Join us for FPRA Meeting on June 7th at 6:30

The developer of 605 Concord Avenue (the former Bank of America building) has asked for a meeting with the community and members of the FPRA in order to gather feedback on their latest plans for the project. Phil Terzis of Acorn (the developer) has reserved the auditorium at the Tobin School on Tuesday, June 7th at 6:30 pm. The main agenda item is a review of Acorn’s latest design, with a question & answer session to follow the presentation.

At the same meeting, Mike Stanley will also give a short presentation on his Transit X project. This is an innovative attempt to solve a number of major transportation problems currently faced by the Fresh Pond-Alewife region and other, similarly dense urban areas. The effort proposes the development and construction of an automated transit network with high-capacity and low visual impact using personal pods running on an elevated track. More information on the concept is available at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/transitx-carbon-free-mass-transit#/ and at http://www.transitx.com/.

If time allows, we would also like to use this opportunity to update the community on the current status of a number of other pending efforts, including:

o   HURON A: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2010%2falewifesewerseparationproject

o   HURON B: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2012%2falewifesewerseparationprojecthuronb

o   CONCORD AVENUE: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2013%2falewifesewerseparationconcordavenueneighborhood

o   NEW STREET: http://www.cambridgema.gov/theworks/cityprojects/detail.aspx?path=%2fsitecore%2fcontent%2fhome%2ftheworks%2fcityprojects%2f2014%2fnewstreetstreetscapeimprovements

Finally (also if time allows), we may also take the opportunity to consider what might come next for our area:

Note that this will be our final meeting prior to the Summer break. We look forward to a lively and constructive discussion. Thank you for your continuing support of our efforts.

Message to the FPRA from Doug Brown, VP.

Fresh Pond Alewife Transportation: Comments to Boston MPO

Parkway traffic Thurs eve May 2014Transportation in the neighborhoods of Fresh Pond, and the Alewife-Transportation-Community

These comments were made in response to questions of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  An MPO is required to spend federal transportation funds. The region of the Boston MPO, generally, is within Route 495.

Earlier, the Boston MPO had invited comments on its Vision, Goals and Objectives for transportation.  Our earlier comments, dated November 3, 2014, related to the neighborhoods around Fresh Pond. (See 11/3 comments to MPO)

The comments that follow focus on our neighborhoods and urban mobility: walk, bike, bus, Red Line, and commuter rail.  We do not ignore motor vehicles.  We suggest Transportation-Community rather than corridor as the focus of mobility.  Our Transportation-Community includes Watertown, Belmont, Arlington, and Cambridge.  The corridor through our community, limited access highway Route 2, Alewife Brook Parkway, and Fresh Pond Parkway, is both an impediment and an opportunity.

Alison Field-Juma and Arthur Strang participated in this writing.  We invite comment on the blog.

Continue reading

Roadblocks to Change in the Transit Sector

A typical afternoon on Fresh Pond Parkway

A typical afternoon on Fresh Pond Parkway

Last week’s transportation committee hearing was a testament to the human capacity for denial and collective paralysis in the face of large systemic problems. Listening to the presentations by city staff, a newcomer (say, someone who arrived from outer space) might have come away believing no transportation crisis exists in the Alewife area, that plans to massively increase housing density around the area won’t aggravate the problems (which, remember, don’t really exist, and to the extent they might exist, are not within our control because they are mostly regional in origin), and that any remaining problems can be remedied by improving bike paths. Continue reading

“Nobody Goes There. It’s Too Crowded.”

DSC_0797Or, “You can’t get there from here.” These expressions describe Fresh Pond Parkway at certain hours, and yet over 2,000 new units of housing are in the pipeline with no improvements to the transit infrastructure in the Concord Alewife corridor. Just because these units are within a 1/2 mile of the Red Line terminus at Alewife does not mean that every new resident will forgo driving and hop on a bike; the units are also conveniently located right on a major regional artery that leads to Route 2 and Interstates 95 and 93, and to points west, south and north of Boston where many people also happen to work. Continue reading