Letter: Residents deserve long-awaited parkway improvements

It has been nearly a year since the DCR last updated our community regarding its effort towards “Improved Multi-modal Safety and Access to the Emerald Necklace Parkways in Jamaica Plain” and it is high time the department did so. After some two decades of studies and planning concerning the corridor, the tens of thousands of thru-traffic travelers, recreational users, and local and abutting residents of the surrounding neighborhoods are still faced with an intimidating free-for-all of too fast traffic with poor wayfinding, non-existent speed limit indicators, rare enforcement and grave danger. The Arborway is a vital link in the Emerald Necklace Parkways, badly in need of alteration so that it’s originally intended recreational use is safely possible through significant traffic calming.

At the beginning of this planning process in February 2015, DCR reminded the audience of the decade-old declaration by the Historic Parkways of Massachusetts Initiative that “A parkway is not a road. It’s a park with a road in it.” Ian Lockwood from DCR’s primary consultant Toole Design Group suggested that “drivers who travel through your neighborhood should do so on your terms, not theirs.” I, for one, couldn’t agree more these views, and the majority of attendees at the planning meetings said they would like to see something done to enhance safety for all users of the Arborway.

Much progress was made between their February 2015 “Starter Idea” and the more fully-developed plans described to the community in October 2015—and much of that progress was in response to community input and informed local knowledge. Jamaica Plain residents should encourage DCR Commissioner Leo Roy ([email protected]) to hold further public meetings to discuss how these plans have evolved as soon as possible.

Clayton Harper

Jamaica Plain resident

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