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Casey Overpass Debate: Bridge Proponents Make Push

As the deadline looms for an end to public comment about whether the Casey Overpass through Forest Hills should be replaced with a new bridge, residents cars were leafleted over the weekend.

Tuesday is the deadline for public comment on a decision that will shape Forest Hills for generations — should a shorter, two-lane bridge be built to replace the Casey Overpass?

The other option would be no bridge, known as the "at-grade" solution.

Over the weekend, drivers in Forest Hills found the attached flyer under their wiper blades. The flyer argues that not rebuilding the overpass "would put over 24,000 vehicles on the ground at Forest Hills that are regional, not local, traffic....This will needlessly triple the amount of traffic on the ground in the east-west direction. How can this possibly be any good?"

The flyer was apparently produced by the persons who created www.RebuildCasey.org, a pro-bridge site.

The state is scheduled to make its decision known later this month. Some bridge advocates say the state's process has biased toward the at-grade solution.

The state is to , a large committee of stakeholders, on Monday, Dec. 12. A is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The state is accepting email comments on which option people prefer, though the deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 6. Email john.romano@state.ma.us.

If you live in the Stonybrook neighborhood, you can tell your neighborhood association how you would like them to present the neighborhood's opinion via this online survey.

Visit the JP Patch Casey Overpass topic page for full coverage of this important neighborhood issue.

Kate December 06, 2011 at 03:40 PM
I live right next to the Casey Overpass and I'm hoping that the decision will come down in favor of the at-grade solution. After reviewing the traffic studies done by the project team, anyone can see that there is not as much traffic over the route as people think, and the at-grade solution will add a lot of traffic-calming solutions to help everything move far more smoothly through the intersections.
Jody December 06, 2011 at 04:40 PM
It feels to me like that kind of flyering with limited information is nothing more than fear-mongering. I certainly hope those people are not part of the Working Advisory Group because it is just wrong to be representing a very complex plan in such a clearly slanted way. This project is about much more than an abstract number of cars.
Fred Wolflink December 06, 2011 at 06:04 PM
There was some discussion at last Tuesday's meeting and in the JP Gazette about the renderings making the bridge option look ugly. Actually the perspective is pretty close. It looks ugly because it is ugly, very simple.
Fintz December 06, 2011 at 07:28 PM
What kind of MORONS are even considering rebuilding that overpass in an age where EVERYONE sees the merits of depressing/eliminating elevated roads... take a good look at what the removal of the elevated Central Artery has done for the North End, aesthetically, environmentally, economically and socially! Its time to reconnect Forest Hills with the rest of JP!
Michael Halle December 06, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Provided all laws are followed, I support Jeff Ferris's right to post these notices (he's the author of the site mentioned). As a member of the working advisory group, though, I'm disappointed that my fellow WAG member would choose such an alarmist and inflammatory way of expressing his opinion about the Casey overpass replacement. The traffic analysis says that both the at-grade plan and the bridge plan handle traffic about equally. Traffic will increase on the ground in the at-grade option, but after all it's one lane of traffic in each direction we're talking about. Plenty of other roads handle this kind of traffic and street life with even fewer travel lanes and worse pedestrian crossings (Mass Ave. at Comm. Ave is one example). Only in Boston would traffic from Mattapan 2-3 miles away be called "regional". The flier omits that the current bridge plan costs $20 million more than the at-grade design. What's more, that particular bridge design isn't even especially popular: many bridge supporters want an "attractive" or "iconic" bridge with extra amenities that would further increase the cost difference. The region's transportation and environmental groups are almost universally in support of the at-grade plan, and are eager to move forward with neighbors during the next phase of design to address critical concerns . We need education and cooperation, not division. I have some analysis and commentary here: http://mikes-casey.jpma.us
Rockie December 06, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Take down the bridge and don't replace it! I walked under that overpass twice a day for 3 years when I lived on South Street. It's a no-man's land and it's a blight. I can't wait for them to fix up that ugly, outdated intersection and lively up the neighborhood.
Heather Carito December 14, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Re the bridge: As stated at last meeting, a new bridge would be 1/2 as wide and a bit more than 1/2 as long. Many attractive options were presented at earlier meetings to carry the 24K cars a day that use the overpass to get to & from work.All the renderings I've seen lately use the current bridge as the model. A much smaller shadow would be cast by such a bridge, providing an opportunity to have plantings & some greenspace. A minimal amount of lighting underneath would ensure it was not a no-man's land or homeless camp underneath. With the at-grade solution, we get lots more pavement, giant forbidding intersections and more particulate exhaust emissions all at street level. This would not be more pedestrian- or bike-friendly. In fact a study in Portland OR re biking found that the #1 thing that keeps people from biking is fear of being hit by a car and that the more cars on a given road, the less people will bike. I live across from FH Station and walk to Centre St a lot. I will be less likely to do so if I have to cross 6 lanes of traffic and a monstrous intersection. Now THAT's ugly. Less pavement=more green. Less cars at intersections=less pollution, delays & noise. Heather
Patty December 16, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Fintz: I am one of those MORONS that you refer to and I don't appreciate your name calling. There are MANY intelligent, thoughtful people who want the bridge rebuilt. If the At-Grade is built, we are stuck with it for decades. Traffic is increasing all the time- how can 24,000 cars coming down into several stop signs faster than the flyover in place right now? Think of the extra pollution and exhaust from all those cars stopping and starting at all the lights. Why would bicyclists or pedestrians want to be in the middle of that? And this is NOTHING like the Central Artery, which was many miles. This was built to save traffic from entering Forest Hills, or did you all forget that? The new bridge will be smaller and shorter, so consider that when you are visualizing it. Check http://www.rebuildcasey.com for the facts, people, and don't be talked into something so important without checking! Patty Weld Hill St
robert paulson December 16, 2011 at 07:10 PM
i wholeheartedly support the at grade option. aside from the aesthetic appeal an at-grade solution would bring to the neighborhood, i think the savings of the $20mm could be put toward other more productive wealth-redistributing endeavors. we could use the money to subsidize healthcare for JP residents and also use it toward a fund that could go towards legal fees to combat Whole Foods and the blight of gentrification their store brings to our proud neighborhood. we could also simply take the $20mm and pay everyone in JP a aet amount which could then be used to finance the reelection campaigns of our national leaders who have seen fit to bestow upon us the blessings of a myriad of new and productive public-works projects through the various stimulus measures enacted since the vampire squids of Wall Street have robbed our economy blind and left us cowering in the cold. This is the true and right way to redistribute wealth - allow our duly-elected officials to simply take what is rightfully the State's and give it to those truly in need. please do the morally correct thing and support an at-grade solution - we will be one step closer to our ideal - from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
Michael Halle December 16, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Luckily, the wealth redistribution from the Accelerated Bridge Program of which you speak will be in the form of other repaired bridges throughout the Commonwealth, leaving more of them inhospitable to your vampire squids or other pestilence of any kind. Structural deficiency respects no border! Falling debris favors no class nor creed nor party! To the planning documents!
Carlos B. Icaza December 16, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Michael Vampire Squids? Wonderful... Carlos B. Icaza
Carlos B. Icaza December 17, 2011 at 07:57 PM
I must comment on the Bridge vs. Land debate. Everyone hates the current bridge. It is too low grade, has no esthetic qualities, and serves to cut off Centre/South JP from the community of Forest Hills. The options presented at the last years' meetings present a new bridge as a carbon copy of the bridge. Which we all agree is offensive. Even the JP Gazette (my favorite local paper) presented this slant on the first page of the last issue. Showing a huge, shadow producing, and hideous, viaduct Remember, at the beginning of this process we were told money was not an issue, so consider this...Let's build a bridge that has a sculptural element to it. I ask you to look up the Erasmas Bridge in Rotterdam,or the the Natches Trace Bridge down south. These bridges attract tourists and locals because they are appealing to the eye. Our own Leonard Zakim/Bunker Hill Bridge in one such bridge. I agree with everyone who hates the current bridge and will support a surface solution if a similar bridge is built. We have not been given all the options though. I will go so far as to say we have been misled.
Carlos B. Icaza December 17, 2011 at 07:58 PM
I must comment on the Bridge vs. Land debate. Everyone hates the current bridge. It is too low grade, has no esthetic qualities, and serves to cut off Centre/South JP from the community of Forest Hills. The options presented at the last years' meetings present a new bridge as a carbon copy of the bridge. Which we all agree is offensive. Even the JP Gazette (my favorite local paper) presented this slant on the first page of the last issue. Showing a huge, shadow producing, and hideous, viaduct Remember, at the beginning of this process we were told money was not an issue, so consider this...Let's build a bridge that has a sculptural element to it. I ask you to look up the Erasmas Bridge in Rotterdam,or the the Natches Trace Bridge down south. These bridges attract tourists and locals because they are appealing to the eye. Our own Leonard Zakim/Bunker Hill Bridge in one such bridge. I agree with everyone who hates the current bridge and will support a surface solution if a similar bridge is built. We have not been given all the options though. I will go so far as to say we have been misled.
BillM March 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
As someone who utilizes both Washington street and this bridge on a daily basis, Taking down this bridge would be redicoulous. During rush hours Washigton Street and Hyde Park Ave are not time friendly as it is. The addition of more traffic will make it unbarible. This is ultimatly going to create gridlock. As a transportation professional, and also someone whom bikes on a regular basis through that area, I would rather bike below while the traffic is lessened by the bridge above. Traffic is increasing daily and an at grade soloution is not the answer. This bridge needs to be rebulit. The traffic over the bridge will increase through this area as time passes. An at grade soloution will not be able to handle this and should be rejected.

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