JPNC seeks meeting, leadership from governor over parkway project

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council has sent a Feb. 13 letter to Gov. Charlie Baker requesting a meeting and asking for his leadership to get the long-awaited parkway improvement project started.

The letter, which is written by JPNC Chair Kevin Moloney, criticizes the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy for inaction on the project.

“For all we can discern, these needed projects languish as Commissioner Roy apparently has no interest whatsoever in moving forward on them,” the letter states. “Instead, he comes up with inexplicable excuses why DCR cannot and will not proceed.”

The Governor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

When asked for comment on the letter and on the characterization of Roy, DCR spokesman Troy Wall replied, “The Department of Conservation and Recreation continues to make progress on project designs that will improve agency managed roadways within Jamaica Plain, and we look forward to continuing ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders including the public, state and local officials, and advocacy groups.”

The parkway improvement project focuses on three different areas: Perkins Street and Francis Parkman Drive intersection; Centre Street, from VFW Parkway to Murray Circle; and the Arborway between Eliot Street and South Street, including Kelley Circle and Murray Circle.

DCR initially held a community meeting on the Parkman Drive and Perkins Street improvement during the summer of 2013. At that time, officials said that the project could be done within two year. One part of that project is a crosswalk for residents from Cabot Estate to have access to Jamaica Pond, which they have been advocating for since at least 1997.

DCR held a series of meetings on the full project in the fall of 2015. The meetings were co-sponsored by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy and state Reps. Jeffrey Sanchez and Liz Malia and state Sens. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Michael Rush.

“We ask for your help because the commissioner of DCR, despite the entreaties of the JPNC, the Jamaica Pond Association, other Jamaica Plain organizations, Jamaica Plain residents and State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, has failed and refused to deliver on commitments made by the commissioner’s predecessor-in-office, in the fall of 2015, to improve the unsafe and dangerous conditions on DCR roadways in Jamaica Plain,” the JPNC letter to Baker states.

The letter goes on to ask to meet with the governor at his office and urges him to “take the initiative” and “exercise leadership” by directing Roy to “move forward expeditiously” on the project.

“Unless this is done, Jamaica Plain pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, as well as the many thousands of others who use these roadways, will continue to be at peril,” the letter states.

According to DCR, the Centre Street portion of the project, which will include pedestrian crossings, pavement markings, and traffic signals, is at the 75 percent design completion and is expected to reach 100 percent design shortly. DCR expects to complete the project during the summer.

DCR says that the Perkins/Parkman improvement part will reach the 75 percent design completion soon and will be presented to the Boston Landmarks Commission sometime in March. DCR says that handicap accessible and historical/environmental reviews have added to the complexity of the project and has delayed it.

DCR says that design contractor on the Arborway portion of the project is working to 25 percent design completion.


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