The day's big news, that the state won't rebuild a bridge after it tears down the Casey Overpass, has Forest Hills residents and business owners elated and puzzled. It has one state representative "extremely disappointed."
owner Bobby Smythwick, who was polishing his car outside his barber shop, had unanswered questions about the project.
"We'll have to see. As it stands now, traffic really gets jammed up," Smythwick said. "Maybe making it six lanes will help."
The new configuration will change his commute, coming from Columbia Road. To reach his Hyde Park Avenue barber shop, he'll no longer be able to make a left from Arborway. Instead, he'll drive all the way past the intersection with South and Washington, hang a left and go around the station via Ukraine.
For Eric Gordon, a Weld Hill Street professor of communications, the decision is good news. He called the Casey Overpass "an urban barrier that's insurmountable."
Gordon, who was an initial member of the Working Advisory Group representing Forest Hills, says the at-grade solution will make the area more livable and walkable. He said even six lanes of traffic will be less onerous than some pedestrians expect, if the crosswalks are designed to be wide enough.
"I think it's going to feel way more open," he said while working on his laptop at .
Down the block at an under-construction Irish bar, the owner isn't sure how the overpass decision will affect his business.
"How much traffic are you going to get coming off the overpass?" said John Jacob, owner of what will soon be a pub at 3700 Washington St.
He said their business plan calls for drawing customers mostly from the neighborhood and the T station across the street, with only some drive-in traffic.
The pub, which was to have been called Napper Tandy's, will instead be dubbed Eugene O'Neill's, in honor of the Irish playwright buried in next-door . Jacob said the opening could come as soon as the next five or six weeks, though an exact date is uncertain.
State Rep. Liz Malia, D-Boston, isn't happy about the overpass decision.
"I'm extremely disappointed that the questions that I think seem very legitimate have not been vetted completely," she said in a phone interview.
While she doesn't accuse the state Department of Transportation of any "nefarious goals," she says the public process was "slap-dashed together." For one, elected officials found out about the plan not from the state but by the JP Gazette, which broke the news the overpass would be torn down.
She said critics have gotten responses to their questions, but not necessarily clear answers.
"I'm having a really hard time understanding how six lanes of traffic aren't going to cut off the neighborhood," she said. "I still don't understand where 24,000 cars are going to go."
That figure is the number of cars that have been using the overpass. Now that traffic will all be down at street level.
Going forward with the design planning, the 11th Suffolk representative said she wants the state to do a better job of communicating with residents and elected officials.
"It's going to take the DOT respecting that people in the neighborhood have valid questions," Malia said.