Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's not all improvements

Alderman Rick Lipof was at tonight's public hearing in Brookline. Near the close of the meeting, he encouraged the good folks of Brookline to work together with Newton to address the traffic problems in the area. Then he trotted out the New England Development line that this project will include $8 to 13 million dollars in mitigation money, some of which could be Brookline's if the town plays ball.

We've covered this ground already. New England Development, in its Final Environmental Impact Report, included a table of proposed "improvements" that total over $10 million (p. VIII-51). But, over half is allocated to projects for which New England Development, not the city or its neighborhoods, is the primary, if not exclusive, beneficiary: $5.8 million to widen Route 9 and $660,000 to create a signalized median break. As I wrote in the earlier post, these two measures won't "'help ease the expected traffic increase.' They will help create the expected traffic increase."

I'm not sure if Alderman Lipof is aware of the nature of the allocations or of the fact that the proposed changes hardly constitute unalloyed benefit to the City. Before he next lauds New England Development for its generosity, he ought to take a look.

By the way, I don't mean to suggest that New England Development is being irresponsible or stingy. Some of the $10 million is principally for mitigation. I think the City should require more money from New England Development, with the allocation skewed more towards alternative transportation. But, it ain't nothing.

Still, let's be more careful discussing the money New England Development says its willing to spend, shall we?

Previously: NED's Overstated mitigation commitment

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