Threats to scrap project are not consensus-builders
I can understand state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack’s frustration with what your Aug. 16 editorial calls the “laborious process of reaching consensus” as we “build a once-in-a-generation transportation project” in Allston (”Keep thinking big on the Allston Interchange”). However, Pollack’s “veiled threat . . . that the state could abandon the whole project and just patch up the existing viaduct” does not help build consensus.
MassDOT admits that the viaduct “is nearing the end of its useful lifespan, and must be replaced.” As a representative and lifelong resident of Allston-Brighton, we’ve been dealing with the impacts of the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension since its construction in 1964. It is an asphalt moat that has separated us from one another and from our most treasured resource, the Charles River.
This project involves more than straightening the Mass. Pike — it is about creating a transportation system and improving public transit. The construction of West Station will connect commuters to the Longwood Medical Area and the biotech industry in Kendall Square, allowing for the development, with widespread support, of adjacent land owned by the Harvard Corporation. This project will be an economic driver of jobs and transportation improvements for the entire Greater Boston-MetroWest area.
Playing a game of chicken when there is no intent to abandon this project is not being an honest broker. Ignoring the demands of those closest to it with threats to scrap the project will not foster the good will necessary for compromise. It is not too much to ask that a few feet of shoulder on the Mass. Pike be eliminated so that my constituents can benefit from environmentally friendly roadway and extra green space.
The Allston Multimodal Project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So why not get it right?
Representative Michael Moran
18th Suffolk District
State urged to reduce lanes on Mass. Pike
Re “Keep thinking big on the Allston Interchange”: An all-at-grade solution to the Allston Interchange is the only one that avoids intruding into the Charles River and minimizes noise pollution, and it would be the easiest and cheapest to build and maintain. To best meet that goal, the Sierra Club urges MassDOT to reduce the lanes on the Mass. Pike.
Outbound lanes could be reduced by one, either permanently or, just during rush hours, with a zipper lane. We could be bold and reduce one lane in each direction, which should reduce costs and could increase space for parks or active transportation such as bikes.
Lane reduction will allow standard shoulders for safety, and reduce what, in effect, is a land subsidy given to vehicles, which we need to end in order to address the climate crisis. Finally, this proposal should allow for full or even expanded train service during the decade-long construction process, which is essential for continued regional mobility. This also means we need West Station sooner rather than later.
Massachusetts Sierra Club