meeting at the Morse School.

I have two responses to this opposition:

1) A Worcester resident needs to show up at one of these meetings to say, “Hey, we took CSX off your hands, now it’s payback time.”

2) Steven Nutter of Livable Streets Alliance asked: “How is this type of project different than a highway that brings people in from Worcester and Framingham?”  It was unclear from this quote whether Nutter’s issue was traffic congestion or people from Worcester coming into the city of Cambridge.  If it’s the latter, the city of Worcester is already doing a great job of alienating and driving out Worcesterites — call them for tips!

5 thoughts on “Worcester-Cambridge rail link opposed, no one states the obvious

  1. So, this is a rail line that already exists. They are now proposing to…run more trains on it?
    I think the difference between trains and roadways are fairly well documented, actually.

        1. Thank you for the nice words about my report.

          A perhaps helpful comment concerning taking the railyards off your hands.

          Harvard University owns those rail yards and the adjacent Massachusetts Turnpike. They bought them a few months after a state study proved Mass. Pike traffic could be moved to the rail bridge to Cambridge, the Grand Junction. Massive environmental destruction has ensued on the Charles a lot of it clearly making room for Mass. Pike traffic one of these years.

          Harvard certainly looks like it intends to move the Harvard Medical School there.

          Lots of additional information in other reports on the blog.

  2. A Cambridge neighbor has called for a proper environmental review of the commuter rail through Cambridge, whether there’s a stop in Cambridge or not. (Unless there’s a stop in Cambridge, there will be no legally mandated environmental review.) I believe DOT will avoid a stop to avoid such a review.

    However, given the segmentation of environmental review so far (this commuter rail expansion is but one part of the rearrangement of freight and commuter rail), DOT may think the risk of an informal review is manageable, given experience to date.

    Item 1: CSX, with DOT’s approval, submitted the Worcester segment for environmental review. That review was, in my opinion, not properly done, but the Mass. Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) nevertheless accepted it and the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) Secretary issued a Certificate so the Worcester freight yard expansion could go ahead.

    Item 2: Now most recently the Cedar Swamp Conservation Trust has raised the issue of inadequate environmental review of CSX/Transflo’s expanded facility in Westborough. That facility will handle all hazmat transfers in eastern MA. In my opinion, this is another example of improper segmentation to avoid full environmental review of the project.

    Possible Item 3: no environmental review in Cambridge.

    MEPA’s position is that it can’t consider all these segments together since they’re physically separate. Yet it accepted reductions in emissions at physically distant Beacon Yards in Allston as offsets to increased emissions in Worcester, in order to make the case for air quality improvement at Worcester. And environmental review of the metro Boston Urban Ring’s physically disparate elements did consider the project as a whole, so that’s legally and bureaucratically possible.

    Instead we have segmentation, hence lack full understanding of the environmental consequences of rearranging rail freight and passenger service in eastern MA. I don’t think such segmentation is legal.

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