Urban Ring info from Bob La Trémouille

Bob La Trémouille, co-editor of the Charles River White Geese Blog, posted the following to the Riverside Neighborhood Group email group about last night's Fenway Urban Ring meeting. The Urban Ring has the potential to make huge public transportation improvements for Allston, but the current configuration seems more concerned with the needs of Harvard and BU than the rest of the community.

To learn more and speak up for public transportation for the general public, please attend the meeting Wednesday, June 18, 2008 at 6:30 pm at the Honan Library. Bob's meeting report follows:

At the Fenway meeting last night, the state representatives REFUSED to discuss the Allston plans in detail.

They showed two different versions of the Allston plans which connect to Harvard Square. The Allston plans will be discussed in a meeting which they describe as being with the Allston Civic Association at Honan-Allston Library, 300 North Harvard Street, Allston.

North Harvard Street runs from Harvard Square to the Hess Station on Cambridge Street. This library is about halfway between Cambridge Street and Western Avenue.

The Longwood bus tunnel proposal was discussed at the Fenway meeting in much greater detail, primarily because of the many questions it took to get some sort of semblance of meaningful description from them.

This tunnel would seem to cost about 60% of the total Urban Ring costs. The tunnel would run 1.5 miles under ground with only one stop apparent in the entire distance, at Longwood Avenue and Louis Pasteur. At the Roxbury end, the tunnel would come up opposite the busway at Ruggles Station.

The Fenway end of the tunnel was very difficult to drag out of them. The last, most specific version was that the tunnel would run under Longwood Avenue, pass under the prep schools athletic fields and go under the Riverside line at about Longwood Station. The tunnel was specifically stated to come out of the ground at the exact point where the Green Line goes underground.

This exact "portal" location seems still hard to believe because the state is also promising to continue a small vehicle highway which is proposed to be constructed by Boston in the next year or so next to the Riverside line starting at about Longwood Station and going in toward Kenmore.

Space is extremely tight where they are talking about the two "portals." It seems reasonable to assume that the Longwood tunnel "portal" would be on the Kenmore side of the Green Line "portal" to allow the small vehicle highway room to coexist. But, as I said, it was exist.

The 47 and CT-2 buses (along the the various other supposed "transit" routes would be rerouted to this tunnel. The buses would follow the Mass. Pike on Mountfort Street, which parallels the pike on the far side from Boston University. Mountfort Street is currently one way west bound between Park Drive and Beacon Streets. Mountfort Street would be made two way for buses only to connect straight-ahead to Yawkey Station through the existing parking lot south of Beacon Street. The buses would loop to Yawkey Station and go onto a new roadway between the buildings toward Brookline Ave. and the buildings toward Beacon Street, to the tunnel.

The Cambridge Inner Belt proposal is shown as a two lane highway coming over the rail bridge under the BU Bridge to a "Cambridgeport" stop which seems to be at the location proposed for that stop on the Urban Ring BU Bridge crossing. At this point, the new highway would be moved onto Albany Street.

The highway structure would be widened with another small vehicle highway. So the Inner Belt is extended quite a bit. When the tracks get to Main Street, you can see the Binney Connector which is the other end of the Inner Belt.


  1. Any chance you can elaborate on the "small vehicle highway"? I'm having trouble finding much information on what that's about.

  2. Hi Ryan,

    If you are interested in the Urban Ring, you might try to come to the Allston Civic Assoc meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 at the Honan Library. There will be a presentation and discussion about the Urban Ring with people who know a lot more about it than I do.