By Rebeca Oliveira and John Ruch
The official state website for the Casey Overpass replacement project recently included—then abruptly yanked—a link to a video made by supporters of the surface street option.
The site did not feature any links or other references to pro-bridge supporters. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has not announced whether a new bridge or surface streets will replace the overpass, and public comments were still being accepted through today. Some advocates have accused MassDOT of being biased in favor of the surface-street, or “at-grade,” option throughout the planning process.
“DOT has lost any semblance of objectivity or professionalism,” said state Rep. Liz Malia, who informed the Gazette of the link.
“This video [link] was put up in error,” said MassDOT spokesperson Michael Verseckes. “It was not produced or sanctioned by MassDOT and is therefore not appropriate to be featured on the MassDOT website.”
The link was to a video by the Boston Cyclists Union. “Visit the Boston Cyclists Union’s YouTube Channel for a video explaining the benefits of the at-grade option for the Casey Overpass Replacement,” the state site said in introducing the link.
The video was posted Nov. 29 and it appears the MassDOT site linked to it recently. When Malia informed the Gazette about the link today, it had already been removed from the site. But an older version of the site containing the link is still cached on Google.
The Casey Overpass is the State Rt. 203 bridge over Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue at the Forest Hills T Station. The decaying bridge must be demolished in coming years and will be replaced by either a new bridge or new surface streets. MassDOT held months of meetings to plan those options and recently postponed deciding which one will be built until mid-January.
The state Casey Overpass project website is at massdot.state.ma.us/caseyoverpass. The cached version containing the video link can be seen at http://bit.ly/uXrpWh. The Boston Cyclists Union video the official site featured is available at www.youtube.com/user/BostonCyclistsUnion. Supporters of the bridge option have a website at rebuildcasey.com.
Updated version: This version includes comments from MassDOT.