In the ongoing drama surrounding the Casey Overpass replacement project, there is one definitive point of consensus: the current Casey Overpass must go. And to that point of consensus I would like to offer a follow-up: both of the core options MassDOT considered (simply put: to bridge or not to bridge) are better than the status quo. The overbuilt elevated roadway is not only falling apart, but is an eyesore that divides Jamaica Plain. MassDOT has explained that it is cheaper to replace the overpass than to repair it, and no one has argued to keep the overpass as-is.
It was with this in mind that I was happy to read that MassDOT had completed their assessment and finally made a decision after months of delays and multiple community meetings. Either decision would have pleased its supporters and disappointed the detractors, but I was taught you can’t always get everything you want. Sometimes you have to compromise.
I fully support the efforts of neighborhood residents, local businesses, advocacy groups and concerned citizens to express their opinion—including disappointment when a decision has been made that they fought against.
But the time for debate over what solution MassDOT chooses is over, and we should focus our energy on providing valuable input on how to make the best of the surface road option. Attempting to re-open the debate over a bridge is not helpful, and will likely result in more delays before construction begins, something no one wants.
Its time to put down the campaigning for a bridge and begin to build consensus about how to bring the most benefit to Jamaica Plain and surrounding neighborhoods within the surface road design.