City of Somerville’s talking points on Green Line DEIR

  • Post category:Green Line

In advance of the public hearing today on the DEIR, the City released the following…
The City applauds the release of the Green Line Extension DEIR and offers its sincere thanks to MassDOT for committing to a Route 16 terminus, full design of the Community Path, and an analysis of alternate locations for the maintenance facility. The DEIR represents a critical phase in the public evaluation process and allows for preliminary engineering to begin. The City welcomes the opportunity to comment on MassDOT’s work thus far and strongly encourages its residents and business owners to offer written comment prior to January 8, 2010.

Transit must be more than an end unto itself. It must be designed to solve existing problems and anticipate future needs. Although, overall, the Green Line is certain to improve air quality by reducing the region’s long term over-reliance on cars, the environmental benefits of the project will be vastly increased through: (1) station design and siting that prioritizes bus, bike, and pedestrian connectivity; (2) full mitigation of noise and vibration impacts, (3) strategic land use designed to promote transit-oriented development and improve quality of life; and (4) a continued extensive public process. In each of these areas, MassDOT needs to enhance the plans provided in the DEIR.
Station Design & Siting
1) Improved Bus Connectivity
a. Intermodal connectivity between bus routes and the Green Line needs to be more thoroughly studied: Rerouting of existing routes need to be identified to better connect with the stations and station designs should provide a drop off spot for bus transfer passengers.
2) No Special Auto Connectivity
a. The Green Line Stations must be woven into a pre-existing urban fabric – no special accommodations for auto pick-up or drop-off should be designed, with the exception of the terminus at Route 16.
3) Sensitive Architectural Elements
a. Stations should be designed to match existing neighborhood identities and thoroughly vetted via a public process.
4) Increased Pedestrian Access
a. All stations should be located on major streets and have access from multiple points, including both sides of the street.
5) Clear Community Path and Bicycle Connections
a. In order to ensure direct connections at each station and a safe, attractive, and highly-functional Path, both projects should be designed and constructed simultaneously.
6) Limited Noise & Vibration Impacts
a. MassDOT should clearly define procedures for further mitigation if stated noise and vibration targets are not reached. Additionally, a procedure for determining compensation, incorporating community representation, should be included for instances where mitigation proves insufficient.
Land Use – Maintenance Facility
7) Yard 8 Unacceptable
a. Yard 8 location does not meet any of three criteria (quality of life, transportation access, economic development) developed by the City and has severe negative impacts on the Inner Belt District
8) More Consideration of Mirror H and Option L
a. Although “Mirror H” remains City’s preferred alternative, “Option L” has merit as a location and deserves detailed planning and design. These designs should be made available for public review and input as soon as possible.
9) Reduced Size and Scope
a. As an environmental justice community, City should assume the burden for storing new trains only – i.e., half the amount of storage space proposed. The 100 proposed surface parking spots, moreover, run contrary to the Commonwealth’s and MassDOT’s stated commitments to smart growth and transit oriented development.
Land Use – Inner Belt Station Locations
10) Brickbottom Station
a. Access should be provided from both sides of Washington Street and platform relocated if necessary in order to provide strong pedestrian connections to existing neighborhoods and the Inner Belt.
11) Additional Station
a. MassDOT should complete a full planning process around an additional Inner Belt stop designed to promote and support the future high-density development of the District.
Continued Extensive Public Process
12) Public Process
a. Community involvement and public coordination should intensify as project progresses. Project-wide Advisory Group should be maintained through construction and additional advisory groups should be established around each station for station design, land use, connectivity and construction issues.