Tag Archives: MBTA

Does the #MBTA new design for the #Annisquam River bridge look like a prison tower to you?

MBTA Gloucester bridge sim

The tower and the scale of the concrete column brought to mind the opening scenes of Dr. Zhivago with Alec Guinness looking for his niece. Here’s a TCM film clip to give you some idea of what I mean despite cutting off right before the pan up to the guard tower.

Dr Z still

 

Here’s how the Annisquam bridge looks today.

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Mostly great gorgeous marsh.

Its scale suits the site and often disappears. American artist Edward Hopper painted a close up in 1923.

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There are four significant Edward Hopper artworks that are related to the commuter train he took from NYC to Gloucester, MA. I sent the images to Fay Spofford & Thorndike for their reference as in my professional experience any architects and engineers that I’ve worked with were keen on historic links. They couldn’t have known this one. Until I corrected the records in 2011, the Hopper watercolor was misattributed as an unidentified landscape, likely Maine or Massachusetts. It’s definitely Massachusetts–the Annisquam River train bridge in Gloucester, MA, to be precise. If you live here, you know that scene by heart. Hopper captured most every gateway to Gloucester. A 2012 photograph by Allegra Boverman reporting on bridge damage for the Gloucester Daily Times, zoomed in just so, helped me illustrate the match.

Catherine Ryan identifying Edward Hopper Annisquam River Bridge

I also shared the exciting Hopper news and connections with then Mayor Kirk, community development, Senator Tarr, the Gloucester Daily Times, and the Boston Globe. I wasn’t speaking to them about the design as I felt the state and the architects and engineers would be on that.

I have no idea when that distinct yellow shack–a mini me Cape Ann motif– was no longer there: perhaps it could be recreated, or a nod to the A Piatt Andrew bridge could be referenced with some planning? Maybe some of the diagonals of the old structure, or some other New England elements at the abutment sides could be incorporated into the design?

A couple of years later, I found an old Good Morning Gloucester post by Fredrik D. Bodin. There’s no mistaking that two level shack! I wish I could have spoken with him about the Curtis photograph.

a8767_017wm FRED BODIN little yellow house motif like and new england building on right

I don’t suggest that the treacherous bridge needs to be “preserved” or want to impede progress.  However, if there is a small way that the design can tip its hat to Hopper, Gloucester, New England…why not? It is a landmark, a beacon for Cape Ann.  It’s very exciting that the project is going out to bid. I hope the winning firm mitigates the design to temper any possible prison comparison. Leave the pier-column design but adjust the tower? Can it be both structurally sound and inspiring?

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 29th: Reimagining Railroad 3rd Public Meeting

Cat Ryan submits-

Gloucester Community Development Department and the state’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Monday September 29, 2014

City Hall, Kyrouz Auditorium, 7pm

Hey Joey,

Please come for a presentation including recommendations about possible zoning and planning THIS COMING MONDAY September 29, 2014, from 6PM-8PM at Kyrouz Auditorium in City Hall. As a reminder, this series is devoted to Gloucester’s railroad station and surrounding areas. The first meeting was held back in March, and the 2nd in June.

While we’re at it: sample walking-distance comparables from train station to beach.

· Manchester: train station to singing beach .6miles

· Gloucester: train station to Pavilion Beach .6miles (either Washington or down Dale to Fort past Chamber) Man at Wheel .45 miles

· Gloucester: train station to Stage Fort (2 beaches) .9 miles

o Gloucester: train station to Good Harbor 2.5 miles (45 minutes walking ); Gloucester parking lot spot to beach spot .3 miles!

· Rockport: train station to Rockport Beach .6 miles

· Ipswich: Cranes Beach 5.5 miles

Contact

Eric Halvorsen ehalvorsen@mapc.org www.mapc.org

Tom Daniel TDaniel@gloucester-ma.gov, Gloucester Community Development Director

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Reimagining Railroad and Maplewood and … MEETING #2

Cat Ryan submits-

Reimagining Railroad and Maplewood and … MEETING #2

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Gloucester Community Development / Metropolitan Planning Area Council

Hey Joey,

Back in March, the City of Gloucester’s Community Development partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Area Council (MAPC) to host the first in a series of 3 discussions about Gloucester’s railroad station and the surrounding area.  As a reminder, these interactive meetings have an extra special focus on the Railroad and Maplewood Avenue and train station area. Our input will inform the process, and there’s funding lined up.

Residents, commuters, bikers, pedestrian walking—what do you think?

Please come for some preliminary findings and recommendations at the second meeting THIS COMING MONDAY June 23, 2014, from 6PM-8PM at Kyrouz Auditorium in City Hall.

For the Railroad discussions, send in ideas and comments and/or sign up for updates on any future meetings with:

Eric Halvorsen ehalvorsen@mapc.org

Gregg Cademartori gcademartori@gloucester-ma.gov

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Reimagining Railroad Meeting at City Hall

Reimagining Railroad and Maplewood and …

Gloucester Community Development / Metropolitan Planning Area Council

Catt Ryan submits-

Hey Joey,

Last night, Community Development partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Area Council (MAPC) to host the first in a series of discussions about Gloucester’s railroad station and the surrounding area.  Along with all the other robust planning that is ever constant, this interactive meeting was an extra special focus on what transit oriented attention and development might mean for Gloucester. Gloucester Planning Director, Gregg Cademartori, gave a great introduction.

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Eric Halvorsen introduced the team from MAPC, which helps town generally within the wide swath of I-95. I met Eric last fall  at a MA Smart Growth event he was part of. It featured Fred Kent of Project for Public Space and one of our site walks that day considered spaces and transit areas at Harvard. Halvorsen explained that there are 280 or so transit stops in Massachusetts. He enthusiastically gushed, “They are precious and finite”– and therefore merit our attention. These transit hubs account for 5% of the geography of the state, and cover 37% of the jobs. The state considers Gloucester’s railroad station as an ‘urban gateway’, one of 10 types of transit stop categories they’ve identified in MA.  Salem, Beverly and Haverhill are other examples of this urban gateway category.

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The evening ended with three tables of break out discussions. Topics swirled, and questions prompted responses and exchanges. Connections to other areas downtown were mentioned, Gloucester’s past, and the railroad station area as a gateway. We wondered together what people thought it might be like soon and many, many years from now.  Creative ideas and similar words and phrases oscillated throughout Kyrouz like air-popped kernels: emphasis on sidewalks, signage, streets (Washington Street, Maplewood, Prospect, Railroad Avenue, Dale and Pleasant), seniors, bike rentals, safety, young families, terms such as “soft and hardscaping”, public space, shade, paving one side (like the HarborWalk), green energy, beach buggies, maker spaces, lighting, artists and other professionals, trees,  wayfinding, future businesses, pedicabs, mixed use, residences, single stories, design, the stores folks value now, the Jeff Weaver mural, the supermarket, Dunkin Donuts, the restaurants.

Community Development and MAPC will share results from these conversations and offer their take, research and observation. Our input will inform the process,  and there’s funding queued up.

There will be two more public meetings and they’re sure to be interesting … make sure you come if you can for the next ones, and for any that Community Development organizes.

For the Railroad discussions, send in ideas and comments and/or sign up for updates on any future meetings with:

Eric Halvorsen ehalvorsen@mapc.org

Gregg Cademartori gcademartori@gloucester-ma.gov

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Gloucester At Dawn- Gloucester Station 4:48AM 6/27/12

Love shooting early morning just after a rain storm.  The textures and reflections make for much more interesting photos.  The green on the sign vs the yellow and the purple. Lots of repetition and symmetry.  Sometimes the scenes you pass by a million times end up being the most interesting when you simply slow down and immerse yourself in it.

click the photo for the larger sized version to see the details

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