Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BC Task Force Meeting Wednesday 1/16 at 6:30 pm

BC Task Force Meeting
Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 6:30-8:30 pm
Brighton Marine Health Center, 77 Warren Street, 3rd floor, Brighton MA 02135

For more information, contact: John Fitzgerald, Project Manager, BRA, 617-918-4267, John.Fitzgerald.bra@cityofboston.gov

Public comments on IMPNF: Due February 5, 2008 to the BRA.

Note: The BC Task Force has requested that attendees, if possible, provide them with written comments at their meetings. It doesn't have to be a formally-written letter, etc., but anything to help them assemble information in addition to verbal comments at the meetings. Address letters to Jean Woods, Chair, BC Task Force. You can also email them to the task force at bctaskforce@yahoo.com

BC's master plan website with electronic version of their project notification form

Agenda: Transportation, Traffic, and Parking Issues in BC's 10-year institutional master plan

See Chapter 6 of the 12/5/07 IMPNF.

Intersection changes. Boston College has proposed a three-fold modification to the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue, Lake Street, and St. Thomas More Road:
  1. Move the MBTA T station ("Boston College") from northeast of the intersection to a center station east of the intersection;
  2. Construct a new intersection on Commonwealth Avenue east of the intersection for a new entrance into the Brighton Campus (former St. John's Seminary land); and
  3. Re-route St. Thomas More Road further to the east so that it lines up with the new intersection in #2.
While BC's presentation to the April meeting of the BC Task Force dealt with #2 and 3, MBTA officials backed out of attending that meeting at the last minute. BC's presentation on December 4th stated that that MBTA supports #1, but we have not heard directly from the MBTA itself as to what that means. Who pays for #1 will also be an important detail.

Will these changes to the intersection improve its level-of-service? At the April 2007, BC's consultants said yes, but the jury is still out on this until their assumptions, data, analysis, and conclusions are subject to an independent peer review. In at least one previous case, BC's consultants have made poor predictions about traffic level-of-service.

Parking spaces. The master plan includes removal of many parking spaces (particularly surface lot spaces) and construction of many others (both underground spaces and parking garage structures) for a net increase of 36 spaces. BC's employees will increase by 100 faculty, 12 staff, and 342 graduate students over the next 10 years, but 36 new (net) parking spaces is more than 140 short of accomodating these new employees assuming current auto mode share rates.

Furthermore, BC's expansion in the natural sciences, in particular, appears to neglect all of the additional employees associated with the laboratory sciences -- post-doctoral fellows and researchers, lab technicians, etc. -- which would lead to a substantially higher number for the increase in staff than 12. (See previous story for extrapolation based on Harvard GSAS and Harvard Medical School figures; BC has not provided similar numbers related to their current demographics in the natural sciences or other fields in which they plan to expand their faculty.) Such additional staff would be accompanied by additional need for parking spaces not included in the master plan.

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) program. While BC has included some elements of a TDM program (e.g., zipcars), there are other elements that are surprisingly not included: BC neither does not subsidizes MBTA passes nor charges employees (faculty, staff, and students) for parking on-campus. Both subsidized T passes and charging for parking are standard practices for institutions of higher education in Boston and surrounding areas.

[NOTE: Comment posted below contradicts this, saying that both students and faculty now pay for parking. The IMPNF states no such charges, except for the case of graduate students who pay to park at the Orkney Road site (page 6-8). The IMPNF only states that "are required to register their vehicles and obtain a parking permit to park on campus." Inspection of this website at BC indicates the parking fees for faculty and staff.]


Christopher said...

Just wanted to let you know that BC does charge for parking. They actually have gates at the parking garages for the purpose now too.

It used to be the only students paid for parking but now everyone must.


Sharon said...

I am wondering if the parking for Allston/Brighton residents is going to be eliminated if they change the intersection and the T stop. The pictures I have seen seem to indicate there will be no resident parking anymore.

Michael Pahre said...


The answer has not been clear, but BC has hinted that their plan for the new MBTA station would not remove any current street parking.

Since the center platforms are wider than the current tracks, that would seem to imply removal of the beautiful stone walls on both sides of Commonwealth Avenue.

The trade-off is then a couple of dozen parking spaces near Lake Street vs. the stone walls. I would vote for the latter, but the neighborhood as a whole should carefully ponder both options.