Role reversal: State to rebuild turnpike around old Allston tolls at ground level; elevate Soldiers Field Road above it

WBUR reports MassDOT has picked a plan to deal with the decaying elevated Massachusetts Turnpike section in Allston by straightening it out and dropping it to ground level.

To make room for that, the state will then build a new elevated roadway above one side of the turnpike to carry Soldiers Field road, which now runs along the Charles, as part of the $1.1-billion plan.



Free tagging: 



This was a softball and Pollack still botched it

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The City of Boston and an army of engineers put this project on a silver platter for Pollack, and she still screwed it up. The wrong elevated option was put forward by Pollack and the drawings were definitely not ready for prime time. The latest rendering has a ton of fatal flaws in it. Pollack needed something to distract everyone from the Ramirez fiasco and ultimately created another fire


Pollack wanted to get the I-90 stuff out before her TRB 19 rant

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Stephanie Pollack yelled again at the Transportation Research Board Convention in DC. She was a no show at the FMCB. Meanwhile Poftak and Gonneville are in Boston doing their job. Pollack loves those conventions. Her year seems to be 40% convention 20% site touring 20% board meetings 10% travel, and 10% "work".

MassDOT admitted the rendering is faulty

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They put out a few statements minutes after the press release. Beyond the initial euphoria of the Masspike lowering Allston residents had a wave of questions. This MassDOT specializes in the quick jolt of happy news packaged with an unworkable product.

No brilliant pun?

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Yeah, I was hoping for a big pun on this one. Am disappoint.

But the views...

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I hate to be the one to say it but by rebuilding the Pike at grade they're going to take away the magnificent views of Boston down the Charles as one approaches the city on the elevated portion after the old tolls location.


Poor drivers. I mean what are

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Poor drivers. I mean what are they getting out of this other than 1.1 billion dollars from taxpayers and many acres of hugely valuable property?


Only 1.1 billion? The auto

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Only 1.1 billion? The auto lobby must be losing power. Drivers are entitled to much, much more than a measly 1.1 billion. Maybe we can get that $100 dollars dedicated to bike Lanes....

I don't think taxpayers are covering this one.

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The Metropolitan Highway System (Mass Pike Boston Extension, Ted Williams, Sumner, and Callahan Tunnels, but NOT the Tobin Bridge) brought in $225 million in toll and other revenues in 2017. A bunch of that covers Big Dig indebtedness but the toll revenues are likely more than adequate to fund this project without touching a penny of tax dollars.

Also, this project frees up "acres of hugely valuable property" by straightening out a no-longer-needed curve on the Turnpike and reconfiguring an overly convoluted interchange necessitated by toll collection. Presumably it also improves the experience for both cyclists and pedestrians on what is now a very narrow section of the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path.

A heck of a lot of express

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A heck of a lot of express buses run through there without stopping.

Would it be possible to include a bus station for BU, that one or two routes could serve without delaying through riders that much?

How about bus-only ramps to the BU Bridge to serve MIT and Kendall Square?

Isn't that the point of

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Isn't that the point of express buses? Bypassing the interim points?

...and thank you for using the correct plural. As much as I enjoy the sparring and banter with others who lurk in comment boxes, I do not want busses - Nay! Not even a single buss! - from them.

Anyway.... I'm sure there's room for Express Bus on- and off- ramps here. It might require a little land taking from the Comm Av sidewalks and bike lanes, but it's in a good cause!


If a lot of people would ride

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If a lot of people would ride the bus to an intermediate point, and serving it wouldn't add much time, that's when it makes sense.

Leaving the highway and driving all over on congested local streets would be a big time waster. But as long as we're building a billion dollar elevated road, it's easy to include some bus-only ramps for a highwayside stop.

Magazine Street

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is so narrow, you can't drive two cars past each other without one having to pull over, let alone two buses.

Maybe if they got rid of one whole side of parking and widened the lanes. The 47 and 64 buses that go down there ride with the double yellow between their wheels. It's completely ridiculous. More buses would only block out Magazine into Central.

Heading to Kendall, they'd otherwise have to head on Putnam (which isn't supposed to allow large vehicles) or Memorial Drive (which buses can't operate on due to low bridges).

No more buses up Magazine until/unless they widen the lanes!

Pearl Street

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47 buses were banned from Pearl Street during reconstruction, since they couldn't get off the street during detours. They'll probably be back on Pearl this spring.

BU Bridge to MIT/Kendall

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BU Bridge to MIT/Kendall would be on Vassar Street or Memorial Drive. No underpasses until Mass Ave, and the bus could bypass that one with a minor road reconfiguration.

An express bus stop

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Might be possible at West Station. Bus-only ramps would allow 500-series buses to make a quick stop at West Station before getting back on the Pike to Boston, although you'd want to minimize the time and route getting on and off the Pike (maybe left-side ramps, or something).

West Station could be a real multi-modal hub, with train service from Worcester to South Station, a shuttle across the Grand Junction to North Station or Assembly, Logan Express service to the airport, and buses to Harvard Square and the LMA.


I hope West Station zealotry

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I hope West Station zealotry doesn't result in a misplaced bus stop. People don't want to go to the former rail yard that's not really walking distance to anywhere. They really want to go to BU. (And other places not directly on the Pike, like Kendall, Longwood, and maybe eventually the theoretical Harvard engineering campus across Cambridge Street.)

Boston Landing is a whopping 0.8 miles from the West Station site. How many hordes of people are using the commuter rail-to-bus transfer that exists TODAY that would get them from the Worcester Line to Kendall?

I'm not sure the point

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If you're on a 500 bus, you're headed from Watertown/Brighton/eastern Newton to downtown already. Nobody would be using the 500s to get to West Station...there are local routes (86, 64, 57, 70) that cover that already. At most it might help some West Newton/Waltham people who don't want to go into Waltham to the 70 or get on the commuter rail for a few stops to Boston Landing.

Additionally, most of those routes are pretty full as it is...offering additional options for more localized commuting seems like a bad idea since it sometimes leaves people behind just for express/downtown service.


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...the plan is to eliminate the crumbling elevated roadway by replacing it with another elevated roadway?