MEMORANDUM Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.

Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.
May 20, 2011
Steve McLaughlin
Project Manager - Accelerated Bridge Program
Andrea D’Amato
Project Manager
Nathaniel Curtis
Public Involvement Specialist
RE: First Public Information Meeting1
Meeting Notes of May 18, 20112
Overview & Executive Summary
On May 18, 2011 the MassDOT team for the Casey Overpass Replacement Project Planning Study held the second of
five public information meetings associated with the six month planning study. These public information meetings have
been and will continue to alternate with the meetings of the Working Advisory Group (WAG). The next WAG meeting is
scheduled for June 2nd, 2011 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the library of the Boston English High School. While WAG
meetings are open to the public, they constitute working sessions of the WAG and as such, committee business is given
precedence. The following WAG session, June 14th, and public information meeting, June 29th will also be held at the
High School.
During the meeting, members of the working group helped to outline the high level goals of the design process. These
goals represent approximately two meeting’s worth of work by WAG members. These include:
o Improve roadway geometry to balance circulation for all modes and all users.
o Improve access and modal and intermodal connections locally and regionally to promote existing transportation choices. o Integrate sustainability into design concepts.
o Remove barriers for neighborhood and park connections and integrate transit into economic centers and
residential areas.
o Create a destination and sense of place and celebrate the area’s architectural, transportation and open space
o Improve the visibility, connectivity and access to gateway open spaces.
A major next step for the project team is to take the objectives also developed by the WAG members, pair them with the
appropriate goal, a task begun by the committee, and then assign measurable data points to each objective. These
objectives will ultimately be used to help select the recommended alternative.
Detailed information on 2035 no-build traffic conditions was also presented by the project team. While a true no-build
option is impossible in this case given the condition of the Casey Overpass, it forms a major part of the comparative
Meeting attendance is listed in Appendix 1. Comments received from the public immediately prior to, at, and after the meeting are listed in Appendix 2.
This meeting was advertised in the Boston Globe, Baystate (Boston) Banner, Roslindale/West Roxbury Transcript, the Jamaica Plain Gazette, and the Dorchester/Mattapan Reporter.
38 Chauncy Street, 9th Floor  Boston, Massachusetts 02111  617.482.7080
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basis for looking at potential replacement options. 2035 traffic projections have been prepared by the project team
with assistance from CTPS and the BRA. Assuming no changes, the area around the Overpass would see:
o A 5% increase of regional traffic across the Casey Overpass.
o A 14% increase over local roads.
o A 13% increase in bicycle and pedestrian trips.
o A 10% increase in transit trips.
The discussion held after the presentation component of the meeting was generally positive with several audience
members complementing the WAG members for their hard work and agreeing with the goals developed by the
committee. Comments made by audience members suggest that at present, community opinion is evenly divided
between individuals in favor of an at-grade solution and those who feel that a new bridge is a must to avoid traffic
Presentation & Discussion
John Romano the project’s municipal liaison opened the meeting by welcoming the audience and requesting that they
sign in had they not already done so. He explained that the presentation summarized herein and the meeting minutes
would be made available through the project website.3 John also took time to praise the members of the WAG for their
hard work on the project noting that members of the WAG would be presenting some of their work during the evening’s
PowerPoint. Audience members were reminded that meeting agendas including his contact information and mail-in
comment sheets were available at the sign-in table. John then paused to recognize Representatives Liz Malia and
Russell Holmes, Kate Chang from Congressman Capuano’s Office, Julianne Doherty from Mayor Menino’s Office,
Tom McDonough from City Councilor Stephen Murphy’s Office, Heather Perez from Councilor Felix Arroyo’s Office
and Valerie Frias from Councilor Matt O’Malley’s Office. Also recognized were John Read and John Dalzell of the
Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Pat Hoey of the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), and Joe Orfant of the
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
Following his opening remarks, John turned the meeting over to MassDOT Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) Project
Manager Paul King who briefed the audience on the current status of the project with a short PowerPoint presentation.
Assisting Paul with the presentation were Andrea D’Amato, Dennis Baker, and Don Kindsvatter (all of HNTB), Maureen
Chlebek (McMahon Associates), John Dalzell (BRA) and WAG members: David Hannon, Kevin Moloney, Jeff Ferris,
Kevin Wolfson, Michael Reiskind, and Elizabeth Wylie.
Highlights of the Presentation4
o The Casey Overpass, while safe as repaired and frequently inspected by MassDOT, has reached a point of
obsolescence and must be demolished. The current six-month planning study represents a historic opportunity
to replace the bridge with a solution, either a bridge, at-grade, or combination of the two that respects and
serves the neighborhood and region.
o The planning study seeks to integrate mobility and livability, tighten the connection of the Emerald Necklace
through Forest Hills, and improve the quality of life for area residents. MassDOT is committed to doing so with
the community’s input.
o The planning study is on track to be completed by the fall of 2011. With a recommended alternative that
enjoys a reasonable consensus from the community in hand, MassDOT will begin the design process which will
run until mid-2013. This will allow roughly three years for construction since the project must be completed by
June, 2016 to be funded through the ABP.
A copy of this presentation can be seen at:
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o To ensure that the project moves forward smoothly and effectively, MassDOT has engaged:
o The MBTA which operates the Orange Line and many bus routes in and around the Forest Hills
o DCR which owns the Arborway.
o The City of Boston, particularly BTD and the BRA.
o The Jamaica Plain community as represented by the WAG.5
o The consultant team headed by HNTB.
o The project has now reached its second public meeting, having had its first in April. Two further meetings are
scheduled for the summer: June 29th and August 3rd. Assuming continued smooth progress, the project team
will be able to present a recommended alternative to the community at a meeting in September or October
after which the project will move into the design phase.
o Since the April 6th public meeting the WAG has met twice to work on design principles, goals and objectives
for the project. Developing these is significant because it allows a common platform from which the WAG can
begin to evaluate solutions for the replacement of the Overpass.
o The guiding principles have been drawn up using five major sources:
o The ideas expressed in the recent previous studies and plans for the Forest Hills area such as the
Forest Hills Improvement Initiative of 2008.
o USDOT sustainability and livability goals.
o MassDOT’s GreenDOT goals.
o The City of Boston’s Complete Streets program.
o Input from the WAG itself.
o The sources noted above have contributed to the following guiding principles:
o Address the structurally deficient Casey Overpass.
o Protect and respect the design for the Arborway Yards.
o Improve safety for all users.
o Develop alternatives that meet the ABP budget and schedule.
o Adopt the principles of universal design – accessible and barrier-free.
o Strive for an inclusive process that fosters the sharing of information.
o Improve the quality of life for all residents
o Integrate artistic elements into the design.
The guiding principles are of major significance since they will form the initial screen for any proposed
alternative for replacing the Casey Overpass. If any alternative fails on any one of these criteria, it will be
dismissed without further study.
o Informed by the project’s guiding principles, the WAG has developed goals for the project. The goals were
presented by WAG members who assisted in their creation. Each goal is presented with the WAG member’s
o Improve roadway geometry to balance circulation for all modes and all users - presented by David
Hannon. Welcome, I’m WAG member David Hannon. I represent the Asticou Road/Martinwood
neighborhood and tonight I’ll speak to you about improving roadway geometry to balance circulation
for all modes and users. This goal covers all the modes: bikes, cars, pedestrians, buses, taxis, trains
and the connections between them. We really have two objectives: minimizing the local street impacts
of cut-through traffic during construction. We can measure this by noting the changes in forecast
traffic volumes from the CTPS model. We want safe pedestrian conditions. We’ve noted a number of
conflict points, places where we want to improve the desire lines. We also want to make the signal
timing friendly to pedestrians so they’re not tempted to duck out into traffic against the light because
they’ve been waiting so long. The source of measurable criteria will be the design plans. We want to
The WAG was again commended for its hard work and dedication at this point.
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provide optimal levels of service for all modes, reducing congestion and delays. We want to improve
transit circulation around the Forest Hills Station; we all understand the need for good transit. We’re
trying to create clear paths for all modes corresponding to desire lines that we’ve identified on maps
of the project. If you look on the boards out in the hallway, you’ll see the results of that effort. We
want to provide safe and convenient pedestrian crossings and enhance the local street network. We
will also seek to improve bicycle and handicapped access; all modes are important to us. We want to
devise a plan wherein all the modes can live and work together. We want to make sure the MBTA has
room to work and grow its service.
Improve access and modal and intermodal connections locally and regionally to promote existing
transportation choices - presented by Kevin Moloney. One of the things you get used to on the WAG
is working and beginning to understand the lingo of the trade. The group I was involved in was about
improving access and connections. What that really means to me it seems is about the old warning
and notice to physicians: first – do no harm. This project is very important, but it should do no harm.
Specifically, in connection with this goal we have some objectives which do not harm. At Forest Hills
Station, the passenger count for the route 39 bus is 4,400 per day and for the Orange Line it’s
13,500. We have three loading points at the station and it seems to the WAG that those three points
should be at least maintained and if possible improved particularly with regard to improving the
connection to the planned Arborway Yards development. We want to improve pick-up and drop-off
and we’ll measure that by the number of access points we have today versus access points in any
possible future design. Let me add one other thing: I think many of us in the room have been involved
with other groups like the WAG in the past and often times, it’s a group of citizens getting together
getting the message that it’s their job to report back what the agency wants to hear. I’m cautiously
optimistic that this is different. I say that because the DOT folks running this are at the top of their
game. The consultants are well-prepared and good at explaining things to us clearly. There is also a
mantra that there’s no preconceived solution and there isn’t.
Integrate sustainability into design concepts - presented by Jeff Ferris. I represent the Southwest
Corridor PMAC on the WAG and we’re always looking for new bodies to help us make that a great
park. Now that we’re into the 21st century and starting to think of ways to stay here for the long-term
we have some goals: increase the tree canopy, reduce the amount of pavement and the
corresponding heat island effect, manage storm water to recharge the soil, use local plants and
materials, make use of pervious pavements, reduce the amount of energy used, possibly through
generating some power on site. We also want to minimize future maintenance costs, develop designs
that minimize noise heard at local residences and other sensitive receptors and improve air quality.
We will measure these things in part by counting trees and monitoring air quality.6
Remove barriers for neighborhood and park connections and integrate transit into economic centers
and residential areas – presented by Kevin Wolfson. I represent Livable Streets and one of our goals
is to remove barriers. That’s referring to the fact that much of the area around the Casey Overpass is
now composed of barriers. For pedestrians, there are wide streets and a lack of sidewalks and
crossings. For motorists there are the confusing intersections, the overflowing taxi stand near the
upper bus-way, and the congestion itself. Cyclists face a lack of amenities in general. A goal for this
project is to get rid of those barriers by integrating transit so that the modes aren’t in each other’s way.
It’s especially important given the planned developments for the area like the Arborway Yard.
Create a destination and sense of place and celebrate the area’s architectural, transportation and
open space history – presented by Michael Reiskind. I represent the Jamaica Plain Business and
Professional Association. Our goal is one that many people in the neighborhood want, but it’s a
surprise to see the engineers and planners putting this in as well. Over time, Forest Hills has become
a place you go through and not to. The people in the area sense that there’s no “there” any more.
To a large extent, this is because there’s a lack of streetscape and buildings. Along the Arborway
The field of measuring sustainability has grown significantly in the past several years. The project team is excited about
the prospect of developing measures for sustainability.
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Yard, there are no building sides and it makes people feel uncomfortable walking or driving. When
the Casey Overpass is removed, we want to create a sense of place. This is a big goal: celebrating
the area’s transportation history. It’s been a subway stop since 1912, a trolley car stop before that
and a horse car stop before that. This area has always been that way. From an architectural history
standpoint, the West Roxbury courthouse is a beautiful building. We have two churches and we have
the MBTA station which is an O.K. building and yet nobody really appreciates it. We should celebrate
our world class open spaces: the Arnold Arboretum, Franklin Park and its zoo, Forest Hills Cemetery,
the Boston Nature Center and the Southwest Corridor Park which was intended to be another Emerald
Necklace. People don’t get a sense of these wonderful open spaces. We’ve come up with seventeen
objectives that might help us achieve this goal and here are a few: the hardest ones are things like
restoring significance and making the space memorable, that’s hard to measure, but we’ll try.
Perhaps create areas for art, community spaces for 4th of July celebrations, creating space for activities
under a potential bridge and restoring lost landscape elements. We’d like to provide interpretive
signage, improves site lines and maximizing the reuse of land along the corridor. The sidewalks and
streetscapes should have more of a sense of place. We should develop roadways and sidewalks that
are in keeping with the community and the shallow Stony Brook Valley which is the connector for all
these wonderful parks.
Improve the visibility, connectivity and access to gateway open spaces. – presented by Elizabeth Wylie.
I live on Asticou Road. How many of you know about the Asticou bottleneck?7 I’m happy to be on
the WAG and providing input to this process. We think a good design can fix many of our problems.
This is an iterative process with some overlap, but the key word is connectivity: connections between
the green spaces. Going to Franklin Park or Forest Hills Cemetery is an unpleasant pedestrian
experience for me. If you live in Hampstead going to the Arboretum means a sprint across 203. We
want to improve access, enhance the prominence of nationally registered historic parks here, provide
coordinated signage and ensure people know where to go. I think we all need to push, I’ve been
speaking out for it, for world class design and not flake out at the last minute. We want to use artwork
to help reestablish the Emerald Necklace connection.
o WAG members also came up with an array of objectives related to the goals reported above. The project
team will next work to ensure that these objectives are not duplicative and tied to the right goal. A data point
or points to measure the success of each objective will also be assigned. This will be discussed at the next
WAG meeting. Once the objective have been refined, they will be used to help evaluate the design elements
developed by the WAG members to help in creating the recommended alternative.
o The recommended alternative represents the final goal or “bull’s eye” of the current planning study. As of
May, the project team and WAG is at the outside of the target working on design context. The WAG’s next
task will be to look at the design elements that make up the Casey Overpass corridor. The elements will then
be assembled into alternatives that address the whole corridor. These whole-corridor alternatives will then be
subjected to the design criteria to see if any immediately float to the top.
o Framing the design context are three book-end concepts. None of these bookends is expected to be the
recommended alternative, but they do represent starting points. They are:
o Replacement of the Casey Overpass with a new bridge.
o An at-grade solution which maximizes green space.
o An at-grade solution which maximizes vehicle capacity.
o A new bridge:
o There is a wide range of options for a new bridge since the old Casey Overpass will be removed
entirely, however there are also several important questions including: how many lanes should a new
bridge have? Does it need sidewalks? Where in the corridor should it be? A new bridge could be
10-12 feet lower than today’s Casey Overpass, should it be?
Many hands in the audience were raised.
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o The current Casey Overpass is 80 feet wide from edge to edge, but traffic studies and current traffic
conditions suggest that a new bridge wouldn’t need to be four lanes wide. One possible option would
be to create a new bridge with one lane in each direction and a 12-foot multi-use pathway on one
o The new bridge could be shorter in length. While it would begin at the current west abutment due to
geography, it could touch down much closer to Washington Street than the Casey Overpass does.
o These early thoughts are offered not as what should be done, but to show what could be done and to
help bound the problem.
o If a new bridge is built at-grade improvements will also be part of the solution.
o An at-grade solution maximizing green space:
o The Casey Overpass corridor is 200 feet wide. Assuming a two-lane roadway with turning pockets at
the intersections, a significant amount of green space with room for bicycle and walking paths would
be available.
o This option would take use Olmstead’s 1892 plan as its inspiration. Olmstead’s plan for the area
included a central roadway bounded by side streets with bridle and walking paths separated by lines
of trees.
o An at-grade solution maximizing roadway capacity
o This option emphasizes roadway capacity and includes multiple lanes at grade with double turning
pockets at the intersections.
o This option does little for bicyclists and pedestrians since crossing distances are quite long.
o Whatever option is ultimately chosen, it will have to cope with a number of design challenges:
o Existing parking underneath the overpass. Where should it go? Should it be completely replicated or
could somewhat less parking be acceptable?
o The route 39 bus loop: does it need to remain where it is today or could it be moved?
o The area has a number of grades which will need to be addressed if site lines are to be improved.
o Shea Circle is unpleasant for all modes except motor vehicles. A number of previous studies looked
at making this rotary into a roundabout or four-way, signalized intersection. However, these studies
assumed the Casey Overpass. Without it, there is an opportunity to greatly improve this intersection.
o Just north of Forest Hills Station is a platform exit stairway, ventilation stack and starter’s booth for
route 39. The project team will work with the MBTA to see if these items can be moved.
o Beginning in June, the WAG will begin tackling these challenges as the initial step in developing
corridor-wide alternatives.8
o With regard to traffic, the project team has developed the 2035 no-build volumes for all of the intersections in
the study area. 2035 is being used as the benchmark year because the replacement of the Casey Overpass is
expected to last far into the future. While a true no-build case is impossible due to the deterioration of the
Overpass, it remains an important exercise as it provides a benchmark against which potential future options
can be measured.
o The 2035 volumes are the result of a two-step process that combines the growth projected by CTPS in its
regional model with projected local trips. The CTPS regional model is based on supply, the fiscally constrained
program for all infrastructure improvements expected to be built by 2035, and demand based on projected job
and population growth for the same time period.9 Local trips for 2035 were modeled by converting planned
development in the area immediately around the Casey Overpass into vehicle, non-motorized, and transit trips.
o Projected local development for 2035 is based on:
o Eight major parcels, many of which were included in the 2008 Forest Hills Improvement Initiative.
Here, John Romano briefly paused the presentation to acknowledge City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Felix Arroyo.
A five page handout explaining the regional model was made available at the meeting. It can be downloaded from:
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o The BRA has revised the projections from that study based on parcels W and V which have slightly
changed building programs and other recent updates.
o Taking these assumptions produces:  310-390 new housing units.  132,000-165,000 square feet of new retail/service space.  332,000-416,000 square feet of new office/commercial space. o By using the combination of the regional model’s projected trips and those generated by the expected local
development it, the project team has determined that the 2035 no-build would include:
o A 5% increase of regional traffic across the Casey Overpass.
o A 14% increase over local roads.
o A 13% increase in bicycle and pedestrian trips.
o A 10% increase in transit trips.
o It is worth noting that these increases are for the theoretical no-build case only. Depending on what
ultimately emerges as the recommended alternative, these numbers could be different.
o The project team’s traffic engineers have developed a 2035 no-build Level of Service (LOS) analysis, however,
the area around the overpass has problems which go beyond LOS, particularly long vehicle queues which
back up far enough to impact other intersections.10 There are also mid-block conflicts from taxi stands,
particularly when taxis double park.
o Next steps for traffic modeling include:
o Additional evaluations of no-build traffic operations.
o Basic traffic analysis of options developed by the WAG.
o Detailed traffic analysis of 3-4 top options prior to selection of the recommended alternative.
o In its upcoming June meetings, the WAG will begin tackling the problem areas that it identified in its May 4
o Shea Circle which is difficult for pedestrians and a poor gateway for Forest Hills.
o New Washington Street just north of the route 39 bus loop which presents a range of opportunities
and challenges.
o The area around Asticou Road.
o The WAG has also developed a set of priority connections and points of interest which it will begin working
into design elements that will eventually be integrated into corridor-wide options. Members have identified
bicycle, pedestrian, transit and automotive connections as well as sight lines.
o By the next public meeting, the WAG and project team will be able to share some early concepts for a
corridor-wide solution and final objectives with which to evaluate them.
Question & Answer Session
John Romano began the question and answer session by reminding members of the audience to seek out their WAG
member as their representatives to the working group. Prior to opening the floor for questions, local officials were
offered an opportunity to speak first.
Q: Ralph Walton (RW): I have a question for the BRA fellow because he only showed developments in the rail corridor.
Is the state hospital close enough to have an impact? The MBTA is still adjusting the 21 and 31 bus routes and the
schools are still adjusting their buses as well.
A: John Dalzell (JD): That question isn’t really for us. We can share information with you about Olmstead Green,
Harvard Gardens, the biolab and the Nature Center, but that’s a bit far out of the way for this.
These queues were documented in WAG member photographs taken during their initial homework assignment.
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Q: RW: Are there any other large developments out there?
A: JD: No, there’s just the eight we showed you on the slide.
Q: Ron Ingram (RI): I was very pleased with John’s presentation. I had been wondering about how this would work
with the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative. That study suggested a sort of rotary around the station and it does
seem to be good to think about the traffic circulation around there. A lot of people tonight mentioned big dreams.
When we talk about all those other related projects, this funding that’s available is for a bridge project. How do
things like Shea Circle or taxi stands get into the funding pool? What is the funding source willing to buy in terms
of related projects?
A: Steve McLaughlin (SM): I’m with the ABP and this project will be funded through that program. We know that to
just replace the existing structure in-kind would be $70 million. If we wind up doing a solution which is entirely atgrade, that would cost $28 million. Doing something in the middle, perhaps with a smaller bridge, would cost you
somewhere between those bookends. Funding is available through the ABP. We don’t have a blank ticket, but
we’re working with you to find a solution and then we’ll go forward regarding cost. We don’t know what our best
option is right now. Fixing Shea Circle could just be a matter of roadway paint; paint is cheap. Moving the taxi
stand is expensive not because of construction costs, but it can be a long process.
Q: RI: So removing Shea Circle is just part of a visionary design, it wouldn’t be part of the project? What if we want to
do away with the circle and have a signalized four-way intersection?
A: SM: I won’t commit to Shea Circle tonight because I don’t know what our recommended alternative is, but it is
within the limits of work. You have to go through that circle to get to Washington Street or further west on 203 so
our improvements might need to begin there.
Q: David Sawyer (DS): With respect to a new bridge that’s 2/3 the width of the current one would there be space up
there for bikes and pedestrians?
A: Dennis Baker (DB): We need to answer what we want on a new bridge. A new bridge could be much narrower
that’s true. We will need to keep working with the WAG to figure it out.
A: Andrea D’Amato (AD): The at-grade conditions are going to inform the bridge if there is one. Right now the atgrade streets all assume that there is a bridge. We understand that accommodating pedestrians and cyclists is
critical. So, if we can improve things dramatically for cyclists and pedestrians at-grade, do we still need to serve
them on the bridge? That’s a question we still need to answer.
Q: Arthur Grace (AG): Thank you for all the detail. There’s a lot to think about. I’d appreciate hearing more
specifically about how the wider community can be involved and contribute their input. I’ve heard lots about the
consultants and the WAG, but I want to make sure this is a two-way street. Kind of a subtle point about safety, if
you go too far in terms of safety you will wind up completely separating pedestrians, cyclists, and cars. Many
studies show that it’s safer when you mix them. Lastly, could we rename some of these streets?
A: John Romano (JR): I’m going to take your last one first: I don’t know if we’re going to rename streets, but it’s a
good point. I’m not from Jamaica Plain and all these Washington Streets confuse me too. In terms of participation
we have 37 WAG members. Please find the one that represents your neighborhood and give them your feedback.
We also have these community meetings for you. You just participated by asking me your question. We also
provide comment forms, a detailed project website, and you can always email me or the project manager whose
email address appears on the agenda you received tonight and the project website. The open houses before
meetings also give you an opportunity to speak with the consultants and DOT staff. Those are the tools we use to
collect your thoughts and answer your questions.
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C: Deacon Marvel (DM): Thank you for all your effort. I understand this is a process and it’s great to see alternatives.
I’ve always questioned the purpose of the Casey Overpass. It’s not needed any more at this time and we might be
better off without it. We do need to see the impacts, but as community member who uses the Arboretum and
Franklin Park, I want to suppose this process, but make it clear that I am supportive of removing the overpass.
C: Gail Sullivan (GS): Great job, but I didn’t hear about the Southwest Corridor Park. We have the large green
spaces, but this is end or beginning of the Southwest Corridor Park and it’s a postage stamp that dies in a
sidewalk. Please make sure, because it’s a critical part of making the links, that the terminus of the Corridor Park is
improved. It needs some generosity.
A: AD: That’s an area brought up repeatedly by the WAG. They mentioned it in their priority areas. We know that’s a
spot we need to address.
C: Tom Doherty (TD): I’m the co-chair of the police advisory group for Area E. I want to thank John and Paul and our
City Councilors. We’ve just been added to the WAG to represent West Roxbury. Forest Hills is an integral part of
our lives for travel and commerce and it impacts us directly. When the bridge closed recently, traffic backed up
beyond Route 109 and it took me nearly one hour to go from the rotary at Holy Name to the Poor Claire’s rotary.
We’d love to hear more about the construction period. One thing I didn’t hear about, and it’s a place of
significant concern for me, if the Faulkner Hospital. That hospital is becoming a world class facility and I hope
someone will address its expansion. I think the WAG has done a great job; I’m glad we’ve been added.
A: JR: Thank you for that Tom; Captain Hassen attended our last meeting and provided us with some similar
C: Don Eunson (DE): I want to share some thinking with you that I’ve shared with the WAG. WalkBoston feels like we
have an opportunity to remove this physical and visual barrier with this project and to turn this into a vibrant urban
neighborhood. When we talk in the WAG about improving access for local and regional corridor connections, I
said “wait a minute; you have to prioritize who you improve access for.” I believe it should be for people who are
local and trying to access the parks or local business. The regional aspect should come second.
C: Anne McKinnon (AM): The legal notice in the newspaper mentioned that there would be someone here to discuss
right-of-way acquisition. I was very surprised because I thought this project didn’t need to acquire right-of-way.
Did I miss something?
A: SM: That would have been in the legal notice; it’s standard MassDOT boiler plate. We don’t anticipate any rightof-way impacts on this project.
C: AM: I would suggest then that you scour your legal notices and remove that language; it could really upset
somebody. When you talked about goals you mentioned that you wanted to reduce congestion and delays. Will
that be a principle? In the conceptual idea screening, what criteria will form that initial screen?
A: AD: The guiding principles are the initial screen. If a design comes up and it fails on any one of those, we will
dismiss it. It’s a quick screen. The objectives will be much more refined; those will be used on the actual
C: AM: The artistic elements could be in any alternative that you select.
A: AD: That’s right; that’s why we boosted it up to the level of a guiding principle.
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C: Donna Suttlemeyer (DS): I wanted to say that I’ve lived in Jamaica Plain for fifteen years and walk, bicycle and use
transit. I also drive. It’s really exciting to see what could be coming together for this area and for Forest Hills in
terms of economic development and improved traffic. It will be great to see some drawings. Having said all that I
can’t imagine there not being a bridge. I did want to say that I live right near Shea Circle and in the summer when
my windows are open I can hear people have accidents. I think it’s because there’s nothing on 203 to alert you
that a rotary is coming up and site distance is bad so people don’t see the rotary until they are in it. Also, just
because we’re in the rainy season now, let’s not forget the winter we just had. Whatever we build, it has to be able
to get through a hard winter.
C: Kevin Handley (KH): I live on the Arborway and I didn’t hear a principle referring directly to the Emerald Necklace
Master Plan or anything about broader impacts on the Emerald Necklace.
A: AD: That’s fundamental. Like the Southwest Corridor it was called out as an objective.
Q: Jeff Ferris (JF): I want to follow up on David’s question: I assume the bridge will carry cars. Are you required to
accommodate bicycles and pedestrians? Might it just be bikes and cars?
A: DB: There’s no code requirement that we accommodate pedestrians. There are some bridges where we try to
prohibit them. Whether they are or are not accommodated has to do with bridge usage and what MassDOT
wants. That’s part of what the WAG is here to help us figure out.
Q: JF: So it could be bikes and cars, but no pedestrians?
A: DB: That could happen, but it would be pretty unusual.
Q: JF: But a bike lane isn’t a pedestrian element.
A: DB: Often times on bridges we accommodate cyclists in the shoulder.
Q: JF: Could a pedestrian bridge be required to accommodate bicycles?
A: DB: No, probably not.
A: Paul King (PK): Don’t forget this will happen in concert with the surface network. If we can accommodate the
pedestrians and cyclists really well at grade, do we need to replicate that up on the bridge. There’s no law that
requires that we install sidewalks on the bridge or accommodate bicycles, but we are going to need some space for
a breakdown lane and for someone to walk off the bridge if their vehicle is stranded.
Q: Rick Fines (FR): What will happen to real estate values during construction?
A: PK: That’s a pretty isolated snapshot just to look at real estate values over a 2-3 year period. None of us will tell
you life is going to be beautiful during construction, but we will work as John Romano did during the Big Dig in the
North End, to keep your businesses open and maintain access to the station. Once we know what we’re going to
build addressing those issues is our next step.
C: JR: All right everyone, that’s it for tonight. Thank you for coming and remember to sign in.
Next Steps
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The next major public involvement milestone in the process will be the fourth WAG meeting on June 2nd, from 6:008:00 p.m. at the Boston English High School. This meeting will be held in the school’s library where space is somewhat
limited. Members of the community are encouraged to contact their WAG member with their questions and concerns.
The June 14th WAG meeting and June 29th public meeting will also be held at the High School. July WAG meetings
will move back to the State Laboratory on South Street.
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Appendix 1: Attendees11
First Name
Last Name
City Councilor
McMahon Associates
Office of Mayor Menino
Office of Councilor Matt O’Malley
State Representative
State Representative
Office of Councilor Stephen Murphy
McMahon Associates
Illegible entries appear in scanned copies of the sign-in sheets
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City Councilor
Office Councilor Felix Arroyo
Boston Bulletin
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Appendix 2: Comments Received
See following page
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