Post Content

David Watson MassBike 2011

Posted by David Watson, MassBike Executive Director

The Casey Overpass is a four-lane, raised section of Route 203, connecting the Arborway to Forest Hills Cemetery and Franklin Park in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. It passes over the Southwest Corridor and Forest Hills Station. The structure was built in 1954, but 57 years later it is structurally unsound and splits the community in two between what amounts to the width of eight lanes of roadway. As part of the Accelerated Bridge Program, MassDOT will be replacing the overpass, but “What will it be replaced with?” is the question. The project has regional as well as neighborhood significance, as the current overpass carries a significant amount of traffic to and from Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Mattapan, Milton, Dorchester, West Roxbury, and beyond.

Earlier this year, MassBike, along with community groups and advocates, was invited to join the project’s Working Advisory Group (WAG). The group’s purpose is to help develop an alternative vision for the area. Because the area is used by commuters of all types (motorists, bicyclists, public transportation riders, and pedestrians), this is an opportunity to create a safe and improved area for all the roadway’s constituents and for the neighborhood itself. MassBike is lending its bicycling expertise to the WAG, while local community advocates lead the way to a solution that works for their neighborhood.

So far, the Working Group has been meeting to discuss the current problems of the Casey Overpass, establish priorities for addressing these issues, and begin to look at various design alternatives. Most recently, the design alternatives have been narrowed down to four basic concepts: a split bridge, a single bridge, surface roads with a wide median, and surface roads with a narrow median. The WAG met this week to discuss the pros and cons of each approach. You can see all the information presented at WAG meetings here. As the group continues to meet throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll have more of an idea of what a possible solution may look like. One thing is clear – everyone is committed to finding the best solution for the community and all those who use the area.

MassBike is involved because we see this as a great way for MassDOT, the community, and advocates to work together at the earliest stages of a project. MassDOT and its consultants have created a process that is admirably community-driven and responsive to community input. While no project design process can satisfy everyone, this is a pretty good one so far, and we hope MassDOT will use this approach regularly.

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

Thanksgiving: Travel Safely! posted on Nov 24

Thanksgiving: Travel Safely!

MassDOT encourages Thanksgiving holiday travelers to check the latest winter weather forecast and plan ahead with the high volume of traffic on our highways and at Boston Logan International Airport expected this year. Highways are typically busiest on the Tuesday and Wednesday before and on   …Continue Reading Thanksgiving: Travel Safely!

South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward posted on Nov 24

South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward

Governor Deval Patrick today joined Acting MassDOT Secretary and CEO Frank DePaola and local officials to announce a contract award for the replacement of four bridges in New Bedford and Fall River along the future South Coast Rail Line. The improvements will advance South Coast   …Continue Reading South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward

I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced posted on Nov 20

I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced

MassDOT and the Massachusetts State Police announced the establishment of a new Highway Safety Corridor Program for I-495 through the towns of Chelmsford, Westford, Littleton, Boxborough, Bolton, and Berlin. The program posts public safety signs that read, “Highway Safety Corridor / Laws Strictly Enforced” at   …Continue Reading I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced