Longtime Jamaica Plain resident Andrew Haines contacted the Arnold Arboretum to see if they had an art exhibition planned to capture the changing Forest Hills area. They liked the idea so much they invited Haines to create his own exhibit. "The Evolution of an Urban Landscape: Recent Paintings of Forest Hills" documents the development of the new park and Forest Hills station, said Haines to Jamaica Plain News. "When it was decided to take down the Casey Overpass, I thought this would be the first time in 60 years that Olmsted's plan would again connect through green spaces of the Emerald Necklace all the way to Franklin Park," said Haines. "The plan was to document as best I could, the development of the new park spaces and Forest Hills station.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Forest Hills construction project is a complete and utter debacle. A pedestrian approaching the MBTA station from central JP is greeted by foot-tall grass, months-old litter strewn everywhere, hedges that have not been trimmed since at least last year and a complete appearance of property neglect. The pedestrian corridors are poorly delineated, lack signage, and have no protection from impatient cars and buses. The time allowed on the traffic light to cross from South Street to the MBTA station is not nearly enough for a healthy, young adult much less for the elderly, the disabled or someone with children. Crossing to the Forest Hills subway stop from almost all directions is truly dangerous.
Tree by tree, sections of the Casey Arborway are being replanted. On Tuesday, resident Clay Harper noticed 21 plane trees being planted along the western section of the massive project. The plantings come two years after clearcutting of hundreds of trees around Forest Hills Station. By the time the road realignment project is completely done - current estimates put that at Spring 2018 - MassDOT says the area will have 400 more trees than when the project began. We've been following the Casey Arborway project's ups and down for years.
Forest Hills Station will be taken back down to one track starting March 25 as part of the Casey Arborway project. The plan is the same as from when the T shut down one track from September through December. This time, instead of installing a jet fan needed for the new station entrance north of New Washington Street, the closure will make it easier to do electric work and build "underground elements" required by the massive project, MassDOT said in an advisory issued Wednesday. During the last stretch of one-track operation, the T said its plan for rush hour would not cause added delays. The September-December closure allowed the following work on the Casey Arborway project to be done:
Jamaica Plain's "Little Dig" -- AKA the Casey Aborway -- is scheduled to pass a key benchmark this week. Shea Circle, the part of the Arborway where Franklin Park meets the main entrance to Forest Hills Cemetery, will take a giant step toward becoming Shea Square. The stop lights in the new configuration are to be turned on for the first time on Thursday. Transportation planners say a signalized intersection will be more efficient than the large circle it is replacing. Here's what the finished product should look like:
Here are the details on which traffic movements will be affected the next two weeks, as outlined by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation:
On or about December 15th the traffic signal will control Shea Square for the first time.