Second (and final) comment period on the MEPA Waiver ends October 9

Today Secretary Bowles published a Draft Record of Decision (DROD) on Harvard's waiver request. This starts a comment period that ends on October 9 for comments on this draft decision. These comments are read and considered and should specifically address items in the DROD.

Probably the most relevant issue for many of us in the community is the requirement that Harvard must provide more information about the transportation data and assumptions for the Science Complex. On this subject there is an important mistake in the Secretary's findings that should be mentioned in our comments. On Page 7 of the DROD it mentions Harvard's intentions to "reduce the employee automobile mode share for the Science Complex from the current 59% at the existing Allston campus to 50%."

But the automobile mode share at the existing Allston campus is 72%, not 59% (see Table 3-11 on page 3-60 of the DPIR). 59% is the overall number for all workers in Allston for all employers. The public transportation numbers are similar for all of Allston and Harvard's Allston employees, but while 23% of Allston employees bike or walk to work, only 8% of Harvard's Allston employees bike or walk.

For Harvard to get only 1/2 of its Science Complex employees to drive to work, Harvard thinks they can get more of their Science Complex employees to take the T to work at the Science Complex (40%) than Harvard's Cambridge employees (39%). Considering that Cambridge has better access to the T than North Allston and Harvard Square is a true hub of public transportation (as shown by this MBTA map) it seems likely that at least a few people who might use public transportation to get to work in Cambridge will decide to drive to work in Allston.

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