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Mayor Touts Waze App to Avoid Casey Mess

Screen grab of Waze traffic app on Monday, March 16, 2015
Screen grab of Waze traffic app on Monday, March 16, 2015

It might come as little comfort to people who live near Jamaica Plain’s version of the Big Dig, but Mayor Marty Walsh suggests downloading a socially-driven traffic app to navigate around the Casey Arborway project.

The city recently entered a data-sharing agreement with Waze, a traffic app owned by Google. During a roundtable with local press last week, Walsh offered this advice about the Casey project: “Try to avoid it.”

Melina Schuler of the Mayor’s Office followed up on Monday with more details, saying the city’s Traffic Management Center “will be closely monitoring traffic in the area and making traffic signal adjustments to help offset congestion during demolition and construction.”

While the massive effort is a Massachusetts Department of Transportation project, it takes place on city streets.

The city recommends drivers download the Waze app to help them find routes away from the construction zone. The city will not only be using data from its hundreds of intersection cameras, but also information from Waze to adjust signal timing.

Of course, a primary worry of residents near the Casey project is that tons of traffic will try to find shortcuts on their neighborhood streets. Last week in a public meeting, project engineers said they’ll compare pre-construction traffic counts with cut-throughs drivers find as the project continues.

“If there’s a specific detour people are choosing to use, we will take a look,” said Gary McNaughton, the project’s traffic engineer.

He said if people are using a cut-through for, say, three days, there’s not much the Department of Transportation can do. But if any streets emerge as consistent detours, engineers would address the situation.

MassDOT said last week they will start to hold regular office hours at Curtis Hall Community Center for any residents who want to come ask questions about the Casey project. The first such session is 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.

See all our Casey Overpass/Casey Arborway coverage here.