The news last week that officials at Suffolk Downs Racetrack are entertaining offers to sell the 160 acre site should come as little surprise to local officials and residents.
Ever since the bid to place a casino at the site failed, everyone should have known that this day would be coming.
The question is how can our elected officials work with Suffolk Downs’ potential developers to make sure that this project will be a boon for our neighborhood.
There is little doubt that housing will play some part in the development. However, with 40 acres situated in Revere and the remainder in Boston, the increased traffic could be a nightmare for local commuters.
When Suffolk Downs made its bid to host a casino, it promised to help alleviate the traffic problem on the McClellan Highway with a flyover costing almost $30M near Boardman Street.
In Everett, the Wynn casino has promised to defray the construction costs of Rutherford Ave. and Sullivan Square to keep the traffic moving that will cost more than $50M.
For both projects, traffic mitigation was essential. Whereas, the development at Assembly Square in Somerville had no regional traffic mitigation part and as a result the traffic congestion is a nightmare coming from this project onto the existing roadways.
There will be many community meetings over the next few years to discuss what type of development will be located on the site.
We urge our elected officials to make traffic mitigation part of the price to locate a development in Suffolk Downs.
The traffic congestion in this area is only getting worse — and will continue to get worse.
No one who drives a car today around Boston can honestly say that traffic congestion has actually lessened – so why would it change here.
If done correctly, the development of this area represents a potential bonanza to developers.
So it behooves them to make sure that traffic from their projects flows smoothly.