If only the mayor knew people in state government

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports Mayor Walsh has basically thrown up his hands and said there's nothing he can do to stop state plans to tear down the Casey Overpass and replace it with surface roads because, you know, it's state land and the state can do what it wants with its land. Meanwhile, the Gazette adds opponents of teardown, who want the decrepit, crumbling hulk rebuilt, are now comparing themselves to the people who worked to keep I-95 from being bulldozed through Boston in the 1960s and 1970s.



Free tagging: 


The overpass supporters have

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The overpass supporters have no regard for the public process. It's what they want and don't care that everyone else's letters and voice at many many many meetings was to the contrary.

Meetings, smeetings

The simple, democratic solution is also easiest to implement: put a non-binding referendum question on the ballot. Its gets a far more accurate indication of public desire than a much smaller number of people writing letters, signing petitions, speaking at meetings etc, which is also non-binding input.

Better yet

Put a bond measure on the ballot, Western Style. Vote for part A (price tag $$$ for the at-grade) or part B (price tag $$$$$$$ for the overpass).

Yeah, I know, MA doesn't do this.

Technical note

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The straightening of I-90 will include the replacement of the I-90 viaduct that runs along the shoreline of the Charles River from Beacon Park to the Comm Ave overpass. The I-90 viaduct is approximately 50 years old, and like pretty much every structure from that time period, crumbling.

So really it is also a repair project.

Shouldn't you be cheer

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Shouldn't you be cheer leading the straightening project as it allows for more consistent highway speeds and more efficient ramps which will reduce congestion and pollution?

Like the East Boston casino

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Like the East Boston casino vote, where only the people in the neighborhood (JP) would vote? And if JP votes no, then will an alternate highway overpass be proposed in another neighborhood, say Roslindale or West Roxbury, where traffic could be diverted to, and they would get to vote on this amended plan. I have a feeling very few neighborhoods are going to vote for overpasses in their own neighborhood, but will vote to have it somewhere else.

No bridge, fewer surface lanes

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So the people who are trying to keep an overpass to zip cars quickly through a neighborhood are comparing themselves to people who successfully stopped a highway going through their neighborhood?
If they want to be compared to the people who were successful in stopping highways from going though neighborhoods and making more livable, walkable communities, they should be advocating for tearing down the overpass and replacing it with surface roads, but with fewer lanes than the current plans call for. The overpass allows cars to go through JP faster and more conveniently, at the expense of the people who live there. Neighborhoods shouldn't be beholden to drivers most convenient commute.

A great compromise would be to tear down the overpass and shrink the current surface option, since the wide surface option seems to be the issue the bridge people raise, and the bridge is the issue the surface supporters raise. Win win.

Can we get a few of those in the city?

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I'd like to leave a bunch on the bike lane on Congress Street, which drivers think is a special little douchebag lane just for them to use!

Insanely incorrect

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With no overpass and fewer lanes the entire neighborhood would be slammed with traffic. As an individual who lives there now I can tell you that traffic backs up South Street past Child Street from about 430-630 every day. Even with the new at grade solution with all the lanes shown the traffic on South Street is going to get worse, per the original traffic study. Doing it with fewer lanes would be a complete and total cluster.

The issue that people have with this process is that it was sketchy from the start. The state's original traffic study showed significant increases in traffic through the entire Forest Hills neighborhood with the at grade solution, aside from the traffic on the Arborway. Once they realized there was this dumbfounding support for an at grade solution they did a "new" traffic study that magically said the traffic wouldn't be as bad with an at grade solution as the original study said it would. This they used to justify blowing the bridge out of the water.

The whole thing is sketchy, underhanded and has not been done correctly or in the open.

I think what Marty's going

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I think what Marty's going for here is a little deflection so he doesn't have to say what he's really feeling, which I'd assume is more along the lines of "shut the hell up about this issue that's been discussed to death for years." Nail him for being political if you want, but I'd call it more "tactful" than anything else.

Even as an overpass supporter

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Comparing the fight in favor of an overpass to the fight against the Southwest Expressway seems a bit off. And before the other side pipes up, no, there is a difference between tearing down the overpass and the fight against the Southwest Expressway, too.

On both sides, the rhetoric can be a bit much. From the bicycle issue to the weird civil rights issue to this, it really seems like people are grasping at straws. There are arguments for an overpass and arguments against. I could sit here and write why I think the overpass should be replaced by a newer, better overpass, but I won't (I've gone on about the topic on UHub before, no need to again.) I would say that I don't know why civility and sanity have gone out the window in this debate, but then again, it is Jamaica Plain.

"it is Jamaica Plain"

True -- but the people who will have to bear most of the pain, if things don't turn out as rosy as projected, are mostly from other parts of Boston (Roslindale, West Roxbury, etc).

Really, people in West

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Really, people in West Roxbury and Roslindale will feel more of the pain from a bad design than the people in JP, who live near the overpass?


Most people in JP live NORTH of the coming clusterf**k -- and can use alternate Orange Line stations and bus stops closer to their homes. We people to the South (and a lot of those to the East) are going to have to get either (1) to Forest Hills, or (2) past Forest Hills. And I expect intense misery while the destruction/building phases go on -- and continued misery (but hopefully less) after it is finished. I find (what seems to be the typical) JP attitude on this issue incredibly selfish.

One assumes it would ultimately have been a lot cheaper for the state to have maintained this structure _properly_ over the years, instead of neglecting it and allowing it to deteriorate.

I live to the south in rozzie

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did you even go to any of the meetings or look at any of the traffic studies? the surface option eliminates a traffic light - which made north/south travel a lot better - the bridge would have made east/west travel slightly better than the at-grade, but north/south travel would have been only slightly better than it is now. Both options were better than what is existing, though.

I have no idea why people think this is going to be some kind of Armageddon.

Plus - it appears the main reason the most vocal bridge supporters want to keep the bridge is that they're concerned about, and this is a quote from one of them, "the coming tidal wave of development" - which is the DIRECT RESULT of removing the bridge as it makes the area far more appealing for development (my field of work, btw). the MBTA had PNF's out for lots around forest hills for a decade or more, and only after the decision to remove the bridge are developers getting interested (plus there's now finally movement on washington street in stony brook). Also - aren't you wondering why rozzie is suddenly a really hot neighborhood? that wall between JP and rozzie is about to come down.

Why not shift your battle to getting the orange line to extend to rozzie?

I couldn't go...

... but my wife went to some of the community meetings -- and said she found the DOT presentations not very persuasive and that she got the feeling that they had made up their mind already, As it turns out, the latter point appears to be pretty much true.

The "hotness" of Roslindale as a neighborhood has been a gradual process over the course of quite a few years. No, it has NOT gotten hot as the result of the overpass demolition plan. And I don't (personally) know of any Roslindale residents who are particularly enthusiastic about that plan.


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Roslindale resident here, like Waquiot and MK, and I am very skeptical that this will be the improvement being presented. I also agree that this issue is a fait accompli and don't particularly want to rehash all the same arguments. It's terrible now, I don't think it will get better but I don't think it will be worse.

I do think the construction period will be a short term disaster for anyone who uses the roads J-Way/Centre St. but that's to be expected.

How long?

I'm sure the duration of the demolition/construction process must have been mentioned at some point -- but if I heard it, I've forgotten it. Wondering if anyone can recollect this?

I _suspect_ it will be worse, but in part that is due to my profound distrust of Mass DOT.

I hate me the overpass

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Roslindale resident here. I am very enthusiastic for the at-grade solution thank you.

yes - rozzie has been a long

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yes - rozzie has been a long process, but I know for a fact that the proposed substation redevelopment and what's happening up in Forest Hills are definitely a big part of the more recent increase in interest in the area (we call them catalyst projects). but hey - keep listening to your gut instead of someone who does this stuff for a living.

Everybody in Rozzie?

Here's one Rozzi resident who favors bridge elimination. Admittedly, I would prefer fewer lanes, but at grade is going to be better for the section of Roslindale approaching Forest Hills and will likely prime development of that section of Washington Street, more fully connecting the Rozzi Square area with Forest Hills and South Street. This is a good thing, and while I agree with you that "hot Roslindale" has been an organic process over many years, now is the time for things to shift in to high gear. The anon above is right -- the solution to the traffic quagmire at the junction of Washington and South St. is an Orange Line extension, not more roads.

Been there done that

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I grew up in Rozzie and always knew Forest Hills to be a bottle neck. My mother watched the Casey Overpass built, and it was built to relieve the at-grade road traffic - and that at a time when there were far fewer cars on the roadways.

I also lived through the misery when the Orange Line was rebuilt and the old Forest Hills station was replaced with what is there now. That was several years worth and traffic was a nightmare getting through there. Only this time the railroad won't be shut down and a temp road cut through between Washington Street and walk Hill Street. Yes, there was a temp roadway built there for the construction.

During the Forest Hills station rebuild traffic was terrible and you had to add an hour to any public transit to get to and from the station at Forest hills. It was total gridlock. Many of the businesses there also died from lack of people stopping. They just wanted to get away from there.

While there were many meetings that were JP centric, they were not well advertised in neighborhoods away from there. Few people in Mattapan and Roslindale knew of the meetings, but if anyone went through the whole mess of the RT X-28 bus line that MassDOT tried to shove down Mattapan's throat, that is not a surprise. Meetings were often poorly advertised and held at times when community members could not make it.

Mind you... the current traffic patterns were hailed during the reconstruction of the station and roadways asd being the answer to all of Forest Hill's traffic problems. That was just in the mid-80s by the way. The pundits also convinced everyone that the remaining land should remain green space.

Of course the area has been gentrified and old agreements are forgotten. The bridge will come down, and the former green space will be developed into new business, apartments,and condos.

Someone should build a time capsule to mount somewhere so when the next generation decides to build a bridge, they can read about what happened, and why, and who was to blame. Otherwise history will repeat itself.

The support pylons for the overpass go down at least another 4 stories or more below the current road grade, which was raised in the 80s. They will get sheared off and paved over. Few people understand just how high that bridge really was in the old days because most only know the current layout. The actual grade was about what it is at Hyde Park Ave and Tower Street straight through to Doyles.

I'd love to be an archeologist 1000 years from now.

As to Orange Line to Rozzie, that battle was lost back in the early 80s. Much of that thanks to NIMBY from Needham. Please read up on that and why it is now impossible to happen. Hint: FRA regulations. Subways will never ply those tracks for the same reason the Fairmount line will never be a subway as well.

Your historical perspective...

... on things like this is greatly appreciated.

An addendum -- from what I understand there was no publicizing at all of the meetings about the overpass in West Roxbury. Certainly someone there should have noticed -- and got people there to provide input -- but basically WR only woke up the day _after_ the plan was was approved (and finally reported in the papers).

Thanks for the background

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Thanks for the background info. I think it goes to show just how nutty the so-called "planners" were in the 80s (and the 70s, and the 60s, etc). Maybe in 30 years they will look back at us in dismay too, I don't know. I would like to think that planners have finally wised up after nearly a century of failure, and are laying good groundwork that will be appreciated in thirty years, when there is a thriving, densely populated neighborhood all around the Forest Hills transit super-station.

I just wanted to add a side note and say that while the battle for Orange Line to Needham was lost back in the 80s, it is not an impossible goal now. Orange Line to Roslindale can be built concurrently with the existing Needham line, so FRA regulations need not apply. And if Needham changes their tune, then Orange Line to Needham (combined with Green Line to Needham) can outright replace the Needham commuter rail line. This may actually be inevitable, because over the next few decades, there will be pressure from Amtrak on the MBTA to cut back service on the minor branch lines like Needham, and eventually something will have to give.

I could easily see Orange Line through Roslindale being one of the next expansion targets after GLX.

Planners still nutty

At different time periods they simply have different visions of Utopia they want to create. The problem isn't with one vision vs. another, its the arrogance of pushing a vision on public instead of letting the public weigh in on contrasting ones, preferably accurately via ballot questions. Meetings, hearings, and letter counts are far less accurate and simply antiquated. Sorry if that is too democratic for planners.

Commuter rail

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If they dropped the price of the commuter rail in Rozzie and West Rox. like they did in Hyde Park then the potential impact of overpass construction on our ability to get to Forest Hills by bus or car every morning would disappear. It could potentially result in some decrease in the horrendous traffic flow and number of people attempting drop offs /pick ups in the middle of Washington St. As it is currently it takes me 20-25 minutes on a good day to drive 2 miles to the parking lot at Forest Hills, of that the second mile consumes 15-20 min. between traffic on Washington St. and trying to get to Hyde Park Ave and to the lot.

I take either the 35/36/37 bus or I am one of said drop off/pick ups and I am very nervous that the traffic on Washington St. and/or through the Arboretum during rush hours is going to be bad through the tear down and construction. I will withhold opinions on the at-grade intersection and how it will affect my life because I don't know that anyone at this point can say with any accuracy how it impact the neighborhoods surrounding JP.

Hyde Park Zone 1, Readville Zone 2

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But thanks for playing.

20 minutes from Forest Hills to the Square at worst, 10 minutes typical during rush hour. And to remind you once again, and perhaps for others when the construction begins, it is a 15 minute brisk walk from the Square to Forest Hills.


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Rozzie used to be an "etc." as well....

Rozzie has become...

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...infinitely more hip than JP and WRox without being hip-ster.
Great community!

Two questions for Mr. Kerpan

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Do you also believe that people from the suburbs should have the right to dictate the street design of the city of Boston, because they are the ones most likely to be driving on it?

For example, should downtown Boston be turned into a series of parking lots and highways because otherwise it will be the people from the other parts of the city and metro region who will "bear the pain" that you claim?

Do you have to deal with this area on a daily basis...

... as a resident of the city of Boston who happens to live south of Forest Hills?

If this will make life nicer for a relatively few people on the south end of Jamaica Plain and much worse for a lot more Boston residents south of Forest Hills, is it a fair trade?

Let's leave "evil suburbanites" out of the equation -- this is a matter of Boston residents versus Boston residents versus the state transportation folks (who dropped the ball on maintenance for decade and were already totally committed to the cheapest possible solution before public input even began).

Leaving the "evil" out

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Hey, your words, not mine.

Look, I'm trying to establish some consistency here. Do you believe that people from outside your neighborhood should be able to dictate the disposition of very important, public pieces of your neighborhood? Pieces that will affect your daily life, possibly endanger your life if done wrong, and will contribute positively or negatively to your quality of life, for sure.

If you say yes, then you open up the other questions. If people from Hyde Park, West Roxbury, and Mattapan can screw over residents of Jamaica Plain then what's to stop, say, Dedham from saying "hey! we deserve a highway through West Roxbury! to ease our 'pain'!" or something like that.

Non-locals won out in Arlington

People living closest to the Mass Ave narrowing project voted against doing it by a 60-40% margin, and overall the town opposed it by about 51-49%. Town selectmen went against what people most affected by the project wanted and approved the bike lanes replacing a travel lane already adjacent to the Minuteman path. I think much of the bike lane support came from pedestrians who wanted the high speed cyclists who terrorize them, off the Minuteman.

Slow your roll, there.

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Do you actually USE the Minuteman Trail? I do, on the regular, as a biker and pedestrian, and I don't see any terror happening.

Mom with stroller bitched out by biker

There are many moms pushing prams on the Minuteman. One told me how two men in tights riding side by side were annoyed by having to slow from their training pace and pass the baby, mom, and grandma, parting with salutes. So mom's with fragile babies and fragile grandmas are uncomfortable with Lance wannabes riding too fast for conditions.

In my experience

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The be-prammed idiots deserve to be bitched out because they are rolling their ultimate giant shopping tandem mega strollers side by side and not paying attention to anything but their own inane blather. While taking up the whole goddamned path!

Bike != Stroller

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It's the Minuteman BIKEway. Said moms and grandmas better get the hell out of the way.

Wanna talk about terror?

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what about the dogwalkers who string their leashes across the bike path like a tripwire? or those anklebiters who ride straight at you playing chicken? or the skaters who leg-span is wider than the path? or the multi-legged monsters (aka birdwatchers) who obliviously stretch across the path with their eyes pointed treeward? or strollers? the list goes on...yes, I suppose it IS all about me

Terror on the Minuteman

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Actually, I stopped riding the Minuteman because the pedestrians (particularly with their nearly invisible extendable dog leashes) and rollerbladers (wide sweep of legs) terrorized me. The path is just too popular.

I usually feel more comfortable riding in traffic, where all of the vehicles are at least moving at roughly the same speed (at least in urban traffic conditions), rather than on the more heavily used "mixed use" recreation paths (question: I thought the Minuteman was a "commuter bikeway"?) where there are too many different kinds of users doing too many not-very-compatible things.

Arlington Referendum was a joke

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Mark, remember the wording of that joke of a referendum, which was brought forth by the aggressive tactics of an angry old man whose house is on Mass Ave.? It said basically "Do you you approve of leaving Mass. Ave. at four lanes of traffic?" What kind of bait-n-switch sack-of-shit gimme vote is that?

There was no mention of the proposal, which had years of scientific traffic studies to back up the fact that there would only ever be 20 seconds more car travel time only in one direction only at rush hour, AND that PEOPLE and CHILDREN who walk and bike and LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE ME would be safer, and that ultimately the whole area would benefit and be more beautiful? The street is a Texas-sized drag strip for cars, and needs to change to fit the people that live here.

That "Crumbumdgeon", who posts on Boston.com, just wanted peace and quiet, and spent over $40,000 of his own money to try and stop progress, and the safety of residents.

The Arlington selectmen DID THE RIGHT THING by approving the project that was already in the works for years and would have lost all federal funds if not green-lit. This is a prime example of checks and balances working for the benefit of greater good of the people. Most people usually know whats best for themselves, but sometimes they vote against their own interests, because of tricky, shady, deceptive, shit-for-brains-selfish assholes like that old-man-in-the-Mass Ave.

You were brainwashed, anon coward

The fact is that the project was designed (by bicyclists) in shadow WITHOUT public input for many years. When that design started, the first Vision-2020 poll for the town asked what were top road concerns. Pedestrian safety was tops, then congestion. Near the very bottom was a desire for bike lanes. That was ignored by the pro bicycling planners for the next 7 years, when a newspaper article finally let residents know what was going on. Residents were furious about the secret agenda to add traffic congestion and thus hurt local businesses. There simply not enough residents within walking and bicycling range of the many restaurants to keep them all afloat - people from other towns DRIVING to Arlington are necessary, as was as restaurants DRIVING food to customers. Anti-car measures hurt business.

A group of residents along the project submitted an alternative design that retained the mobility of 4 travel lanes while enhancing public safety with the addition of pedestrian activated crossing signals where there are none and continue to be none in the bike lanes design. It also encouraged use of raised median, where the approved plan only has 100 feet out of 5,000. Studies show that the most effective ways to increase pedestrian safety are: 1. high intensity pedestrian crossing lights, and 2. raised median refuge spaces. Lane replacement with bike lanes doesn't shorten crossing distances, contrary to lies told by licensed civil engineers selling the plan to residents. They should lose their licenses for lying.

The goal of Selectmen seems to have been to get an extra $750,000 in landscaping, $500,000 of detail work for cops, and freshening up appearances. Having to accept bike lanes was the secret cost put on them by anti-car MAPC, MPO, Patrick, and Davey. None of them had the courage to say that bike lanes are pushed with landscaping and detail bribes. If Selectmen didn't bow down to taking the bike lanes and more traffic congestion, cops and their town employee friends would not reelect them.

A related topic to business vitality in east Arlington and North Cambridge is that the heavy congestion on RT-16/Alewife Brook Parkway which has existed for decades, prevents these two areas from having vitality. Widening to 6 lanes is long, long overdue from at least Mass Ave to Rt. 2 and the Alewife "circle". This would connect Mass Ave better to the business and transportation hub at Alewife station. If capacity were increased on Fresh Pond Parkway, it would draw (mostly suburb commuter) traffic off Mass Ave and improve #77 service greatly. Instead, Cambridge anti-car, bite nose to spite face planners oppose any modernization beyond 1935.

Why do you hate bicycles so much?

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Why do you have such a hatred of bikes?

Why do you use psychological tricks and bullying tactics to make your point?

How much money do you receive every year from oil, gasoline, and auto companies?

What is your line of work?

How old are you?


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my lord, have you looked at the streets lately?

I'm not answering your questions

Until you tell me just how this overpass (or disappearance of same) will affect your own life on a day to day basis. All I see from you is completely abstract pontificating, showing zero familiarity with this particular part of the city.

If you want to talk about non

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If you want to talk about non-abstraction, how about comparing the actual real life traffic data that supports the at grade option vs the non-existant data/purely emotional response that the at grade option will cause carmagedon?

My wife has seen traffic presentations...

... for issues relating to Cambridge where she works and the ones for the Casey Overpass. She said that the Casey presentation (and its projections) was pretty bush league compared to the ones she had seen in Cambridge.

What one thinks of the presentation depends in part on how much one trusts Mass DOT.

Sorry, but that's just some

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Sorry, but that's just some sort of quasi ad hominem. If someone presents cold hard numbers, you need your own cold hard numbers to create a counter argument. Not some vague notion about the quality of the presentation.

even the projections

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done by the third party?

or are you talking about those mediocre sketchup renderings?

yes - a presentation put together by a cash-strapped state agency might not be as visually polished as those put together by internationally renowned designers.

I'm asking you philosophical

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I'm asking you philosophical questions because it ties in directly with the history of the region. The Casey Overpass (as well as things like the original design of the Southwest Expressway) come from an era when the needs of local residents were intentionally ignored in favor of the the desires of passing motorists. The highway revolts of 40 years ago changed that balance back in favor of the local residents, at least somewhat.

Your argument seems to be that we should tilt back away from the local residents and towards the passing motorists again.

I don't live near Forest Hills but I do live in a community that also has to balance between the needs of local residents and the desires of passing motorists, and historically, it is the latter who have mostly won out. So I do take a very concrete interest in your proposal, even if it does not right now immediately apply to my own area, because the consequences of such a policy do affect me.

I'm not asking a very difficult question, really. I'll say it again: do you believe that local residents should be overridden by the desires of people outside their community, when it comes to the design of public streets?


The interests of a relatively few residents of Southern JP don't outweigh the concerns of the many more residents of the area, just a little further away.

Of course, MASS DOT's obviously pre-decided desire to spend the minimum amount of money possible trumps both (but happens to coincide with the JP factions desires).

In terms of sheer numbers,

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In terms of sheer numbers, then local residents could never "outweigh" non-local residents. That's just geography. Policy has evolved over the years to account for the fact that local residents have a larger stake in the outcome, and can we agree that it shouldn't just be a "by the numbers" game, i.e. a "tyranny of the majority" so to speak?

As for MassDOT, I am absolutely thrilled, as a taxpayer, that they are starting to think about cost effectiveness seriously. This is the Big Dig state after all. Maybe we should be thinking more carefully about how money is spent on infrastructure projects, and why they go overbudget, and how to prevent that. That MassDOT is considering benefit vs cost, finally, is a wonderful development and one that I hope will spread throughout the agency. Especially that they are considering maintenance lifespan. One of the reasons that we ended up in the mess in the first place is because the old agencies never thought about how they would pay for all the infrastructure maintenance they would incur! What if we built the overpass and then it fell into disrepair again within thirty years, due to deferred maintenance?

Your definition of "local" ...

... is peculiar. Forest Hills and the Casey Overpass and the several nearby intersections do not belong only to those comparatively few households nearest to them. Residents living within a mile or two, who will be significantly impacted by a change in the status quo are also "local".

Benefit vs. Cost

MassDOT isn't doing that. Compare how few benefit from bike infrastructure compared to roads serving many more people. $39M for 1.9 mi. of path along the noisy GLX with trains whizzing by is not so cost effective when people can just get on the overpriced GLX and ride instead. MassDOT has also wasted many Millions on diminishing roads and reducing transportation, ie. Nonantum Road, which had a pedestrian fatality soon after narrowed, Mass Ave in Arlington with a lane removed for $7M, Concord Rd. in Cambridge lane removed prior to approval of 2 new apartment complexes etc..

If MassDOT wanted better economics, they would get money from cyclists for their projects and especially from Somerville for the GLX. Somerville is reaping lots of extra property tax money from increased valuations along near new stations while those paying for them get nothing. All the money property owners reap from windfall gains selling to developers also doesn't help pay for the project.

Finally, MBTA city and town assessments are very unfair, Somerville (and Quincy) need to join the higher contributing ranks with Cambridge and Brookline, in line with the MBTA services they receive.

Oh, and almost forgot. We have suffered from having about the most expensive roads per mile due to the prevailing wage law here which makes elevates labor costs to that of union workers. These same workers who get paid very well on jobs collect lots of unemployment benefits between jobs.$45/hr is too much for each person to hold an orange flag or sit in a police cruiser at job sites.

Want to pay for it yourself?

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There is state money in this project, dude. That matters, because wanting a super large and expensive special shrine to the car in the sky isn't something the rest of us want to pay for, no matter how bad the local townies want it.

Move to an island

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if you don't want to have to live in a connected community where the requirements and actions of many impact others. Do you think Logan airport should be closed down because of the noise in Eastie/Revere/Winthrop, etc...?

Of islands and airports

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There are many people who thought (and continue to think) exactly that, and not all of them were from EB, Revere or Winthrop.

Do you remember the "turn Devens into Dulles" plan that was on the table until Gov. Weld killed it?

The issue is bigger than the neighborhood.

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Obviously the closest residents need to have input, and they have. There was a long contentious process.

But there are many of us commuters that don't live in JP and have to get into (or out of the city). I believe the "At Grade Solution" will be a mess despite what the studies show. Granted, it may look better than the current crumbling bridge, and be safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, but those concerns would have been addressed with any new plan. I will support the tear down because that's what came out of the process. AND I will probably need to find some other road into the city.

In a word, yes. We are one

In a word, yes. We are one city, and as such all residents should have input over what happens in the city. If you restricted input on projects to just the immediate neighbors, NIMBYism would bring this city to a complete standstill. We'd have no highways, no airport, no new residential or commercial development. Even for issues like the Eastie casino, I believe all residents should have voted. Once you Balkanize the city, what's the point of staying united as a municipality? We might as well start un-annexing all the outlying neighborhoods.

And bringing in Dedham is a complete red herring. Different town; beside the point.

Fair enough answer

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I don't know why Michael couldn't have just answered like this.

Anyway, let's get some shades of gray going here: at what point should the the city override the local neighbors, and at what point is that too much? How do we determine it?

Where is the line drawn? The Southwest Expressway? The Inner Belt? Those seem to be on the extreme side.

I think we can both agree that some kooks in Medford trying to prevent the Green Line Extension is the other extreme.

So, rebuilding the Casey Overpass, where does that fall in the spectrum?

Is it possible that, as someone has mentioned, the overpass proponents are actually anti-development activists? So that's just replacing one kind of NIMBY with another, no?

Is it possible....

... that people highly suspicious of this operation are simply ordinary people in the vicinity (but not next door to) the overpass who anticipate that their daily lives are going to be negatively affected (from moderately to severely). Is it really unreasonable to not feel a lot of confidence in Mass Dot?

It's quite reasonable to distrust DOT

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I do it all the time, after all :)

Actually, I usually have to contend with their poorly thought out and unscientific modeling in the other direction. For instance, a sample conversation at a public meeting might go like this:

DOT: "We predict 0.5% increase in traffic per year."

Me: "Actually, traffic has decreased by 5% over the last ten years here, according to your very own data."

DOT: "We saw that but we still predict 0.5% increase in traffic per year. Therefore we cannot implement [safety improvement X] because it might possibly detract from Level of Service for motor vehicles."

Me: "Secretary Davey issued a directive telling you to prioritize walking, biking and public transportation in your designs, not Level of Service for cars."

DOT: "Uhhh, we still predict 0.5% increase in traffic per year and must design around that."

on and on ...etc.

Actually, one of the biggest matters of distrust I have with DOT regarding the Casey Arborway is that they are "bulging" out the road in the vicinity of the intersection. They are making it wider than it really should be, and I suspect it's because of a short-sighted quirk in their computer modelling code.

One would hope that

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One would hope that government policy, especially government policy directing the spending of a million or so bucks, would be based around more than a vague suspicion that MassDOT is lying. Maybe some, I don't know, hard evidence would be better? Unfortunately for the pro-bridge folk, all hard evidence is against them.

I support "Michael Kerpan" on

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I support "Michael Kerpan" on this one. Have you thought of all the bus routes that travel to Forest Hills that city residents use (not just the "evil suburbanites"). MANY routes travel down Washington Street which cannot be widen to have designated bus routes. And yes, the street has triple deckers that were built in the 1930s and 1940s which predates the car culture. It has a walkable urban density that current modern urban planning prescribe to! Sidewalks! Bike Lanes! And cars! Oh MY! All sharing the same roads to a transportation hub. Same thing could be said about Hyde Park Ave...

Once again, a breakdown of impact by zipcode.

Population Housholds

Population of Bus Routes on Washington Street
02467 (Chestnut Hill)* 22,796 6,351
02132 (West Roxbury) 27,163 11,013
02131 (Roslindale) 30,370 11,282
Total 80,329 28,646

Population of Bus Routes on Hyde Park Ave
02136 (Hyde Park) 29,219 10,650
02126 (Mattapan) 27,335 9,510
Total 56,554 20,160

02130 (Jamaica Plain) 36,866 15,306

* Yes, parts of Chestnut Hill are in Boston.

Chestnut Hill part of Boston?

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Chestnut Hill part of Boston? I don't think so. Perhaps you're confused by the fact that Boston College is located partially in Brighton (which is Boston) and Chestnut Hill (which I believe is Newton).

If you truly believe otherwise, please contact the Assessing Department at Boston City Hall. The property tax revenue from Chestnut Hill would be very welcome.

Back on topic, I'm very happy the Casey is coming down and that the Mayor has seen the light for whatever reason. Now if only the city and state would give some serious thought to the feasibility of relocating the busyard to the proposed alternative location where there are no residents...

Like it or not, yes

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For whatever reasons, the Chestnut Hill zip code extends to the VFW Parkway in West Roxbury, which leads to things such as Harvard Vanguard renaming its West Roxbury Clinic as Harvard Vanguard Chestnut Hill/West Roxbury. The strip mall across the street now has Chestnut Hill in its name as well.

It was always coming down

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You have said a few times that this is DOT's fault for not maintaining the overpass, by which I assume you mean that had they done so they wouldn't need to replace it in the firts place. Bad news though. That overpass was structurally deficient WHEN IT WAS BUILT! They actually tried to make some adjustments to it in the late 80s or early 90s but actually ended up having to tear off half the work they had done because the bridge couldn't take the weight. Yes, that is also DOT's fault, but my point is just that this is a bridge that is going to come down no matter what.

Big Dig 2

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It's beyond me why we haven't considered a tunnel to connect Franklin Park and the Arboretum; use emerald green wall tiles to connect the necklace, keep the washington street traffic in perpetual gridlock, and as with the greenway, forever memorialize a bonehead traffic solution and create a windswept swath above the tunnel with a fountain or two...it's perfect.

Writing a check Walsh can't cash

Walsh made a campaign promise and now claims its beyond his power to keep it? Its really early in his term to begin neutering himself and losing credibility.

Did he?

If he said he would investigate, made a few inquiries and got a brush off and then threw up his hands -- is that a promise kept? Note -- I don't know just how much "investiating" was done, but would be happy to learn.

In August 2013, Walsh said,

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In August 2013, Walsh said,

"I am calling on Mass DOT to fairly evaluate the option of replacing the Casey Overpass with a beautiful modern bridge that reflects the Olmsted tradition that protected this area for so long, a bridge that will unite and connect communities."

Thanks for pointing out biased reporting

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Seems like these days the Gazette is a Bridging Forest Hills member. The mayor said he heard 50/50 from the community—yet somehow the Gazette only reported on and quoted the bridgers while many at-grade people stood right next to the reporter on the very same day she describes.

The Casey Overpass is an

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The Casey Overpass is an eyesore and artificial barrier separating Forest Hills from the rest of JP. Tearing it down will be a positive for the area. As for traffic, as someone who sits in it daily at FH now, I can say it sucks now and probably will still suck after it's gone. But that's not an issue isolated to that area, you have it all over the city at bottlenecks like this.

What does that mean?

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Ok, given that city council districts have no fixed neighborhood boundaries, nor do school districts can you clarify why it matters if Forrest Hills is separated from JP? Roslindale is a nice place, mostly.

Eyesore- agreed. Bad traffic- agreed. Neighborhood parochialism - mystified.

This reminds me of the people from West Roxbury who freaked out about their zip code showing Roslindale, although in that case I guess there was some impact on their insurance prices...

My comment wasn't from the

My comment wasn't from the perspective of parochialism, especially where I do not live in JP and actually do live in Rozzie. It inherently makes no real difference which neighborhood Forest Hill is identified with. But, I was thinking more along the lines of how the Expressway used to separate the North End from downtown, both literally and also in people's perceptions. Tearing that down and putting in the Greenway has opened up that area and re-connected them, resulting in a more cohesive and better walking experience with more green space etc.. I think you will see the same with the Casey gone. I could have easily said the Casey acts as an artificial barrier between South Street and Washington Street and meant the same thing, wasn't being intentionally neighborhood specific.

I know I said I wouldn't

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But here it goes-

The Casey overpass is nothing like the Central Artery. For starters, it is a lot more elevated, spanning essentially the Stony Brook valley and once clearing the Elevated. Second, there was nothing to break apart- in 1953 there wasn't too much around there, especially compared to now. Even with the overpass gone, Forest Hills is still a geographic choke point with the Arboretum and Forest Hills Cemetery. I would argue that those 2 places, along with a major transportation hub, cleave off White City (I bet you didn't know it was called that, but we can call it old St. Andrew's Parish if it makes you feel better) from the rest of Jamaica Plain.

I have looked up at the overpass for decades, and I think it is kind of neat. My pie in the sky hope is that it gets replaced by something just as cool, or perhaps something cooler like the bridge that brought the LUAS to Dundrum. It's a space crying out for a bridge, while the north-south traffic is crying out for a means to take traffic away from it.

Again, would a street solution be able to handle the traffic currently passing through while beautifying the area? That's what should be discussed.

Why the comment about White

Why the comment about White City? Why would you assume I didn't know it was called that? Of course I do. My family used to live there before I was born actually...

Anyway, respectfully agree to disagree otherwise. I think removing the Overpass will help improve the area. It's grimy now and very unattractive. Maybe it was nice to look at once but definitely not anymore. When I look up, I can see the sky through its surface holes. As for traffic, well, not denying it's gonna be a problem but it already is. Do I think it's gonna be Armageddon like others have said? No.

Glad you know White City

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I only knew it since I used to see it on the cover of the Parkway Transcript back in the day, so I had to track it down at one point. I was worried that others might misconstrue the phrase for some race thing, which it never was. I suppose nowadays it needs a new name, but my alternative (old St. Andrew's Parish) is way too vague.

Again, I think there are valid arguments on both sides, but fighting for the overpass is no fight against the Southwest Expressway, much like the overpass is no Central Artery.

One way or another, we'll see.

I wasn't saying the Overpass

I wasn't saying the Overpass was exactly like the Central Artery. Different situations. But I was commenting that I think removing the Overpass will have a similar positive effect.

White City Expalined..interesting

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In 1914, four apartment buildings covered with light stucco were erected on Hyde Park Ave far South of the train station. The complex was called "White City" in emulation of the World's Columbian Exposition a decade earlier.[1]

The name was later borrowed by the White City Food Store and the White City Cleansers (sic) on the corner of Hyde Park Ave and Eldridge Road, thus putting the "White City" name on two large signs visible even to those whizzing by on Hyde Park Ave.[18]

White City came to be regarded as its own section of Jamaica Plain (or, less frequently, as a subsection of Forest Hills). Its borders were seen as Walk Hill Street, Hyde Park Ave and St. Michael's Cemetery. The area now thought of as "Woodbourne" was contained within.

The origins of the name "White City" having been forgotten by the 1970s, the name acquired a specific meaning in the context of racially tense Boston. White City was the last essentially all-White area of Jamaica Plain (with the possible exception of the palatial homes lining the Jamaicaway). Houses up for sale in the area were listed as being in White City and sold for more money than those listed as Forest Hills.

After the Woodbourne area was designated as historic and the area became integrated, Woodbourne replaced White City in conversation and realty listings. White City Cleansers was renamed around 2003; its sign was the last prominent reminder of the name that was once given to this section of Jamaica Plain. The name, and the racial connotations it coincidentally acquired, are largely forgotten.

Shoot. I forgot Woodbourne

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I also think of White City as being that cool development behind the senior housing, in the "Bournes" of all places. I never got a good look at them until 10 years ago. A real oasis.

As for the connotations, what about Moss Hill? Always been the whitest part of JP.

You do realize

That when the Expressway was removed, what was placed in that location was a green park.

When the Casey Overpass is removed, what will be placed in that location is six lanes of traffic.

At eye level, anyhow, that will be a bigger barrier than the bridge is.

Not quite the same

the Greenway is ... well... mostly (or at least largely) ... green. This is going to be pretty much solidly traffic lanes.

If the 6 lanes of surface

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If the 6 lanes of surface traffic are your issue, then argue for reducing the amount of lanes, don't argue for more and just elevating them. If you are just using that as cover for the fact you really just want a bridge so you don't have to stop at stoplights then make that argument and stop being misleading. Fewer surface lanes and no overpass seems like the best compromise for most people, while a few of the wealthier people who can afford to drive downtown or Harvard Medical Center and park for work (instead of using the trains and buses available) might be slightly inconvenienced.

I'm a fan of fewer roads,

I'm a fan of fewer roads, safer roads, and more public transportation options. I don't think anyone really knows which plan will ultimately be better or worse for which part of JP/HP/WR, etc. Logic tells me surface roads will be slower, more congested. If that turns out to be the case, then more than likely lots of people will seek alternate routes if they can, thus relieving some of that congestion. Of course the result of that is that other surrounding neighborhood streets could become clogged, streets that never were congested pre-bridge elimination. If it turns out all these new surface streets work miracles (which I doubt) and actually push traffic thru Forest Hills more efficiently than an overpass then expect more traffic around FH than ever before, and expect the former FH glut to shift someplace downstream. If you build it, everyone will want to drive on it, and park their SUV on it.


For a highly sensible post (more level-heeaded than mine on this topic, at this point).

Even if a new bridge were

Even if a new bridge were desirable, the cost to build it would be in the millions. The state does not have that kind of money for a bridge that is not absolutely necessary, as opposed to the Longfellow for example which clearly is needed to cross the river.

Speaking about the Longfellow

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How's that traffic Armageddon that was predicted upon the closure of its Cambridge bound lanes? Or the one that happened during the Callahan Tunnel closure?

I find that dire predictions of gridlock tend to be overstated and that traffic flows adapt to conditions. Does anyone remember what the Forest Hills area was like before it was rebuilt in the early to mid 80s?

Callahan Tunnel Closure

I have a feeling you didn't have to actually drive to Logan during the day while the Callahan tunnel was closed. On three occasions I sat in the Ted William's tunnel approach in bumper-to-bumper traffic for more that an hour each time. When a 20 min drive turns into an hour and 45 minute drive, I think that counts as a traffic Armageddon...

Your fault

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Yes, but you see that was your fault for choosing to live your life in a thoughtless manner where you had to take a car for some reason from one side of the harbor to another. Obviously you should have simply gotten a job closer to your house or a house closer to your job so you wouldn't have to oppress the people who live between the two with your carbon emissions. #jp4life #sarcasm

Or is the Longfellow Bridge necessary?

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....could always bring back ferries.
does raise the issue of: the wider the roads, the more drivers will use them; adding lanes to the freeways in LA has not increased the 25 mph avg speed there. What if we agreed stopped building new roads, bridges, and did "adevelopment": start removing roads or demphasizing travel only by auto? never happen, I know, but it is within the power of the citizenry...

The Longfellow isn't necessary

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Except for the MBTA, it isn't necessary at all.

The reason it got one car lane and two bike lanes was because bike trips outnumbered car trips 4:1.

It is hard to get on to, doesn't go much of anywhere. Unless you are on a train - then it is necessary. On a bike it is really useful. In a car, pretty useless.