Letter: Forest Hills should have beautiful bridge

February 17, 2012
By

I don’t live near Forest Hills, but I feel that the future of the Casey Overpass is important to all Jamaica Plain residents and not just those who live in or commute through Forest Hills.

The current bridge is unattractive and, according to MassDOT, “structurally deficient.”  But why is the DOT’s vision limited to the options of a traffic nightmare or another ugly bridge?

When we ride over the Casey, we soar over Forest Hills. We can see all the way to downtown. We see the clock tower as it was built to be seen. We see sunsets and storms approaching. We can see the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Jamaica Plain needs a beautiful bridge, one that can be a symbol of our neighborhood, a bridge that connects the Emerald Necklace with sky, where pedestrians and bicyclists have an equal or greater share than automobiles. This is the Frederick Law Olmsted way.

And when they say we can’t afford it, we should tell them that ugly is never cheaper in the long run and building a beautiful community is worth any price.

Susan Moir

Jamaica Plain

 

  • Bernard Doherty

    Traffic models and reviews do not drive cars, trucks, buses and emergency transport. Nor should the lack of money be the reason we do not pursue the best traffic solution for Forest Hills.

    If your idea of a “traffic nightmare” is not route 1 or 9 placed in Forest Hills then six lanes of traffic is your idilic dream. Congestion, pollution and long traffic lines backing up at every signal, intersection and Bow Tie is presented as the ”Green” solution. And, safety is reduced to a statistic of seconds it takes to cross seven lanes of traffic with the “At Grade Alternative”.  

    I am a strong believer in common sense and as such, I fail to see how a river of traffic at grade will enhance the traffic flow, improve safety, make for a green solution or improve the health and welfare of the community.

  • Sarah Freeman

    In addition to the extra $21 million to build an elevated highway, the estimated lifetime maintenance cost is $30 million to $35 million higher than the cost of maintaining surface streets. I understand the concern regarding a traffic “nightmare”, but the traffic models and multiple independent reviews don’t support those concerns.

    • Polly Okunieff

      You haven’t considered the human costs that cannot be represented in present day “traffic models.”  What are the additional costs that the MBTA will incur due to the decreased speeds and additional operating costs? What are the costs incurred by residents of Roxbury, Blue Hills, Hyde Park and Roslindale when emergency vehicles that service those communities have only one passageway through Forest Hills? How is pedestrian and bicycle safety enhanced when they must compete with an additional 24,000 cars per day? What is the economic cost of congestion and air quality to the neighborhood and businesses? The traffic models do not tell the whole story and a simplistic comparison of bridge versus at-grade costs miss important quality of life, health, and safety costs.

  • Mike Hochlerin

    I agree with Susan.  We cannot replace an ugly bridge with a traffic nightmare!  An improved bridge is the way to go.  The Casey Overpass was built for a reason, but was not an elegant solution.  Given all that we have learned since then, only politics stand in the way of a far better architectural legacy to leave future generations.