Name-checking the successful grassroots effort that stopped the Southwest Expressway, City Councilor Charles Yancey told a sometimes raucous crowd of about 175 that he wants to make sure neighborhoods outside JP, notably Mattapan, don't suffer from ills he sees in the massive project.
Yancey was among the many voices at Thursday's construction information meeting at English High School who called the whole effort into question. Transportation officials have struggled at each of the three construction meetings this year to limit discussion to practical questions about carrying out the project.
The District 4 councilor wants a series of public hearings on the traffic and environmental impacts of neighborhoods all along Route 203. For instance, he'd like to know how the lack of a flyover might affect ambulances going from Mattapan to the Longwood Medical Area. State officials concede that that through traffic will take about a minute to 90 seconds longer to get from Franklin Park/Morton Street to Murray Circle once the project is done.
"If this project makes sense for just one community and harms the other community," Yancey said Thursday, "then we must reconsider."
The massive project, which went through a years-long public process that bridge proponents remain critical of, is well underway. The bridge, already down to one lane in each direction, begins closing for good on Saturday. First the inbound lane will be shunted to a temporary surface road and, next Saturday, the same thing will happen for the outbound lane.