Anne McKinnon’s letter, likening pro-bridge folks’ opposition to the at-grade Casey Arborway to the successful community protests against I-95 in the 1960s, is brimming with irony. (“JP should oppose Casey Arborway as it did I-95,” March 29.) Any attempts to rebrand the Casey Arborway as a “six-lane highway” are misleading and misguided. The current Casey Overpass is a six-lane highway bridge (now reduced to one lane in each direction because of deterioration), and any replacement bridge could be more accurately seen as a smaller-scale equivalent to the defeated I-95 elevated highway: outdated models of highway infrastructure designed for one purpose only—as speedways to move traffic through as quickly as possible.
The Casey Overpass, or any overpass, is completely unnecessary and inconsistent with its context within the Emerald Necklace. Signaled intersections along the Casey Arborway will help calm and modulate traffic all along the parkways. Unlike an overpass, the new Casey Arborway will link comfortably with the Arborway and Jamaicaway parkways, which are, in places, indeed six or more lanes wide. This fact has not diminished the value, either economically or aesthetically, of the many stately homes and parks lining either side of these beautiful parkways. This is what Forest Hills has to look forward to: a tree-lined urban boulevard with significant new park space, without the barriers and shadows of a hulking bridge structure overhead.
Many of us in Jamaica Plain have not merely “accepted” MassDOT’s decision and design for the Casey Arborway, as the letter-writer put it, but rather are eagerly anticipating the elimination of the bridge and are working together to make sure the benefits of the new Casey Arborway represent a bold step forward toward a more livable JP.