Baker Admin: Casey Arborway Project Should ‘Proceed as Planned’

A protester holds up a sign at a May 7, 2015 meeting on the Casey Arborway.

Chris Helms

A protester holds up a sign at a May 7, 2015 meeting on the Casey Arborway.

Residents who want the state to rethink not rebuilding a bridge over Forest Hills recently learned the new Baker Administration backs the existing, at-grade scheme.

The advocacy group Bridging Forest Hills posted to its Facebook page on Thursday a letter from Mindy d’Arbeloff, deputy chief of staff for Governor Charlie Baker.

Below is a copy of the letter:

Dear John and Edward,

Thank you for your visit on Monday. A lot of important issues were raised and your groups’ involvement in this project is commendable.

We have spent the past couple of days engaged with MassDOT staff, gathering all relevant documentation and evaluating the planning and design processes.

Our follow up has shown that the Working Advisory Group (WAG) and the Design Advisory Group (DAG) had members from Jamaica Plain and the surrounding communities involved throughout this process. A wide net was cast and it appears all opinions from the involved stakeholders were listened to.

As you know, a final decision was made by the Patrick Administration to move forward with the current design based on engineering standards, traffic/construction/environmental science considerations, feasibility and public input. In fact, the public involvement and feedback received helped bring about the inclusion of the Shea Circle reconfiguration, the addition of a new MBTA headhouse for the Orange Line, and a comprehensive landscaping design into the final product.

The traffic study used was executed in conjunction with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and assumed the corridor is fully developed and sustainable for twenty years of projected growth. This study was subjected to two independent peer reviews and the determinations were supported. The at-grade option was advanced because it ranked the highest for all forms of mobility, livability, and long term maintenance costs.

Having reviewed the project and, in particular, the outreach that has been made throughout the Jamaica Plain neighborhood and surrounding community, the Baker Administration believes that this remains a worthy project and should proceed as planned. Having a transparent, responsive and accessible administration is of the utmost importance to Governor Baker. We have directed the staff at MassDOT to provide us with regular updates on the project. While some disagreement may remain, we hope that we can move forward together productively and ensure the success of this project. If you have any ideas whatsoever that may lead to improved communication and transparency, please do not hesitate to share those with us.

Thank you again for your advocacy and understanding. Yours are the only emails I have. Please feel free to share with the rest of the group.

Sincerely,

Mindy

Mindy d’Arbeloff

Deputy Chief of Staff

Office of the Governor

Destruction of the crumbling Casey Overpass is well underway, with new views unseen in decades coming to light seemingly each day. Major construction is expected to end by Sept. 30, 2016. Opponents say the process used to decide not to rebuild a bridge was flawed from the start. They further say the at-grade plan will not improve traffic for drivers, pedestrians or bicyclists.

Opponents have put effort into convincing the new administration to reverse course from the decision made when Deval Patrick was governor. An online petition calling for a moratorium on the project has 1,128 signatures as of Thursday.

According to the group’s Facebook page, opponents of the at-grade plan should continue to fight:

This is not over. Read this and take action. Call the Governor’s Office at 617-725-4005!

See all our Casey Overpass/Casey Arborway coverage here.