Anderson Bridge comments from Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum

The ABNNF has submitted this letter regarding the State's plans to reconstruct the Anderson Memorial Bridge that connects North Harvard St in Allston with JFK St in Cambridge.

More information about the project is available here:
http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/charlesriverbridges/downloads/Anderson/presentation_111610.pdf
http://www.mhd.state.ma.us/downloads/hearings/ho_allston111610.pdf

If you are interested in submitting comments about this project (which will affect all of us for years both during and after construction) the deadline for this phase of comments is November 27.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 9:41 AM
Subject: Project File No. 605517 - Anderson Bridge comments from Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum
To: "Boundy, Stephanie (DOT)" <Stephanie.Boundy@state.ma.us>, Tracy.osimboni@state.ma.us

November 23, 2010

Frank A. Tramontozzi, P.E., Chief Engineer
MassDOT Highway Division
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

RE: Project File No. 605517 - Anderson Bridge comments from Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum

Mr. Tramontozzi,

On behalf of the Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum (ABNNF), I am writing to submit comments after attending the November 17 meeting on the Anderson Memorial Rehabilitation Project.

We are pleased to see plans for the Anderson Bridge that look to be a significant improvement over the current design. We hope that further collaboration and consideration will yield further improvements before the design is complete.

Bike/Pedestrian Underpasses

This project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Underpasses for pedestrians and bicyclists with proper lighting and drainage would be a major asset. For the thousands of people who frequently exercise, commute, and enjoy the river, we hope you will find a way to include underpasses in the bridge reconstruction. The additional thousands of people who participate in fund-raising walks and road races along the river would similarly benefit from the increased safety and ease of travel.

When evaluating the feasibility of Anderson Bridge underpasses, please note that MassDOT recently agreed to a $10 million replacement for the pedestrian bridge along the Longfellow bridge. The pedestrian bridge in Cambridge near the BU Bridge is in the process of being completely rebuilt. We hope that the people of Allston will be similarly considered.

Tree removal should be minimized

Existing trees that undermine the structural integrity of the bridges should of course be removed. But your plan removes many trees that do not harm the bridge and that add natural beauty to the area. Just because a tree is not a native species and is not in a master plan does not mean it should be removed. It also seems inappropriate to cut down several trees to create a construction storage and staging site. Please find another location for these construction activities where trees do not need to be removed.

Construction options deserve public discussion

This project's construction will have a severe impact on the quality of life for Allston/Brighton residents. A public discussion of various options and their pros and cons is merited.

For example, how would the impact, schedule, and cost change if the bridge was completely closed during construction? There are not enough facts known to determine if this would be wise - but with the Eliot, Western, and River Street bridges and Weeks Footbridge in close proximity, the likelihood that construction would be faster and cheaper with the bridge completely closed, and the relatively successful closure of the Craigie bridge during its construction - this and other possibilities should be creatively and openly considered.

Maintenance

What are the plans for sidewalk snow removal after the construction is complete?
What is the long-term maintenance plan so that the "new" bridge does not deteriorate as the current bridge has?

Stakeholder Meetings
At Wednesday's meeting it was mentioned that several stakeholder meetings were held earlier this year. The residents of North Allston will be directly affected by this project, and it is our understanding that there were no North Allston residents present at these meetings. We would appreciate the opportunity to have an ABNNF representative present at all future stakeholder meetings for this project.

Sincerely,
Harry Mattison
Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum

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