Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Longfelllow meeting report

Sorry I've not been posting much, life been getting in the way.
Went to the Longfellow meeting last night, but it was kind of a shrug.
They didn't release a planned alternative for the lane configuration, which makes me (and a lot of people) worried and a bit upset.  They are going to submit it to the feds for its Environmental Assesment and only after that comes back will we know the recommended section.

A moment of unintended hilarity,  a big part of the presentation was a modeling guy who was talking about where people come from and go to who use the bridge (how do they determine this?)  which indicates that a lot of people from Cambridge use the bridge to get to the airport,  and most of the trips come from East cambridge and go to downtown (a handy distance to commute by bike).
Anyway, people were questioning him about his model and finally he admitted that his model didn't have any way to account for bikes or pedestrians- an admission that was met with bitter laughter and cries of surprise.

One possibly significant item is that they're talking about re-activating the old exit for Storrow, Mugar Way,  which is currently a limited access street.  This would allow the best configuration for the new pedestrian bridge, which they seem very committed to, but which isn't funded in the current mandate.

A couple of people mentioned the "vision thing"  and how designing just to the formulas and numbers is one thing, but this is an opportunity to create something amazing instead and push the numbers through design of better facilities.   Unfortunately I don't think we're going to get there on this bridge.  I think it's amazing how far the bureaucracy has come on this bridge, but I don't think they're going to make the leap to projecting a future that they want and shifting the configuration to enable that.

I agreed with Fred Salvucci's comments that they need to keep moving on the main span, and that they should incorporate the 14' sidewalks now, and hash out how the pavement is divided later.
He proposed making some of the intersection improvements into a "phase 3"  but I'm worried about whether if they're split off we will have funding issues, if they will no longer fall into the accelerated bridge program.


  1. Is Luisa Paiewonsky still the person to petition to get the 14' sidewalks? It was somewhat disheartening to find out that they still haven't made a decision on that yet.

  2. Mark,
    Luisa Paiewonsky retired/ resigned, I think because a family member was seriously ill, and she wanted to spend more time with them.
    They have an interim administrator, but I would write the following people:
    Michael O'Dowd,MassDOT Highway Division, 10 Park Plaza, Boston 02116
    He's the Longfellow project manager for Mass DOT.

    or Stephanie Boundy, MassDOT Highway Division, 10 Park Plaza, Boston 02116. She's the public relations manager for this and other projects.

  3. Oh, also the paranoid among us might think that they've actually made a decision, but don't want to tell us, unless they can plausibly say "oh, The Feds have already approved this, it's too late to go backward..." because they don't want to face a backlash like they did at Cragie or BU.

  4. Hello,

    I checked out your blog the other day...loved it!! My name is Candi. I didn't find any contact info, so excuse the off-topic post. I was wondering if you accept any ads or sponsorships at all on the blog. I represent Biking.com, and we would love to sponsor your site.

    Let me know if you have anything available.


  5. Candi, I'm afraid I'm not interested.