Casey Overpass

whighlander

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Though construction continues throughout the Casey project area, MassDOT has announced that the first trees will be planted next week in the permanent mainline Arborway median between Shea Circle and about the Courthouse. Only 30 or so 'Princeton' American Elms to start, but they are the first of 29,000+ plants going into the landscaping - which should help make Forest Hills one of the real gems of the Emerald Necklace as they mature.

I wrote up a narrative version of the Master Plant List to mark this modest milestone for those looking for a silver lining:
Shade(s) of things to come
Clayville -- Please keep us updated on this -- the Emerald Necklace is one of the things which we all take for granted and one which is a substantial part of "World Class Boston" -- but which like Freedom itself needs constant vigilance by the citizenry

Indeed the on-going work on the Emerald Necklace is topic deserving a thread all its own -- and you sir should be its ABForum corespondent to keep us up to date
 

Charlie_mta

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Taking down the Bowker overpass between the Mass Pike and Storrow will be the next step in restoring the Emerald Necklace.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Taking down the Bowker overpass between the Mass Pike and Storrow will be the next step in restoring the Emerald Necklace.
...and a lot more environmental remediation. The Muddy River still isn't healthy at all without lots of erosion control west of Park Drive and lots of invasive species control in the Fens. The man-made channel underneath the Bowker is pretty academic by comparison.

They're doing a pretty decent job with remediation of the Charles riverbank along Greenough Blvd., but I wish DCR employed the same systematic remediation tactics as City of Cambridge with the Fresh Pond Reservoir hillsides. Cambridge has really stuck to its best-practices script on each hillside phase and managed to stay within a pretty conservative budget now 7 or 8 years into that remediation program. The main disruption are the 2-3 years each phase needs to be fenced off all around the paths and enforced from any human or dog intrusion to allow the native species to take solid root without re-encroachment from invaders and to fully re-stabilize the soil. I don't get the impression DCR is quite as organized or patient with the waiting part, to detriment of their consistency-of-methods and expenditures for each remediated section.
 

whighlander

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Taking down the Bowker overpass between the Mass Pike and Storrow will be the next step in restoring the Emerald Necklace.
Charlie -- that one is not happening for quite a while

First you'd have to figure out what to do with the cars -- and don't bother suggesting a rotary or a roundabout

No -- I think the next major step is the TNT tower and the adjacent land [once part of Charlesgate West]which they've held as stewards for the DCR for years without any real plan for the land -- now it is likely to become an extension of the Fens

Before even that though there is a lot of removal of Phragmites that needs to happen
 

Charlie_mta

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I disagree about the cars. Bowker needs too come down for a number of reasons. Traffic lights will suffice.
 

Randomgear

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Tear. Bowker. Down.

Yes, I know that MassDOT is nearing (hopefully) the end of a series of separate projects over the last ten-years to repair Bowker and adjacent spans. But this is really the type of major civic improvement that the City needs for 2030. It's past time to undo the damage from when people thought that parks were places to run highways through.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Tear. Bowker. Down.

Yes, I know that MassDOT is nearing (hopefully) the end of a series of separate projects over the last ten-years to repair Bowker and adjacent spans. But this is really the type of major civic improvement that the City needs for 2030. It's past time to undo the damage from when people thought that parks were places to run highways through.
Has Walsh staked himself to a stance on the Bowker yet? Menino always got real pissy about the citizen calls to get rid of it, and liked to passive aggressively concern-troll about carpocalypses in Kenmore to de-legitimize the advocacy. But I'm drawing a blank on any public statements the current Hizzoner may have made one way or the other.

Time to squeeze him into going on-the-record with his personal verdict? I'd sure like to know that in advance of his next election year.
 

sm89

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Peter Furth's proposal looks great and appears to work well too. Unlike a lot of advocates for better walking and biking infrastructure, he has a lot of experience in dealing with signals and car traffic. Instead of trying to make improvements at the cost of other users, he shows that removing the overpass is a good thing for EVERYONE.
 

Randomgear

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Has Walsh staked himself to a stance on the Bowker yet? Menino always got real pissy about the citizen calls to get rid of it, and liked to passive aggressively concern-troll about carpocalypses in Kenmore to de-legitimize the advocacy. But I'm drawing a blank on any public statements the current Hizzoner may have made one way or the other.

Time to squeeze him into going on-the-record with his personal verdict? I'd sure like to know that in advance of his next election year.
It's a state owned (MassDOT) overpass. Mahty has no authority over it. He learned to stay away from Casey during the last election cycle after initially supporting those asking for a new overpass and it's likely he will stay away from Bowker as well.

We may think that supporting the removal of Bowker is a no brainer, but there will be some neighborhood residents who believe it is the only thing keeping traffic chaos off their streets. Show them all the traffic studies and Vissim models that you can, they will believe that MassDOT (or DCR) has it in for them. We already see some entrenched neighborhood opposition on the proposed Arborway Inter modal Improvement Project that DCR and Toole design are working on that encompasses Murray Circle and Kelley Circle near Jamaica Pond.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It's a state owned (MassDOT) overpass. Mahty has no authority over it. He learned to stay away from Casey during the last election cycle after initially supporting those asking for a new overpass and it's likely he will stay away from Bowker as well.

We may think that supporting the removal of Bowker is a no brainer, but there will be some neighborhood residents who believe it is the only thing keeping traffic chaos off their streets. Show them all the traffic studies and Vissim models that you can, they will believe that MassDOT (or DCR) has it in for them. We already see some entrenched neighborhood opposition on the proposed Arborway Inter modal Improvement Project that DCR and Toole design are working on that encompasses Murray Circle and Kelley Circle near Jamaica Pond.
Well, I know it's state-owned, but that didn't stop Menino from sternly marking his territory around keeping it. Walsh kind of needs to follow-up with the current City Hall regime's stance, since the previous regime tried to take ownership of the issue.
 

chmeeee

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We already see some entrenched neighborhood opposition on the proposed Arborway Inter modal Improvement Project that DCR and Toole design are working on that encompasses Murray Circle and Kelley Circle near Jamaica Pond.
Oppose all of the things! You too can make sure your neighborhood stays saddled with a shitty/dangerous road for several more decades.
 

Schorschico

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But the Bowker is being repaired as we speak, right? Doesn't it mean that it will be decades (many) until any alternative project is realistically on the table?

Also, unrelated question for you guys with urban planning backgrounds: The code used by Prof. Furth to create the traffic study analysis, is it available somewhere? Is it propietary? Github? Can it be used to play with mini-models for those of us with the interest but not the background?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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But the Bowker is being repaired as we speak, right? Doesn't it mean that it will be decades (many) until any alternative project is realistically on the table?
No. They're emergency repairs because the concrete is literally flaking off onto Comm Ave. below. An identical band-aid project happened 15 years ago targeting a little bit more the steelwork vs. the concrete, and was similarly impressive-looking from ground level. Rince, repeat like clockwork once per decade until the powers-that-be reach a final-final decision whether to tear the whole fucker down or rebuild the whole fucker from scratch. Indecision is a lovely use of resources when the scaffolding for band-aid repairs has to be up more often than it's down.
 

Schorschico

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No. They're emergency repairs because the concrete is literally flaking off onto Comm Ave. below. An identical band-aid project happened 15 years ago targeting a little bit more the steelwork vs. the concrete, and was similarly impressive-looking from ground level. Rince, repeat like clockwork once per decade until the powers-that-be reach a final-final decision whether to tear the whole fucker down or rebuild the whole fucker from scratch. Indecision is a lovely use of resources when the scaffolding for band-aid repairs has to be up more often than it's down.
Whoa, crazy! That band-aid project has been going on for years. I lived nearby more than 2 years ago and they were already going at it. Almost 1 year per lane. Sounds absurd for a cosmetic repair. Particularly if it has to take place again in less than 20 years.

On the bright side, it makes the animation closer to reality (at least it is not materially impossible). So there is that.
 

Scalziand

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But the Bowker is being repaired as we speak, right? Doesn't it mean that it will be decades (many) until any alternative project is realistically on the table?

Also, unrelated question for you guys with urban planning backgrounds: The code used by Prof. Furth to create the traffic study analysis, is it available somewhere? Is it propietary? Github? Can it be used to play with mini-models for those of us with the interest but not the background?
It's proprietary, but you can get a free 30-day demo to fool around with.

http://vision-traffic.ptvgroup.com/en-us/products/ptv-vissim/trial-version/
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Whoa, crazy! That band-aid project has been going on for years. I lived nearby more than 2 years ago and they were already going at it. Almost 1 year per lane. Sounds absurd for a cosmetic repair. Particularly if it has to take place again in less than 20 years.

On the bright side, it makes the animation closer to reality (at least it is not materially impossible). So there is that.
Yup. That's the price of brainfreeze on this teardown vs. cleanroom-rebuild decision. The band-aids become neverending: once they take down the scaffolding for one emergency repair job, they have to immediately re-erect it at the other end of the bridge for a different emergency repair job. Until...the...end...of...time.

Waste another decade's time debating their endgame, and they'll have pissed away half the cost of their ultimate perma-fix through 25 years of endless stopgap band-aiding. It really is a remarkably cromulent ongoing testament to the chore of herding cats in civic institutions.
 

Scipio

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The project team just emailed out a nice 2016 summary/2017 look-ahead:

YEAR IN REVIEW

Looking Back at 2016 - Looking Ahead to 2017

During the course of 2016, the Casey Arborway project has continued to make progress towards completion. This document is intended to provide abutters, commuters, and other stakeholders with a guide to what has been accomplished and where the project will focus as 2017 gets underway.

Shea Square Achieves Final Form by December, 2016

Beginning in the days immediately surrounding Thanksgiving, the transition from Shea Circle to Shea Square is, at the time of this writing, set for completion during the week of December 19th. Beginning on or about the 15th of December, east (towards Franklin Park) and westbound (towards the Arnold Arboretum) traffic on the mainline Arborway will flow through Shea Square as a signalized intersection for the first time. Eastbound traffic from the frontage road passing in front of Arborway Gardens and the West Roxbury District Court will be introduced into Shea Square on or about December 23rd, ending the need for this traffic to detour via American Legion Highway to access Circuit Drive or the mainline Arborway westbound.

East of Shea Square, the new signal at Cemetery Road is already operational at the time of this writing and by the end of December; both east and westbound traffic will travel along its permanent alignment between the Cemetery Road intersection and Shea Square. Installation of new drainage structures will continue along the Arborway adjacent to the Forest Hills Cemetery driveway into 2017.

The transition to Shea Square also brings with it additional benefits. Once signal control is initiated at the square, signals will be coordinated from this location to the Arborway at South Street for the first time. New, signal protected crosswalks will also be initiated improving connections for cyclists and pedestrians traveling between points west, Franklin Park, and Forest Hills Cemetery.



The Mainline Arborway – Shea Square to Washington Street

Since just before Thanksgiving, eastbound vehicles on the mainline Arborway and the frontage road have been traveling along their permanent alignments from a point roughly adjacent to the West Roxbury District Court. New sidewalk has been placed and opened for use from the same point to Shea Square along the frontage road. Permanent street and pedestrian lighting has been installed from Shea Square to Washington Street. The first of the project’s many new trees were planted earlier this fall in the mainline Arborway median. Watering will be ongoing throughout the winter as needed and appropriate.

Regular visitors to the area will also see project team members in the process of removing the old eastbound temporary roadway. Work will continue in this area over the winter. As the project moves into 2017, westbound mainline traffic will shift onto its permanent alignment. In the area along the edge of the MBTA Arborway Yard vacated by traffic, work will get underway to create new bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and green space.



Forest Hills Station – Upper Busway and Below Grade

At Forest Hills station, work to install the jet fans and their associated components has been progressing thanks in part to the single track arrangement on the Orange Line platform. By January 1st, 2017, the Orange Line will go back to two track operation in the station. Installed jet fans can be seen in the tunnel at either end of the platform. While this element of work will be complete on or about December 23rd, installation of electrical components associated with fan control or the new headhouse will continue through the winter.

The upper busway deck expansion is now complete as is work to coordinate the parallel, but independent MBTA project to build a new canopy to cover this space and protect riders from the weather. Work is underway to form and reinforce the sidewalks and medians for the new bus bays. This will progress into the New Year and be followed by forming and reinforcing the upper busway parapet wall. It is currently anticipated that the Route 39 bus will move in early spring 2017. This will have no impact on the project schedule.



Points West of Forest Hills Station

During the week of December 19th, a pedestrian crossing from the northeast (red house) corner of the intersection of Arborway/South Street to the intersection’s southeast (Forest Hills Station) corner will be reintroduced. At present, it is anticipated that the temporary crosswalk on the intersection’s western side will remain in operation into mid-January after which this crosswalk will go out of service to allow work in this area to shift the westbound Arborway onto its stage 3A alignment.

West of South Street along the Arborway, the westbound lanes of Arborway are partially along their permanent alignment with the permanent curb line installed and visible for much of the way down to South Street. New street lighting has likewise been installed. For those seeking access to the Arboretum via the sidewalk along what used to be the old eastbound off ramp, this path will remain available throughout construction. Progress in this area will run west-to-east with the permanent alignment at South Street achieved during summer 2017.

Along Washington Street west of the station, beginning in January, drivers will be shifted onto a new temporary alignment which pushes Washington Street to the west between Ukraine Way and South Street.
 

FK4

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I drove on shea circle about a week ago, at night... it was interesting - the circle was intact, but the circular area in the center, once filled with trees and grass, now was a perfect X of two roads and light posts, etc... but the roads were coned off so you just drove in a circle around what looked like a mock up or a model of an intersection.
 

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