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All Things Travel: Residents Worry About Suffolk Downs Casino Traffic

By Bob Weiss, CBSBoston.com Travel Contributor
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A rendering of the originally proposed Suffolk Downs Casino. (Courtesy: Elkus Manfredi Architects)

A rendering of the originally proposed Suffolk Downs Casino. (Courtesy: Elkus Manfredi Architects)

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REVERE (CBS) – At a town meeting on Tuesday evening residents of Revere expressed major concern regarding traffic congestion that the casino at Suffolk Downs would bring to the area.

More than 250 residents turned out at the race track to hear officials outline plans on how they plan to handle the extra 10,000 vehicles a week once the casino is completed.

Suffolk Downs has sent a nonrefundable $400,000 check to the Commonwealth to begin discussion with state agencies and what their role will be in the $1 billion project.

In a detailed traffic presentation by Suffolk Downs Chief Operating Officer Chip Tuttle and traffic consultant company Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, Inc. of Watertown, they pointed out that the developers are willing to spend about $40 million in traffic improvements near the site.

There will be a similar meeting at Suffolk Downs for East Boston residents on Thursday starting at 6 p.m.

bobweiss All Things Travel: Residents Worry About Suffolk Downs Casino Traffic

Bob Weiss, CBS Boston travel contributor

Suffolk Downs proposes to spend the $40 million to build a flyover northbound on Rte. 1A to eliminate the traffic light at Boardman Street in East Boston. They would also spend several million dollars to work with The Massachusetts Department of Transportation in a new turnoff at Rte. 1 in Revere that would ease traffic going to Bell Circle and to the casino.

Many residents expressed concern that the new flyover would only move traffic north a mile to the circle.

Traffic studies over the last couple of years estimate that 70-percent of visitors to the resort casino would arrive by using the two harbor tunnels. Another 16-percent would come by way of Rte. 1.

The busiest days for traffic would be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with weekends accounting for 55-percent of visitors and the peak travel expected to occur around 7 p.m. on those days.

One Revere resident wanted to know where Suffolk Downs would draw business from south of Boston especially if a casino was also built in Taunton. Tuttle indicated that he thought Braintree might be the dividing line for visitors to the two proposed casinos.

Suffolk Downs will also commit to improvements at their MBTA station and offer free monthly passes to their employees.

“More can be done, but we cannot solve every problem,” said Tuttle. “The choice is gaming or some other development at Suffolk Downs.”

Suffolk Downs also owns the closed property at the Wonderland Dog Track in Revere, but at this time no plans have been finalized for the use of that property.

Tuttle indicated that a number of neighborhood meetings were planned to discuss all of these local issues and concerns.

Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

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