Casey Arborway Milestone: First New Trees to be Planted

Remember the winter of 2015? If the 100-plus inches of snow didn’t depress you, there was the chopping down of more than a hundred trees around Forest Hills for the Casey Arborway project.

Now for the good news, nature lovers: The first trees of the mammoth project will soon be planted.

The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that week after next contractors plan to start planting trees in the area where the permanent median of the Arborway will be.

It was just one line in MassDOT’s latest “Three-week Look-ahead,” but it should bring a smile to everyone who hated seeing those 160 trees cut down.

Among the things planners haven’t explained very well is that by project’s end, there will be about 400 more trees than before the crews started cutting them down during that historic winter of 2015.

Final conditions as planned for Casey Arborway project.

MassDOT via http://arborwaymatters.blogspot.com/

Final conditions as planned for Casey Arborway project.

As you can see from this look at what the final result of the Casey Arborway should be, lots and lots of trees are being promised.

There are detailed plans for which exact trees will go where in the final set-up. Let’s take a close look at one representative section, Toole Square. Trees aren’t being replanted here yet but it’s a good example of the kind of greenery residents can expect scattered around the final product.

Toole Square

This was the open space at the foot of the Arborteum and South Street, right by what was until recently the Casey off-ramp.

Tree removal by the World War I memorial in Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Chris Helms

Tree removal by the World War I memorial in Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

When Jamaica Plain News last wrote about the Casey Arborway trees back in March 2015, nine trees had been cut down in this section, among them a 27-inch diameter Norway maple. You can see eight of those in this plan. A total of eight existing trees are being kept.

Tree removal and retention plan for Toole Square section of Casey Arborway. Two Toole Square trees don't appear on this page — one will be removed, another retained.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Tree removal and retention plan for Toole Square section of Casey Arborway. Two Toole Square trees don’t appear on this page — one will be removed, another retained.

But by project’s end, the area would again be leafy, with more trees than before:

Detail: Toole Square final plan

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Detail: Toole Square final plan

It should be noted that the above rendering doesn’t exactly reflect the detailed tree plan. In the rendering, trees in green are new plantings and empty circles are existing trees. You can see that there are two trees in the lower left corner that the rendering has as being saved that the detailed plans actually show to have been slated for removal. They are both gone.

A total of 560 trees are expected for the area when the project is done. Construction was expected to end by Sept. 30, 2016, but contractors blame weather and jet fan procurement problems with pushing that date to fall 2017. It won’t be until spring 2018 until final landscaping is done, latest estimates predict.

Many or most of the trees that were cut down were planted in the 1980s, the last time there was major construction around Forest Hills Station.

Here are some file photos of the destruction back in March 2015:

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Credit: Chris Helms

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Chris Helms

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Chris Helms

Toole Square, Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

Washington Street, March 16, 2015.

Chris Helms

Washington Street, March 16, 2015.

Washington Street, March 16, 2015.

Chris Helms

Washington Street, March 16, 2015.

See all our Casey Overpass/Casey Arborway coverage here.

  • Hugo_JP

    Let’s hope that the DOT and their contractor remember to keep the new trees well-watered through the fall so that they take root. I’d hate for next spring to come around and all we see are a bunch of dead trees.

    • Walburga

      Great point – I wonder if DOT can share what their plans are to maintain the landscaping and plantings following the completion of the project (and during it since we have more than a year to go!).

      • JamaicaPlainNews

        MassDOT has told us it’s in the contract that plantings have to be maintained a certain way for, I think, at least a year. If I can find the details I’ll post them.

  • jenuphoto

    anyone know what kind of trees to be planted? Will they be the same as the Jamaica Way? hoping for good shade trees and not the hornbeams that have been planted elsewhere in JP, that provide no shade and just grow ‘up’ instead of ‘out’.

  • Clay Harper

    I have it on good authority that during tge week of 9/18 they intend to plant American Elms in the mainline median from Shea Circle roughly halfway to Washington Street for now, plus Scarlet Oaks in the frontage road median from Shea Circle to the Courthouse. These 30-40 trees (approxinately) are the first of 560 to be planted before the project is complete. I believe all trees are warrantied for two years, which is longer than most State projects.

    The Jamaicaway and the rest of the Arborway are a monoculture of Red Oaks. There will be much more variety overall (and many flowering species near sidewalks and bike paths) in the Casey Arborway project area before they’re done, but the tall-growing, stately trees are for the medians.