Posted by Jeremy Shulkin
The last joint meeting between the Public Works and Transportation committees and CSX took place at the beginning of March. Since then, some things have become clearer while others are still as murky and controversial as ever. (Some things, like Councilor Kate Toomey’s request for a report detailing the economic effects of CSX’s similar projects in Atlanta and Chicago, haven’t happened yet.)
Here’s a brief takeaway of the meeting, which included city councilors, city planners, city administration, reps from MassDOT and CSX, and some unhelpful maps:
-A new plan has been proposed that would limit truck traffic on Grafton St. The new plan calls for closing the tip of Coral St. (between Union Place and Grafton St.) to anything but CSX traffic (to do this Frank’s Flower Shop will be taken by the company). It’ll be easy for trucks exiting I-290 East to get off and enter the CSX site right away, as well as enter I-290 East, but I must have missed how they’ll get to I-290 West. CSX estimates this will cost $2 mil for “modification.” Councilor Paul Clancy asked about business relocation, which CSX seemed ok with. He also asked about keeping that closed portion of Coral st. open to one-way traffic.
-Where Barbara Lane meets Franklin St., an idea was floated to “scoop it out” and create a bridge on Franklin (going over Barbara Lane.). The descent of that bridge would end around Plastic St. There is some concern with that, however, because the grade of the bridge would be around 9%, and Commissioner Moylan said that the City doesn’t like grades higher than 6%.
-Another plan came out to widen the east side of the bridge on Plantation St. right before it hits Belmont St. (if traveling northbound). This bridge work (unclear if it’s just work on this bridge or on both this and above) would cost around $5 mil.
-Putnam Lane: Traffic studies showed about 2,500 cars per day use the road, but a bridge would be “impractical” said Moylan because of the steep gradings necessary to bridge such a short distance. Moylan compared the inclines of the grades to George St. and said a bridge would “not be meeting good engineering practice.” A tunnel could be another option, but price estimates on that were in the $20 to $30 mil range.
There also isn’t an established way to figure out who’s going to pay for what, with the City administration suggesting that it would be shared between the city, state and CSX.