Please note: As I'm sure you've all noticed if you attend community meetings or reading The Gazette, the Casey Overpass debate over whether to have an at-grade (no bridge) solution or a replacement bridge in the Stonybrook/Washington St./Forest Hills area is a heated one. I'm posting this because it's informative, even though it's biased toward the bridge solution.
If you'd like to hear the other side of the debate, please see my next post, which features an article from the JP Patch and a video defending the at-grade (no-bridge) plan.
Lisa, your admin
Stonybrook Neighborhood Association Casey Overpass Survey: Due by Tuesday December 6th.
Please fill out this online survey ( http://www.sna-jp.org/casey-overpass-survey.html) on the Casey Overpass Design by Tuesday Dec. 6,
Please also forward this along to your neighbors.
Please do not fill this out unless you live in the Stonybrook Neighborhood.
I am representing SNA at the Casey Overpass meetings and I’m trying to aggressively work on behalf of our neighborhood. Some of you would disagree with what I say and do in the WAG meetings, but I will ultimately will try to pass along the views of my neighborhood to the MA DOT and not my personal views on the ‘bridge vs. no bridge’ topic. Thus your input is important to myself and the others working on behalf of the SNA-hood.
At the Casey Overpass WAG meetings we’ve been shown nice images of a bridge replacement and also of an at grade alternative. We are regularly assured that both will perform virtually the same with respect to traffic flow. We’ve also seen fun animations of traffic moving smoothly through Forest Hills, with absolutely no problems.
At this time I believe hard issues such as AM backups on the Arborway from the Centre St. Rotary have not been realistically addressed in traffic models or animations. These backups currently extend back over the whole Casey Overpass, and can be expected to occur (?) in an at grade solution; perhaps causing bedlam? Are therepotential traffic impacts? We still don’t know.
As noted above, the same goes for PM backups from the Shea Rotary.
This neighborhood accepted our urban responsibility and took the Arborway bus fleet, and we also need to look after that fleet lest it ruin the area. Regular and frequent morning and evening movements of buses from Mattapan and Dorchester haven’t been addressed in traffic models or animations. Those regular and frequentturns of these buses at Washington St onto Hyde Park Ave. will change the traffic flow through Forest Hills. We are told that signals in the Forest Hills area will all be synchronized and thus all traffic will move smoothly. But what happens when one bus at Washington St. gets a preferential signal to let it turn. That’ll throw that signalout of synchrony from all the other signals thus causing Forest Hills wide traffic conflicts? What are the potential traffic impacts? We still don’t know.
By economic necessity, residents of Mattapan and Dorchester drive East and West through Forest Hills to get to and from work. 15 years of previous East/West traffic counts show higher overpass traffic volumes (between 35,000 and 25,000 veh. per day) than the June 2011 count for this Casey Overpass process. Note: the June 2011 traffic count occurred after colleges were out for the summer. The growth of future traffic volume is based upon the lowest traffic volume in many years. What happens when the economy booms again, which it will. Quite a number of people have noted the lack of traffic volume in the animations of the traffic models.
No steps been taken to study or prepare for a future transit solution to reduce the 24,000 (or more) East/West vehicles trips currently passing thru Forest Hills. I believe letting the traffic getting so congested that drivers will seek other routes, as has been suggested in WAG meetings, is not a good solution.
None of the ‘paradigms’ from other cities reflect the particulars of our Forest Hills; heavy North/South traffic crossing East/West traffic, no street grid presenting alternative routes, uncontrollable traffic backups into the study area, no transit alternatives to at least one direction of traffic flow. Forest Hills is a multimode traffic hub, and none of the paradigms shown us are hubs. I believe the very nice results at these other, very different locations, should not be seen as paradigms for Forest Hills.
I believe to minimize possible impacts to our neighborhood and community we all need to first admit to the possibility of problems, and then forthrightly address them. Some WAG members have said ‘build at grade’ and if there are traffic impacts to Forest Hills neighborhoods in the future, then some steps will be need to be taken. Who will take them? Who will pay for them? When will they be taken? Who will support the impacted neighborhoods? Or will we just have to quietly accept thedegrading impacts?
I believe these are critical issues and should be sorted out before we can intelligently choose between a bridge or an at grade replacement for the Casey Overpass. I’mextremely sad to say that these issues haven’t been resolved in the 9 months I’ve been participating in the many many Casey Overpass meetings. I’ve been surprised at the lack of support from other WAG members to seriously address them, except for those living in most potentially impacted neighborhoods. I hope this will situation will change in the waning days of this community process.
I welcome your support in getting them addressed prior to any decision making.
Good night, and thanks for thinking about this,
116 Williams St., #2
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130