December 14, 2004

Important transportation commitments public hearing!

Green Line extension at risk!
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 1-4 pm
Gardner Auditorium, State House
24 Beacon St., Boston (Map)

How do I get there?
Taking the T:
The T-stop nearest the State House is Park Street on the Red or Green Line. When you emerge from the T-stop, look uphill through the Boston Common and you will see the Massachusetts State House with its gold dome. Follow the Freedom Trail (marked by a red line on the sidewalk) until you come to Beacon Street. The gold-domed State House will be directly in front of you.

Driving and Parking:
The State House is located at 24 Beacon Street in the heart of Boston (view map). Unfortunately, there is no free or visitor parking available. Metered spaces are available on a limited basis. The closest parking garage is the Boston Common Garage, entered on Charles Street midway between Boston Common and the Public Garden (at the "C" in Charles St. on the map link above). Charles Street is one-way northbound toward Beacon Street from Boylston in this location. Call the State House (722-2000) for exact driving instructions.

Where is Gardner Auditorium?
The auditorium is in the State House. When facing the front of the building on Beacon St., the auditorium is to the far right of the building. Enter at street level to the right of the main stairs. Take stairs or elevator down to the basement level.


Green Line extension through Somerville is a binding legal obligation. The state may only substitute for the Green Line extension if the project "is infeasible due to associated adverse engineering, environmental or economic impacts" and the Executive Office of Transportation can demonstrate that an alternative "project achieves equal or greater" air quality benefits "in the area where the required project was to have been implemented." DEP and EOT are trying to change this to get out of their long-standing obligations.

State agencies have failed to deliver over the last 14 years, the transit commitments that were made to Somerville. They must deliver by the 2011 deadline!

State meeting commitments = Attention to environmental justice" done to Somerville residents who have endured an excess of burdens without proportional benefits from regional transportation! Environmental justice requires fair treatment of communities with low income, minority and immigrant residents!

200 diesel trains just pass through Somerville every weekday and don't stop. This contributes to our health burdens without providing services.

Transportation air pollution is serious. The Children's Health Study in California shows that children who play year round near heavy traffic are 3 times as likely to develop asthma, and that children who grow up in heavily polluted neighborhoods are 4 times as likely to never achieve full lung capacity.

Reliable studies show a linear relationship between air pollution and excess lung cancer and heart attack deaths. Many of the most recent 2000 studies have been funded by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Massachusetts' public health records from 1996 through 2000 show Somerville having 145 such excess deaths, 29 per year.  However, Somerville residents smoke less than average.
- Somerville leads the state's 351 cities and towns with excess lung cancer and heart attack deaths per square mile per year.
- Cambridge and Brookline have extensive, clean transit, pedestrian friendly environments and far less truck traffic. Their lower than average lung cancer and heart attack deaths demonstrates how large local impacts are in relation to communities' unequal environmental burdens.

The MBTA is using older, retired diesel buses as temporary shuttles from North Station to Lechmere Station. DEP Commissioner Golledge is concerned. Their use demonstrates disregard for air quality in Somerville and Cambridge.

The State knew before the completion of I-93 in the early 1970s that Somerville's air quality did not meet Federal standards and would worsen with traffic increases. The completion of the Big Dig will add even more to I-93 burdens.
- Now there are over 300,000 vehicles per day on I-93 and local arterial highways.
- State went ahead anyway, without mitigation of impacts, which is unforgivable.