The state’s Executive Office of Environmental Affairs on Friday announced its approval of the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on the Green Line Extension to Medford.
Secretary Ian A. Bowles ruled that the FEIR “adequately and properly complies” with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and that the project may proceed to permitting.
With regard to Medford issues, Bowles’ 23-page certificate approving the document made the following conclusions:
+ That project proponent MassDOT sufficiently analyzed the impacts of the College Avenue station functioning as a terminal station, even while noting that no changes to traffic modeling or analysis occurred since the completion of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), nor was any new mitigation presented in the FEIR.
+ That based on comments from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, the project sufficiently demonstrates air quality benefits that will meet the legal requirements ordained in the Mass. Air Pollution Control Regulations and State Implementation Plan (SIP) to bring Eastern Massachusetts into compliance with the Clean Air Act. This determination, Bowles said, overrides the argument that a College Avenue station does not fulfill the SIP requirement to construct the Green Line Extension to Medford Hillside.
+ That the project “adequately avoids, minimizes and mitigates Damage to the Environment,” and that “no specific additional measures are necessary to uniquely address College Avenue Station functioning as a terminal station beyond those already proposed for the project.”
Bowles did encourage MassDOT to “continue to work with stakeholders . . . during the advancement of the design of the College Avenue Station to best implement mitigation measures to meet anticipated offsets of project-related negative impacts.” Among the “topics for discussion” he listed were “kiss-and-ride facilities, station-area parking enforcement, and the potential conflict between station pedestrian access and institutional property.”
Bowles also noted that MassDOT is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to establish a planning study process for the Phase II (Route 16) segment of the extension, and encouraged MassDOT to consider comments related to the Route 16 station submitted in response to the DEIR and FEIR.
“I anticipate that MassDOT will continue to strongly advocate for planning efforts and funding sources for the design and construction of the Phase II between now and 2016 or beyond as necessary,” Bowles wrote.
Secretary Bowles’ Certificate on the FEIR is available on the project website.
Click here to read comment letters submitted by Medford mayor Michael J. McGlynn and other city department heads.
The next segment of the project, Preliminary Engineering, is to begin in August. Completion of Phase I of the Project – to College Avenue in Medford and Union Square in Somerville – is currently projected for October 2015.