Special to the Times-Free Press
At the Mayor’s East Boston Coffee Hour on Wednesday, May 17th Mayor Wu received a letter signed by all East Boston Neighborhood Associations outlining concerns around the impending Sumner Tunnel Closure. The letter was written in response to MassDot’s recent presentations to the Gove Street and Jeffries Point Neighborhood Associations. “We wanted the mayor to know East Boston is united in their concern about the impact on the quality of our lives. MassDot is not ready” stated Margaret Farmer.
At these meetings MassDot spoke for approximately 40 minutes, presenting and answering questions directly from residents. Many residents came away more concerned about the lack of answers, not less. “We asked more than a dozen questions of MassDot officials” JPNA
Co-Chair Margaret Farmer said “most responses were, we are working on that, or that has yet to be decided. The answers they did provide explained how the State Police prioritize flushing out the airport. If this was 6-8 months ago I could understand. But we are less than 8 weeks away (from the closure)”.
Harbor View Neighborhood Association Board Member was concerned about healthcare access “I am concerned about the health and wellness of people who depend on the tunnel for fast and easy access to MGH, BMC and other downtown emergency hospitals in a medical emergency. I worry lives may be lost in traffic.”
After the meeting resident Mary Cole expressed “More can and should be done to mitigate this shutdown, starting with reducing overall traffic to and from the airport.” Suggestions for mitigation in the letter include extending ferry service the nights the blue line is shut down, and asking the airport to provide parking for airport workers in South Boston as well as making the Blue Line free on this side of the harbor. The neighborhood associations are hoping that by presenting a list of suggestions to MassDot and the delegation of elected officials for East Boston, there can be a positive coordinated response to lessen the impact of the closure on East Boston residents from the tunnel closure this year AND next.
The video of the MassDot presentation to the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association can be viewed on their website, www.jeffriespoint.org, MassDot starts at approximately the 40 minute mark.
Please contact [email protected] for information.