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Casey Arborway 'Can Continue As Planned'

A state office, reviewing the state’s environmental filing, determined the project can proceeed as planned.

The Casey Arborway project will continue as plan, according to a state office.

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reported Friday the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office said the state can move forward with the project as planned.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation filed a report with MEPA for review in November.

The Casey Arborway project will remove the dilapidated Casey Overpass and replace it with an at-grade roadway network. The project will drastically change the look of Forest Hills, including a change to Shea Circle, which a state board opposes.

The Gazette reports there will be a meeting regarding Casey in February. 

yogasong January 23, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Big mistake 1. Traffic back-ups will create more air pollution 2. Much greater risk of cars striking pedestrian and bicyclists in this high foot-traffic area. 3. Bad for local businesses. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I will avoid traveling on South St. towards Forest Hills to avoid traffic and because of this I'll also be avoiding the new Harvest Coop and other businesses in the Forest Hills area.
Todd Consentino January 23, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Actually... 1. Traffic will flow better than it does today. There are multiple peer reviewed studies that prove this to be true. 2. There will be an MBTA headhouse to carry pedestrians underneath the Casey Arborway to the Orange Line platform from the SW Corridor. There will be large crosswalks for both peds and bikes. 3. I've yet to see someone buy something from a local business, whilst they are passing over it on a bridge. You really should check out the new Harves Coop. It is super clean and has a wide variety of goods.
yogasong January 23, 2013 at 01:48 PM
There is north-south direction travel on South St / Washington St that is effected as well, not just Arborway travel.
Todd Consentino January 23, 2013 at 02:16 PM
There is practically no difference between the no-build and at-grade scenarios for Motor vehicle traffic on Hyde Park Ave and on Washington St, by the year 2035. Motor vehicle traffic will be delayed by approximately 30-60 seconds, during rush hour in the year 2035, both on Hyde Park and on Washington St. This will increase a typical 15-20 minute car ride to 16-21 minutes, during rush hour in the year 2035. Traffic will not be affected during non-peak hours. Here are links to the data: o Look at these two documents: The end of http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/24/docs/Casey_Traffic1_092211.pdf and http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/24/docs/Casey_Traffic_Analysis_Appendix.pdf
Phil Lindsay January 23, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Uhhh... Yo yogasong you're wrong. I've lived through TWO rebuilds of the Casey Overpass when it's been closed for months and the traffic impact after a week or two diminished as others found other routes to avoid the bottleneck. Going east and west on 203 there are SEVERAL intersections with stop lights and folks seem to navigate them okay. You're in the middle of the city. They decided 40 years ago NOT to put Route 95 through there. Imagine the CRAP you'd be breathing then? This is a MODERN INNOVATION! Per Mayor Menino, "The car is no longer king," Recognize it or move to the suburbs and wait in traffic all you want out there.
Katherine January 23, 2013 at 06:35 PM
I run at least 2-3x a week from my house on South Street to the JP Pond. I ALWAYS avoid going under the overpass as it is a horribly dangerous crossing for pedestrains and runners alike. I drive to work every AM and every day get stuck in the no mans land between south street and washington street waiting to go under the overpass due to poor light cycle timing. not to mention the standoffs with buses coming out of Forest Hills to get on Washington street. I cannot conceive of a situation in which the proposed changes would not be a welcome improvement to the horrible gridlock and pedestrain dangers that exist now.
Jerry O'Connor January 23, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I read above: "Traffic will flow better than it does today. There are multiple peer reviewed studies that prove this to be true." Actually, the studies do not prove that traffic will flow better. They merely state so. If only every word of every government document were true and infallible. How much more pleasant a world we would enjoy! Sadly, we know that is not so. Thus, these are different propositions, and the difference between them is exactly the issue. I am afraid that this project suffers from some crippling realities, e.g.: 1. Some larger west-to-southbound trucks that currently use the road can neither turn left (forbidden) nor navigate the "bow tie" U-turn (too big). For them, we are literally building a "Road To Nowhere." 2. The planned bike path along the Arboretum is exceedingly dangerous, in that cyclists must share it with trucks and cars making U-turns due to space constraints. 3. The project depends on moving the MBTA headhouse, an expensive undertaking. Unfortunately, there is no commitment by the MBTA to do this -- despite the fact that the MBTA is part of the very Dept of Transportation that is in charge of the project! This bodes poorly for the prospect of ever seeing this job completed. These are just a few of the project's serious defects. I think it is fair to ask project supporters for specific ideas about how to overcome them.
Edward Barrett January 23, 2013 at 07:18 PM
If you think the Casey overpass cuts off the southern part of JP from Centre/South and Central JP, crossing the virtual wall of 6 or 7 lanes of more dense and backed-up traffic will be a nightmare for pedestrians and bikes. Olmsted knew something about attractive bridges and I think that's what he would have preferred.
Anne McKinnon January 23, 2013 at 10:21 PM
You don't mention that pedestrian circulation at key crossings (New Washington Street) wil be worse with the at-grade than existing. Why on earth would we do this to pedestrians at a transit hub, parkland hub, and gateway to residential? And off-peak impacts were never studied and documented, so you cannot say "Traffic will not be affected during non-peak hours."
Todd Consentino January 24, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I don't mention that because I don't believe your statements to be true, Anne. We are at the 25% design phase and the pedestrian signal times have yet to be programmed. If peak travel is impacted by 1-2 seconds each year, for 22 years as predicted by the studies, then is it not reasonable to predict off-peak travel will likely not be negatively impacted?
Todd Consentino January 24, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Really? "They merely state so." Way to not let science get in the way of your agenda. 1. That sounds awesome to me. I would love to see smaller trucks utilized. They are less likely to run people over when turning from the far lane. 2. A bike path for bikes, trucks and cars? Did you just make that up? 3. I'd love to see your documentation on this point. The MBTA has been to a many Casey meetings. MassDOT has stated many times that they are working closely with the MBTA.
Jerry O'Connor January 24, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Hi. Responding to your response, with apologies for the interlineated comments: Really? "They merely state so." Way to not let science get in the way of your agenda. I don't view skepticism of dubious methods as antithetical to science. 1. That sounds awesome to me. I would love to see smaller trucks utilized. They are less likely to run people over when turning from the far lane. Me too, but our mutual preference doesn't make the trucks smaller. They will still be stuck. 2. A bike path for bikes, trucks and cars? Did you just make that up? Please email me at gpoconnor@yahoo.com and I will forward you the DOT document. 3. I'd love to see your documentation on this point. The MBTA has been to a many Casey meetings. MassDOT has stated many times that they are working closely with the MBTA. I don't have any documentation, of course. My point is that no one has any commitment from the MBTA. And they already lack money for a 12 year old commitment to develop the Arborway Yard. DOT stating that they are working closely does not equal MBTA commits to doing it. It should, but it doesn't.
yogasong January 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Yes, Edward Barrett, agreed.
Jerry O'Connor January 24, 2013 at 04:16 PM
To follow up on my post above, here is a link to a DOT graphic showing the proposed sharing of the roadway by the bike lane and the truck U-turn: Go to: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/caseyarborway/Meetings.aspx and click on the "This drawing" link under the heading "November 1, 2012 Design Advisory Group Meeting." I also have a drawing that more clearly shows this, and if anyone wants a copy they can email me at gpoconnor@yahoo.com. In my opinion, to design the road so that the U-turning trucks have to use what is supposed to be a separate bike path defies common sense, and is dangerous. I am sure that DOT would have designed a much safer alternative, if there were sufficient room to do so. Unfortunately, the physical constraints are too great and leave us with what I view as an untenable design.
Anne McKinnon January 25, 2013 at 04:10 AM
Check your facts before you post and before you tell me I'm wrong. The pedestrian LOS was calculated in 2011 and is described on the October 18, 2011, Memorandum on the alternatives--slightly worse than existing conditions.
George P. Zoulalian January 27, 2013 at 06:55 PM
It is absurd to think that a beautiful Olmstead style bridge could be built at this site. It is not bridging anything. It would just be a flyover. It is like saying we should flyover Cleeveland Circle because we could get to Brighton and Watertown faster. Maybe true, but you would still have the mess underneath and now it will be closed to the sky, covered in bird poop and crumble away in 50 years. I'd much rather have the sky open, traffic controlled in a modern way with synchronized signals, limited left turns and special turning lanes where needed. There will be so much more green space and the Accelerated Bridge Program pays for the MBTA headhouse. There is money for that instead of the "bridge." georgeZ
Pete Cuddy January 27, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Traffic will surely be worse. I've driven over that bridge 5 days a week for 20+ years. It's great going eastbound, but I frequently see westbound traffic backed up beyond the courthouse. Removing the overpass will absolutely result in paralyzing morning rush-hour gridlock 10-20 times per year, which would surely consume the entire Forest Hills area. The issue is that the Arborway is always getting backed up and the overflow frequently sits on the overpass. That overpass was built because the surface roads could not handle the traffic 50 years ago. Now, the surface roads can't handle the load again, even with the overpass operating. There are more cars on the road every year, so this will only get worse. I understand a new overpass would be expensive, but putting all traffic on the surface is a horrendous mistake, made doubly so by ignoring past experience. Penny wise and pound foolish. This will only magnify Forest Hills' reputation as a place to avoid. Let's build a beautiful bridge instead.
frankly mr.shankly January 30, 2013 at 03:06 AM
@pete: the backup is caused almost entirely by the poor signal timing at the ramp exits (since you don't exit there, you wouldn't know this) - this conflict will be eliminated by the at-grade solution. I commute northbound often on both sides of forest hills - and there are two lights - one before and one after the overpass - things get messed up when these lights are off-sync - which happens usually once or twice a week.
Jerry O'Connor January 30, 2013 at 07:45 PM
George Zoulalian, I understand that the Accelerated Bridge Program will not pay for moving the MBTA headhouse because of legislative and contractual restrictions on use of the bond proceeds. Has this been resolved favorably? That would make a difference, as to at least one of the 3 or 4 fatal defects I see in the project. Is there an authoritative determination on this point? Please let me know, thanks.
Javier R. February 23, 2013 at 02:55 PM
This is bull crap! There will be a meeting at English High on Feb. 27th and the group "Bridging Forest Hills" is encouraging residents to attend and SPEAK UP! We can't let the state bully us! We all know what it's like to travel on and under the bridge and we should have been top priority with the continuation of this project. SAVE JP!

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