Proposed Traffic Improvements

Today, anyone traveling on Route 99 or Route 16 during the morning or evening commutes, usually just sits in traffic.

One can only wonder what the traffic might be if the State Gaming Commission gives Steve Wynn the green light to construct his casino on Route 99.

The sure bet is that there will be added traffic.

The larger question is at what times would this added traffic hit these roadways.

Wynn and his experts are betting that the traffic increase will not be at peak hours.

However, regardless of when the added traffic will hit these roadways and if this traffic will add to congestion at peak commuting time, the State Legislature put in the Gaming Law that created the three casino areas that these developers will have to make infrastructure repairs for access to their sites.

This certainly could bode well for local commuters.

If Wynn is right, then the morning and evening commutes that have become a nightmare will be made much easier and quicker for area residents with his proposed infrastructure designs.

If Wynn is wrong, then the new designs might leave a bad situation no worse off.

But looking at the meeting that was held on May 22 at the Connolly Center, several questions still remain.

Route 16 east and west of Santilli Circle should be included in any traffic improvement plan.  These are the roadways that will keep traffic out of the streets of our neighborhoods and will provide a better flow into the Wynn Resort.

Also discussion of Sullivan Square needs to be put into the mix.

Just two weeks ago the Boston Redevelopment Authority held a public hearing in Charlestown that will completely change the look and traffic flow of the Sullivan Square area in the next decade.

Also, the new design of Rutherford Ave. in Charlestown that was approved last year should figure into the traffic planning.

We know that the Wynn traffic improvements are still premature in this long process.

The first step is the local vote on June 22 by Everett residents that will give thumbs up or down if the project could be built in our city.

Then if the voters approve the project, there will be at least several public hearings by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) to obtain more input into the proposed roadway improvements. Our bet is that DOT officials will be looking at more extensive infrastructure construction than what was put forth on May 22.

And lastly, the Gaming Commission in February will announce if Wynn or one of the two other casino bidders are awarded the license.

There are still many bumps on this road for a casino in Everett in the next eight months. We urge both proponents and opponents to let their voices be heard on all the aspects of this project.

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