Dear Secretary Bowles:
The East Arlington Livable Streets (EALS) Coalition is a neighborhood-based advocacy organization founded in 2008. EALS has over 170 supporters on our e-mail list, over 400 fans on our Facebook page and we aspire to become the neighborhood’s voice on transportation and livability-related issues. Residents throughout East Arlington have been strong supporters of the Green Line Extension (GLX) project through Somerville.
I am writing to express our group’s concerns that the project, as currently designed, does not meet the transportation needs of the hundreds of residents of East Arlington that rely on transit or those who wish to incorporate bicycle transportation into their lives. EALS urges the Commonwealth to make the following changes to the project as currently proposed:
Design AND build the Community Path concurrently with the GLX
- Currently connecting Alewife Station to Davis Square, the multi-use path’s extension through Somerville to Lechmere and beyond to downtown Boston will likely be used by thousands of cyclists instead of driving.
- Combined with enhanced bike parking at GLX stations, the Community Path will increase ridership without necessitating expensive park-and-ride lots and garages
- Without the concurrent construction, it may be ten or twenty years until the Community Path design is implemented, an intolerable delay for such an important transportation and recreational project.
Build the Rt. 16 terminus as part of Phase I
- Because the proposed Phase II terminus at Rt. 16 lies only a few hundred feet from the town line, dozens or East Arlington residents would be able to walk to transit and hundreds more could bike; the College Avenue station is “out of sight, out of mind” for Arlingtonians and will be underutilized
- DCRâs Alewife Brook trail, currently under construction, provides the perfect multi-modal connection to the GLX station at Rt. 16 while no such off-street connection exists for the College Avenue station
- While the extension to Rt. 16 is proposed for Phase II, EALS is concerned that this final section will never be built because of the higher cost of later-phase construction and loss of political momentum after the Phase I construction
Many of us have followed the Green Line Extension planning process from day one. We feel excited that the day has finally come for the rail transit to be developed in Somerville after many years of delay. However, the GLX has the potential to be a significant enhancement for the thousands of East Arlington residents who would like to take a one seat transit ride into East Cambridge or downtown Boston or bicycle to these same destinations along an off-street path.
Thank you very much.
Chad Gibson, Co-chair
Jeffrey Mullan, Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation
Senator Ken Donnelley, Massachusetts State Senator
Representative Sean Garballey, State House of Representatives
Representative Will Brownsberger, State House of Representatives
Ed Starr, Transportation Advisory Committee Chair
Brian Sullivan, Arlington Town Manager
Carole Kowalski, Director of Community Planning