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.

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