Letter: Casey protesters were angry for good reasons

Clay Harper’s letter to the editor complaining about the MassDOT Casey Overpass meeting January 21 is one take on the meeting. (“Casey protesters were rude and juvenile,” Jan. 30.) But his complaint about loud participants is misplaced. If MassDOT had done an honest, comprehensive, responsive, and sincere planning and design process, there would not have been so many people questioning the decision to eliminate the Casey Overpass and angry about how they were treated. A process that leaves so many JP and Roslindale residents and businesses objecting and so many Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan residents in the dark is by definition inadequate.

Second, you hear what you want to hear. Harper heard “uncivil” comments. I heard scores of people exercising their rights and calling to stop the project, identifying critical omissions, misstatements, obfuscation and nonsense from MassDOT.

I heard people ask MassDOT to explain the real project—dropping 24,000 cars a day to mix with all local traffic—not simply gush about the number of trees it will plant. I heard people angry after three years of showing up at these meetings, making their case with facts, and being ignored. I heard people whose fears have been dismissed for three years and who seemed on the verge of breaking down. I heard people fed up with the “process” of public participation being all MassDOT cares about (i.e., “We had 40 meetings!”), not reaching defensible decisions that actually use input. I heard people deliver the same message they have been communicating to MassDOT since 2012: this at-grade scheme makes no sense and is the result of a pre-determined decision to eliminate the bridge regardless of the impacts.

The idea of a new bridge never had a chance.

Jeffrey Ferris

Jamaica Plain

Editor’s Note: The writer is a member of the Bridging Forest Hills activism effort to replace the Casey Overpass with a new bridge.

4 comments for “Letter: Casey protesters were angry for good reasons

  1. Peppy
    February 15, 2015 at 10:19 am

    if Bridging Forest Hills wants to be taken seriously they might want to get a spokesperson who is taken seriously.

  2. Clay Harper
    February 13, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I wasn’t complaining about the meeting, I was complaining about the behavior of some in attendance. What I heard was people shouting, interupting, disrupting and openly swearing at officials who were trying to convey vital information to the community. If that isn’t “uncivil” I don’t know what is.

  3. Charlie
    February 13, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Just because you don’t like the result of something doesn’t mean you can claim the process was flawed. It doesn’t work that way. This was one of the most comprehensive, open, participatory public processes I have ever seen MassDOT do. There was a task force made of stakeholders for everything: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, residents, businesses, parks, you name it. There was a long process to decide whether to build a new bridge or a surface boulevard followed by another process to determine all the details of the design of the solution that was chosen. The end result is by no means perfect. No one is getting everything they wanted. But the end result is one that everyone should be proud of, as it reflects the concerns, ideas, and desires of the entire community. By splintering off from the group, all you’ve done is create distraction, noise, and hostility and taken time away from actually making the proposed design even better than it is now. Bridging Forest Hills should really be ashamed of themselves.

  4. egcegc
    February 13, 2015 at 9:54 am

    At some point the decision has to be final. Lord knows this has been debated enough. It’s sad how hard it is to get anything done in this city.

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