The predictions were dire. Anxious residents packed community meetings; panicked about endless gridlock, cars choking their quiet residential neighborhoods, a parking free-for-all on neighborhood side streets and that perception that no was listening to them.
The fear is understandable. Whenever something big moves into an underutilized site of old parking lots and vacant buildings, it’s hard to imagine how the surrounding vicinity will handle the new-found influx of new workers, residents and customers.
So it’s understandable that when Everett was being considered as a site for a massive casino/resort, that so many predicted it would be traffic Armageddon.
Finally, earlier this summer — following years of trepidation — Encore Boston Harbor Casino: with some 5,000 employees, 671 hotel rooms, 15 restaurants and bars and a massive gambling floor with 3,100 slot machines and 231 table games and no direct MBTA stop– opened.
So just how miserable has traffic there been during the height of Boston’s tourist season?
“The much anticipated traffic and congestion that Encore was predicted to cause has been pleasantly underwhelming,” Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke told Patch.
…Somerville Economic Development Director Tom Galligani said that, anecdotally, businesses at Assembly Row have not noticed a change in sales or traffic, but added that it may be too early to tell if that’s the case. He added his office has received little feedback — either positive or negative — from local shops about the casino.
We’ll never see anything the size and scope of Econore here in Newton. We just don’t have that much developable land.
But we have had our share of predictions of our own traffic Armegeddons in recent years.
Remember, when it was announced that Wegman’s was opening in Chestnut Hill and many worried that it would turn Route 9 into a parking lot?
How about those predictions about how no one would be able to find a parking space in Newtonville while the Austin Street project was being built?
And remember when the state announced the lane change on Route 9 onto I-95 and some folks in Waban predicted backups that would make entering Route 9 from Chestnut Street impossible?
Those predicted “nightmares” — as we all now know — just didn’t happen.
It takes thoughtful planning. It takes traffic mediation.
But sometimes Armageddon never arrives.