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Jamaica Plain Residents Discuss Casey Overpass at Department of Transportation Board Meeting

Though the state made its decision in March, the issue still lingers in the minds of some JP residents.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors——met in Somerville Wednesday, and a handful of Jamaica Plain residents spoke to the board about its decision to tear down the Casey Overpass near the .

The state , and the decision has sparked serious debate in the JP community.

It seems the issue still lingers in the minds of some JP residents.

Heather Carito said, "There is always congestion there any day of the week." She didn't believe bringing the overpass down "will make driving any better," and she said, "I have great concerns with how the process is proceeding."

Jeffery Ferris, owner of , said MassDOT "did not prepare enough alternatives" to tearing down the overpass, and he said the decision was based on "a lousy process."

Others defended the state's decision.

"The process of the Casey Overpass has been transparent, professional … [and] based on facts," said Michael Epp.

"We think the process has been very thorough," said Sarah Freeman of the Arborway Coalition.

Pete Stidman, director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said, "The majority of support is for the at-grade decision." He said taking the overpass down will "make streets that everyone can use and enjoy safely."

Read more about the Casey Overpass here.

kevin f. moloney September 15, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Is it possible that Michael Epp's statement to the DOT board that DOT's Casey Overpass process has been "transparent, professional ... [and] based on facts," might have something to do with the fact that he is "Lead Station Design Architect" for Kleinfelder/SEA on the DOT-MBTA project extending the Green Line to Somerville? Check out: http://greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us/ documents/PubMtgs/WashingtonUnionMtgMin020812.pdf
Michael Epp September 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Kevin, My comment to the DOT board was my personal opinion of the Casey Overpass process. Anyone that knows me would let you know that I do not play political games. My presence at the meeting was only to make a statement regarding the Casey process not for any other aspect of the DOT agenda. I have always respected your rights to voice your opinions without suggesting that there was some other motive to your statements. Let's try to keep this discussion about the neighborhood that we all love and want to improve.OK? Micheal Epp
Heather Carito September 17, 2012 at 01:00 AM
If the process has been so transparent and professional, why are repeated questions still unanswered and why has it been necessary to use the Freedom of Information Act to see documentation of so much of this 'open process,' particularly points where decisions were made. And why did DOT state that they need to "work hard to earn the community's trust"? I also said that adding all the vehicles that currently use the overpass to the surface roads will not make walking or biking safer, healthier or more desirable. That opinion is shared by 90% of my neighborhood association, which is adjacent to the overpass.
Anne McKinnon September 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
It seems to me that an open and transparent and professional process would not leave half the community in the dark about how the outcome was reached. An open and professional process wouldn't refuse to answer questions, refuse to provide materials for committee members to use to decipher complex material, refuse to provide useful meeting notes instead of 20-page transcripts, refuse to change incorrect meeting notes when asked, refuse to correct amateur and misleading renderings when asked, berate committee members and elected officials in public, refuse to correct math errors in the evaluation criteria and other erroneous measures, etc. But the big one is: what kind of open and transparent process would wait until the tenth advisory group meeting to go over critical traffic impacts of the alternatives for a measly 40 minutes at one meeting only? And what kind of public process tells long-suffering volunteers that "we said traffic works" and you'll have to trust us--no more discussion entertained?
Allan Ihrer September 30, 2012 at 08:16 AM
I'm glad to hear Michael Epp is finally attempting to separate his professional relationship with MassDOT with his position on the Casey Arborway DAG. For the last year Jamaica Plainers and folks from our neighboring communities have been begging for an open and honest look at the numerous serious traffic issues regarding the Casey Arborway project. Alas, bicycle groups and greenish groups from around the city have fought this, with allegations that we're being "obstructionist". Apparently open factual problem solving discussion is now "obstructionist", and MassDOT is more than happy to go along with this.
ann merritt November 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM
ann merritt 10:55 am on Saturday, November 10, 2012 I agree. I find the streets around Forest Hills Station to be a nightmare for travel now. The lights on New Washington st seem to be timed to require frequent stopping and backups of traffic. In addition ,the school buses stop in the middle of the street to pick up and drop off students as their parents park all along the side of the road waiting for the buses to arrive, sometimes double parking. Add to this the new development around the station bringing increased traffic, an increase in vehicle registrations and use and diverting all the 25,000+ drive over cars down onto New Washington st every day. I don't believe that a reconfiguration of a few lanes can accomodate this traffic. I also noticed, new houses being built alongside New Washington st, that will narrow even further any plans for wider roads, bike paths or green space. I believe we are being hoodwinked by the State and City agencies responsible for this scheme.

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