State construction crews are preparing to take a wrecking ball to the Massachusetts Turnpike’s Allston tollbooths. They’re going to level the toll plaza, knock the bend out of the Pike as it passes through Allston, and erase a tangle of ramps that connect the highway with the surrounding neighborhood. It’s an enormous undertaking. But it’s also just the beginning of the work that needs to happen around that stretch of highway.
State transportation officials are treating the road-straightening effort strictly like a highway project, threatening to leave other improvements, like a new rail station, for another day. This misses the point of fixing the Allston interchange. It’s a warning sign that state transportation officials are rushing into a $260 million boondoggle.