Letter: Many benefits to surface-street option

The following letter was sent to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and elected officials:

I am writing to register my view that the at-grade solution is far superior to that of a new overpass. I confess that I was surprised to reach this conclusion. Having used the overpass on an almost daily basis when I commuted to Dorchester for five years, and still using the overpass regularly, I assumed that I would prefer to keep commuting traffic out of the Forest Hills area. However, having reviewed the plans carefully, and both listened to and read the arguments on both sides, I am thoroughly convinced that the at-grade option is smarter, more desirable and more responsible than any new overpass.

The cost savings are considerable. I realize that cost was rightly not supposed to be a consideration in the original planning work, but it certainly seems appropriate to take into consideration in selecting the final option. The environmental consequences are considerable, with improved bike and pedestrian mobility, improved bus service, and the elimination of a visual eyesore (as even a slimmer, smaller bridge appears to be on the renderings). I would love to be able to bike safely with my kids from our house on the Arborway to the Franklin Park Zoo (a favorite of my 5-year-old) and to Roslindale, where the farmers market and our daughters’ friends are favored destinations. My husband and I would gladly bike with our girls in the fall and spring from our house to their school, the Rafael Hernandez, if we had a safe bike path to be on. Currently, there’s no way to get from the Jamaica Pond bike path down to Washington Street safely. But it would be perfect to bike through the Arboretum and be able to join the Southwest Corridor Park bike path right at Forest Hills. We would also love for that area to become a more desirable destination. It currently feels totally cut off from JP’s South/Centre streets, thanks to the overpass.

Thank you for your hard work on the Casey Overpass replacement. I have been impressed with the care and attention that have been given to the task, and I strongly urge you to select the at-grade solution as the final plan.

Meira Levinson, Jamaica Plain

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