From the Coalition Against IndyCar Boston
Some residents are not happy at the thought of race cars ripping around the streets of South Boston. Below is a letter to the Mayor Walsh urging him to cancel IndyCar Boston which is supposed to be held Labor Day Weekend.
January 19, 2015
Mayor Martin Walsh Boston City Hall, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02201
Dear Mayor Walsh:
We are writing in opposition to the proposed Grand Prix race. We foresee a great deal of disruption and chaos that will occur in our neighborhood before, during, and after the race.
We live in Boston; many of us also work in Boston – an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 people live and/or work immediately adjacent to or close to the site of the race. We shop in our neighborhood, and pay taxes to the city and state.
We have heard that many citizens want the race cancelled because of violation of laws and regulations, including that street racing on public ways is illegal; that the city lacks authority to exclude the public from 2.2 miles of public roads for the benefit of a private for-profit commercial entity; that environmental laws have not been complied with; that public hearings have not been held, and that public records have not been released.
However, apart from legal grounds, our opposition stems also from the major disruption to our lives during an estimated 4 to 6 months of every year – 1/3 to Yi of each year for the next five years or longer.
According to the information we have gleaned, the following conditions will be present:
- Construction. There will be construction at night during the 4 – 6 month period including: installing 12′ fences and thousands of cement barriers on both sides of the race course; preparing streets involving repaving, reconfiguring intersections, widening Cypher Street, and removing trees, medians, light.posts, sidewalks, and signage; constructing grandstands, skyboxes, pit lanes, run out lanes, concert stages, event tents, and pedestrian bridges; and then removing all the temporary structures, and reinstalling removed items such as trees and signs. There will be noise and spotlights lighting the area well past midnight for much of the pre and post-race period.
- Traffic patterns. Overcrowded streets are already a major problem in the Seaport. The following streets will be impacted, and periodic or complete closures required for construction:
- Congress Street from A Street to some point east of D street. This includes the intersection with Boston Wharf road and the West Service Road Extension road.
- Seaport Boulevard from Boston Wharf road east to beyond D street.
- The South Boston Bypass Road from Congress to Richards Street.
- The Congress Street on and off ramps to and from 193/90 will be closed.
- The south entrance to the Bypass Road from 193 will no longer be available
- Cypher Street will be closed for improvement and widening (possibly disturbing capped PCBs that are subject to regulation by the EPA and MassDEP).
- Connection will not be possible to and from the Haul road, the service road, Richards Street and A Street to D Street (and reverse).
- The impact of all these closures is bound to have a chilling negative effect on retail businesses, commerce, offices, and residences from A Street to D Street, and from Broadway to Seaport Boulevard.
- Much traffic will have to be diverted to A street leading to further crowding on this already overcrowded street. Truck traffic including hazardous cargo will be diverted onto local streets from the South Boston Bypass Road, in violation of binding commitments made by MassDOT during the Big Dig.
- Access to the retail shops and restaurants will be severely limited.
- Emergency vehicles will not be able to get through traffic to residences along Congress and A Street.
- Transient Crowds. We have read that more than 200,000 people are expected during the race week. There is no plan that we are aware of for handling crowds attending race events, multiple planned concerts, or for parking of their cars in the district, which already has too few parking spaces. Many of the race events will involve alcohol, causing us further concerns with noise and safety.
- Public Transportation. Silver Line service during the race weekend will be interrupted in the midst of which thousands of students will be arriving to the many Boston colleges. Construction will disrupt bus travel schedules.
- Noise. Noise level from the cars during race week is excessive – we understand it is in excess of 140 decibels – and will cause major disruption to commerce and residences. It is our understanding that noise levels are well in excess of applicable legal limits.
Mayor Walsh, we believe in Boston’s growth and are proud of the vibrancy of our Seaport district. But this race is completely disruptive of our lives for an inordinate period of time – several months of disruption every year for 5 years or longer is far too long to bear. Far from adding to the life of the Seaport it has the opposite effect. We do not understand how the city can commit for 5 years to an event like this, given the combined noise, traffic and construction impacts on the fastest growing neighborhood in Boston.
People in the Seaport have put up for a long time with disruptive construction, but have done so with the expectation of great results – which have come to pass. This race brings only the expectation of future disruption with no tangible benefit. It has no place in the Seaport.
We welcome your response, and would be willing to meet with city representatives to elaborate on these concerns. At the very least, we urge you not to sign a multi-year contract with the race promoter until public hearings have been held, and public records concerning the race have been released.
In light of these concerns, however, it is our considered view that it’s time to terminate the city’s long term commitment to this event and cancel the race.
On behalf of Coalition Against IndyCar Boston
Thomas Glynn, MassPort
David Gibbons, Mass Convention Center Authority
Governor Charles Baker
Representative Nick Collins
Senator Linda Dorcena Forry Boston
Thomas Tinlin, Massachusetts Department Of Transportation
Martin Suuberg, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Frank DePaolo, MBTA
Attorney General Maura Healey
Eugene L. O’Flaherty, General Counsel, Mayor’s Office
Jim Murphy, Environmental Prote