Letter: Casey project will restrict access, boost pollution

I’ve lived in Jamaica Plain for 26 years and never owned a car. And I’m for a bridge to replace the Casey Overpass.

A six-lane, street-level highway running across South Street at Forest Hills will not only restrict our access to the Orange Line and Roslindale, but will make it impossible for anyone who walks slowly (baby-strollers, asthmatics, those who use a cane) to cross in one traffic light cycle’s time. We’ll also have to breathe in the extra exhaust from idling vehicles that are waiting at the additional lights. Adding to the pollution will be the many “bow-tie” U-turns the street-level designers hope will avoid gridlock, but which will definitely add to the time and gas used by much of the traffic.

A few years ago, I participated in the Route 39 bus citizens advisory group. There was intense debate about every change proposed to each and every bus stop. That group was not consulted about the radical changes now planned to the 39 bus route by MassDOT’s Design Advisory Group.

In fact, there has been little input from the people who will be most affected by MassDOT’s proposals: those who actually live here or use the bridge to commute.

Yes, the Casey Overpass is ugly and needs repairs. Let’s replace it with a smaller, attractive bridge. Because one thing is even uglier: a neighborhood so snarled by gridlock that cars will cut through our smaller streets to avoid the snail’s pace of the street-level highway.

If JP had not been vocal 40 years ago and refused to accept the recommendations of the “experts,” we would now have I-95 cutting JP in half instead of the Southwest Corridor park. The fate of our neighborhood is once again threatened by bad traffic decisions. We must speak up.

Lynn McSweeney

Jamaica Plain

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