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State to announce final plans for Allston turnpike realignment this fall

CommonWealth reports MassDOT is looking at a new alternative for rebuilding the turnpike while maintaining train lines, Soldiers Field Road and bike and pedestrian paths in a space just 204 feet wide just past where the Allston/Cambridge tolls used to be.

Part of the consideration would be whether to actually build a commuter-rail station in the former train yard that Harvard is planning to turn into a new Harvard Square. State planners are now looking at a three-platform station that would also include provisions for some future "urban rail" service across the Charles River into Cambridge.

MassDOT presentation.

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Comments

Your WCVB "reports" link leads back here.

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We wouldn’t need to allocate space for the Grand Junction line if we had built the north-south rail link. 60’ more for ‘The Throat’.

Two problems with that idea:

1) The Grand Junction is used not just to shuttle MBTA and Amtrak equipment between the north and south sides, but also by freight trains to Everett. It will also likely still be in the T's best interest to retain it even if the NSRL is built in the name of redundancy (or for use by work trains that may struggle with the steep grades in the tunnel, or moving equipment in case the tunnel is blocked for some reason).

2) The GJ is a valuable corridor that will hopefully eventually play host to some form of transit service connecting Camberville to Allston and points west. It was part of the planned Urban Ring route. Even if it doesn't remain rail in its current form, it will still be used for something, and thus still need to go somewhere on the Allston end.

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How does spending billions over 10 years to keep all 12 lanes of traffic do anything to help shift regional trips to transit and significant reductions in highway travel? If you build it they will come.

This has drastic impacts on the Allston community and Sec. Pollack has been dismissive of any plans that don't maintain the current lane numbers, all based on pre-covid traffic data.

Oh and lets not forget the absurd ideas of temporary structures spanning into the Charles for years and measly crumbs giving to peds/bikes and once again keeping this part of the Charles blocked out from everything else by another viaduct.

I'm sorry but how does any of this fit in with addressing climate, pollution and traffic levels by sticking to the status quo?

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I am really disappointed that they are not planning on just 3 lanes each way with the third lane being the exit/entry lane. With telecommuting becoming the norm for years to come, if not forever, there is no need for a 12 lane monstrosity piercing the city.

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There will always be traffic. When there is less traffic, more people drive and make the traffic worse again. So the best thing to do is remove lanes. Traffic won't be any better but it won't be worse. More people will take alternatives.

The proposal is right out of 1960, seemingly unaware 60 years of studies and social changes have happened.

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Interesting. So increasing or decreasing road capacity both have zero effect on travel times? Always, without fail? That seems a little unlikely. In theory it could be likely that increased capacity doesn't speed things up, but in some cases different outcomes are possible depending on the specific situation.

And neither one makes the Commuter Rail any less awful.

How dare you suggest that Boston be designed with Bostonians in mind!!1! Boston is for people from Framingham who don’t feel like taking public transit, not for the people who live in Boston. Plus all the pollution from suburban drivers is great for the funeral industry.

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or a discounted speed pass for skateboards.

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Slide 36.

slow strolling elderly. A bike "lane" means no old people, no cars and no dogs. Skateboards are slighted again.

"Harvard is planning to turn into a new Harvard Square" Without necessary public transportation infrastructure this could be more like South Bay (or Menino's suburban mistake)

I honestly can't believe that Secretary Pollack has the gall to claim that "we've put the full range of alternatives out there" and that "this is the last time" we are going to analyze different ones.

That is a flat out lie. MassDOT has held firm this entire time that there must continue to be 12 lanes for cars (8 on I-90 and 4 on Soldiers Field Rd.) Yet the community has been asking for YEARS to see at least one alternative with fewer lanes, all at the surface, that doesn't encroach into the river, and that widens the parkland.

The Secretary is having trouble fitting everything in because she's trying to fit too much. If she wants to be honest and transparent, there needs to be at least one (maybe even more) alternative that has fewer that 12 lanes, and prioritizes parkland, walking, bicycling, and transit over the desire to maintain all the existing highway and parkway lanes. Clearly state the pros and cons and let the public decide.

Just because someone decided in the 1950s that there would be 12 lanes for cars here does NOT mean that we need to have 12 lanes forever. It's all about building the future we want, rather than being at the mercy of traffic engineers who want to scare us into believing that hundreds of thousands of cars are inevitable and that we MUST accommodate all of them. We really need to be asking "who does this project serve?"

Of course regional travel is important, but is having 12 lanes through the middle of Boston the way we want to do that? Wouldn't improving train service be a much more environmentally friendly solution, that also has far fewer negative impacts on the people who live near this corridor?

Do we not care about reclaiming our riverfront, reducing traffic, noise, pollution, and greenhouse gases? Have we learned nothing from COVID-19 about how much nicer Boston is without so many cars?

Now is the time to build the City we want. COVID-19 has pressed the reset button. Are we going to rebuild exactly what we had before (and go right back to having the worst traffic congestion in the country) or will we build for a better future?

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...that defies physics? Because that's about the only way you're gonna get "...fewer lanes, all at the surface, that doesn't encroach into the river, and that widens the parkland" in the space that exists there, and still have room for rail, pedestrian and bike infrastructure.

I suppose the one good thing about 12 stupid lanes is that it maintains the same ROW so that a bunch of them can be replaced with an inter-city maglev someday. In the meantime Fung Wah can use those extra lanes.
IMAGE(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/5a/23/9f/5a239fb0a441d610d3b152fda8c9b651.jpg)

I really hope they DON'T build West Station.

A billion dollar palace in a rail yard, with service on a terrible Commuter Rail schedule, is a good way to spend a lot of money and not get any new riders for it.

Instead, what the area needs is a minimalist station in Allston Village where there used to be one (at the Pizzeria Regina building at Harvard Ave), with service every 15 minutes or better. Which can be achieved with single-employee self-propelled trains. Off-peak riders fit in one open car, so we don't need to heave an 8-car train with 3 or 4 employees back and forth to Worcester.

Put the money saved towards bus lanes for the 66 and on the Pike, and add some new express bus routes direct to Kendall and Longwood.

If there is a way to do something temporary to punt this decision a few years, that’s the way to go.

The grim world of post COVID state finances are going to become readily apparent soon. COVID is accelerating telecommuting and we will have more data several years out to better support fewer than 12 lanes. If we can punt the long term decision to 2025 or so there’s a better chance at a wholesale remake here.

If the decision has to be made this year budget realities and the perceived need for 12 lanes are going to lead to either the viaduct option or, more likely, no build and we duct tape what’s in place and move on to other things.

There still a lot of land to be swapped with BU. Why isn't this happening? Why isn't a one or two floor building next to lot D (behind 888 Commonwealth) getting bought and crushed? It has to be cheaper than what's been presented