Building next to Santarpio's in East Boston goes up in flames

Before the firefighters arrived. Photo by Laura Chadwell.

A five-alarm fire ripped through the multi-family building at 107-109 Chelsea St., next to Santarpio's, the Boston Fire Department reports.

The fire, in the six-unit, three-story building was reported at 7:23 p.m. It did not cause any injuries, the department says.

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 19:23

Officials looking at $1-billion plan for highish-speed rail to connect Boston, New Haven and Montreal

Proposed rail routes

Transportation fficials from three New England states and Quebec are looking at a plan that to better link Boston with New Haven and Montreal via track upgrades and the purchase of trains that could reach a peak speed of 79 m.p.h. - faster than what trains can do on most of the tracks now but far slower than typical intercity trains in Europe and Japan.

Still, the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative says the plan, outlined in a report issued last month would have a number of benefits: The region's knowledge workers would gain a new way to get to conferences and jobs, tourists would love it and the trains would reduce the region's creation of greenhouse gases by taking people out of cars - and so indirectly by reducing congestion on the region's main highways. The report points to people who live in Maine who now commute to jobs in Boston via Amtrak's Downeaster service.

The report says that people with advanced degrees - of which Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut have plenty - are particularly enamored of the idea of taking the train instead of driving.

Under the proposal, tracks from Boston and Montreal would converge in Springfield and meet a revamped commuter-rail line Connecticut hopes to open in 2018 between Springfield, Hartford and New Haven. That line will let trains operate up to 110 m.p.h. at points.

Some eight to ten diesel-powered trains would provide eight daily round-trips between Boston and New Haven by way of Springfield.

Based on the commuters, students, and other anticipated users, the projected ridership for the Inland Route Service fifteen years after the initiation of service is 428,642 annual riders.

Up to five new diesel-powered passenger trains would provide three round trips daily between Boston and Montreal.

Each train set of a diesel and passenger cars would cost roughly $27 million.

Although the Boston-to-Worcester segment and the impending expanded Connecticut line can handle passenger trains going at faster than a crawl, the report's authors say much of the line between Worcester and Springfield and Springfield and Montreal would need to have a second or even third track added at points to allow for use of the line by both passenger and freight trains. Some parts of the line would also need the installation of signals. A US customs facility would also have to be built in Montreal.

The proposal is counting on the long stalled expansion of South Station to provide extra tracks for the additional trains, as well as on growth of Amtrak's Southampton Street yard for train storage and repairs. The plan also calls for a new platform at Worcester's Union station and an entirely new station in Palmer.

The report notes paying for the project remains a critical question. It suggests a variety of options, including federal grants, capital funding by Massachusetts and Vermont, public/private partnerships to pay for spending and even the use of carbon-offset credits that now typically go towards energy-efficiency programs.

Via ArchBoston.

BC student Web site tangled up in lawsuit over Dylan photo

A North Carolina photographer wants the Gavel to pay him up to $150,000 because, he says, it used one of his photos without permission back in 2013.

David Oppenheimer, of Asheville, NC, says the site used this Dylan photo for a since deleted column about various topics, including the singer and Candy Crush.

In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court in Boston, Oppenheimer wants the students who run the site to fully account for all the profits they made by using the photo, but if it turns out there aren't any, then he wants them to pay "such Statutory Damages as to the Court shall appear just within the provisions of the Copyright Act in a sum not less than $750 nor more than $30,000, or if the Court finds that the infringement was committed willfully, such statutory damages as to the Court shall appear just within the provisions of the Copyright Act in a sum up to and including $150,000." Plus, of course, lawyers' fees.

White privilege on a Red Line train

UPDATE: Statement by Transit Police.

Jamie Davenport reports on an incident Thursday night on a Red Line train ordered held at South Station until the police could clear a group of rowdy black teens off her car. She watched silently - until a cop ordered a black kid who wasn't part of the group off the train as well:

The boy says,

"I don't know them."

The police say,

"It's an order. Everyone in the group has to get off."

I collect my bags. The police looks at me and says,

"Not you. You're not in the group."

The police places his hand on the boys shoulder and guides him off the train. In a moment of temporary rage blindness I stand up and scream,

"He doesn't fucking know those kids."

The police looks at me and says,

"Is that true?"

To which I say,

"Yes, and it was true when he said it too."

The police release the boy and he sits down across from me again. We share a moment of blankness and then tears well in both of our eyes. He waves me over to the seat next to him. He says,

"That was because I am black. Wasn't it?"

I nod. He looks down sheepishly at his shirt and says quietly,

"I'm just happy they didn't hurt me. That would kill my mom. And she is not someone you want to mess with."

I say the only thing I can think,

"I'm so sorry."

He says,

"With all that's going on in the world I am so scared all the time."

Developer still proposes 679 apartments aimed at grad students and their ilk on Brighton hilltop

Architect's rendering. See it larger.

Cabot, Cabot & Forbes officials took careful note of Brighton residents' objections to the density and types of tenants at its proposed St. Gabriel's project off Washington Street and said: Eh, we know better.

The company yesterday filed formal plans with the BRA that are pretty much identical to the ones company CEO Jay Doherty told the Brighton Allston Improvement Association last month he'd reconsider after residents complained 679 units on the 12-acre site were just too many off crowded Washington Street and the jammed Green Line - especially since another developer is proposing 287 apartments right next door. And after hearing residents say they wanted tenants - or even condo owners - more likely to stay in the neighborhood for the long term, Cabot, Cabot & Forbes said nah.

In its filing, CC&F writes:

The proposed Project serves as a unique opportunity to deliver much needed housing in the City. The development will be designed, built and marketed to serve a number of growing demographics, including but not limited to graduate students, young professionals, and other university affiliates such as residents, faculty and staff. ...

The Project will provide a new development in Boston to house this demographic, at a scale that will free up local housing for permanent neighborhood residents. In addition to reducing housing pressures in the neighborhood, the Project will restore historic buildings on the site, and respectfully transform an underutilized parcel into an active and engaging development. The Project will preserve and enhance the existing landscaped spaces along the length of Washington Street and within the entire south and east sides of the Monastery, with the handsome stone wall at the edge and the many existing mature trees remaining amidst the open rolling lawn in the center. In addition to maintaining this existing landscaping, which has been neglected for decades, the Project will create a new, raised, publically accessible courtyard space that will provide vistas of Boston and Cambridge. In total, the Project will include approximately 7.3 acres of open space, representing 62% of the site.

The company says the site is ideal for researchers and workers at area hospitals and research labs:

From this location, residents are within a half-mile walk of the MBTA Washington Street subway stop and have access to multiple MBTA bus connections near the site. Important lines include the 65 bus on Washington Street which connects the site to Brighton Center and Kenmore Square, and the 501 bus at the corner of Washington Street and Cambridge Street that provides access to downtown Boston. In addition to these public transit options, the Project will explore including shuttle bus connections to nearby universities and research areas and will be a member of the recently formed Allston-Brighton Transport Management Association, which helps facilitate a number of alternative modes of transportation, including van pool subsidies, guaranteed ride home and transportation coordination with other members in the community. The Project site is also located along major bike routes, which has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation among students and young professionals in recent years.

Cabot, Cabot & Forbes says it hopes to begin the estimated two years of construction in mid-2017.

159-201 Washington St. project notification form (44M PDF).