Cars Take Backseat at Casey Overpass

Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain (Illustration via MassDOT)

Just over a month ago, I wrote about the chaos surrounding the future of Casey Overpass, a decrepit bridge in Jamaica Plain that needs to be replaced. To briefly summarize: MassDOT could either rebuild the bridge (which would cost an estimated $73 million) or go for an “at-grade” solution, in which they would replace the bridge with surface-level roads and bike lanes (estimated to cost $52 million). This being JP, there’s been an enormous amount of controversy over the plan, involving everyone from neighborhood groups, to bike advocacy organizations, to Rep. Liz Malia.

After nearly a year of debate, MassDOT finally handed down what, from my perspective, is the right choice: At-grade! In addition to saving $21 million, MassDOT will be adding bike lanes, widening Southwest Corridor Park, and making improvements to the Forest Hill T station. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2013, and will be completed by 2016.

MassDOT secretary Richard Davey released a statement that hits the nail on the head:

“[The] process has led us to determine that the at-grade alternative reconnects the neighborhood, provides more open space, incorporates more design elements that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, and allows for more efficient bus movements through the area.”

Nice work, Davey.