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All of a sudden, Charles Yancey cares very deeply about traffic patterns in Jamaica Plain

The City Council today agreed to let Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) hold a series of hearings at which state and city officials can explain how replacing the Casey Overpass with a series of surface roads won't give residents cancer or block ambulances from getting heart-attack and stroke victims to the medical area - but not demand the work be stopped altogether.

Or, at least, that's what Yancey professed today.

"This is not [a motion] to cease and desist the demolition of the Casey Overpass," Yancey told fellow councilors.

Yancey acknowledged that the state decided to replace the overpass with surface roads several years ago and that it's too late to change that decision, what with construction crews already tearing down trees and pouring asphalt for temporary replacement lanes along the crumbling overpass.

But Yancey said many people in his district are just now hearing of the work - although his local newspaper has covered the issue - and that they deserve answers to their questions about how they will get around once the span is shut this spring and then replaced - and their questions about the public-health ramifications of the work.

Having said that, however, Yancey then raised some of the same issues replacement opponents have taken to flinging, and he expressed his deep concern about the residents of Forest Hills having to stew in gridlock once the project is finished, because he knows that replacing a no-stop road from Mattapan to the Arborway with several intersections cannot possibly be done without problems.

Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) hopes the hearings are not advertised as giving people a chance to get the state to reconsider its decision. O'Malley, who has been through 4 1/2 years of "very spirited" meetings and who has been accused by people on both sides of the issue of favoring the other, said the decision has been made and it's not going to be changed or delayed: The overpass is coming down and it's going to be replaced by surface roads, period.

To suggest otherwise would be "dishonest with ourselves, dishonest with each other and most important, dishonest with the people we represent," he said.

Councilor Steve Murphy (at large), who lives in Hyde Park, acknowledged the enormity of the potential changes at what is a "commuter chokepoint" for a vast swath of the city, from Hyde Park to Dorchester, but said he is worried people would start blaming the council for the work when the whole thing is a state project the city had nothing to do with.

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Comments

If he is concerned about local residents getting cancer from all the traffic, he should be fighting for more roads around the city to have the amount of lanes reduced and to reduce the amount of parking in places like longwood, the fenway, downtown and the seaport so fewer vehicles spewing cancer causing pollution go through the city. The fewer parking spaces (and therefore cars/trucks) in the city, the cleaner the air. He should also be out in force against any cuts in MBTA service Baker is promoting or fare increases, and should be pushing for expansion of the MBTA to reduce the amount of carcinogens drivers spew into the neighborhoods.

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The BFH crowd has gone berserk with the theory that taking down the overpass will release vast amounts of asbestos and silicon and God knows what else, giving nearby residents - especially THE CHILDREN - silicosis and cancer.

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Here's the "what else" from them lately: a Civil Rights Investigation, a Public Safety study, an Economic Impact study, an Alternate route traffic study, a Length of Commute study. These, however, are fresh out of the oven concerns - expressed by people who have rejected all data and dismissed all answers to date.

When Matt O'Malley decribed the four and a half years of working to address concerns as they come up today, I believe he was refering to the ever-shifting littany of concerns that have already been addressed.

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The BFH crowd has gone berserk with the theory that taking down the overpass will release vast amounts of asbestos and silicon and God knows what else, giving ...

Well that's just silly because the main issue with asbestos is when it's airborne (and you breath it in).

I'm almost 100% sure, without looking at the plans for the demolition, they would be there hosing down all the dust immediately. This is standard procedure with any demo of older buildings. I assume it would apply to the bridge also.

Plus regardless, with any building that has asbestos they will attempt to remove all of it very carefully (fully sealed and tented!) to avoid contamination before the actual structure comes down. It's rare asbestos can't be removed, and even then the EPA has guidelines for that removal also. And again, I assume this would apply to the bridge also.

I'm not sure where his fears are with this, and if he really cared, he'd would have and should stop demo of any building that has such substances that he's concerned with because these are everywhere. Especially in buildings built prior to the 1970s.

(But this is my 'off the cuff' reply, so I do stand to be corrected, but from I've read about asbestos.. because I was exposed to it at a job a few years ago.. this is how it's done)

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They will be using lots and lots of whether to make sure there is no dust.

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...and not found: MassDOT took 20 core samples from 10 different locations and sent them to two different labs for testing. No asbestos exists in the overpass.

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Wonderful! Even better.

Even still if Yancey is concerned about other stuff, or just concrete dust in general, it's taken care by hosing it down. Plus the whole process of it coming down is going to be well sequenced, and come down pieces. (think the Fast 14 project, or when they took down the old I-93 Bridge in Charlestown)

So Yancey's issue with dust and what not is just misguided.

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Bridge contain very little asbestos except in the bearing pads and they can be removed easily. What they do contain a lot of is lead, in the paint in the steel and that is very expensive to deal with,

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As MassDOT described this at the last Construction Update meeting, there is lead paint on some of the steel. Rather than torching it into pieces (which could send some into the atmosphere), they say the girders are small enough that they can be sheared into truckable lengths with a large tool that acts a bit like wire cutters on a giant scale (as I understood it). The pieces will be carted off-site daily for processing, they said.

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That's what they did with the segments (from a similar era of construction) of the overpasses torn down and rebuilt for Fast 14.

Every Friday night, the giant mechanical bridge eating robots would descend and commence their feast - or, at least, that's what it sounded like!

Similar reasons, too: this is the best way to contain the toxics!

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for the heart attack I am going to have if I have to hear one more crackpot argument against demolishing and replacing this G.D. ugly, antiquated, crumbling-ass bridge. Honest to God, people...LET IT GO.

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If he is concerned about local residents getting cancer from all the traffic, he should be fighting for more roads around the city to have the amount of lanes reduced and to reduce the amount of parking in places like longwood, the fenway, downtown and the seaport so fewer vehicles spewing cancer causing pollution go through the city. The fewer parking spaces (and therefore cars/trucks) in the city, the cleaner the air. He should also be out in force against any cuts in MBTA service Baker is promoting or fare increases, and should be pushing for expansion of the MBTA to reduce the amount of carcinogens drivers spew into the neighborhoods.

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And how do you propose one reduces the number of cars? Even the most avid cyclists on this site also own cars! You know who you are...
Isn't it really diesel engines that are the worst offenders? No, I'm not going to google for citations. Look it up yourself.

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Yancey is good to get involved this way. He is a model for O'Malley and other Councilors on many issues. Glad someone on the City Council has our concerns at heart. Residents, bicyclists and motorists shouldn't be breathing in asbestos dust. What's wrong with everybody????!!!###

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If you read the thread of posts, especially the ones above, you'd see that there is no asbestos in the overpass, and even still if there was, there's so many EPA regulations on safe removal, it's very unlikely it would be released into the air and pose a hazard to people.

And regardless, I'll said it above, and I'll say it again, if Yancey was so concerned about this, he would stop demolition of any building built before the 1970s since most buildings built before then contain asbestos.

So Yancey's thoughts are very misguided and are not based on any facts at all. But if you think Yancey knows more than the EPA, MassDEP, MassDOT and the tests done on the bridge, go right ahead, but now you and him are very misguided.

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Yes, this project is in Jamaica Plain and will greatly impact Forest Hills, but there is a wider area that has felt in the dark about this whole thing. Mattapan is one of those areas. I'm willing to bet the attendance at the project meetings, the details presented were both helped and matched by the cankerous opponents droning, were probably very light on Mattapan attendance. Therefore, Yancey's late interest and subsequent grandstanding is most likely well met on the other side of Forest Hills Cemetery.

I've worked at places where reconstruction has taken place. People freak out a bit at the mention of asbestos, even worried about their exposure over the years to hard asbestos tiling. It's human nature.

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I'd like to point out how deeply stupid it is there is a district which includes West Roxbury and JP but not Roslindale. Any city politics history buffs care to explain that?

My tiered ranking of the City Council.

Useful:

Pressley, Wu, O'Malley, McCarthy, Zakim

Hacks:

Murphy, Jackson, Flaherty

Idiots:

Linehan, Yancey

Unknown:

LaMattina, Baker, Ciommo

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We haven't had any actual elected officials here since Dapper O'Neil died (and O'Neil was at large, anyway), so whenever it comes time to redistrict lines, at any level of government, the powers that be use Roslindale as the place to even everything up. We're split between Congressional districts (Capuano and Lynch), state senate districts (Rush and Chang-Diaz), state rep districts (Scaccia and Holmes), city council districts (Yancey, of all people, now represents part of Roslindale) and, I think, even governor's council districts.

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Also misrepresents downtown Roslindale along with JP.

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Since redistricting Holmes area was replaced by Liz Malia. The line runs south on Washington, Cummins, Sycamore, Ridge, Brookdale, then Florence (both sides) to the bridge. Past that southerly is Scaccia.

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The map on Holmes's official House page still shows him representing the part of Roslindale that sits east of Hyde Park Avenue and along American Legion Highway (down near the bottom of the page, click on District, then the plus sign several times).

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LaMattina:
1) looks good in pictures
2) will show up to anything as long as you promise to take his picture

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Roslindale doesn't have the numbers for one district, unless they double the City Council membership. After 2000 the move was one for putting Hyde Park with West Roxbury and JP with Roslindale, but those who cared in Roslindale liked Dan Conley, and putting Hyde Park with West Roxbury woud have diluted minority voters too much, so in the end 5 became more Roslindale and 6 picked up more JP precincts.

Besides, it strengthens my budding Hyde Park love.

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Get voted out in Nov. The guys an intellect rivaled only by garden tools.

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I'm all in favor of more Casey Arborway education so that concerned citizens can replace hand-me-down fears with clarity and facts.

But perhaps Mr. Yancey's hearing in City chambers should be converted into an extensive meeting in his own district, held at a time and place convenient to his constituents, so that those he's presumably most concerned about can become more enlightened on the subject.

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This was actually handled this one well in my opinion. I mean look at this: https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/caseyarborway/Meetings/DesignandPlanning...
That's an awful lot of information and meetings and neighborhood representation by those who chose to organize. I'm all for informing the public. Who isn't? The issue here, is that some of the public chose not become involved until now- once the construction crews arrive on site. Hell, there have even been signs up announcing the coming work for months. 3mins into an online search provides a lot of information.
I think it sucks if people aren't happy about it but I think it sucks 100x more for them to ignore all of this until now. It's too late. I hope this motivates people to pay more attention in the future. That would improve level representation.

PS: Yancey is a moron.

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My views bridge v surface notwithstanding, there's a lot more mystery than you think.

For example, they are kind of rebuilding Forest Hills station. The north headhouse is being rebuilt, according to you, while what I heard from a bus driver, the new bus waiting area is going to be horrible. For some reason they chopped down all the trees on Washington Street down by Ukraine Way, which is some distance from the overpass. Why? And that's ignoring traffic.

As a preteen I followed the design and construction of Forest Hills Station in the 80s. I saw the original design, the budget redesign (what's there now), and the end process. In short, I like keeping up on these things. Your average person or City Councilor probably doesn't.

So, yeah, a better job selling this, rather than ramming it down people's throats, would have been better.

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,,, seems to have been relatively close JP-ers. Very little outreach to people living a bit further from the project who would be affected almost as much (at least),

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Aesthetically, yeah, the abutters should be key in the process.

Still, as others say, now is not a good time to be starting this conversation. However, it would be a great time to put the rest of us at ease rather than telling us to get over it.

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Very little participation is very different from very little outreach

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... I would not have had any idea what was going on, So, as much as I love UHub, I would repeat, very little effective outreach to the wider community. And my wife (who attended meetings from early on) never felt that there was any intent on the part of DOT to do anything other than what they are doing -- and that they were never terribly forthright.

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The new head house, rather than being just a rebuild or an exit as now, will be both an entrance and exit and will be located across Arborway in the new SW Corridor Park Plaza. Fare machines, turnstiles, stairs and an elevator will lead to an extended platform under the Arborway. That's a huge new convenience for commuters from the north - they won't have to cross the Arborway on foot at all.

The trees near Ukraine were taken because that will become off-street bike paths and sidewalks, with new trees - old ones were in the wrong place to pull that off.

I'm not certain anyone, much less your bus driver, has seen plans for a "new bus waiting area", certainly not one worse than #39 riders currently huddling under a dripping overpass. But I do believe the newly extended Upper Busway will be covered, with a landscaped berm between it and Washington that hides much of it from neighbors. The busway entrance (for buses) will be south towards Ukraine, while the exit moves south of the current serpentine driveway at South St/VFW hall, closer to Asticou. But again, the exit is landscaped around a new island with the headlights of both southbound and northbound buses directed away from residential neighbors. The serpentine drive becomes a place for new off-street bike and foot paths to/from the revamped station-side plaza.

I completely agree that a better sell job would have helped the wider community, and would help it now. That is, frankly, why I started ArborwayMatters: to share what I've learned by digging deep. But every time MassDOT took that approach the information they provided was weaponized against them by people who reject most of it. The Upper Busway design is one thing the "opposition" contributed to in a positive way in the end.

And: four+ years of discussions in, I can confidently report that no one is ramming anything down anyone's throat.

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How could you drive over that bridge, with guard rails drilled into the middle of the road, with potholes you can sometimes see through, with orange signs and barrels all over the place, and not be aware that this hulk is nearing the end of its life?

Stop talking. Hurry up and close this bridge before somebody plunges through it.

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Im hardly a conservative, but even I can recognize the misguided futility in attempting to legislate car usage. All that will result is more blizzards-of-15 like gridlock in that area. those who traveled through forrest hills during that time know what I am talking about. Did rush hour become an hour longer? Did cars use more gas? Did carbon emission increase comparitively? Yes on all counts. People are going to take the T or bike if it is convenient for them. If not, they will drive. No manipulating of the roadway is going to change that. I'm certainly not biking my 15 month old to day care before I travel across the city to get to work. I'm amazed at The naiveté of some people on this site. I hope Cummins highway and Roslindale village are ready for the traffic that is coming.

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But if someone else is able to bike because they don't have to navigate rotaries of death and decide they can bike, that's one less car that is causing traffic for you.

And about those blizzards: it's a lot easier to clear snow from a surface roadway than a bridge.

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The extra pollution on surface streets caused by increased vehicular congestion is a lose-lose for pedestrians. Increasing stop and go traffic by removing an overpass which eased traffic makes no sense, not does chopping many trees. I just don't get why there are so many people in support of traffic sprawl. Bummer for the people that actually live there. What cyclists just don't seem to understand is that not everyone can use a bike as their primary mode of transportation and guess what: that doesn't mean they are bad people!

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And for the umpteenth time--no one believes that everyone is going to ditch their car and start biking everywhere. But you realize that we can't just ALL drive everywhere, right? That we can't build enough roads or highways to stop gridlock and horrible traffic? It's just not possible. So yes--the easier we make it for SOME people to bike, walk, take the T or bus, the easier everyone's commute is going to be. If you just shift a few percentage points, it makes a huge difference.

And guess what--I live here. The construction is going to make traffic on my street hell on wheels. But I have faith in the plan; I'm thrilled to see the bridge come down, and I've seen enough to know that the current setup sucks. Can't wait for this change to happen.

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...But Yancey said many people in his district are just now hearing of the work - although his local newspaper has covered the issue ...

They were too busy reading Yancey's newsletters. You know, the ones filled with pictures of him?

Yancey - way behind the curve. The City Council's version of the Globe's Adrian Walker.

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If I didn't come to the Universal Hub, the first time I would have heard about this woud have been this'll the past 6 months, when the local weeklies finally covered it. I believe the decision was made by then. Moreover, as a daily reader of both the Globe and the Herald, I'll note lack of coverage in the greater world. Also, as I drone on about, I live a 5 minute car ride, 15 minute bus/walk away, and a 25 minute walk from the overpass, yet no local press in my neck of the world.

The decision making process was a J.P. process. Well, it was a MassDOT decision that they convinced some in JP was their decision, but whatever. My point is that this was not well publicized to bridge users and Forest Hills commuters.

Speaking of which, so word is the new busway will suck balls.

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Try reading the Transcript and the Bulletin

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So since I read both of the neighborhood weeklies, and since coverage of the project entailed articles starting last fall, as opposed to when decisions were being made, I guess you are agreeing that the publicity on this was weak.

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there was an announcement of the decision in the Boston Globe and last year there was an editorial calling for the building of a new bridge. I've been following the stories for years but I have no idea how I first knew about it. Though I know a person who went to the initial meetings before the decision was made, and who stayed on and attended the planning group meetings.

Perhaps our neighborhood association was more plugged in to this, and it was a matter often updated from our City Councilor, Matt O'Malley, and Jeff Sanchez.

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I ran of a search of the Globe database. Yup, they wrote about it. Typical of a daily paper, after the meetings were held but still.

I cannot remember the editorial stances, but I loved that the Bulletin and Transcript had different editorial stances but not in 2011, when they said nothing.

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Even f you build a replacement, this one has to come down first. How do Yancey and other people not understand this?

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Is that the overpass is actually in decent shape and just needs a few plates thrown over it to keep it going for years and years.

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not to keep the one that's there now?

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But that would conflict with their gloom-and-doom scenario, because taking down the overpass to build a new one would mean the same people dying of heart attacks in gridlock and children dying of silicosis as they're projecting with taking down the overpass to build surface roads, so they've moved onto the theory that the overpass just needs some new metal plates on top.

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At this rate, I'm assuming we will see some Long Island-related grandstanding from this fellow sometime next summer?

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Yancey is a genius at getting and keeping his name in the press. Why else do you think he's been on the City Council since 1983?jj

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Please let me know, whether it's knocking on doors or contributing money, what I can do to oust Councilor Charles Yancey as soon as possible. Thank you.

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Real question - I feel like the news about the demo and construction itself has been pretty well covered, but there's very little info about what the MBTA is going to change at Forest Hills once the bridge comes down. I know they're supposed to be starting demo in May, and yet, the supposed second (or longer? who knows?) new bus bay for the 39 doesn't exist yet.... I suspect nobody is going to know until the week before and the answer will be "the #39 is wherever in the station we could fit it at this moment".....

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Stenograph Record of Wednesday 8 April 2015 Public Meeting of Boston City Council including Councilor Yancey's remarks by City Stenographer Ellen M. Fritch Lenaghan
http://anopenbostoncitycouncil.blogspot.com/2015/04/troke-today-is-wedne...

Compare Stenographic Record services by http://reportersinc.com for Cambridge
https://www.cambridgema.gov/inspection/Zoning/boardofzoningappeal/bzamee...

Will the upcoming Bid for Boston City Stenograph Services be Advertised more widely to get the most competitive offers?... Will better Stenograph Services provide the PlainText for text to speech screenreaders for vision impaired folks? Will better Stenograph Services provide searchable PlainText text for all?... Will better Stenograph Services provide PlainText for hard of hearing, deaf, ESL English as Second Language folks?... Ask new Candidates how they will fix a broken City Council?...

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