Opinion: Twists and turns plague East Milton Adams Street bridge
Contributed by John Cronin.
The Milton Selectmen have scheduled a public discussion on reopening the Adams Street Bridge restoring the 1956 pattern. This is not replacing the MassDOT’s “75% design hearing” which was scheduled for last November, but slipped as the funds were overspent, and has yet to be determined. The project began in 2010.
The truth about the delay had been a mystery to the Town. This week the Town learned that MassDOT had exhausted the funds intended for design. Milton had not been told.
It was recently learned that the federal FHWA has allocated $330,000 to supplement state funds, to complete the design, including traffic lights, bike and pedestrian upgrades and landscaping.
In June of 2011 the Selectmen’s consultant recommended against putting a parking lot on the 1993 landscaped deck park. The Selectmen’s consultant was Howard Stein Hudson hired with $138,000 from Congressman Lynch’s earmark.
Notwithstanding the consultant’s negative recommendation, former State Senator Brian Joyce obtained a $300,000 grant from the Secretary of Transportation to design the controversial parking lot, a required Adams Street roundabout and bridge closure. This convoluted route has been unpopular.
It was broadly known that both state and federal “park protection” laws were in effect, but “bypasses” might be attempted.
Instead of design, much of Senator Joyce’s $300,000 was spent preparing a 98 page “bypass” petition to the FHWA which failed (Feb. 6, 2017 letter). The rejected petition sought to overturn the 1993 landscaped park Agreement.
Senator Joyce sought to “bypass” the state “park protection” law by legislation. That effort also failed (Feb. 1, 2017 from Environmental Secretary. and Attorney General).
The Selectmen recently converted 11 parking spaces on Bryant Ave. from Service Zone to Public use, as suggested by FHWA in their Feb. 6, 2017 letter. The Selectmen may add 7 parking spaces, if they open the Adams Street Bridge overpass, 4 on Adams and 3 on Boulevard, for a total gain of 18 spaces over the MassDOT plan.
Note that the prohibited MassDOT parking scheme was for only a net of 11 spaces. The first $300,000 was apparently spent to reach this prohibited result. It is little wonder that the new five person Board of Selectmen, none of whom had ever voted on this twisted and turned parking lot project, are frustrated with the closed Adams Street bridge.
Residents are welcome to submit opinions or comments via “[email protected]”
The Selectmen have yet to act on recommendations on reverse angle and wayfinding proposals submitted by the late Ken Caldwell, Town Meeting Member from St. Agatha Road, who favored opening the bridge.