Councilor threatens Indy for ignoring South Boston (Update)

UPDATE

David Lurie – is typical of what's wrong with America today – and how a few can ruin something good for the greater mass

Residents raised objections last night to a plan to divert commercial trucks onto West First Street during the IndyCar race on Labor Day weekend.

The planned race course will incorporate New Cypher Street, making it difficult for traffic to move through Summer Street and the Fish Pier without a direct route from the South Boston Bypass to West First Street, Grand Prix of Boston representatives said.

"A connection would be built on West First Street with the intention for it to be only used over the race weekend," said Keri Pyke, principal of planning and public involvement for the race. "Massport and the city said we need to make a provision."

David Lurie, a representative and lawyer for the Coalition Against IndyCar Boston, said creating a temporary connector through West First Street would be troublesome and disruptive to South Boston residents.

"(Trucks) would have to cross what’s mostly contaminated land; a site that is perhaps the most contaminated in the state," he said.

New Cypher Street, a former toxic waste dump, is being evaluated by the EPA and through the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act for the event.

IndyCar spokeswoman Kate Norton, citing city officials, said truck traffic is expected to trail off during the holiday weekend.

But local residents questioned the notion that trucks would be diverted onto city streets only on Friday and not all weekend long.

"Commerce does not stop on the weekends," Lurie said. Jordan Frias/Boston Herald

04/07/16 A city councilor lashed out at the organizers of the IndyCar Grand Prix for its failure to reach out to South Boston youth sports organizations and build local partnerships, threatening to lobby councilors to oppose the event in a formal resolution if he doesn't see a change in posture.

"If IndyCar is listening, they better be on the horn this morning, or I'll be looking to work with the lead sponsors to convert this to a resolution whereby this body goes on record saying we don't want IndyCar; not this year, not next year, and they can go to other destinations," said at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty during yesterday's City Council meeting.

Flaherty argued that South Boston organizations deserve mitigation because the neighborhood will bear the brunt of the inconvenience and impact from the Labor Day weekend event, which will attract 170,000 spectators and require months of construction to reconfigure roads in the Seaport District.

IndyCar said they have and will reach out to Southie.

"The Grand Prix of Boston had made extensive outreach to numerous nonprofits and charitable organizations that have a tremendous impact in South Boston and beyond," spokesman Harry-Jacques Pierre said in a statement. "Last fall we made contact with South Boston Youth Hockey about a partnership and are going to pledge a significant donation to the organization very soon."

Pierre pointed to IndyCar's partnership with the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Grand Prix's partnership with the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes and Veterans Homestead.

The call-out comes as race organizers and Mayor Martin J. Walsh work on a revised memorandum of understanding to host the event.

"The mayor has made it clear to IndyCar that community engagement is key to this process as it moves forward," Walsh spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said. Jack Encarnacao/Boston Herald

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