With the demolition of the Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain slated to begin this weekend, the Gazette checked in with several Roslindale residents for their thoughts about impacts on the community south of the construction zone. They spoke in mostly supportive terms about the project.
The Casey Arborway project will replace the Casey Overpass, which carries Route 203 over the Forest Hills T Station area. A new six- to eight-land surface road will be constructed. The project has been controversial in Jamaica Plain, with complaints including a lack of outreach to other neighborhoods.
Roslindale resident Alan Wright said in an email to the Gazette that while he supports the Casey Arborway project, he suspects many in his neighborhood are not up to speed about what is happening there. He said he has been following the planning and controversy around the project through Jamaica Plain news outlets and social media and went to one meeting early on.
“I think there are many people in Roslindale that are not connected to JP and/or do not keep themselves informed on what is going on in their world other than catching TV hits,” said Wright. “Many of these people commute through Forest Hills either by public transportation or car and may be surprised [or] unprepared.”
He said he sometimes commutes by bike to JP and downtown through the Casey area and says he expects it to become more difficult to do so as construction continues. Wright also said that because there are few shortcuts around that area, there will likely be more traffic delays.
“Neverthless, I support the rebuild plan,” he said. “I suspect that the number of drivers will decrease over the coming decades, so in the long run it will be a better plan.”
Jane Lyden Rousseau, a Roslindale resident, said in an email to the Gazette that she and her husband are “excited” about many aspects of the project and “glad” that the area is receiving “some needed attention.”
“As a cyclist and runner, I’m excited about the inclusion of designated bike paths and improved sidewalks,” she said. “I also feel that the plan to connect Franklin Park to the rest of the Emerald Necklace is a wonderful idea, and provides runners, cyclists and pedestrians with a safer, greener way to access both of these areas. Since we live very close to Forest Hills, we’re very much looking forward to having easier access to the station.”
Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) Executive Director Christina DiLisio said her organization has been paying “close attention” to the project, as RVMS “constantly feels the pulse” of residents and businesses.
She said she sees the project as an opportunity for “better connectivity” and “perhaps an opportune time to push for other public transit.”