STEP distributed these notes at the Nov 18 pubic hearing…
STEP urges strong and considerate support for the efforts of MassDOT to move the Green Line forward with the release of the Draft EIR. The state has committed over $1 billion to the Green Line Extension.
We support a continued “Green Light for the Green Line” AND proceeding with care.
We must “DO IT RIGHT” if this project is to sustainably serve the next three generations.
Somerville and its citizens applaud the release of the Green Line Extension DEIR and offer sincere thanks to MassDOT for committing to a Route 16 terminus, to full design of the Community Path, and to continued analysis of alternate locations for the maintenance and storage facility. The DEIR represents a critical milestone in the public evaluation process and allows for preliminary project engineering to begin. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on MassDOT’s work thus far. We encourage fellow residents, our neighbors and local business owners to submit written comments prior to January 8, 2010.
Station Design & Siting
- Green Line stations must connect as seamlessly as possible with all other clean modes of transportation, including current and re-routed buses. Station design should accommodate bus drop off and pick-up with maximum integration of transit modes and minimal street disruption.
- Station designs should allow for car drop off, but not parking, and present ease of pedestrian and bicycle access by location of stations on major streets whenever possible, with station access from both sides of the street and in all direction of travel. This will maximize transit use.
- Station and station area designs must be developed through a formal community participation process to ensure that they fit into existing neighborhoods and support appropriate future mixed use development. Takings should be minimized to save the state money and to preserve land uses.
- Design for the project terminus at Lechmere Square should pay particular attention to the East Cambridge Planning Team’s pedestrian friendly area design ideas and old Lechmere Station re-use suggestions. The terminus at Route 16 should incorporate MGNA’s ideas for minimizing takings.
Community Path Integration & Preservation of Corridor Transit Potential
- Track design and construction should enable adding future stations â between Lechmere and Washington Street / Union Square, between College Avenue and Route 16, and along a future Green Line extension to Porter Square that could serve both Cambridge and Somerville neighborhoods.
- The Community Path and its important station connections must be designed and constructed simultaneously with the Green Line extension in order to facilitate direct pedestrian and bicycle access to the stations and to ensure a safe, attractive, and highly-functional Community Path.
Economic Development & Regional Corridor Planning
- Track, station and Green Line corridor area designs must provide full roadway and community access to Brickbottom Inner Belt and Lechmere Station through reconstruction of Route 28 as a neighborhood and local business friendly boulevard. Improved connectivity to both sides of Route 28 is crucial.
- State and other leading Transit-Oriented Development guidelines should be utilized to promote strategic regional economic development within a mixed use context in the Brickbottom Inner Belt and Union Square Boynton Yard districts. Maintaining diversity in people and businesses while improving the natural environment is critical. Access to open space and greenery promotes health.
Maintenance Facility & Regional Environmental Justice
- More detailed analysis of Mirror H and Option L is necessary. The siting of the maintenance facility and storage yards should not increase the transportation infrastructure and environmental burdens in Somerville or interfere with proposed economic development in the Brickbottom Inner Belt area.
- Current use of the Boston Engine Terminal for the maintenance of diesel engines serving the commuter rail network south of Boston needs to be phased out and a new facility built south of Boston to eliminate the unsustainable and unjustifiable shuttling of trains through Cambridge.
- MEPA should require collaborative planning, with community involvement and public coordination that should intensify immediately, before this project progresses. A staffed field office should be required, before construction start, to address resident concerns and facilitate involvement.
- A project-wide Citizens Advisory Group should be maintained throughout detailed design, engineering, construction and start-up phases with additional smaller local advisory groups established for specific station design, land use, connectivity, construction and mitigation issues.
- A procedure for determining remedies and/or compensation, incorporating community representation, should be required to handle instances when project mitigation proves insufficient to meet pre-agreed impact standards for noise, vibration, pollution and other environmental burdens.
Public Comment Process
Public comments on the DEIR/EA should be made to the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, through the Commonwealth’s MEPA process. The federal government conducts its own review of the document to ensure adequacy of the document under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and accepts public comment to the NEPA process in two ways:
First, the comments made at the November 18 Public Hearing will be included in a transcript that will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
Second, EOT will compile the comment letters submitted through the MEPA process, along with responses to these comments, and provide them to FTA after the completion of the DEIR comment period.
All written comments must include EEA #13886
And be submitted by email, fax or mail to:
Secretary Ian Bowles
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: Holly Johnson, MEPA Analyst
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114