SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 19, 2013

'Quality of life' concerns

Brimbal Avenue neighbors worry about impact of project

BEVERLY — The papers are spread across a table in the kitchen of Dan DeAngelis’ home on Brimbal Avenue, where he has lived for 33 years.

There are maps and drawings, a thick environmental file, applications for state funding, letters from the mayor — the accumulated record of what is known as the Brimbal Avenue interchange project.

DeAngelis, 57, is among the groundswell of residents who are speaking out against the plans. So many people showed up at Monday night’s public hearing on the project at City Hall that city councilors had to recess the meeting and move it to tonight at 7 in the larger Beverly High School auditorium.

While Mayor Bill Scanlon has touted the project as a way to spur major economic development, DeAngelis and others say it will increase traffic on an already busy road and seriously impact their neighborhood.

“The delicate balance of development and quality of life seems to be tipping to the development side,” DeAngelis said. “People came to Beverly because of the type of town that it was. It’s slowly going to become the type of town we won’t recognize anymore.”

The proposed project is a complicated plan that involves building a series of new interchanges to improve traffic flow in the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 area. It would also widen a section of Brimbal Avenue, place traffic signals and roundabouts at various locations, and add sidewalks and bike paths.

Scanlon says the work will not only improve traffic flow and safety, but will open up acres of land to development along Route 128 that will generate regional jobs and tax revenue for the city.

Scanlon, who is not running for re-election and will leave office in January, said he has been working on the project for nearly a decade. But DeAngelis and other residents say they were mostly unaware of the scope and details until recently.

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