MEPA certificate accepts Green Line DEIR but requires Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR)
The office of MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) has issued a certificate that generally approves the Green Line Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). However, it is demanding that an FEIR be created in order to fully address remaining issues such as the maintenance facility. It’s unclear how long it will take to create an FEIR.
Here are high-level points from the document:
- MEPA received hundreds of letters on the DEIR from residents, officials, and organizations. Thank you to all who submitted comments!
- MEPA says that MassDOT must “further evaluate alternative locations for the Maintenance Facility in order to address the widespread opposition to the DEIR’s preferred location at Yard 8” – including quantitative assessment of Option L and Mirror H. The certificate says that “it appears that Option L may be the most feasible alternative location and the one with the fewest potential conflicts and impacts.”
- MassDOT must “explore ways to improve integration of the Lechmere Station into the surrounding neighborhood” – including reducing impact on abutters such as the Glass Factory, reducing parking, and improving pedestrian and bicycle access.
- Regarding other Green Line stations, MEPA urges MassDOT to consider public comments on issues such as station design, neighborhood integration, and station access (e.g., bus routes and pull-outs).
- If extending the Green Line from College Ave to Route 16 is a phase 2 build, MEPA will want a more detailed environmental impact analysis before this phase. It also requires more detailed analysis of how the College Ave area will be impacted if that station serves as a temporary terminus.
- The Community Path, good bicycle access to stations, and bicycle parking are all important, and MEPA urges MassDOT and Somerville to find funding so the Path can be built concurrently with the Green Line.
- MassDOT must “provide further clarification concerning its air quality modeling assumptions.”
- MassDOT must “provide a conceptual plan for evaluating, monitoring and compensating affected parties along the corridor with respect to noise and vibration.”
- MassDOT should “accommodate identified future projects into project layout and design, or at a minimum, not preclude their construction” – this is in reference to many letters asking that Route 28/McGrath be taken down and turned into a boulevard. It also relates to the Urban Ring, extending the Union Square branch to Porter Square, and perhaps a future commuter rail stop at Union Square (based on Congressman Capuano’s comments).
- A Public Involvement Plan will be created to “facilitate robust community participation beyond the conclusion of the MEPA process” – during planning, design, and construction.