by Otto Vondrak
Moderators: MEC407, NHN503
BostonUrbEx wrote:I'm guessing the ROW was never landbanked and even though we can quite distinctly trace the former ROW, it doesn't actually exist and I would think bares no legal impact on landowner's construction plans. The fact that the ROW was preserved in Revere is because it is owned by a utility, near GE because it is on the [former?] GE property which wasn't expanded but rather leveled and is up for redevelopment, and between Atlantic Toyota's property and Commercial St because it is an active ROW, possibly owned by the MBTA, and used for access to the commuter rail tracks. Beyond Commercial St, the former ROW was developed because it reverted back to owners of smaller parcels who could utilize the property more advantageously.There was no means of landbanking in the mid-1940's when the state bought...not even the 'proto'-landbanking that resulted from the states picking up all those Penn Central & B&M lines in the 70's when the courts were overseeing the ongoing bankruptcies. So, yes, the RR charter for BRB&L was completely extinguished and they are no longer legally-protected transportation corridors. But because the ROW land was bought intact the property lines weren't extinguished as in a normal full-on abandonment-abandonment. It is still officially state-owned for purposes of collecting rent on the power line easement, and the encroachment by the abutting buildings that have gone up in the last 15 years was flagrantly illegal. Unfortunately because Revere politicians and their enabling Legislature critters willfully looked the other way there's no way to un-ring that bell and roll back the encroachment.
BandA wrote:In MA, if it's owned by the state or city, they can force the encroacher out at the encroacher's expense 10 years from now or a hundred. If it's privately owned, the encroacher can take the property by Adverse Possession after 20 years. Sounds like some sort of deal happened where the city signed away their rights in exchange for small amount of tax revenue...And the Legislature critters from up there will ensure that no such penalty is ever levied. That part of Revere was in House Speaker Bob DeLeo's district until the 2010 redistricting retreated the district border to Diamond Creek between Wonderland and Oak Island. There is no freaking way MassDOT could've enforced its property lines. DeLeo is the #1 recipient of campaign donations in the state, and the construction industry is his #1 source of donations. It's why the same shortlist of usual-suspects firms (Suffolk Construction and the like) so thoroughly dominate major real estate projects in Boston/Cambridge and the first set of adjoining 'burbs.
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:There's too many miles of public property lines to protect, too few eyes making sure they're systematically obeyed, too many people with political profit motive for looking the other way, and too many ways to undermine enforcement from the top on down. It's but one facet of what makes Massachusetts politics Massachusetts politics.DCR and I'm sure all state agencies walk their property lines at least once every five years.
YamaOfParadise wrote:Since a friend recently moved into a house nearby Revere Beach, I've looked a number of times around at various points of where the RoW runs adjacent to the Boulevard; certainly would be interesting to see how they'd manage to achieve grade separation if the RoW ever gets re-built. It was grade separated from roads like Oak Island Street, but it's either been significantly infilled since then, or the undergrade wasn't that much under-the-grade to begin with (which is definitely a possibility). Certainly would be harder now that that retirement home (Jack Setter House) is in there, even if they don't actually own the parcel where the RoW went through. That oddly-undeveloped land (it's all grass in between the lots, now) does give an interesting look at how much smaller the RoW is in width due to the railroad being narrow-gauged, though!Historic Aerials confirms Revere St. and Oak Island St. were underpasses. Revere St. was clearly filled in, with ROW below the embankment still retaining full grade separation depth. Oak I. St. doesn't look anything like it did in the 1955 overhead shot with the extant road bridge, and Google Street View shows no hint of a surviving cut. That area had to have topographically changed a lot in the ensuing decades to erase all traces of what was a pretty pronounced cut on both sides of the street. I would guess that if they had to go to Oak I. for any of the BLX alignments there'd have to be an overpass now.