More information about the project is available here:
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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum
Molecular Animation - Where Cinema and Biology Meet - NYTimes.com
6PM to 7PM: Closing Times - StoneHearth's Pizza - Harvard and the Allston Community.
7PM: Zoning and Licensing Matters:
- 1079-1089 Commonwealth Ave. ("The Atrium") Proposal for Tanning Salon
Habibi's Loung: Extension into adjacent property, adjustment of extended hours, Live Entertainment
- 446 Western Ave. Request to legalize Taxi Dispatch operation
The BRA and the Department of Neighborhood Development hold a meeting next week on a proposal to turn vacant lots owned by the city (in Dorchester) into urban farms to help increase the amount of "affordable, healthy food" available in the neighborhoods.
Stone Hearth Pizza, Co. - 182 Western Avenue
175 Parsons Street - Erect a one-family dwelling on same lot as existing two-family dwelling.
This is a nice story for Harvard to tell, but it also isn't true. There are small, locally-owned retail businesses constantly opening, expanding, and relocating in the area. Whether or not Harvard could make offers attractive enough to lure them to Allston I don't know, but the possibilities do exist.
For example, there is an innovative restaurant owned by a Harvard grad. Last year they were considering opening a restaurant in the CITGO station on Western Ave. That fell through, and last month they opened a restaurant in Harvard Square.
This small ski and sporting goods store recently moved from Comm Ave near Newton Center to Needham Street. An another sporting goods store in Watertown is also moving to a new location.
Maybe these businesses or others like them would never be convinced to move to Western Ave, but it also isn't clear how hard Harvard is trying.
Allston Residents Question Harvard's Commitment to Science Complex | The Harvard Crimson:
Purcell said he could not provide a timeline for Harvard’s construction the Science Complex site, nor was he certain exactly what shape it would take,
Purcell did not say whether the site would still be used for science-related purposes.
“Is this [the Science Complex] still Harvard’s number one priority for development?” asked Allston Resident Michael Hanlon.Purcell did not answer the question
This comment on the Crimson website from "current student" also seems to be shared by others at Harvard, who haven't yet shown much interest in using this renovation as an opportunity to create a permeable campus along a Western Ave. Main Street.
'“Will [the lab] feel as though it is Harvard only—don’t come in unless you have an ID?” asked Task Force Member Brent Whelan. “Or will it feel like part of the community?”'
OF COURSE it is part of the university and you will need a harvard ID - it's a private university, not a community development NGO.
As I've been considering the current situation, I've realized that Harvard has a 1-year plan (to open a $20 million "Innovation Lab" in the former WGBH building at 125 Western Ave). Harvard also has a 3-year plan (to complete construction of Tata Hall, a $100 million Executive Education building on the HBS campus). Finally, Harvard is creating 5-year plans for each of its schools.
But North Allston-North Brighton does not have a 1-year plan and no consensus about land use, licensing, and leasing by Harvard and others. We have no 3-year plan, and no agreement on issues such as what will happen to the current Charlesview site after the new Charlesview is complete. And we don't have a 5-year plan either.
To be meaningful, these plans need the support of our community, Harvard, the BRA, our elected officials, and other stakeholders. Using the "SMART Goal" methodology - Specific / Measurable / Attainable / Resourced / Time-Bound - might also help make this an "action plan" instead of just a "plan".
We can sit back and wait until mid-2011 when Harvard's Allston Work Team will make its recommendations. Or we can wait until 2012 when Harvard is scheduled to submit a new Institutional Master Plan. I hope we will agree that our community has been waiting long enough and now is the time to move ahead.
I look forward to hearing your opinions on this today, tonight, and/or tomorrow.