The overhaul of Interstate 90 at the Mass Pike Allston interchange is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redistribute space using multi-modal transportation as a blueprint for development and placemaking.
Secretary Matthew Beaton
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Attn: MEPA Office
Alexander Strysky, EEA #15278
100 Cambridge St., #900, Boston MA 02114
Here are some good talking points:
Build West Station now because we need #TransitNotTraffic
Boston and the region are growing at an unprecedented rate. Delaying West Station until 2040 - MassDOT's proposed construction timeline - will increase congestion, depress economic growth, and limit mobility for all. West Station must be built as soon as possible to improve mobility, mitigate commuter traffic during construction, and ensure transit-oriented development.
Construction for this project will disrupt traffic traveling along the MassPike, Soldiers Field Road, and Cambridge Street for at least five years. By not providing transit options, decision-makers are electing for longer commutes, more pollution, and less economic opportunity for employees, residents, and students.
West Station is just as important for crosstown connections. A north-south bus corridor at West Station is crucial for making long-desired transit connections to job sectors located in Cambridge, BU, and the Longwood Area
Don’t build the viaduct
Advocates have offered surface options that will be more practical and maintain opportunities for multimodal connections.
Not building the viaduct will save time and tens of millions of dollars in construction costs, which can be better spent to provide new transit, bike, and walking connections.
- A surface option will also make air rights developments possible at a future date.
Improve parkland and trail amenities in the Throat
- The DEIR does not fully explore alternatives for improving the Dr. Paul Dudley White walking and biking path near the BU Bridge.
- There are opportunities to shift the trail away from Soldiers Field Road, onto the river's edge or along an adjacent boardwalk.
- Support WalkBoston and the Charles River Conservancy's #UnchokeTheThroat campaign, and check out their video here to learn more.
Create a network of safe, multimodal, and human-scaled streets in the proposed neighborhood
- Improve neighborhood connectivity for walking, biking, and transit between North and South Allston. Current plans for the proposed street grid are too wide and pose safety challenges for people walking and biking.
- Allow for the creation of the proposed People's Pike pedestrian and bicycle path between Franklin Street and the Charles River by flipping the rail lay-up yard, as Harvard has proposed.
- The Franklin Street footbridge is an essential connection over I-90 for the residents of Allston who are walking and biking and should be built in the first phase.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or would like to get more involved in advocating for this project.
- When the I-90 interchange was built in the 1960's, construction focused on moving motor vehicle traffic and not much else.
- Ridership on MBTA's Worcester/Framingham Commuter Line (paralleling the I-90 artery) has jumped from 600 to more than 16,000 people daily. During peak hours, there are now as many people commuting by train as there are in cars on I-90. This demand demonstrates the need to look at the project as much more than a simple highway reconstruction.
“The Pike straightening isn't a highway construction project. It's an economic development project...It is the first step that's needed to unlock 140 acres of surrounding land for new development.”
- Paul McMorrow | Boston Globe
- The I-90 Allston viaduct is nearing the end of its useful lifespan and must be replaced to prevent the bridge from becoming structurally deficient.
- The project presents an opportunity to dramatically reduce the footprint of the existing Allston Interchange toll plaza made possible by the implementation of All Electronic Tolling (AET) in October 2016.
- The community has stepped forward to ask the city and state to work together to create a "pike for people", unlocking opportunities for multi-modal transportation and enhancing cross-town connections to ease congestion in the urban core.
“If done right, the narrowest, nastiest, and noisiest thread of Charles River parklands could be transformed into the Allston Esplanade, the next great civic space in Boston.”
- Harry Mattison | Boston Globe
The Road Forward
LivableStreets continues to push for a project design that will align with the neighborhood's vision: connecting a green, modern, and multi-modal Allston.
MassDOT begins drafting an Environmental Impact Report that will examine and compare all 3 of the designs put forward.
With influence from advocates, MassDOT recontracts the Boston Redevelopment Authority to conduct a placemaking study of the area.
The People's Pike
Advocates submit two alternative designs for I-90. Both prioritize transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and parkland improvements more than the original MassDOT design.
All Hands on Deck
MassDOT invites 45 local and regional stakeholders to join a task force to help determine how best to reimagine the I-90 Allston area.
Times A Changin'
With the I-90 Allston viaduct nearing the end of its useful lifespan and all electronic tolling to replace toll booths on the Mass Pike, MassDOT looks to realign the interchange and reshape more than 100 acres.
- A community-led meeting was held in February 2017 to reinforce the vision for a people's pike.
- The Go Boston 2030 Vision and Action Plan was released in March 2017. The plan has designated West Station and bus service improvements as "Priority Projects" for Go Boston 2030. You can view the full report here.
- In Spring 2017, MassDOT will present a draft environmental impact report which includes all 3 plans. View the full project timeline here.
What you can do
Join the conversation: Attend a LivableStreets Advocacy Committee meeting or follow People's Pike on Facebook and Twitter.
Volunteer: Join us in spreading the word about the importance of safe and livable streets. Our volunteers are actively involved in all of our events and programming, including our Street Ambassadors program.
Stand up and be counted: Attend a public meeting. See LivableStreets calendar — it's updated daily!
Become a member: Join the growing community of people invested in creating safe streets and livable communities. Become a member of LivableStreets today!