Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cypher Street Raising Public Safety Concerns

updated 3/31/16: The Boston Public Improvement Commission votes in favor of the Cypher Street petition under the condition of environmental approval by the appropriate city, state and federal agencies.

The Boston Grand Prix' plans to place part of their race track on Cypher Street is raising public safety and environmental concerns in the neighborhood. IndyCar Boston, promoters of the Boston Grand Prix, is petitioning the City of Boston's Public Improvement Commission to allow them to widen Cypher Street for their three day auto race event Labor Day weekend. 

The growing concern focuses specifically on concentrations of toxic waste largely from PCBs that exist under and adjacent to Cypher Street and whether construction of the proposed widened roadway will cause any public health / safety impacts to abutting residents as well as event attendees. The highest concentration of PCBs including land under Cypher Street has been sealed with temporary caps, which are under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ground water monitoring wells exist to be sure that no toxic waste seeps into the water.  Any change in use of that area needs approval by the EPA. Originally the site was to be re-mediated with the expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which is now on hold. 

The Public Improvement Commission should consider public safety and ensure that city, state and federal environmental authorities (Federal EPA, State Department of Environmental Protection, State Environmental Review Agency- MEFA, Boston Environmental/Public Health Dept. and Boston Conservation Commission) have the opportunity to review and give their approval on the petitioner's roadway changes before rendering a decision. The environmental agencies' reviews should be made public and shared with residents in the abutting Fort Point, South Boston Waterfront/Seaport and St. Vincent's Lower End neighborhoods. 

The petition will grant the City a right of way up to 60' wide on Cypher Street, a street currently under State/Massachusetts Convention Center Authority ownership, which raises serious issues regarding the responsibility of future remediation of the toxic waste and cost estimated to be in the millions.

The public is invited to voice concerns and opinions at the 
Public Improvement Commission Public Hearing:

Thursday, March 31st
10 am
City Hall room 801

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