October 16, 2006

Green Line environmental planning hearing

Monday, Oct 16, 6-8 pm
Somerville High School Auditorium
81 Highland Ave (map)

This is a public hearing on the environmental review and planning process for the Green Line extensions, held by the State's Executive Office of Transportation (EOT). Read more about the environmental planning process.

If you can't make the meeting, written comments may be be submitted by November 9 to:
Secretary of Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge St., Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Attention: MEPA Office
Re: Green Line Extension

You can also email comments to deirdre.buckley@state.ma.us

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Issues to be addressed in the Green Line Environmental Review Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF)

The EENF assumes that the Union Square extension alignment along the Fitchburg line is a final decision. However it was agreed at the termination of the Beyond Lechmere Northwest Corridor Major Investment Study/Alternatives Analysis (MIS/AA) study that alternate routes would be considered that would bring the Green Line directly into Union Square. The environmental review should not consider preliminary choices as the final design decision in the environmental review of the project.

The EENF does not address the need for coordination with the redesign and re-construction of McGrath and O’Brien Highway which must happen soon because of failing columns. The environmental review should address the relationship between the highway re-construction and the Union Square extension alignment.

The Single Environmental Impact Review (SEIR) must include full investigation of the land use and the urban design context of the Green Line extensions to fully serve current and future people, transportation and land uses rather than narrowly considering infrastructure efficiency without careful regard for those it will serve.

The environmental review must carefully consider the environmental justice issues identified in the Beyond Lechmere study because East Cambridge and eastern Somerville and South Medford are designated environmental justice areas. One way to ensure this happens is to strongly urge appointment of a citizen advisory committee to work with MEPA and EOT on addressing environmental justice issues during the corridor planning and environmental permitting process over the next two years.
Federal regulation requires full participation of the affected communities regarding the Lechmere Station relocation and Green Line extension planning and implementation in Somerville and Medford.

Require that the environmental review address the large gap between the Lechmere, Washington Street and Union Square stations because there is no station near Brickbottom or Twin Cities. Such a station would provide access, particularly to transit dependent residents of environmental justice communities to these commercial establishments and the neighborhoods just beyond.

Just as the Union Square branch alignment was not agreed to at the end of the Beyond Lechmere study, the terminus of the Green Line in Medford was also not resolved. Recommendations for terminating the line south of Route 16 in a commercial zone would be beneficial to Medford and Somerville residents.

The EENF proposes that the 25 trolleys currently stored at Lechmere and an additional 30 or more that will be added for the Green Line extension be stored in Yard 8, which is in Inner Belt. The proposed storage facility would also provide some trolley maintenance and include parking for the trolley operators and service employees. The SEIR must evaluate alternative storage and service locations, such as the nearby Boston Engine Terminal because it is large enough to store and do some maintenance on Green Line trolleys. Locating the facility in Yard 8 may be incompatible to Inner Belt development goals.