MEMORANDUM Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.

Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.
May 12, 2011
Steve McLaughlin
Project Manager - Accelerated Bridge Program
Andrea D’Amato
Project Manager
Nathaniel Curtis
Public Involvement Specialist
Second Working Advisory Group (WAG) Meeting
Meeting Notes of May 4, 2011
Overview & Executive Summary
On May 4, 2011, the Working Advisory Group (WAG) met to continue its role in the Casey Overpass
Replacement Project Planning Study. This meeting is the second of two following on the heels of the
initial public meeting held on April 6, 2011. This alternating schedule of WAG and publc meetings
serves to both brief the community and gather its questions and comments to inform the work of the
WAG. The purpose of the WAG is to work through the many details associated with this project in a
compressed timeframe that will allow the current Casey Overpass to be replaced with either an atgrade solution or a new viaduct by the closing of the Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) by 2016.
The meeting described herein, which was attended by a number of community members,1 had
several parts: a detailed discussion of current and 2035 traffic operations, conversation about the
goals and objectives as refined by the WAG at its April meeting, a small group exercise, and a review
of the materials to be presented to the community on May 18th. Key themes of the discussion included
the following:
• With regard to the 2035 traffic projections, WAG members expressed that they were confident
in the process by which the forecasts were developed, but also noted concern about the
Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) projections for future development in the area around
the Casey Overpass. WAG members also expressed a strong desire to ensure that amenities for
bicycles are provided while meeting the projected 2035 traffic needs.
• During the discussion of goals and objectives, the WAG expressed general agreement with the
broad goals as refined and the new guiding principles. This conversation triggered a discussion
about whether a solution to replace the Casey Overpass should be designed to favor local
traffic or regional traffic. Some committee members came out strongly in favor of the local
side, but Area E Captain James Hassen cautioned that experimental closures of the overpass
have had far-reaching regional congestion impacts.
While community members are always welcome to attend sessions of the WAG, because these meetings are intended to
allow the WAG to conduct its work, committee business will take precedence. A series of community meetings has been
scheduled to ensure strong input from residents and other local stakeholders.
38 Chauncy Street, 9th Floor „ Boston, Massachusetts 02111 „ 617.482.7080
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The small group exercises identified that many WAG members feel that the same three areas in
the project zone are of concern: the intersection of Asitcou Road and South Street, the
roadways and intersections directly around the Forest Hills Station and Shea Circle. With regard
to a potential future at-grade solution, the chief concern is that increased ground level traffic
will create a barrier difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to cross and push additional cutthrough traffic to the neighborhoods.
In terms of presenting to the community on May 18th, WAG members requested that the focus
be more on the goals and objectives, concepts for the replacement of the Casey Overpass,
and the results of the traffic modeling as opposed to the mechanics of building the model.
Detailed Discussion of Traffic
C: John Romano (JR): I want to begin by welcoming Nika Elugardo from Senator Chang-Diaz’s office,
Robert Torres from Representative Malia’s office and Captain Hassen who is in charge of Boston
Police Area E. Also here is Nora Baston, the Area E zone commander. I’d also like to acknowledge
Tad Read from the BRA and Vineet Gupta from BTD, City Councilor Matt O’Malley and
Representative Russell Holmes. I want to thank all of you for being here with us. You’ll notice this
group has grown a bit and we are now including folks from some of the neighboring communities:
West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Mattapan. Thank you for bearing with us in these tight quarters.
Tonight we have a full agenda to help get all of us prepared for our next scheduled public
meeting on May 18th. Our project team will meet next Monday to map out the next few WAG and
community meetings after that and we will then make sure we share those dates with you. I see
we have some members of the community in the audience and I want to remind you that with the
exception of our police representatives who should feel free to speak any time, this is a WAG
meeting and we’re taking WAG comments first. We’ll open it up to the public at the end if we
have time.
C: Andrea D’Amato (AD): All of the materials you’re about to see will be posted to the website for
your future review. I want to take a moment to remind you that our commitment to you as
members of the project team remains strong and that we want and need your participation. We
have a lot to cover tonight. As promised, we’re going to spend some time talking about traffic.
The existing conditions are on the website and tonight we’ll be spending about 45 minutes on
future no-build conditions. We will ask that you listen to the presentation about traffic in its entirety
before asking questions. We will then discuss the goals and objectives you helped us create.
Please note that we’ll need six WAG volunteers to help present these at the next public meeting.
We will then have break-out groups to discuss concerns and opportunities and conclude with a
brief discussion of what we’ll be showing at the public meeting. Without any further delay, here is
some information about traffic.
At this point, Andrea turned the meeting over to Gary McNaughton and Maureen Chlebek (both of
McMahon Associates) and Scott Peterson (Central Transportation Planning Staff or CTPS) who briefed
the WAG on no-build traffic conditions with a short PowerPoint presentation.2 Highlights of this
presentation included the following:
The traffic study used to provide the project team with information covered 16 intersections
around the Casey Overpass ranging from Walk Hill Street to the south and Shea Circle to the
east. Data collection was performed in accordance with BTD standards and included counts
As much of this presentation consisted of charts and pictures, readers may find it helpful to have at hand as they read these
minutes. The presentation can be found at:
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of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. Transit data was also taken as was a license plate study
to help calibrate data supplied by CTPS. This detailed data, which includes turning movements
for bicycles and cars at every intersection, all builds to the summary graphics regarding
volumes on project area roadways that have been shared with the WAG to date.
With the existing conditions developed, the next step is to develop a 2035, no-build model.
While a true no-build solution, leaving the Casey Overpass in place and its surrounding atgrade streets unchanged, is not an option in this case, modeling the no-build condition remains
an important step to determining how well various proposed solutions work.
The 2035 model has been developed based on regional projections from CTPS and discussions
with the BRA about what projects are expected to have been built in the more immediate
area surrounding the overpass.
CTPS is the support staff to the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO, the regional
planning group for programming of federal funds in the Boston region. The MPO estimates
benchmarks based on projects they expect to be in place my 2035 and the population growth
expected in the 101 communities in eastern Massachusetts that fall within their mandate.
Communities served by the MBTA are also worked into the regional model, leading a total of
164 towns in the model.
The basic unit of analysis used by CTPS is the Transportation Analysis Zone or TAZ. These do not
conform to census data, but instead are drawn based on land use, roadway and transit
networks. In the 164 communities covered by CTPS, there are 2,727 individual TAZ’s.
Demographic data is also mapped to each TAZ with input from the Metropolitan Area Planning
Council (MAPC) which deals with land use planning. This data is used by CTPS to determine
how people can be expected to go from TAZ to TAZ by 2035.3
MAPC is the regional land use planning agency for 101 communities extending from Ipswich to
Duxbury. The agency is run by a council composed of representatives of those 101 cities and
towns. The role of MAPC is to develop the socio-economic inputs for use by the MPO and CTPS
within the context of MAPC’s MetroFutures plan which focuses on issues including sustainability,
conserving undeveloped locations and moving developed closer to existing transportation,
jobs and services in order to make getting around easier. The 2035 MetroFutures plan has
recently been completed and will be used in the Casey Overpass planning project. This plan is
built up through a number of steps:
o The baseline projection is known as the regional control total. This is expected growth
between now and 2035 as projected by MassDOT. The regional control total projects
the creation of 140,000 new jobs and population growth of 300,000 people in the next
twenty years.
o The control total is then revised based on surveys conducted with MAPC member cities
and towns regarding the projects in each community’s development pipeline. The City
of Boston supplied MAPC with information about 450 development projects.
o MAPC does not assume all of the reported projects will go forward and a discount rate
is applied based on how speculative projects are and their level of alignment with the
regional plan.
o This information is then mapped to the individual TAZ’s to provide population growth
and employment projections at this level.
Other data elements that go into the model include: land use forecasts, census data, household survey, on-board transit
surveys, traffic Counts, inventories of parking usage and costs, MBTA fare and engineering data, MassDOT Highway
engineering data, transit counts, and pedestrian/bike counts.
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Modeling conducted by CTPS with input from MAPC shows that:
o Boston is expected to add 118,000 people to its population between now and 2035 with
50,000 new jobs created.
o Within the entire area covered by the regional model approximately 203,700 new jobs
will be created
The CTPS regional model4 is based on the fine-grained analysis that begins at the TAZ level. By
working with BTD, the BRA, and the project team, CTPS has developed the 2035 no-build model
and will be able to see how the proposed solutions for replacing the Casey Overpass will
impact the broader region. The regional model is one of the strongest tools available for this
kind of work because it is fiscally constrained including only those transportation projects which
are in the MPO funding pipeline.
Building the 2035 build forecasts for the area around the Casey Overpass includes the following
o Use of the CTPS regional model to replicate existing conditions as seen in the traffic
o Developing the 2035 no-build projections as outlined above.
o Feeding 2035 no-build traffic volumes, for all modes, into the model and changing
elements such as demographics and the roadway network.
o The model in sensitive to the level of the number of lanes in a given stretch of roadway
and signal timings.
Modeling the 2035 traffic conditions also requires adding local data specific to the area
around the Casey Overpass. Based on data obtained from the BRA, trips from 280 new
dwelling units, 130,000 square feet of retail space and 35,000 square feet of office space will be
superimposed on the 2035 regional information. Based on this the project team can project:
o 5% growth in regional traffic across the Casey Overpass.
o 12% growth in local traffic on the local street network.
o 13% growth in walking and cycling trips.
o 10% growth in transit trips.
o The project team has mapped this growth to individual turning movements at the study
area intersections and determined that while each of the intersections in the corridor
operates reasonably well by itself, problems will continue to be experienced by the
corridor as a whole, particularly vehicle queuing, some of which extends between
Next steps for traffic modeling include running the alternatives developed by the WAG through
the regional model. It is expected that this screening process will allow some options to quickly
rise to the top of the list. These options will then be submitted to a higher level of scrutiny
including impacts to regional traffic and local cut-through traffic.
Q: Jeff Ferris (JF): A couple of times you and others have mentioned the no-build alternative; what
does that mean?
A: Gary McNaughton (GM): We want to know what happens if nothing changes: how many cars
come through the area assuming the bridge stays up. It’s a hypothetical no-build in this situation
4 The regional model’s supply side includes major roadways, transit systems, walking and cycling infrastructure including
the conversion of old railroad right-of-ways to cycling paths.
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because the bridge really does have to come down. We do it because it gives us a starting point
to assess the alternatives you’re helping us develop. No-build really isn’t an option here. Call it nochange if that makes you more comfortable.
Q: Allen Ihrer (AI): In thinking about your baseline data I recall a decade ago when we did traffic
counts over the bridge for the Ryder’s Cup and we came up with 35,000 cars per day. Now we’re
looking at one third less and I wonder if the recession has been figured into your projections.
A: GM: We have looked at the recession and we have also heard that 35,000 figure and tried to pin
down where it came from. We have yet to see an actual data source which says 35,000; we have
seen a figure closer to 27,000. We have some hourly volumes which are more aligned to what
we’ve seen in our counts. I think the other thing to keep in mind is that there have been a lot of
changes in the regional network since 2001 which have likely contributed to some of what we’ve
seen around here.
Q: Michael Halle (MH): Can I ask what the queue numbers mean?
A: GM: Those are average queue lengths. The queue is the number of cars waiting to get through the
traffic light. The average car is about 20 feet long. One thing we’ll be analyzing is to see where
the queues from the intersections in the corridor start back up into each other.
C: Michael Halle (MH): For clarification, we’re focusing here on the solution for the build option, but it
seems like this data will address the construction phase too and it seems as though in the early
meetings people spent a lot of time on that because part of the analysis will be figuring out how to
mitigate the construction impacts.
A: Steve McLaughlin (SM): That’s quite correct.
C: Bernard Doherty (BD): In the traffic study area, nobody has addressed the fire lane for Asticou
Road. If you look at the number of vehicles that use that cut-through route to avoid the light it’s
A: GM: We didn’t count that particular intersection, but we have looked at what goes on between
the intersections, but if we need to be aware of that thank you for bringing it to our attention.
C: Bernard Doherty (BD): You mentioned at your last presentation that the numbers represent the
space taken up by cars when they are queued for the light. I didn’t see a queue for South Street
near the Arboretum gate and there is regularly a queue there.
A: GM: We have that information and will add it in.
Q: Elizabeth Wylie (EW): The length of queue; is there a correlation with time, because the time has to
do with the lights? I guess I’m struck by the sophistication of the analysis and lack of sophistication
of the signals.
A: GM: This isn’t an easy corridor to coordinate. It’s not a nice straight route with everyone going the
same direction.
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C: BD: I have some concerns about the 2035 numbers regarding potential development. You
mentioned 280 dwelling units and the Forest Hills Initiative shows 1,200 dwelling units. I’d like to
know why there’s such a large discrepancy.
A: Vineet Gupta (VG): I can speak for the BRA on this one. We sat down with BRA and for each of the
parcels in the area we made some assumptions and based on that we gave a chart to the
consultant team to use as the basis for their numbers.
C: Fred Vetterlein (FV): I have to agree with Bernie. Arborway Yards calls for 160 dwelling units on top
of 30 which are out there already which gets you very close to 280 already.
A: VG: I will go back to the BRA and get an exact list for the next meeting.
C: BD: We just want to make sure the numbers are real.
C: Wendy Williams (WW): There’s a large development that got built past Shea Circle: Harvard
Gardens. It has a potential to have a big impact on Shea Circle.
A: GM: That’s in our projections.
C: WW: There’s also the MBTA parking lot which gets used for pick-up and drop-off and so that will
also need to be accommodated.
A: GM: Pick-up and drop-off traffic is a very real need that we will have to accommodate.
C: Josephine Burr (JB): All of what you have been talking about here is cars, but the outstanding issue
is bicycle and pedestrian access. I’m sure you’ve recognized this, but I’d like to know how your
analyzing that issue.
A: Maureen Chlebek (MC): We’re looking at bicycles and pedestrians both separately and in concert
with vehicles. The sidewalks aren’t jammed with people, but the amenities are lacking and we will
be working to address that deficiency.
Q: JF: Currently you have a model that has a mode split in it and there’s a percentage number for
each mode. How do those numbers change between now and 2035, assuming that the bicycle
and pedestrians are more local?
A: GM: We expect 13% growth for bicycles and pedestrians and 10% growth for transit use. This is
about providing pedestrian and bicycle amenities and easing their connections to other
infrastructure. If we build for bicycles we’ll see more of them. We want to see how we can
increase pedestrian and bicycle activity.
C: JF: I’m hoping the non-motorized share will be bigger; I think 13% is low. More people are riding
their bikes; whether there are amenities or not we’re going to see growth.
A: GM: If we can get more growth, that’s a great thing. Being a little conservative out of the gate is
safer for us as we develop initial ideas.
C: VG: Our goal in terms of mode shift we’d like to see happen is we would like to see more bikes and
pedestrians, but we need to plan for the worst case scenario so we can get the impact of traffic.
We want to be confident that we can accommodate the worst case and it’s a balancing act: we
don’t want to be too optimistic or conservative.
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C: JF: But this doesn’t look like a worst case scenario to me.
A: VG: 12% vehicle growth is high; normally in the city we see 2%.
C: JF: But if you want to get to a 10% bicycle mode split, which I believe is what the city wants, you
need the amenities to attract them.
A: GM: Providing for bicycles and pedestrians won’t be a capacity issue. We can have 16 or 160
bikes going through an intersection and it won’t push our bicycle capacity beyond its capabilities.
There’s a difference between capacity and amenities.
Q: Kevin Wolfson (KW): Does your model account for gas prices in 2035?
A: Scott Peterson (SP): Automobile operating costs are a variable in the model along with transit costs.
We use them to determine when people will chose transit or their car and for trips of what length.
We also assume that by 2035 there will be many more hybrids and electric vehicles.
C: Liz O’Connor (LO): I want to add to what Jeff is saying that if we build to the worst case for cars, it
will ensure that we don’t build enough capacity for bikes. I understand worst case scenario, but
the more build for cars, the more cars we get.
A: GM: I think as we move along through the process you will see that we have amenities for bikes;
we’re not forgetting them.
A: AD: We know bikes and pedestrians are an integral part of all this. We just need to have the
extreme numbers to make sure we don’t wind up at them by accident. We want framing
boundaries; that’s part of the design process.
Q: KW: I guess my question would be about designing to the peak hour. At 9:00 a.m. this area very
quickly goes from lots of traffic to no traffic and residents are left with a lot of unpleasant, empty
asphalt. It seems like a risk to livability when you design to the peak hour.
A: GM: Generally, we do design to the peak hour, but we’re not designing to have the peak hour
operate at LOS B or C. We’re balancing that with the 11 hour counts we took and we’ll look at
how long a period we would expect to see congestion to make sure it’s tolerable.
Q: KW: What about building intersections to 80% of the peak hour?
A: VG: That’s what the City of Boston does all the time. If we designed to 100% of the peak hour there
would be four and six lane roads all over the city.
Q: Mike Epp (ME): I assume we will be trying to conform to 2005 federal air quality standards?
A: AD: Yes, we will.
Q: ME: That assumes a 20% reduction in carbon footprint, but here we are talking about increase car
traffic. How will we meet federal standards? I know I’ve mentioned the even/odd license plate
driving restriction and was told it wasn’t in the model. There needs to be a public policy change to
address this.
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A: AD: One thing going into the model is the types of fuel in the road fleet and how the vehicles in the
fleet are inspected. We could see different fuel blends, more efficient cars and so forth. We
expect to hit our air quality standards by 2017.
C: AI: I assume you’re taking into account winter and what happens when we have lots of snow. It
seems like people want to see some benchmarks set up and to see what comes out of this process
that takes us towards more mass transit and bicycle infrastructure so we meet our goals. I guess at
some point we’ll be able to see where you’re taking your traffic counts from.
A: AD: See me after the meeting and I can walk you through all that.
Q: Michael Reiskind (MR): I’ve had this presentation a few years back and as you peel back the onion
the more nuanced the model becomes. A big change in the cost of gasoline would change how
this model would come out. The last I saw this model was in 1990 and the projection year was
2010. Can you say how close the 1990 projections were to reality in 2010 so we can get a sense of
how accurate your model is for 2035?
A: SP: Let me caution you that it wasn’t my model in 2035 and the answer is pretty complex, but I’m
happy to give you a detailed answer off-line.
Discussion of Revised Goals and Objectives
At this point, the WAG changed focus to discuss the revised goals and objectives based on the work
done in breakout groups by WAG members at their April 20th meeting. Since the April meeting,
members of the project team have gone through the amendments proposed by WAG members,
searched for duplicative objectives, looked to see where goals could be streamlined, or whether there
were elements that should rise to the level of guiding principles.
Additional guiding principles added included:
o The adoption of the principles of universal design (accessible and barrier-free).
o Strive for an inclusive process to foster the sharing of information.
o Create a solution that improves the quality of life for residents.
o Integrate artistic elements into the design.
The goals have been reduced in number and refined based on WAG comments. There are
now the following six goals for the project:
o Improve roadway geometry to enhance circulation for modes and users.
o Improve access, modal and intermodal, local and regional corridor connections to
promote transportation choices.
o Integrate sustainability into design concepts.
o Remove barriers for neighborhood 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 history.
o Improve the visibility, connectivity and access to gateway open spaces.
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All of the new objectives developed by the WAG at the April meeting have been written down
and accounted for. The project team still needs to go through these objectives to weed out
repeats and to determine which of them are measurable. Objectives which are deemed
immeasurable will not be dismissed
C: MH: You elevated universal design up to a guiding principle, but is it measurable?
A: AD: It is if we measure it under geometry.
Q: Don Eunson (DE): If you go back to the goal regarding improving access, you seem to be making
local and regional access of equal importance and I want to throw it out to the WAG: is that what
we want, do we want local and regional connections to have equal weight?
A: AD: We would have measures to account for each, but how does the group feel? Should we build
on a bias?
A: LO: I think we should build on a bias; I think local traffic has to come first.
C: MH: The places served by the Casey Overpass are remote from it: Mattapan and Boston College.
C: State Representative Russell Holmes (RH): That’s a hard decision to make in a room that’s mostly
local. Without regional traffic, do we need an overpass? Route 203 brings regional traffic through
here. I’d say local traffic is on South Street, where we are now.
C: Captain James Hassen (JH): You’ve had two tests that shut the bridge down entirely. Anecdotally,
it made a mess. It backed the traffic all the way up to Holy Name and it seriously impacted
regional traffic. I know one guy was stuck in it for two hours. What you do here really has regional
A: BD: I want to make it clear to everyone around here that while we understand bikes and
pedestrians and conservancies, to me as a resident, directly impacted by this, those are peripheral
issues. What’s important to me is my quality of life now, during demolition and construction and
what happens when we’re done because we’ll live with it. Don’t focus on just one issue: think of
the Forest Hills Community and the Jamaica Plain Community. I feel strongly we need an overpass,
I’m open to being convinced otherwise, but right now that’s how I feel. I’d love a surface road
and to see the traffic evaporate, but that won’t happen.
A: JR: Just to be 100% clear, we’re nowhere near making that sort of decision yet.
Small Group Reporting
Andrea began the small group exercise by thanking members who had successfully completed their
homework and noting that the ideas which had come back were strong and would be of great help
to the project team. The purpose of the small group exercise summarized herein would be for the
groups to identify and prioritize the top three transportation questions facing the project area both
locally and regionally. The second element would be to think about the concerns and opportunities
associated with an at-grade, bridgeless replacement to the Casey Overpass assuming an at-grade
network revised to handle the increased traffic.
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The first small group to report was composed of Eric Gordon, Michel Epp, Mike Halle, David Hannon,
Mary Hickie, Suzanne Monk, Liz O’Connor, Cathy Slade and Wendy Williams. The group report was
given by Cathy Slade and will be presented at the public meeting by David Hannon and Michael Epp.
C: Cathy Slade (CS): We identified the top three areas as being the intersection of South Street and
Washington Street right after the station, pedestrian connections at Shea Circle, and the
intersection of Asticou Road and South Street. Regarding question two, if the bridge comes down,
there will be 24,000 new vehicles traveling at-grade. There’s a fear of gridlock and impacts to the
residential neighborhoods with people looking for shortcuts. Good plans might not be realized due
to budget. At risk are elements like buffer protections between the new roads, removing urban
barriers, and reconnecting the Emerald Necklace. Traffic could be a barrier too, but we have an
opportunity to connect things better. We would prefer an overpass that’s pedestrian friendly
The second small group to report was composed of Bob Dizon, Bernie Doherty, Jeff Ferris, Sarah
Freeman, Bob Mason, Kevin Moloney, Michael Reiskind, Fred Vetterlein, and Emily Wheelwright. The
report was given by Jeff Ferris and will be presented at the public meeting by Michael Reiskind and
Jeff Ferris.
C: JF: Our primary issue is on the upper Washington Street side where Asticou and South come in and
you have the taxis and the kiss-and-ride section that ties up traffic contributing to U-turns on this
street, cars cutting through Asticou Road and the whole stretch is just lousy for all modes. Number
two was the intersection of western Washington Street and the dog leg up from Hyde Park Avenue
and number three is the whole Emerald Necklace connection with the focus on Shea Circle which
is a challenge for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and park users. Mostly we were worried about the
at-grade solution. We have heard from traffic engineers that enough lanes can handle all the
traffic, but how many lanes is that really? Would it wind up being like a highway at grade?
The last small group to report was composed of Mary Burks, Jody Burr, Ginnie Metcalf,5 David Watson,
Kevin Wolfson and Elizabeth Wylie. The report was given Elizabeth Wylie, who will present at the public
meeting with Kevin Wolfson.
C: EW: We came up with pretty similar hot-spots: Forest Hills itself; it’s bounded on all sides by roads.
Issues with Asticou Road, Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue; the drop-off traffic is a traffic
snarler. Bike storage at the station is under-used so something is happening that makes the Forest
Hills Station too much of an island. South Street and New Washington Street under the overpass
are hard for both vehicles and pedestrians. There are three separate traffic lights under there and
for pedestrians it’s an iron wall that both dangerous and unappealing. Shea Circle is seen as a
stopping point for bikes and pedestrians, but not great for cars either because the place where the
surface road divides from the overpass is confusing. There are cut-through traffic issues from this
location as well. Assuming there is no bridge, we see a potential nightmare for the mingling of cars
and pedestrians. Other issues raised were simplifying the network for all modes, reconnection of
green space
C: AD: It sounds like you are all pretty much on the same page about this.
Standing in for Nina Brown
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C: KW: As a general rule it seems like that for all of us the biggest concern is congestion, but I want to
warn everyone that there’s no solution that will entirely fix congestion. We won’t be able to
change that, but we can change the smaller scale stuff.
A: AD: Our goal is not to create the traffic nightmare the last group mentioned, but we understand
your concern. There are a lot of ways to manage that and it’s a good point about congestion. For
everyone who volunteered to present at the public meeting, I’m happy to work with you on this.
This is the mode we’ll be using going forward: you are a part of this. We want you in the public
process. At the next WAG meeting we will reserve the two front rows of the auditorium for you. The
six of you who agreed to present will actually be with us on stage.
Discussion of the Upcoming Public Meeting Presentation
C: AD: Here is our draft agenda for the public meeting on the 18th. It covers what we have covered
in the past two sessions. You see how much material is here and we need to move to the level of
discussing alternatives, but we need to be adequately and sufficiently informing the public and we
have an open house to help them through some it. We do like the open house because of what
we get for data from community members.
C: JF: What you went over tonight is how you do the analysis. I think people at the community
meeting will want to see the analysis, but not how to do it. We can say we took everything into
C: MH: I agree. They can get the details at the open house; Scott will be there at the outset.
Q: AD: And in terms of Scott’s piece, what about the educational component of how the model
works? Is that important?
A: JF: I think we want to see the model. Less about building it and more about the results it produced.
Q: EW: How about an FAQ handout to answer some of the technical questions?
A: AD: We can incorporate that into the open house.
Q: BD: When you talk about design, will you show people the concepts?
A: AD: We won’t show them anything you haven’t seen first.
C: DE: If you want the public to consider an at-grade solution you need to present them and us with
some analogous situation that we’re familiar with. Where are there some streets with similar traffic
volumes that we all know and you can show us that similar volumes work there. We are going to
need that if they are going to be able to wrap their heads around it.
A: AD: That is something we can bring back to you.
C: JR: Just to reinforce what Andrea just said: we will never show anything to the community you
haven’t seen first, but that’s a great idea.
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C: FV: We need models. We need to see these things in context. I buy the numbers, but you need to
lay out the scenarios. I’m an artist. I work in parks. I want Jamaica Plain to be a unified place. We
want to see it joined together, but we need models we can show our neighbors. I want a plan
view I can show my neighbors with the roadways laid out.
A: AD: Your just-completed homework assignment was to give us that. Now, we will take your ideas, I
can’t tell you how many we’ll have because I haven’t looked yet, and that will form the basis for
our next WAG meeting.
C: RH: I think any time you can deploy animations for traffic modeling or how the bridge would be
taken down and put back, I think is good. Spend a little less time on dry numbers and a little more
on animations. Those can be very convincing.
C: BD: That was well said. People want to see something. They don’t want to be bored with statistics,
especially when they live the statistics every day. Show them some alternatives. They’ve got to be
getting tired of the numbers. They need to see a surface road, an overpass or a combination of
Q: MH: Does that mean the bookends could be sufficient for the public meeting on the 18th? What if
we decide not to have the public meeting? Maybe we work some more and go to the public
when we have something.
A: SM: We’ve advertised the meeting so we need to hold it.
C: AD: This is a helpful conversation. We’ve been careful with you about establishing our level playing
field with you and we’re at a point with the meetings that we have the information to start drawing
lines. We didn’t want to start with lines even though some of us live in the area because the public
wouldn’t respect the lines if they didn’t see the process. I hear what you’re saying and we don’t
want to frustrate the public, but you’ve had two sessions on this.
C: Nika Elugardo (NE): Those principles and goals would be helpful with specific examples. Everyone
here was invited to this meeting because they think a little like an engineer, but someone who’s a
teacher or study; they need to understand the possibilities. There’s a concern about the process
being appropriated, but if you explain the principles, you can get the level big points across. We
want to know the details are there and you’ve dealt with them. I trust you can solve for X.
C: DE: I think a longer open house would be helpful; maybe with some time afterwards too.
C: AD: So it sounds to me that you would like a quicker, more abbreviated traffic analysis. People
want to see the design principles and goals all in about an hour to forty minutes.
A: RH: I heard the group say to move the design principles to number two on the public meeting
agenda and then gloss over the traffic part.
Q: MH: So where do we discuss the bookend sketches?
A: AD: I’m hearing that we should put them at position three.
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C: JR: I have a few things here: in order to be able to give the notice for public meetings enough time
to be seen, those notices have been placed. The meeting notices out there say the open house is
6:00-6:30, but we can let it run a little longer or even go back out there after the meeting if we cut
the formal part a bit short.
A: David Hannon (DH): It would be nice for people to be able to go back outside and reassess what
they just saw based on your presentation.
C: JF: I have noticed a real lack of handouts. I don’t know if this is about trying to be green, but it
would be great if we could have some. I’d like the map with the little green line around it that we
saw earlier in the process.
A: AD: Yes, we are trying to be green with as few handouts as possible. Also we don’t want to have
draft paperwork sitting around.
C: WW: Some handouts would be nice; they’d help to accommodate people sitting towards the
back of the room. I don’t mind sharing with other people.
C: AI: It was tough to hear at the last public meeting. I’d like a microphone or a portable PA system.
C: DE: Also, for our next WAG meeting, I don’t like the tables configured in this “I” shape; I’d like to go
back to the rectangle.
Q: FV: Look, a highway is a highway, when will there be plot plans showing the roads.
A: AD: At our next WAG meeting you will be able to see some conceptual ideas.
A: JR: You’ll be able to see the lanes, bike lanes, turning lanes, all that.
A: AD: And by the time we get to public meeting four, we’ll have three distinct alternatives. I know
this can be frustrating and confusing, but we’re trying to use language carefully and make sure the
public comes through the process with us.
JR: All right everyone; that’s it for tonight. Remember to bring in your homework. We’ll see you
May 18th.
Next Steps
The next major public involvement milestone in the process will be the second community meeting.
This meeting will cover elements addressed by the WAG in their April meeting and the one summarized
herein. WAG members will be helping the project team to present at the next community meeting.
This meeting will take place on May 18th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Agassiz School on Child Street. A
half hour open house will begin at 6:00 p.m.
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Appendix 1: Attendees
First Name
Last Name
Zone Commander – Boston Police – E5
Mayor Menino’s Office
Senator Chang-Diaz’s Office
Councilor Matt O’Malley’s Office
Captain – Boston Police – E5
WAG (for Nina Brown)
City Councilor
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Appendix 2: Small Group Flip Charts
Please see the following pages.
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