446FW: DCR parkways and bridges being transferred to new Mass Transportation Dept
- Mar 26, 2009
> From: "McClure, Veronica" <veronica_mcclure@...>
> Date: 2009 March 26 11:20:36 AM EDT
> To: undisclosed-recipients:;
> Subject: more developments re parkways and bridges in Massachusetts
> conservation lands
> Earlier I sent you a contact-your-state-legislator note about stopping the
> State’s plan to take of control of historic parkways and bridges in our
> parks and conservation areas from the Department of Conservation and
> Recreation (DCR) and give it to the Massachusetts Highway Department (MHD).
> Now I am forwarding some emails from state legislators and others who are
> fighting the State’s attempt to swallow up protection of our scenic and
> historic parkways and bridges in the one-size-fits-all mentality of the
> Massachusetts Highway Department so that you can appreciate the urgency.
> The MHD’s “one size” is lots of lanes, signs, and traffic lights, with no
> trees, no protection of scenery, and totally the more traffic the better.
> If this plan goes through, not only could the Fells be devastated, but
> Storrow Drive could look like the Southeast Expressway, the tree-lined
> streets around Jamaica Pond could be turned into treeless multi-lane roads
> that would still be at a standstill, and picturesque bridges would be
> needlessly scrapped all over the state.
> If the MHD takes over the roads in the Fells, it will be hundreds of times
> harder to fight off Guiterrez’ too-big development plans.
> Overall, the message is: continue to contact state legislators, especially
> the Representatives, as they need to take next action required to keep this
> from happening.
> At the very bottom of this message, I have reprinted the earlier message
> with the information for contacting your state legislators. Please, please
> keep them on this problem. There is so much going on in state government at
> this time that this very bad idea could be enacted just because the state
> legislators weren’t paying attention.
> From: Walz, Marty - Rep. (HOU) [mailto:Marty.Walz@...]
> Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:13 AM
> Subject: RE: Amendments to transportation Bills
> A full court press in the House will be required to stop the transfer of the
> parkways and bridges, so I urge all of you (and anyone else you can find) to
> work on this. With everything else that the House is working on now, this
> issue is not getting the attention it needs among the members. The House
> will likely vote on the bill a week from today, so time is of the essence.
> I suggest that you identify every representative who has a DCR parkway
> and/or bridge in his/her district and make personal contact with those
> representatives and their staff members. Emails alone will be
> insufficient. Representatives should be asked to contact the Transportation
> Committee Chairman, Joe Wagner, and the Speaker’s office with their concerns
> on this issue. We have a chance on keeping the parkways with DCR, but the
> bridges will be a harder sell, so be sure to underscore the point that
> bridges are integral just as the parkways are.
> Thanks for all your help with this. Marty
> Representative Martha M. Walz
> 8th Suffolk District
> Chair, Committee on Education
> State House, Room 473G
> Boston, MA 02133
> (617) 722-2070
> From: James McCaffrey [mailto:director@...]
> Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2009 9:23 AM
> Importance: High
> I agree with this strategy Mike, complete removal of the roads and bridges
> language from the House side will – hopefully - make this a
> “non-conferencable” item.
> On 3/26/09 9:20 AM, "Mike Ryan" <Mike_Ryan@...> wrote:
> In past year's attempts to transfer parkways & bridges to MHD the house has
> defeated senate approved bills. Weakening the house bill is fine (but we
> must be realistic, 'consultation with DCR' requirements, and 'adherence to
> the historic parkway preservation treatment guidelines' will simply be
> steamrolled over by MHD in practice) but we must make an all out effort to
> make sure the house bills areamended to delete any transfer language of dcr
> parkways and bridges to MHD. Without house support the senate bill will not
> On Mar 25, 2009, at 5:47 PM, Julie Crockford wrote:
> According to Jamie Hellen, Senator Chang-Diaz is proposing another amendment
> which will insist on codifying the treatment guidelines, etc. And Sen.
> Morrissey will have an amendment to her amendment that states that the
> Transportation Secretary must consult not only with the Comm. of DCR in
> promulgation of those standards but also with Mass Historic Commission.
> We need to continue to work with state reps [Veronica’s emphasis] where we
> have more traction. This issue could go to conference if we can prevail
> first in the House. So keep on with the advocacy!
> Thank you all!
> Julie Crockford . 617-522-2700
> President, Emerald Necklace Conservancy
> 891 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
> Visit www.emeraldnecklace.org <http://www.emeraldnecklace.org/> for updates
> on upcoming events, advocacy alerts and to invest in our world class parks.
> Keep scenic parkways, bridges under DCR Control
> The Boston Globe – March 25, 2009
> Julie Crockford and Sylvia Salas
> PARK ADVOCACY groups across the Commonwealth support the goals of
> transportation reform coupled with new revenues that Governor Patrick and
> our legislative leaders are advancing onBeacon Hill. It takes political
> courage to act responsibly in the face of crisis and we praise their
> efforts. The public and the transportation agencies that serve us are facing
> crumbling infrastructure at a time when the state is losing revenues, and
> cuts in services loom large. Essential government reforms are needed quickly
> and the burden of generating new revenues must be shared equitably.
> Let's make sure, however, that we get real value from real reform. Included
> in the Senate transportation reform bill is a proposal to transfer the
> responsibility for historic parkways and bridges from the Department of
> Conservation and Recreation to the Massachusetts Highway Department. In our
> rush to reorganize, are we endangering our parks and greenways?
> Many environmental groups, including the Environmental League of
> Massachusetts, The Trustees of Reservations, the Emerald Necklace
> Conservancy, The Esplanade Association, the Charles River Conservancy, and
> the Arborway Coalition, among others, strongly urge that the parkways and
> the bridges of our park systems be kept under the jurisdiction of the DCR.
> Some people feel that the poor condition of some parkways and bridges is
> simply an issue of poor management, but the fact is that DCR is understaffed
> and has not been given adequate funding to repair and maintain these
> historic structures for years. This needs to change. However, the cost
> savings suggested by consolidating parkway responsibilities with the Highway
> Department would be negligible and the loss in protection of our parks could
> be catastrophic.
> Our majestic tree-lined parkways, many designed by world-renowned
> visionaries like Frederick Law Olmsted and Charles Eliot, have been the envy
> of American and European cities alike for more than a century. These
> parkways are an integral part of our parks. They frame and protect green
> space while providing safe access throughout. The parkways and park bridges
> were designed to balance the needs of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
> Although parkways and parks became dominated by cars in the mid-20th
> century, balance is being reestablished through the Historic Parkways
> Preservation and Treatment Guidelines and through DCR's ongoing efforts to
> establish a regional system of bicycle and pedestrian ways that link our
> parks together.
> Why should it matter who manages our parkways and park bridges? The art of
> balancing vehicular and pedestrian traffic and staying true to the mission
> of green space is understood well by DCR staff. We cannot say the same is
> true for the Mass. Highway Department staff. The MHD, understandably, has a
> mandate to move the maximum number of vehicles from one point to another as
> quickly and as safely as possible. In a Highway Department culture such as
> this, trees are in the way. The state and federal design regulations that
> would apply under MHD would inevitably widen parkways, straighten curves,
> and cut down trees, thereby narrowing the greenways the DCR has worked so
> hard to protect. Any thoughts of temporary parkway closures for recreational
> purposes - as is done for Memorial Drive in Cambridge on summer Sundays -
> would be defeated. Trucks and buses, with their noise and noxious fumes,
> would be given access to historic parkways. Do we want to walk, jog, or bike
> alongside these freeways of the future?
> The state's political leaders are struggling to find ways to consolidate and
> simplify our transportation delivery system, and for good reason. However,
> this detail of the plan would break up our parks and complicate the work of
> park partners who have generated millions of dollars in private park
> investments over the last decade. The Mass. Highway Department is a much
> bigger bureaucracy with less transparency, less public involvement in
> decisions, and little to no partnership experience. For MHD, the parkways
> would be an afterthought, not a priority. For park advocates, on the other
> hand, the transfer from DCR to MHD would create one more level of
> bureaucracy guaranteed to slow the process of ensuring access to clean and
> attractive open space.
> Let's keep our parks together and let's keep the parkways and park bridges
> under the authority of DCR, where they can be managed efficiently and
> Julie Crockford is executive director of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy
> and Sylvia Salas is executive director of The Esplanade Association.
> © Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.
> Here is the info for contacting your State Legislators; please read
> carefully and then do it !
> Many thanks,
> Please call or email your Senator and Representative today and ask them to
> require amendments to Senate #10 (total transfer) and House #107 (Governor's
> bill: historic bridges transfer) to remove all language which would transfer
> care, custody and control of historic parkways and bridges to the
> Massachusetts Highway Department.
> The transfer issue is a distraction from the overall goals of transportation
> 'reform before revenue' - it is imperative to focus on real reform
> and real revenue. Transferring historic parkways and bridges to the
> MassHighway Department will not save a single dime; on the contrary, loss of
> management expertise and dedication would increase costs.
> DCR is a parks culture and Mass Highway is a road/highway culture.
> Historic parkways and bridges connect people to parks and protect the
> natural settings they are part of. Control of parkways and bridges by the
> Highway department would change the parklike look, function and feel of
> these into fast moving transportation corridors rather than the pleasure
> roads they are today.
> Mass Highway does not have to permit its projects in the same public process
> that parkways and bridges projects are currently permitted, and the result
> would be a decline in the public's right to review. This runs contrary to
> the movement for accountability and for insuring that transportation
> planners take into account the needs of green energy forms of travel, i.e.
> by foot and by bicycle.
> The function and character of our incomparable metropolitan parks would be
> seriously damaged if the parkways and historic bridges had to adhere to
> ASHTO engineering highway standards under MassHighway control.
> Applying highway engineering standards to the Storrow Tunnel rebuilding
> project would potentially open Storrow Drive to truck traffic.
> Please call or email your district Senator or Representative today - names,
> phones and email addresses athttp://www.mass.gov/legis/city_town.htm
> Send email to them as well as to:
> Transportation Co-chairs Senator Steven A.
> Baddour Steven.Baddour@... (617) 722-1604; and
> Representative Joseph F.
> Wagner Rep.JosephWagner@... 617-722-2400;
> Senate President Therese
> Murray Therese.Murray@... 617-722-1500; and
> House Speaker Robert
> DeLeo Robert.DeLeo@... 617-722-2990
> with the following message:
> Remove sections of Senate #10 and House #107 which would transfer care,
> custody and control of historic parkways and bridges to the Massachusetts
> Highway Department.
Mary Beth Dechant
Mystic Monitoring Network Director
Mystic River Watershed Association
Join MyRWA for our 13th annual Herring Run & Paddle on May 17th -- register at www.mysticriver.org today!