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Forest Hills Group Petitions for New Casey Bridge

Bridging Forest Hills, a local group in support of a new bridge at the Casey Overpass location, has launched an online petition.

With the state finalizing the plan to build an at-grade roadway in place of the Casey Overpass, there’s one Jamaica Plain-based group petitioning for a new bridge.

Bridging Forest Hills is petitioning for signatures from people in support of an above-ground bridge at the Casey Overpass site.

The petition, titled “Mayor Menino: Send MassDOT Back to the Drawing Board,” had 200 signatures with accompanying comments as of Dec. 3.

The text of the petition calls for a review of the current decision.

“Substituting a 6-lane, street-level highway at Forest Hills will have a devastating impact on all the surrounding communities,” the petition says. “We don't want a congested, polluting traffic nightmare rammed through Forest Hills.”

Many left comments on the petition.

“I think a six-lane ground solution will create utter chaos in that area,” wrote Claudia Castaneda of Boston.

“You MUST come and drive through the area everyday between 4-6 p.m. to make a truly clear and real decision. If you do this, you will have your answer immediately!” wrote Mary Ellen Ehrenreich of Roxbury.

State officials will host a walkthrough of the Casey site and public meeting Dec. 13 at Boston English High School Auditorium, 144 McBride St. The site walkthrough begins at the north entrance to the Forest Hills MBTA station at 3 p.m., and the meeting begins at 6 p.m.

Michael Halle December 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Hi Steve, To be clear, I didn't say that Mass Ave@Comm Ave or JWay/Perkins were directly comparable to the Casey Arborway in all respects. I said that the traffic *volumes* were comparable. I was responding to Liz's suggestion that we are "inviting to Forest Hills" an intersection like Mass Ave/Melnea Cass Blvd, which is a less appropriate comparison as seen from many different perspectives. Looking for direct comparisons between two sites is always an imperfect task. But to understand what something that does not yet exist would be like, we have to start somewhere, and I'd prefer to start with examples that are at least quantifiably similar in some respect. That would have been true had a bridge design been selected as well, especially because MassDOT's bridge designs were based on the same traffic assumptions and handled the same amount of traffic as the at-grade plan (and both plans handle traffic better than the existing conditions).
steve dudley December 05, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I maintain, as Liz stated that we would be better served to have regional traffic diverted over the congested streets of Forest Hills. A tsunami wave has as much volume as many swimming pools, however they act very differently .
David Friedman December 05, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Modern bridges can be quite beautiful. Airy and elegant. Very different from the one we have now. Let MassDOT put out a call for design ideas. The choice should be between that new bridge, one that responds to concerns about the space below the span, and the surface road. David Friedman David Friedman
Michael Halle December 06, 2012 at 06:06 AM
David, Please pardon the pun, but this bridge was crossed long ago. Thoughtful people made comments like yours well before the bridge/no-bridge decision was made. Ultimately, though, even a fairly utilitarian bridge design that handled traffic volumes about the same as the "no-bridge" plan cost significantly more than the at-grade option. An "elegant, beautiful" bridge would almost certainly have cost more for no demonstrated functional benefit over the competing at-grade option. In several meetings, Jeff Ferris has said that the bridge option could be configured for greater vehicle capacity on the surface streets. I don't know if he still advocates this idea, but such a design would require more traffic evaluation, would reduce greenspace, and would again cost more. My big point here is that there isn't a "just choose a bridge" option. There is no consensus on a single bridge design, even among bridge supporters. And there are many people in JP who support the at-grade option and the ongoing process that is refining it. Advocating a bridge now also means advocating for throwing out two years of public and professional work without any assurance of a better plan or greater consensus, with the only certainty being higher cost. In the meantime, the current span is decaying and will require increasingly costly repairs to try to keep it safe. Meanwhile, there's little neighborhood discussion about construction mitigation....
John December 12, 2012 at 07:22 PM
The aesthetic bias in this debate is pointless; bridge supports believe the at-grade solution to be ugly and that MassDOT can build a beautiful bridge, at-grade supporters believe the bridge solution to be ugly and that MassDOT can build a beautiful parkway, etc. It is all opinion. The engieering shows us both solutions can handle current and future traffic better than the existing system. My apologies to all the arm-chair and windshield engineers commenting here; you have no standing and have not provided anything but opinion. So what's left? Cost; both initial and ongoing. If you want a bridge you need to justify why spending 50% more initially and incurring ongoing expenses is a much better solution.

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