Letter: Casey Arborway is about money, not best solution

December 7, 2012
By

It is time for JP’s silent majority to weigh in on the Casey Overpass. The public process on what solution will best serve JP and the region has not ended. With any project this large, the old saying, “The devil is in the details” is writ large. Now that real-world details are finally emerging for the Casey project, let’s get past the rancor and take a look.

Any smart fourth-grader can figure out that if you take the 25,000 cars per day which currently fly over Forest Hills and dump them onto the street in this snarled traffic/transit hub, the result will likely be ugly. We are told not to worry: The experts assure us that their “data” trumps our common sense.

So, I spent hours studying their evidence and listening closely at recent Design Advisory Group public meetings and have come to three conclusions:

1. There are simply too many cars, buses, pedestrians and bicycles to smoothly share the street level of Forest Hills without help from above: a new bridge. The Department of Transportation has cooked up a bundle of confusing fantasy data to support its fundamental desire for no bridge.

2. MassDOT is more interested in saving money than in finding the best transit solution for JP. It is lying to the public, patronizing the public and plodding ahead with poor regard for an open honest process. It cynically pursued and got buy-in during the concept phase from a number of self-appointed single-issue organizations that claim to speak for important JP constituencies (e.g., environmental and bicycle). Now that their lofty promises are turning to vapor—of should I say bus and car exhaust—as well as six lanes of ugly, gridlocked asphalt, the early enthusiasm is wavering. Don’t bother viewing their cheery renderings of bike lanes and tree’d median strip because they’ve now dropped those and other illusions.

3. We The People must now voice our need for a safe, intelligent, green solution. Please write and phone the mayor, governor and local reps. and demand that MA DOT go back to the drawing board. Let’s build a handsome new bridge and room to breathe for Forest Hills.

Tom Jacobson

Jamaica Plain

  • http://profiles.google.com/kehutchinson Kate Hutchinson

    The irony of this letter is that the group referred to as the “silent majority” is neither silent nor the majority. Based on the comments received at the appropriate time, last year when MassDOT solicited public feedback, two thirds of the comments were in favor of the at-grade solution. I’m not sure why the Bridging Forest Hills group didn’t comment then.

    The at-grade solution is a safe, intelligent, green solution. The problem here is that a vocal minority is afraid of change and is unwilling to accept the hard work of trained engineers and planners who want to create a well-designed project to benefit the community. The public process allowed a lot of people voices, and honestly, has been too generous with this vocal minority in allowing them to monopolize WAG, DAG, and public meeting time with their repeated attacks. How can the data be a fantasy? It was confirmed by an independent, outside group!

    There is no conspiracy. There is only a government body trying to give us a viable solution to a major infrastructure problem. The Casey Arborway will provide plenty of construction jobs, and when it is finished, I am looking forward to driving, biking, and walking through the new space.