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Congestion Pricing for Eastie Casino and Other Ideas

"Marge, anyone could miss Canada, all tucked away down there." - Homer Simpson

The big news this week, of course, was the unveiling of plans for the proposed $1B resort casino at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. Lost in a lot of the hullabaloo was the neighborhood impact. While many talked of the jobs it could create and others the headaches—and still others whether it's actually a "resort" casino that people from far and wide will travel to or a casino-casino for the locals—few talked of what it could do to transportation. If it really is Atlantic City North (or, ye gods!, Vegas Northeast), then it's going to mean a lot more people in and out of Eastie at all hours. James Aloisi, a former Massachusetts transportation secretary, took to CommonWealth magazine (which may or may not be funded by the militant wing of Nader's Raiders, we don't know), to lay out ideas for improving the area's transportation infrastructure should the forces of Blackjack and comped drinks prevail. Basically, it's five points:

· Extend the Blue Line to Lynn
· Connect the Blue Line to the Red Line
· Re-design and reconstruct Route 1A from Logan Airport to Bell Circle
· Adopt a short list of strategic parking and transit improvements
· Charge a user fee to all vehicles entering the Suffolk Downs complex

To us the second one is the most intriguing: connecting the Blue and Red lines via 1,500 underground feet along Cambridge Street near the Charles/MGH stop. The user fee idea, too, is interesting, a sort of congestion-pricing model for those who absolutely must clog Eastie's roadways and off-ramps to hit the tables at 2 a.m. (it would be similar to what London already has for driving in the city center at certain times; and what New York tried to do for Midtown Manhattan). Meanwhile, we await the implementation of Mayor Menino's big plans for the Eastie waterfront, which were to include inter-neighborhood ferries. Here's to hoping the big issue of Eastie transit isn't lost in all the hoopla.

· User Fee Needed at Suffolk Downs [CommonWealth]
· Eastie Casino to Be One-Sixth Size of the Pru, Other Fun Facts [Curbed Boston]
· Menino's East Boston Development Plan: the Details [Curbed Boston]

Suffolk Downs

525 William F McClellan Highway, , MA 02128 (617) 568-3216 Visit Website