Status of Casey historic review unclear

The current status of a historical impact review of Casey Arborway’s Shea Circle redesign is unclear.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) requested in a Jan. 8 letter that the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) reconsider discarded alternatives for the plan to turn Shea Circle into a signalized intersection. It is unclear if that could delay the project.

MHC spokesperson Brian McNiff told the Gazette he could not guess at if there would be a delay or how long a delay could be.

Also unclear is whether MHC is reviewing changes to pieces of the Arborway affected by the Casey Arborway plan. It is also not clear which pieces of land around the Casey Overpass are officially the Arborway.

McNiff directed the Gazette to consult a “property documentation form,” available on the MHC website, to see exactly which streets were considered part of the Arborway. That document, “National Register of Historic Places,” created by the U.S. Department of the Interior, did not provide that information.

In a well-known and controversial incident during the design of the long-overdue Arborway bus yard, the whole design process had to be pushed back because a curb cut was proposed for the Arborway’s northern carriageway that had not been approved by MHC.

The MHC stated that the state’s plan to replace Shea Circle with a standard signalized intersection would “have an adverse effect on Shea Circle, the Morton Street Historic District, and the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston.” The Emerald Necklace, which includes the Arborway and by extension, Shea Circle, is part of that system.

MHC “requests that MassDOT reconsider [discarded] alternatives” like redesigning the roundabout. MassDOT continues to consult with MHC.

The Arborway is a historic state parkway.

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