The City of Boston has issued a comment letter indicating it is absolutely against the entire Wynn traffic plan outlined in the Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report (SFEIR) filed in February – despite the fact that the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) officials worked very closely with Wynn to help put together the plan all last fall.
In a letter to state regulators dated March 27, which became available this week, the City says it rejects the plan that has been the subject of several neighborhood meetings in Charlestown.
“The City is opposed to the SFEIR on transportation in its entirety,” read the letter. “Wynn’s plan is inconsistent with the City’s planned use of its streets in Charlestown. It further fails to mitigate traffic issues in Sullivan Square.” The letter, which is the executive summary of 37 pages worth of comments, goes on to cite the lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) filed by the City in January – noting that Wynn would add traffic to Sullivan Square while the City has made efforts to decrease traffic.
“In it’s lawsuit…and in communications with Wynn, the City has made it abundantly clear that it has expended considerable time, effort, resources and funds in formulating plans to transition Sullivan Square into a low-traffic pedestrian friendly neighborhood,” read the letter. “The plan described in Wynn’s SFEIR proposes a dramatic increase – rather than decrease – in traffic in Sullivan Square. Wynn’s plan also would jeopardize health, safety and welfare of Boston’s citizens. A multitude of other defects and flaws with Wynn’s SFEIR render it inadequate, incomplete and violative of [state environmental] requirements…As a result, the City will exercise its sovereign rights to prevent its streets from being used in a manner that is incompatible with its plans and the safety of its residents…The City recommends and expects that you will issue a determination that Wynn’s SFEIR on transportation is wholly inadequate.”
In an accompanying letter from the BTD also dated March 27 and signed by BTD Commissioner Gina Fiandaca, it explains that it wholly rejects the SFEIR filing – using the exact same language in some places as the executive summary.
The BTD listed three points. First, that it’s plans for Sullivan Square have been ignored; second, that an interim plan to mitigate Sullivan Square has not been developed; and third, traffic plans for Broadway and Alford Street remain questionable.
Wynn officials and BTD officials met many times – as has been reported – when crafting the SFEIR, and Wynn officials said at several neighborhood meetings in Charlestown that they had implemented many suggestions from BTD in the short-term plan. Some of those suggestions, they said, were parts of the BTD’s long-term plan.
The comments were seen as surprising to some initially, given the level of cooperation that has been broadcast within the recent public meetings.
A final ruling from the state on the SFEIR could come as early as Friday, April 3.