Forest Hills overpass backers try to get mayor involved in fight against teardown plan

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports that Bridging Forest Hills, which unsuccessfully tried to get the state to replace the crumbling Casey Overpass with a new overpass instead of surface roads, hasn't given up its fight and is now trying to get Mayor Menino to help it convince MassDOT to change its mind. Menino had previously spoken against replacing the overpass with surface roads.

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Who are these people?

"I think elected public officials need to become aware that a lot of people, if not a majority of people, once they hear about [the Casey replacement plan], are opposed to the plan," said Kevin Moloney, who is a member of Bridging Forest Hills as well as a member of the official Design Advisory Group advising the state Department of Transportation about the plan.

Jesus. Who are these people, and why are they arrogant enough to think they speak for the rest of JP?

The only actual problem I can see articulated in this huge mass of "We're being SILENCED by the OPPRESSORS in the MassDOT" self-pity is that Route 203 carries too much traffic to be handled in the new at-grade solution, which is directly contradicted by the extensive traffic surveys that have been done. Everything else is hand-wringing.

Traffic problems while the bridge is demolished? Going to happen regardless--tough to build a new bridge in the same place without tearing down the old one.

They want "real options?" Like the three separate plans that were proposed a year and a half ago, out of which this one was chosen?

MassDOT is conspiring to maliciously ignore community input and press their vicious anti-bridge agenda on an unwilling Forest Hills? What universe do these people live in? The universe where most of us live has had a years-long input process where consensus was that a bridge would be much more expensive and wouldn't make the traffic situation any better. That position was backed by a good bit of data from traffic surveys, and the opinions of engineers who actually know what they're talking about.

This whole thing reads like it was thrown together by a bunch of petulant undergrads who don't understand civics or the process of community input.

Why are the

residents of JP arrogant enough to assume this only affect them, it not like the bridge would affect Roslindale, DOT, HP and Brookline residents.

And where were you ...

When the options were being discussed.

Oh, and, as an MA taxpayer, why do you expect me to foot the bill for more expensive elevated follies? You don't get to hog resources for your cherished perfect solution when others are paying for it.

Put down the sour grapes, grow up, get on with it people.

Too Late Now

These obstructionists had a year to attend meetings
learn about the project,
submit their opinions,
Highway engineering is not a democratic process,
In the end, the traffic engineers and other DOT experts are making the decision.
The removal of the overpass will be a huge improvement to the neighborhood.

Biased towards value?

You mean the DOT is actually considering cost vs benefit in their decisions? Shocking.

Considering that they are more than happy to rebuild Bowker and McCarthy, and it'll probably be $200 million a pop, I think we should congratulate them anytime they do use a bit of sense regarding value.

I saw these folks at a DOT meeting

At one of the monthly public meetings the board holds. One of Jeff's older friends stood up and whined that we must rebuild the Casey, and also that we must widen ALL roads in Boston because population is increasing and therefore traffic too.

He claimed to be a retired traffic engineer. Likely one of those who participated in the 1950s-style highway building and urban renewal rape of Boston. Still out there, still doing damage.

matthew

Please don't toss around the term rape so callously. It's an insult to victims of rape. Have a little respect please.

Censorship is never appropriate

And I will continue to be completely "unapologetic" in my defense of free speech, despite your disgusting attempts to censor me, and attack me with name calling.

If defending free speech makes me unpopular, so be it. If free speech on the Internet upsets you, then I recommend that you go see a psychiatric counselor. Or find something better to do with your spare time.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you thin

You clearly don't understand what "free speech" or "censorship" are, and you're making yourself look worse and worse as you demand free reign to say whatever idiotic things you want in a public forum without repercussion.

So I'll use my "free speech" to point out that you're being called out for making a rape joke, and rather than apologizing or dropping it like any reasonable person would, you're making an enormous asshole out of yourself and dropping terms you don't understand in a very poor attempt at rationalizing your previous dickery. Again: stop it.

Not a rape joke

He didn't make a rape joke, you and bunch of other people are taking this way out of context, the word 'rape' has A LOT more meaning than the sexual one you like to imagine.

You're in mixed company here

Not everybody on UHub is under 25. For those of us who aren't, rape really has one meaning. It can be applied in other contexts, but always in a really serious tone to compare whatever act you're talking about to the original meaning, not in the sort-of-joking/amazement butt-hurt MMORG sense. Context is everything sometimes and you're just going to have to deal with it.

I have made no joke

I have no idea how you could even interpret my words as a joke. And if you follow my comments, you'll know I have always been extremely serious about the damage done by urban renewal. I would never trivialize that, nor rape.

The dictionary definition of rape includes

n. an outrageous violation.

When I look at scenes such as this one:

IMAGE(http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/data/6518/34.jpg)

I see an outrageous violation of the city of Boston. Do you not?

In this case...

In this case, "rape" is an appropriate term for how "urban renewal" rended and violated the city. This should not diminish a rape for any victim, whether it be an individual or community. Rape in any sense of the world is a terribly traumatic thing and any perpetrator should be held accountable.

Casey Bridge

This will be my 10th year using this bridge. I live in Quincy and drive to Brookline everyday. I have watched the bridge fall apart over the years all the patching and rediculous lane reductuion with the metal guardrails to do nothing but make it hard to collect debri falling of cars because of all the bumps. Sorry I missed all those meetings, I probably would have attended to see what the reality of this. I assume just abutors get invited. Is there a place to see drawings of the new road?

They're wasting everyone's time and money

This cabal of Jeff Ferris, Ann McKinnon, Allen Ihrer, Bernie Doherty, and Kevin Maloney need to cut it out. At this point, you can't "reboot" the project, and their accusations about MassDOT "bullying" JP into this solution is ridiculous. If anyone is doing the bullying around here, it's this Pentad who shout down any opposing views at public meetings, despite a general consensus from the neighborhood IN FAVOR OF the at-grade solution. In fact 70% of JP is looking forward to a fix of the problem from qualified traffic engineers and planners.

I'm sorry that these five don't like the solution that was arrived at through hard work and much community involvement, but I'm sick of them littering the streets with their propaganda, and I'm sick of them crying foul, when they have been the most unpleasant part of this whole process.

The Pentad think they are Tammany Hall and have all the power, and really they're a washed up bunch of has-beens who are upset that the neighborhood is moving forward without them.

It's Not Just the "Cabal"

I can assure you that the members of this "cabal" are not the only ones concerned about the replacement of the bridge with a massive street-level highway. Many residents of Jamaica Plain, especially those living closest to Forest Hills, worry about the huge influx of cars into our neighborhoods that will result from this project.

And I can also assure you that residents of other neighborhoods and cities and towns (Dorchester, Mattapan, Quincy, and Brookline, among others) -- that is, the people that actually use this bridge -- will become more concerned as the demolition of the Casey approaches.

The designers' own traffic projections -- which they have been reluctant to release, and which have been made public mostly thanks to the hard work of that "cabal" -- indicate that traffic congestion and wait times will significantly increase at most of the intersections in the area.

Pedestrians (particularly the handicapped) will be affected by the longer walk they will have to make across six lanes of highway to get to the train and the bus. The bike advocates (who, for some strange reason, seem to have believed that it's in their best interest to put thousands of more cars on the roads that they ride on) are now being confronted with cutbacks in the new bike lanes that they were promised by MassDOT.

So, as I said at the beginning, the members of the "cabal" are simply the most vocal people expressing sentiments that many of us in Jamaica Plain are feeling.

Bike-Related Documents and the Bigger Issue

For confirmation that this is the case, see the summary of the MassDOT presentation to the DAG on October 1 (page 3), as well as meeting minutes from the most recent DAG meeting on October 17, (page 5). Both of these documents are available on the Casey Overpass project website:

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/caseyarborway/Meeti...

I can't provide you with details on the new maps because, as usual, MassDOT has been reluctant to post the most recent information on design, traffic, and neighborhood impact on its Casey Overpass project website.

The bike lane is a minor thing, though. The bigger issue is the tragicomic way in which much of the biking community has latched onto the at-grade plan. Now, at the risk of sparking another bicycle-oriented flame war on Universal Hub, let me just say that (all else equal) it is better for bicyclists to have fewer cars around them than more cars.

The at-grade advocates in the bicycling community seem to envision some utopian Jane Jacobs urban paradise emerging from the teardown of the overpass. What they should instead be prepared for is an intersection that resembles Mass Ave. @ Melnea Cass.

(Again, all else equal:) No one likes big bridges running through residential neighborhoods. And no one likes the Casey Overpass. What the Casey does, however, is carry people who don't want to be in our neighborhood over, rather than through, our neighborhood. Putting all of those thousands of cars into the neighborhood will not be good for the drivers of those cars (who will encounter delays), it will not be good for bikers or pedestrians (who will encounter more danger), and it will not be good for the residents of the neighborhood.

Details

Page 5 of the 17 Oct meeting minutes:

Q: CR: I understand that the bicycle lane on Washington Street has been eliminated in favor of an off-street bicycle pathway. Taking a bicycle lane out doesn’t make sense.
A: GM: We had meetings with the bicycle and pedestrian professionals for the City of Boston. Our earlier proposal had been to include both on- and off-street accommodations for bicycles and we were told that it was getting a little overdone given the accommodations off-street. The desire was to reduce the overall pavement width and lower crossing distances given that we did have those off-street bicycle paths.

Can they do both?

Tear it down, and build/widen the roads between the rotary and the parkway systems. If traffic is that horrible, keep the plan for a bridge active and just build the bridge.

I mean, even if they fixed the bridge, they still need to work on those roads under the bridge right?

No guarantee of that either

If you had both, you know at least the traffic couldn't be any worse down at ground level. It would have to be better.

That's a big assumption actually. I wouldn't go so far.

Here's what I would say: the traffic levels are going to be as high as you build the road to accommodate. If you want less traffic, build less road.

I'm not happy with the wider road plan at-grade either, though I hear they were going to narrow it initially.

Also I should point out that the volume of cars we're talking about is easily handled by a surface street, and there are many examples around Boston.

You almost have both now.

If you are going on the riverway and want to go down to forest hills, you simply take the road down there. If there is no bridge, everyone has to go down there.

If you build less road, there will be more traffic on other roads, since people aren't just going to decide not to go to Qincy or Mattapan just because their old route takes longer now. They will find other ways and make those other ways more crowded.

Incorrect

If you build less road, there will be more traffic on other roads, since people aren't just going to decide not to go to Qincy or Mattapan just because their old route takes longer now. They will find other ways and make those other ways more crowded.

This is the reasoning that's commonly used to justify road widening, but it's simply not true, and has been debunked time and time again.

Traffic is not like water. It's not going to overflow. Traffic congestion is composed of many automobiles driven by (presumably) self-aware beings. They have communications systems and foresight. They adapt. Traffic behaves fundamentally differently from fluids.

This is why every time "carmageddon" is predicted, it fails to materialize. Because people are not molecules.

Actually, yes

You obviously live nowhere near McGrath/Obrien in Somerville. Much easier to cross at Broadway than under that elevated monstrosity.

What is it with wacko bostonians and their dread fear of crossing more than two lanes at a time? Oh, I know ... you actually HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE LIGHT that way. Horrors.

I have crossed under

I have crossed under McGrath/O Brien many times. It is pedestrian hostile just to get to the crossing under the bridge. I have also crossed under the Casey many times from Forest Hills, and it is not that difficult at all, since the MBTA station is on the entire side of the bridge to the west. The two are not the same. Six lanes of traffic to cross doesn't sound like a good way to connect the neighborhood to the transit station.

And what is it with anti-bridge advocates that dismiss people's concerns about crossing multiple lanes of traffic? Some of us take longer to cross a street than others and are actually concerned about such things.

It's worse right now.

Well, crossing from Forest Hills to South Street right now requires crossing either four lanes of traffic at a crosswalk (New Washington Street just north of the overpass) or three separate sets of two lanes (onramp/offramp for the Arborway + the entrance to the OTHER Arborway [they're called the same thing on the map, it's the smaller white street north of the yellow Arborway on Google Maps]) if you're walking on the west side of Washington Street heading northbound to South Street.

That intersection is a serious pain for pedestrians right now, and I don't see how having to cross one single six-lane street with a crosswalk is going to make it any worse.

When crossing from the

When crossing from the station , its four lanes with a break in the middle and a slow walker can still make it in one light cycle. It wll be six-lanes with a break (I believe) and a slow walker might not make it across in one light cycle.

Yea I've seen them.

But if cyclists could use the regular redone roads (with less traffic in theory) and cars going from the parkways to points south can just use the bridge.....

I dunno, probably impossible to do but just a thought.

you mean , cowardly cyclists

you mean , cowardly cyclists that dont know any better, that are BCU bandwagoners are for the tear down of the casey. I said it many times, if you cant get from Franklin to the arboretum without any issue, you have no business riding!

I ride everyday, rain, shine or snow, and I love the Casey, last thing we need is more pseudocyclists, with more surface traffic, real good mix there.

Memo to all

Time for a new low quality retort.

Calling someone who is superior to you in biking Lance is no longer appropriate, or relevant as he just another doped up "athlete"

Your Welcome Shmoe

Superior

Ahahaha, And you know this how???????? Im in my early 20's, i workout almost everyday, i run, i play ice hockey, soccer, i snowboard, ect. AND YES I WILL OUT BIKE YOU AND YOUR TIGHTS!

Boston's poorly engineered roads

The overpass rebuilders would have a lot poorer case if Boston had a better track record of engineering surface streets. Everywhere you drive in the city, you stop needlessly at long and frequent red lights, waiting for nothing. When you finally get a green light, the light at the next block turns yellow at the same time. Pedestrians struggle with short lights and long waits, often being told to wait for no reason.

Why can't the city engineers time the traffic cycles better? In most cities, a consistent safe speed will get you through 3 or 4 blocks of green lights, but not Boston. It encourages speeding and running the red lights, because you know that next green light won't last long. The only way to ensure a fast trip in Boston's system is to eliminate all the lights, which is why the monstrous overpass has as much support as it does.

Agreed times 100. I don't

Agreed times 100. I don't understand either (a) the extremely long light cycles in Boston at tiny intersections or (b) the short duration of pedestrian cycles, many of which display "Don't Walk," even when it's perfectly safe to cross.

Please, get over it

This decision has been made. Move on. There are still real issues facing our neighborhood. Arborway Yard. The proposed City Council redistricting plan that will divide Forest Hills from the rest of JP. Lack of support for Forest Hills businesses during demo/construction. Etc.

Let's ask for the Mayor's help with these battles, rather than waste time fighting old ones.