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Overpass fight not over yet in Jamaica Plain
By adamg on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 7:46am
The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports opponents of the state's plan to replace the Casey Overpass with a new system of surface roads may try to delay and block the project until the light dawns over MassDOT and the state decides to replace the overpass with a new overpass, preferably one that is "Olmsted inspired."
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Casey Parkway?! WHAT!!11 HEY
Casey Parkway?! WHAT!!11 HEY I'VE BEEN HERE FOR HOW LONG?!
And what's with Rep. Liz Malia caring more about suburban pass-through commuters than local residents?
I'm not sure how an overpass could be described in that fashion. Edwin Moses inspired, sure thing, but Olmstead?
Was to have the overpass supports shaped like trees, the better to tie the project to its location in the Emerald Necklace.
Did the original Olmsted plan for this area have a bridge?
I don't think so, but if someone can come up with the original plan, that would be great.
Olmsted's 1892 plan is on the
Olmsted's 1892 plan is on the last page of http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/caseyoverpass/downl... .
The roads had an at-grade intersection, and there was a bridge for the railroad.
All cars going over the Tree-verpass will be forced to wear hood bonnets with antlers to give the morning commute the suggestion of a herd of gentle deer cantering through the woodlands.
You mean Robert Moses
There is a link, however. Both the impulse to create large brutal highway projects, and large swathes of vague "greenspace" come from the same root: hatred of cities. That's why the Big Dig and the Greenscar fit so well together.
Highway and greenspace projects were also both common tactics of "slum clearance." In other words, to destroy the homes of people they didn't like.
It's not something inherent in highways or parks, just the way they are often used to "improve" cities.
You mean the runner didn't build highways?
Why yes, Robert is who I meant, d'oh! As for your thesis, I do not consider Olmstead to be anti-urban, though I agree completely about Moses.
Moses built parks too
Some of them were even nice. And Olmstead lived before urban renewal, which is when ideas like "landscape architecture" became weapons used against the city.
He designed in a time when it wasn't easy for the masses to get out of the city. What Olmstead did was bring a bit of country to the city. While I can see how this might seem anti-urban, think about what urban meant in his day? It's not something that contemporary urbanists would strive to recreate. As an inhabitant of an otherwise urban neighborhood who can walk to the Emerald Necklace, I can assure you that it is a valuable recreational facility. Anti-urban parks abound these days, and the RKG isn't even the worst offender. I'd reserve that designation for Millenimum Park in West Roxbury. But Olmstead's parks wind through and blend in to the city. They do not overwhelm it or destroy it, nor do they segregate themselves away from it.
Moses, on the other hand, approached the same issues by facilitating movement out of the city. While one strove to fix the city, the other strove to evacuate it.
What's wrong with Millennium Park?
It is a vast improvement over what was there previously -- and the ample fringes of the park (at least) are quite interesting and traipse worthy.
Nothing is wrong with it
In fact, I like Millenium Park quite a bit. My point about it being anti-urban is that it is that it has limited accessibility. It's really more an issue with the neighborhood than the park, but it is an example of something different from what I see in the Olmstead parks.
Yeah, Millennium is what I'd call a destination park. You have to GO to Millennium...it's not exactly somewhere that people just stroll through in passing or use on a whim.
Olmstead was certainly a
Olmstead was certainly a gifted architect. But he's dead, long dead. But the idea that "if only we could imitate more of his work" that we could "fix all our problems" lives on, like a zombie.
You're right that there was a lot of disease and squalor in his day. It was pretty rough. People looked out to the countryside with rose-tinted glasses. That's where we got this notion that "small town" America is the "Real America" and that cities are unhealthy blights. They ignored the desperate poverty in the country, the lack of economic opportunity, and the absence of innovation. They thought that by bringing the country into the city, they could enact some social engineering, and improve things.
To a point, it works. Variety is important, and parks can bring variety. But then they overdid it. Parks everywhere! Greenspace everywhere! Wipe out the slums! We know the rest of that story.
Olmstead had NOTHING to do....
... with "urban renewal".
I said that
But the promoters of urban renewal did have the same kind of ideas in mind when they went about wiping out chunks of city. They wanted to bring in the countryside to fix what they perceived to be the ills of the city. It's not Olmstead's fault that they twisted his ideas like this. But it is our responsibility now to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
How soon we forget that epidemics of tuberculosis, typhoid fever, polio and malaria were all associated with dense populations and poor living conditions in many areas of the city.
Those were not "perceived" - they were actual. There was good evidence to indicate that certain land-use practices mitigated the risks - even if they didn't fully know why.
There was enough evidence of what sort of land use planning made for a healthy city that by the 1850s planners were laying out expansions of cities such as Barcelona based on the understanding that wider streets and limited building heights (providing sunlight, fresh air circulation, fire suppression and ease of trash removal), and provisions for sewerage, water delivery, and trash removal were extremely important for the health of urban dwellers. Many of the areas of the cities that were "slums" were structurally lacking in these basic elements.
Don't confuse density and overcrowding
Overcrowding is associated with those problems. Density is perfectly normal in a city, and we handle it just fine these days.
Because it turns out that the solution to those disease problems and to poor living conditions is provision of clean water, proper sanitation, and safe building codes. Parks don't provide any of that. Parks are nice, but they aren't a replacement for hygiene.
What urban renewal did do is displace large numbers of people who then had to crowd into other neighborhoods, thereby shifting the slum.
Update: I see you edited while I was typing, so I'll add something: Do you think the small streets of the North End meant that it constituted a slum? Then how do you explain the lower rates of disease and mortality (mid-20th century) in the North End compared to other parts of Boston?
But don't confuse "perceived" with "real", or "countryside" with "changes to the built environment that address the reality" either.
The fact is that slums had fundamental issues with their built environments, which were not strictly the result of their density of population but the ways in which humans, human waste, air, light, and city services interacted.
Narrow streets alone do not mean problems ... although we are all familiar via UHub with the serious problems the North End has with refuse collection and removal (which could easily be mitigated by going to european-style central dumpsters ...). The North End has two things going for it: it has always had people with money due to convenient proximity to downtown, and it has relatively low building heights that limit population density. The North End also gets sea breezes. Note as well that the residents of that era valued gardens and maintained private greenspaces rather than building out every last square foot. Also, the West End had some flooding problems that the North End never experienced, not being as heavily built on infill. A fair amount of the West End was historically a swamp.
We hear a lot of nostalgic stories about how wonderful the West End was ... but you won't hear those stories from anyone who worked polio wards full of West End kids in the 1920s-1940s.
It doesn't justify the lies and scorched-earth stupidity of what came after, but too many people like to "forget the bad" things that were used to justify what happened, or pretend that "it wasn't that bad".
Ok, let's be more specific
We keep jumping back and forth between 1850 and 1950. Yes, you are right, there were lots of real health problems in the late 19th century, early 20th century.
But the problems that urban renewal in the 1950s were attempting to "fix" were "perceived" and that's what I had been talking about when I wrote that word. As Adam said, they either didn't like poor people, or they had Utopian ideals about how to help them. Remember, at that time, the North End was considered to be a horrible slum because it didn't fit the preconceived notions of the planners. Banks wouldn't lend to people there, they were blacklisted because it was considered a "slum." That's potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But we know from accounts at the time that the North End had been rapidly improving itself from the poor conditions of the 20s and 30s, and it was no longer a slum of any sort. It just looked that way to outsiders who wanted to come in and wipe it out. They saw small streets and density, and assumed that it could only mean bad things.
TB and Polio
I am talking about 1950 and 1950 only.
If you are confused, then it is entirely due to your own misunderstanding of the state of public health in the era when the West End was razed.
TB and especially Polio were still very deadly and severe health issues in 1950. So were both the deadly and non-deadly-but-teratogenic forms of measels, mumps, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, tetanus, whooping cough hepatitis A and a host of now vaccine preventable and antibiotic treatable diseases.
You can't attack "modern thinking" about city design from that era without understanding the continuing health issues of that era - or pretending that "modern medicine" had already waved a magic wand that it did not yet possess.
As for the west-end buildings themselves, I gather you weren't around when many of the older buildings in East Cambridge faced a dilemma: tear down, wait for collapse, or jack up the building and put a new foundation under it. Some of the West End would have had to go through that upheval, too.
It's true that they were
But the North End famously was doing better than the rest of the city. But this fact was ignored by the planners because "they knew" that the North End was a "slum", so it was "impossible" for it to be doing better.
Buildings do need to be replaced/renovated from time to time, gradually. It doesn't have to be all at once, urban renewal-style. It's crucial that bank loans be available for these purposes. But banks were blacklisting the North End and the West End because they were told "these are slums." And so improvements weren't able to happen.
Limit population density?
Regarding your update:
The North End has been one of the most densely built and populated areas of the city for a long time. Don't confuse building heights with density. Low heights can easily support high densities (Paris is the canonical example, at about 54,000 ppl/sq mile) and the North End is just like that, ranging up to Manhattan-like 70,000 ppl/sq mile in some parts (overall about 30,000 ppl/sq mile, counting empty areas).
Define overcrowding then
Paris has wide roadways, however. You can have density ONLY if you have ways to take out the trash. The heights of the buildings in the North End limit density, which is a damned good thing given their narrow roadways and lack of open zones results in serious sanitation problems that persist to the modern era! The North End is also so small that you can walk across it in a very short period of time - unlike the cityscapes you describe in comparison which have far more extent.
I'm tired of your talking in circles around yourself here ... you need to define what your parameters are for density versus over crowding. Moreover, you need to read the whole damn sentence or paragraph before going into trained monkey spasm mode - you methodically see "density" in a sentence and produce a "stimulus RESPONSE RESPONSE RESPONSE" reaction before you read the rest! Finish reading about narrow roads, poor sanitation and other conflating factors with density! This is more than a single variable problem and you should have learned that in your special planning school. Jerk that knee one more time and you'll get a black eye, son!
High density in conditions that breed squalor is a problem (e.g. Old Barcelona within the walls; London before the great fire). High density in intentional cities with adequate air, light, and universally adequate sanitation services is not a problem (expanded Barcelona; areas of Paris, Dublin, Washington DC). Density alone is not a problem, HOWEVER you have to have adequate infrastructure to support it or you get severe problems on your hands. Density isn't always the good thing that you seem to believe it automatically and unquestionably is, either. Inadequate infrastructure means you have to limit density accordingly or pay for it in problems.
Density vs overcrowding
Density means high numbers of dwelling units per land area unit. Overcrowding means high numbers of people per room.
An apartment building with many two bedroom units could be dense. A two bedroom apartment with four adults living it could be considered overcrowded. It's easy for low density areas to be overcrowded (e.g. suburban poverty), and it is common for high density areas to not be overcrowded (e.g. many parts of Manhattan).
Typically overcrowding is associated with poverty -- people cannot afford to have their own place, so they group together. Higher densities can relieve overcrowding (as happened in the North End eventually) by providing more choices for people to live.
It's really important to get these definitions sorted out, else we're going to keep talking past each other. I guess I jumped on you for saying that the North End was not dense. I think you meant "not overcrowded." It's quite clearly dense.
Also, density doesn't have to mean tall buildings. Paris has a height restriction, but it is much denser than nearly all American cities. Tall buildings can sometimes perversely lead to lower densities -- because to build them, zoning officials may insist on a low ground coverage, which sacrifices a lot of the density gained.
BTW, Paris's wide avenues resulted from their version of "urban renewal" in the late 19th century. There's a famous photographer who went around Paris before that happened and took many pictures of the old streets, particularly with double exposure, creating a ghostly effect. I can't remember his name, but I saw it at an exhibit.
The Urban Ecosystem
A well designed urban ecosystem can support relatively high densities ... but an inadequate system can crash at relatively low densities.
Traditionally, air and sunlight were desired for keeping respiratory diseases down - TB, pneumonia, influenza. We now know that mold and mildew play a role in susceptability to these diseases, and sunlight and air flow resolve those to a certain degree (not to mention laundry in the sun is sanitized, and the role of Vitamin D in immune function). The other factors are trash removal - to keep rats down - and sewers to prevent cholera and hepatitis. Systems have to be carefully maintained as well.
Unfortunately, Boston has been historically resistent to the kind of urban renewal you describe taking place in Paris, where some properties are sacrificed to create a better environment for all. The West End had some issues of accessibility and drainage that could have been solved by judicious rearrangement, but this would have required civic investment and careful implementation if it would have ever been allowed at all. Thus it became a target for a massive land grab and transfer to wealthy interests - too many problems, too valuable a location, and not enough clout to resist a wholesale destruction.
I would go further and say
I would go further and say that once an area makes the leap into being part of a city, low densities are dangerous to the urban ecosystem. For one thing, if the district is successful, it's going to lead to overcrowding as people try desperately to live there. And if there is no overcrowding, then low densities mean fewer people are interested in the well-being of the neighborhood. Businesses won't be able to operate profitably if there aren't enough people, and they'll leave. The limit to density comes when it starts to drive out variety, but that is typically a much higher point than any American cities achieve.
The North End didn't have any clout in the 50s. Remember, they were slated for clearance by the city, and blacklisted by the banks. I think it is just a matter of luck they were not wiped out. It's hard to say whether the grand boulevards in Paris were necessary, too many counter-factuals. It's quite possible that Paris would have improved the same without them.
The fundamental problem with all these mass renewal schemes is that they rip up the neighborhood and destroy the complex web of human relationships that has formed over the years. Even if it turns out for the best in the long run, there's a big wound that takes a long time to heal. So, it would have been better if the authorities had taken the time to carefully fix the problems of the West End in a gradual manner. But with the temptation of big money, it is much easier to just throw it all away.
Poor people offended the post-war master builders
I wonder if today's West End is less dense than the "slums" the city was so insistent on removing - what it gained in empty space, it made up for in elevation.
In any case, by the 1950s, when urban renewal was in full swing, the issue really wasn't communicable disease so much as the fact that places like the West End and its Manhattan equivalents hurt the eyes of people like Moses. Their answer was to replace all those unsightly slums with giant monolithic edifices, ideally connected by giant elevated highways for cars with, if not wings, at least tailfins.
It took us a while to realize that a) Even if you assumed places like the West End were slums, they could have been renovated, rather than destroyed (look at the North and South Ends) and b) Soulless concrete reaching to the sky did nothing to alleviate the problems of poverty they were supposed to eliminate (unless, of course, you just told those miserable little people to go somewhere else, with that somewhere else not really being your concern).
Going back to Olmsted, that's one of the things I think made him so amazing. His answer wasn't clearing out the city or creating stupid empty spaces for the sake of empty spaces (forget the Greenway, think about all those little plazas in the Financial District?). Instead, he found a way to bring little bits of the country into the city. Boston didn't lose population because of the Emerald Necklace - its population kept growing until the late 40s, long after Olmsted was gone. And Manhattan in many ways grew up around Central Park (when he built it, upper Manhattan was far less dense than it is today).
Poor people can't fight back when the rich want something they have.
The West End was not very sustainable as it was, but the problems with disease and squalor which would have required extensive public investment in infrastructure were easy excuses for wealthy people to grab valuable, close in land and make a buck.
The North End had economic and political clout, and had a number of environmental advantages that made it more able to fight off all but a peripheral attack by the Central Artery.
Moses did have a thing about bridge design, however.
I know that in our present time everything that Robert Moses did is considered a failure, an example of exactly what shouldn't be done, and that he is solely responsible for creating suburban sprawl and all of the evils associated therewith. Some of that is definitely true. A lot of it is not.
For example, on the issue of bridge design, the bridges on the Long Island parkways were constructed in the way that they are to blend in with the surrounding landscape (flat and sand-colored). Do not believe everything you hear, or everything that Robert Caro suggests about them being built that way (low-slung of stone) so as to keep buses of "city people" off of Long Island.
Not solely responsible
There's plenty of legit reasons to keep heavy vehicles off a road. I don't know what Moses' motivation was in designing Northern State Pkwy and the rest, but I don't really care either. Pushing for an elevated highway through the heart of Lower Manhattan was what is really horrifying.
Speaking of parks and bypasses, though, I am reminded of the case where he wanted to build a trenched highway through Washington Sq Park. Of course the residents were opposed. But they were warned that "unless they permitted this" or at least the widening of the perimeter roads that "millions of cars" would come and congest their streets. Sound familiar? Of course none of it panned out.
Blaming Moses for suburban sprawl would be silly. He did a lot of damage to NYC, but that's just one place. He was just working from ideas that were popular when he was young. His ideal was a bunch of housing project-style towers-in-parks, connected by expressways, on regimented super blocks.
It took the concerted effort of many people around the country, and a whole lot of government money and subsidies, to make suburban sprawl feasible.
He wasn't the only one, but yes, he deserves the blame he gets
Moses' highways enabled hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to "escape" to Long Island. Without them, there'd probably be a lot more potato and duck farms left in Suffolk County.
Long Island Duck!
Reminded me of this:
As for Moses, yes, he did abet sprawl, but arguably the Long Island Railroad had also been doing that for over a century before he got to it.
And the Long Island Ducks used to play at the Comack Arena.
The difference between the LIRR and the highways is that you really needed to live near a train station to make good use of them (then again, we had something similar here with our own rail system). Build lots of roads and all of a sudden farmland gives way to sprawl (hmm, again, we had something similar here - just look at what happened around 128 and then again around 495).
Park and rides
It's true that to get best use of the rail system, it helps to rein in sprawl and permit dense uses (up-zone or deregulate) near stations. That's how it's done in other countries (and long ago, here). We're pretty bad about it though, these days. Typically when a station gets built here, a giant parking lots surrounds it, giving more incentive to sprawl. Or, if the parking lot somehow gets blocked, then a few lucky single-family homeowners get easy access and nobody else.
Small Streets Village
There's a great post on the Small Streets blog that shows that densely-populated European villages can fit into the same space occupied by park & ride lots. Imagine if we had neighborhoods at Riverside Station in Newton, Route 128 Station in Westwood, or the Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn instead of massive parking lots.
Of course, going back to the the source of this thread there is Forest Hills where park & ride lots have been shoehorned into an urban neighborhood. Take the lot alongside the station, the larger lot across Washington St. and the Arborway Yard (already slated for redevelopment) and you've got a total of 15 acres of land that can be made into a dense neighborhood of residences and shopping all built around a transit hub. Removing the overpass will be the first step.
I agree, but you have to marvel at the economic activity in NY
I agree with you and Adam (and I particularly liked your point about the LIRR), however, does anyone seriously believe that the five boroughs of NYC, Nassau/Suffolk/Westchester (maybe throw in the nearby NJ and CT counties) would be anything like the economic engine that it is today had all of these roads/bridges/airports not been built/expanded in the post war era? Would the area have grown to what it is on the back of Amtrak, MetroNorth and the LIRR (or their predecessors)?
As I like to say, New York was Boston before the Erie Canal, and it wouldn't be the city and region it is today without the PANYNJ and Moses. People might not like what these people did or their methods, but you have to admit that their work has supported a level of economic development that most places can only dream about. I don't like a lot about New York, and that includes the traffic, but the level of economic activity is really something.
I'm confused by what you're saying
NYC was already a powerhouse by then. It was the largest city in the world by the 30s. Arguably, in the decades following Moses, it reached a nadir (esp. the mid 70s). It is such a complex topic, I hesitate to lay the blame for that on any one thing. But we do know that the Bronx was quite thoroughly destroyed by Moses, particularly around Tremont, quite possibly on purpose. Can you imagine if he had had his way with the Lower and Mid Manhattan expressways?
Gotta play SimCity
You can build a decent city that relies heavily on trains rather than highways.
Yeah, yeah, I know, just a game.
Roads and ports and airports obviously have their place, but there's a difference between building an intercity expressway to speed commerce and plowing through one city neighborhood to the next to make life a little more convenient for suburbanites. It's the difference between 95 south of 128 and the 95 that was going to destroy Hyde Park, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, etc. all the way up to the Cambridge/Somerville line.
I hope that's the fundamental difference between now and Moses's day, between the rebuilding of Mission Main and Washington-Beech today and the destruction of the West End back then. Even still, what would Boston be like today if we'd spent $15 billion on the T instead of on the Central Artery?
Before or after "the accident"?
If we spent $15B on the MBTA instead of the Central Artery, the Green Monster (and I'm not talking baseball now) would have collapsed during that 5.9 earthquake in VA that we felt up here. With thousands dead, the city would be cast into a deep depression wishing it had only dug a deep depression into which it could have sunken the highway before it fell on its own. Depression would lead to anger and we would lash out at the fracking companies in PA and OH who are determined to be causing mini-earthquakes (sorta like attacking Iraq because of Afghanistan).
All because you wanted to spend all that money on a transit system instead of a good ol' underground highway. For shame, sir, for shame.
Don't get me started :)
Euclidean zoning? Check. No mixed uses allowed.
Solving crime by plunking down more police stations? Check. So easy, why didn't we think of it!
Mitigation of pollution simply by building more parks? Check. The power of trees!
Cure congestion by haphazardly laying "train" tracks? Check.
I think a whole generation of planners may have been corrupted by Simcity ;)
Again, I agree, but...
Again, I agree with the convenience for suburbanites part, but LI was a little bit of a different story. Without roads and bridges, the place would have been cutoff from the rest of the country.
Much like Boston without the Turnpike and I-93/95. Since the colonies expanded west of the mountains, the port of Boston has been at a disadvantage becuase of its poor links to the rest of the country. That's why the opening of the Erie Canal pretty much sealed the deal for NY to overtake it. That's why the Commonwealth was very forward thinking to build the Turnpike in the 40s and 50s, and yes, the Boston Extension thereafter.
Would Boston have anywhere near the economic activity that it has now if we didn't have the Turnpike Extension and 93? I just can't believe that we would have companies from all over the world setting up shop in Kendall Sq. if they had to navigate city streets to the old end of the Turnpike at Norembega and if they had to fight their way through downtown Boston and the Callahan tunnel to get to the airport. Also, I think that the Southwest Expressway story would have had a very different ending if the Turpike extension and 93 weren't there.
I would have loved to see a couple of billion dollars spent on the T, however, that would not have better connected Boston to the rest of the country and the world, since it's geographical reach is limited. It's not just about making it easier to get from Roxbury to Cambridge or from Needham to Boston - it's about making it easier for goods and people to get from Hamburg to Hanover, etc. It's why the Boeing 787 and this new direct flight to Tokyo (and the other direct flights that can come as a result of this more economical airplane for smaller market cities) have the potential to really do good things around here. Shaving a couple of hours of transit time for travelling goods and people makes all the difference in a very competitive world.
Was the ruthlessness of the 50s-70s the way to build needed infrastructure projects the best method? Decidedly not. Almost everything about the slum clearance projects was wrong (note - I separate those from the transport infrastructure projects). But I think that we can all agree that unless you update your infrastructure, your economy dies.
A couple of historical nitpicks
The Boston extension was built in the mid-60s, but the beginnings of Boston's resurgence date to the years immediately following WWII.
Companies around the world set up shop in Kendall not because of highway access, but because of MIT. Same goes for Silicon Valley and Stanford. Yes, they have massive highways there now, but they followed, not preceded.
The Mass Pike and other interstate highways were built primarily to ease passenger travel, not freight. It was not expected that the existing (and still extremely extensive) freight RR network would be abandoned. The freight companies wanted to abandon passengers so they could focus on their core (profitable) business. Long distance trucking has worn out the roads much more quickly than anticipated, which is one of the reasons why we're facing such shortfalls on infrastructure funding.
Olmstead built plenty of
Olmstead built plenty of overpasses.
Here's one that's a 2 minute walk from the Casey Overpass: http://g.co/maps/tu9t6
Central Park in NYC contains a number of them as well.
If only his standards of bridge design had been used in 1950s and 60s, we would not need to be tearing down so many today.
I am truly bewildered by these people. Every civic-minded organization that has an opinion about this wants the at-grade solution, public consensus is for at-grade, the DOT has flat-out said "we're doing at-grade, no takesies-backsies," and the BFH wants... what, exactly? A giant, hulking overpass that is somehow consistent with the Emerald Necklace aesthetic? They're grasping at completely disparate and contradictory straws (we don't want to spend DOT money on public transit! but public transit is important and an overpass would help it, somehow! it should look like the rest of the Emerald Necklace! but the Emerald Necklace Conservancy actually supports at-grade!) to try to sell the community on an option that is no longer an option.
Even Whose Foods had a coherent message. These guys seem like they're just being contrarian assholes for the sake of attention-grabbing.
The Sore Loser Problem
MA lets sore losers keep on suing and blocking and whining.
The perpetual grandstanding, whining, and threatening permitted here causes delays and increases costs more than other places, where there is a time for community input and a time to suck it up and go away.
Years later, delays later, and too much money spent on nonsense later, the real agenda will be apparent. That's when we find that it was never about what the community needed, or about responsible use of public funding, but about building a foundation for somebody to run for State Rep.
I was for a new bridge
And I still think it might have been a better solution than the at-grade Casey Parkway. I cross that intersection more as a bicyclist than anything, and I like crossing less traffic.
But that ship has sailed. It's not a hill I would choose to die upon. It's water under the... oh, never mind.
Now we should focus on making sure they actually build the pedestrian / bicyclist accommodations promised and don't throw them out at the last minute once they serve the purpose of eye candy for the at-grade presentation.
Filtering the BS from reality
I received a flyer announcing the meeting to oppose the at grade solution. It included a warning that not building a bridge would dump I think 45,000 cars into the neighborhood everyday. Somehow not having a bridge will cause every person who uses the Casey roadway (or whatever it will be called) to take a detour through the neighborhood. Classic example of incorporating a fact to make a lie sound believable.
Building an "Olmstead inspired" bridge? What bridge that slices through a neighborhood, is visually overwhelming and creates dead space underneath is Olmstead inspired?
Sharing "facts as we know them" at least has the humility of implicitly admitting that they might not fully understand the issue. On that other hand facts as we know them sounds like something that the previous Bush administration would state.
Some of the actors of the pro-bridge group are dubious. I stopped shopping at Mr. Ferris' shop when repairs done by his folks wound up costing me more money and his response was to ignore the issue. Representative Malia no longer gets my vote because I have asked for information from her office only to be ignored.
Who does Representative Malia represent in this matter anyway? Obviously not the majority of people who have expressed concerns about the matter - and who have called a solution that connects the neighborhood together instead of being just a prettier version of a Robert Moses monstrosity.
Maybe Malia represents some of her western constituents as well
I have not followed this controversy as closely as I probably should have (and I appreciate the deep and mutually respectful discussion among most uHubers in this particular thread - occasional ad-hominem like the above from MFoB notwithstanding).
However, as a Roslindalian, when I look at the at-grade traffic simulations and the proposed modifications to Forest Hills T, I see a 'solution' that looks like it's going to make the east-west flow of people between Roslindale and JP much more complicated.
And although I know many JPers will resent the implication, I wonder if this possibility is at play in at least some of their subconsciouses. I'm struck at how little talk I have seen (in either formal mtgs or the general hubbub) about the impact on Bostonians living west of the bridge.
Many JPers look at the Casey and see a concrete structure blocking their view of the Arboreteum and Forest Hills. I see a structure holding commuting traffic up out of my way and a doorway past a potential choke point that allows me easy access to my city.
My doubts will probably remain until the thing is a done deal and we find out if the sims were right. I certainly hope my fears turn out to be unfounded.
at the end of the day Rozzie
at the end of the day Rozzie > JP
Breaking: Project name changes
The Gazette reports state officials have changed the name of the project from the Casey Parkway to the Casey Arborway.
I'm holding out for the Casey My Way or the Highway or the Casey What's a Hen Way.
It's bad enough that this road has six names, but now we have to amalgamate two of them without actually cutting down on the total? I say Keep the other five, and go with Casey Parkway if we need to pay homage to Casey (no clue who he was). The Arborway should be reserved for the section that runs parallel to the actual Arboretum, something that cannot be said about the Casey section.
Personally, though, I'd go with FenRivArbCasMortGall ParkStreetAvard.
Two other possibilities
From BNN News:
Since they're tearing the bridge down
It'll be mixedCasey.
Arborway is correct historical name
If you look at the map that Adam linked to (go to last page), you'll see that the road is correctly called Arborway, all the way to Franklin Park.
You forgot to throw a Zakim in there somewhere.
Nitpick spelling correction: OLMSTED
There's no 'a' in his name. I'm posting this only because about half of the other comments here are misspelling it.
Thanks for the correction
The misspelling was contagious....
Ferris and the other
Ferris and the other autocentric elevated highway advocates aren't going to be satisfied until they've delayed this project so long that the Overpass collapses on it's own.