Notes from Green Line DEIR workshop

  • Post category:Green Line

Keep reading for the notes from STEP’s November 7 meeting on the Green Line DEIR.

Green Line Legal Commitment issues
It is necessary to comply with the Clean Air Act (Meeting the Green Line SIP commitment
What happens if the state remains out of compliance with clean air act?
Concern was raised about whether the end of 2014 is a smart deadline if we are short circuiting good planning.
Recommendation to review the Healthy Compact component of the new DOT reorganization legislation for making comments on DEIR
Noise of operations
Mitigation during construction for noise, vibration, etc.
Diagrams do not fully reveal how close the tracks will be to the Brickbottom Building and other buildings along the right of way
Need to involve neighborhoods affected regarding noise and vibration
Recommendation that testing be done immediately after project begins to determine if estimates for vibration and noise done for the DEIR are accurate.
Urban Design Issues
Four studies conducted by the MBTA in the 1980s on livability have not been turned into design and planning guidelines.
– There is a lack of guiding principles
– The state needs to plan all transportation projects on the basis of guiding principles for TOD, smart growth and quality of live impacts. For example, TOD and land use are the planning and organizing focus of the South Coast Rail project, but have been ignored in the Green Line extension planning despite the requirement by the Secretary to address these concerns in the EENF.
Pedestrian accessibility poor for the stations
The design required in the MEPA Scope (EENF) does not sufficiently address the detailed concerns and requirements for each station.
– Station design in the DEIR is too conceptual
– In the DEIR design and engineering is insufficient for moving the project to a final EIR because of a range of unaddressed issues (i.e., station design, siting, bike parking, community path integration)
Bike access and bike parking at all stations needs to be improved.
New LRVs should be designed to accommodate bicycles (like Portland LRVs)
What constitutes good and sufficient density for TOD? How does this project foster economic development?
DEIR does not address EOT commitment to economic development
With the reorganization of MA DOT it is an opportunity to persuade the DOT to do things differently to plan better and save money. Examples include:
– Construct community path as part of Green Line extension
– Coordinate changes to Route 28 with Green Line extension to calm traffic and turn it into a boulevard)
Future Project Implementation, Management and Public Involvement
Concerns about the pitfalls of design/build approach
Construction coordination
Ongoing Community participation in the next phase (presumed to be done as a design/build project) is necessary
Public involvement will help to keep decision-making public (transparency)
Need to have a field office that residents can go to with concerns on an ongoing basis
Need neighborhood based community groups to be involved in planning around each station,
New MA DOT is supposed to work with Secretary of Economic Affairs to promote station location and design that promotes economic development and the community needs to show MA DOT how to do this – change the paradigm pro-actively.
Commuter rail transfer concerns:
Possibly transfer at Ball Square but only if Commuter rail is electric not diesel because of the pollution it would create for neighbors
Rep Provost noted that comments madein response to the EENF not that diesel trains should not stop in Somerville. This should oonly be permitted if trains are electrified
Consider dual-mode conversion of existing trains
Build for the future