LIKE NIGHT & DAY

February 22, 2008
By

SANDRA STOREY

Planning for April-Aug. repaving project includes time of day

CENTRE/SOUTH BUSINESS DISTRICT—Members of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association (BAPA) told city officials at the group’s board meeting on Feb. 20 that they would like the upcoming repaving of South and Centre streets to happen at night.

“We need to do it to expedite the entire process,” Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop said after hearing about the work and the choices.

Paving the streets over the trolley tracks and rebuilding about 100 handicapped-access ramps from New Washington Street in Forest Hills to the S. Huntington Avenue intersection with Centre Street is scheduled to begin mid-April, according to Frank O’Brien, assistant Public Works commissioner. Construction, which will include some minor work by utility companies in 12 to 14 places, is anticipated to conclude by August, he said.

O’Brien was accompanied by project manager Chief Construction Inspector Kevin Linskey, who will be present for and in charge of the repaving work, and Principal Engineer Michael Hunt, who will oversee the ramp replacements. Colleen Keller, Neighborhood Coordinator from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, also attended the meeting.

The Public Works officials pointed out benefits of working at night, which they did 20 years ago when the last repaving of the business district’s main street was done: less disruption of pedestrians and vehicles; less disruption of business; and much faster completion of the project. Linskey said no jackhammers would be used after midnight.

Daytime work usually goes from around 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Night work can go from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., Linskey said.

The BAPA board voted to send a letter to the city requesting that the work be done at night.

O’Brien emphasized that visiting BAPA was just the first step in getting lots of community input before the project starts.

“Clearly, there will be some disruption” no matter when it takes place, O’Brien said. “We don’t want to decide [whether work is in the day or at night] in a vacuum.”

Officials gave some details of what will be done. Workers will grind the pavement on the sides of the streets so the new pavement isn’t higher than driveways leading onto the street. Working south to north, sidewalk ramps and repairs in one section will be done on one side, then the other, followed by street work. Crosswalks will be painted at the end.

There may be detours and no on-street parking allowed in certain sections at certain times. Detail police officers will be present to help traffic flow.

During construction, electric signs, flyers and cell phone accessibility will be available to keep the public informed and so Public Works can address any special issues or problems, officials said. Local media will be kept informed so it can let readers know about the project, O’Brien said.

Linksey emphasized their flexibility. “We can even hopscotch the route a little, if there is good reason,” he said.

Neither the sidewalk/ramp contractor nor the repaving contractor has been selected yet.

For more information, contact O’Brien at 635-3894 or e-mail frank.obrien@cityofboston.gov or call Keller at 635-3485.