Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NED's Overstated mitigation commitment

From the Chestnut Hill Square article in today's Tab:

The developer has also offered to pay nearly $13 million for improvements to Route 9 to help ease the expected traffic increase.
No! No! No!

I don't know where the $13 million figure comes from. But, New England Development's response to the city's comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report contains a table summarizing New England Development's commitment to mitigation (FEIR, VIII-51). Of the $10.5 million committed as of the 11/15/06 date of the FEIR, over $6.5 million was allocated to two line items:
  • Provide traffic signalization and median break with two left-turn lanes on Route 9 Westbound at The Mall at Chestnut Hill Drive and at the Capital Grille Drive. ($660,000)
  • Widen Route 9 east and westbound ($5.85 million)
Those two measures won't "help ease the expected traffic increase." They will help create the expected traffic increase.

Without those two changes to Route 9 (improvements strikes me as debatable, at least), New England Development won't be able to attract as many people cars and trucks to Chestnut Hill Square.

New England Development is entitled to propose changes to Route 9 that will enhance the value of its property. But, let's not mistake self-interested investment with mitigation.

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