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FW: DCR parkways and bridges being transferred to new Mass Transportation Dept

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  • EPD Marine
    ... ... (MHD). ... this ... please ... at ... the ... to ... Transportation ... concerns ... has ... dcr ... not ... amendment
    Message 1 of 1 , 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
      > marty.walz@...
      > 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
      > survive.
      > Mike
      > 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
      > 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
      > effectively.
      > 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,
      > Veronica
      > 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!
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