MHC requests Shea Circle preservation plans

The Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) told the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Casey Arborway project team in a Aug. 23 meeting that MHC wants to see at least two alternatives for keeping Shea Circle instead of turning it into a signalized intersection as currently proposed by the Casey Arborway project team.

The plan to turn the rotary at the east end of the current Casey Overpass, where it meets Forest Hills Street, into a signalized intersection called Shea Square requires approval from MHC to continue.

“You’re asking us to go back and look at and evaluate other traffic calming measures and we will do that,” Casey project manager Steve McLaughlin responded.

Another consultation meeting, as yet unscheduled, with MHC is expected within a month to discuss the Shea Circle alternatives.

MHC has previously ruled that replacing Shea Circle with a signalized intersection would be an “adverse effect” to the Morton Street Historic District, which is listed in State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Simon asked the MassDOT team to present at least one design with the current layout and one with a modified, elongated rotary, referred to as an “egg-a-bout,” a concept previously discarded by the design team. Both alternatives should incorporate traffic calming measures to address safety concerns, a major reason for the Casey team’s preference of a signalized intersection.

“Over half the [vehicle] crashes at Shea Circle are single-vehicle, which suggests a fundamental design flaw,” Casey team member Gary McNaughton said at the MHC meeting. “We need to do more than touch-ups to the existing rotary.”

While problems with the plan to turn Shea Circle to Shea Square would not necessarily halt the Casey Arborway project, it would likely cause delays.

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