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Old 12-04-2017, 02:15 PM   #641
FenwayResident
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Oddly enough they have a point. What good does West Station do before Harvard starts building up the neighborhood? Once that starts happening stick Harvard (and maybe BU) with the bill. 2040 might be a little extreme and I suppose they could construct the thing alongside the highway work and just not make it operational until the neighborhood gets built but I don't recall that being done previously in recent memory.
It's a bit of a catch-22:

If West Station existed, Harvard would have much more of an incentive to build up the neighborhood.

If Harvard built up the neighborhood, politicians would have much more of an incentive to build West Station.

We (the public) can have an impact on politicians but we can't really influence Harvard..
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:49 PM   #642
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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What good does West Station do before Harvard starts building up the neighborhood?
Harvard is already building up the neighborhood. 500,000 sq ft engineering building opening in 2020. Harvard announced last week plans to build another 900,000 sq ft with 800+ parking spaces.

West Station is where people can get off a Worcester Line train and take a bus (or eventually the Grand Junction) to Cambridge. Bus connections to the north & south from West Station to Harvard/Porter and BU/Longwood/Dudley.

Plenty of demand with what is in the pipeline today & what can reasonably be expected in the next 8 years.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:51 PM   #643
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

Your Allston I-90 comments can be sent to alexander.strysky@state.ma.us:

Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs
Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office
Alex Strysky, EEA No. 15278
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

please include your full name and mailing address
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:53 PM   #644
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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...(or eventually the Grand Junction) to Cambridge...
If they installed this connection from Day 1, the demand would instantly be there. This would save lots of commuters coming to Cambridge from Allston, Brighton, Brookline and other points west, from having to travel unnecessarily far inbound in order to take their spoke train/bus trip back outbound. I say this assuming that appropriate other connections could be made to/from West station via bus, green line B, etc.

My point is just that you don't even need the whole neighborhood there for West station to start mattering. People need to break free from the notion that this whole thing is just about Harvard's real estate development ambitions (yeah, I know, it's about that too...but not exclusively by a long shot).
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:01 PM   #645
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

December 1, 2017: Boston Magazine reports that Millennium Partners is suggesting that they may spend $100 million on a gondola project in the Seaport to provide access to a planned development.

December 2, 2017: The Boston Globe reports that West Station's future is tied up in Harvard's development plans and its cost "has ballooned [...] to $95 million", so the project will be delayed until 2040.

You can't make this shit up...
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:13 PM   #646
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

I think you guys are going a little overboard on the 2040 delay. I think its more a reflection of the highway has to get straightened and the primarily Harvard-led plan and larger development framework that would support a station there is at not at a stage where it makes sense to spend the time, money and human capital to design a station. If they just build the station without Harvard as the primary landowner and others knowing what they are going to build, all you do is slow down the Worcester line for a place where the ridership is a tiny fraction of current Yawkey or Station Landing.

Things they don't know: Where are the best exist to maximizes pedestrian flow and access?
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:24 AM   #647
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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I think you guys are going a little overboard on the 2040 delay. I think its more a reflection of the highway has to get straightened and the primarily Harvard-led plan and larger development framework that would support a station there is at not at a stage where it makes sense to spend the time, money and human capital to design a station. If they just build the station without Harvard as the primary landowner and others knowing what they are going to build, all you do is slow down the Worcester line for a place where the ridership is a tiny fraction of current Yawkey or Station Landing.

Things they don't know: Where are the best exist to maximizes pedestrian flow and access?
There is nothing preventing simultaneous construction of West Station and the I-90 realignment except a cheaped out lack of vision by MassDOT.

Developers align developments for traffic/pedestrian flow with existing T stations all the time.
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Old 12-05-2017, 06:39 AM   #648
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

MASSDOT I-90 PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT

Jackson-Mann Community Center, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston
6:30pm
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:54 AM   #649
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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December 2, 2017: The Boston Globe reports that West Station's future is tied up in Harvard's development plans and its cost "has ballooned [...] to $95 million", so the project will be delayed until 2040.

You can't make this shit up...
Waiting for 2040 because of Harvard sounds like something to get BU back on board with their ten million rather than a serious proposal. It is going to be much more expensive to do it later (not to mention closing I 90 for extra days and weeks to put in overpasses) than it would be to do it at the same time as the realignment.

Otherwise it seems people are completely forgetting that West Station would be accessible from the BU side which means that existing BU (classrooms, student housing and Agganis Arena) and Alston/Brighton neighborhoods would immediately have access to the commuter rail line, South Station and points West. West Station isn't just about enabling future development, but about making the existing transit system more efficient.

If they are going to delay the West Station to 2040, then they should just muddle through with maintenance and delay the whole thing.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:12 AM   #650
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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If they are going to delay the West Station to 2040, then they should just muddle through with maintenance and delay the whole thing.
Absolutely not. This is first and foremost a highway project. It resolves deficient bridges, lowers long-term maintenance costs, and clears a nasty traffic bottleneck.

West Station is and always was a waste of money without the service to back it up. Put EMUs on that line and run 10 minute headways and we'll talk, but as long as the trains are coming once every half-hour it's not viable. BU already has a light rail line on the other side of those same buildings that runs out to BC, so it isn't like there's no transit from that neighborhood to points west.

The bus terminal is next-to-useless without a connection through to Comm Ave, since routes will have to divert from Cambridge St to reach it and cross over highway exit traffic to get both into and out of the station.

A station there is not a dumb idea. What IS dumb, and wasteful, is to build it like Boston Landing for the 10 BU grad students who will see an opportunity to live in Framingham on the cheap, especially if BU isn't willing to fund a significant portion of the cost. Claiming that the whole billion-dollar project is pointless without this new urbanist bauble is myopic, to put it mildly.
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:29 AM   #651
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Absolutely not. This is first and foremost a highway project. It resolves deficient bridges, lowers long-term maintenance costs, and clears a nasty traffic bottleneck.

West Station is and always was a waste of money without the service to back it up. Put EMUs on that line and run 10 minute headways and we'll talk, but as long as the trains are coming once every half-hour it's not viable. BU already has a light rail line on the other side of those same buildings that runs out to BC, so it isn't like there's no transit from that neighborhood to points west.

The bus terminal is next-to-useless without a connection through to Comm Ave, since routes will have to divert from Cambridge St to reach it and cross over highway exit traffic to get both into and out of the station.

A station there is not a dumb idea. What IS dumb, and wasteful, is to build it like Boston Landing for the 10 BU grad students who will see an opportunity to live in Framingham on the cheap, especially if BU isn't willing to fund a significant portion of the cost. Claiming that the whole billion-dollar project is pointless without this new urbanist bauble is myopic, to put it mildly.
Well, I am just being about as dumb as the state is in suggesting 2040 (basically saying never). It just isn't worth it to spend hundreds of millions extra in today's state and federal money if there is not going to be an economic benefit in the next two decades because Harvard isn't even ready to develop the land. At least put in a damn commuter rail platform and a pedestrian overpass to get to the BU side. You can't consider increasing frequency of service or gauging demand if there is no service to begin with. Ultimately this is about closing the loop on an actual transportation network, not a stop on a line.

That state has puttered along with maintenance on other elevated highways and bridges for many many years and an extra 15 years or so seems perfectly reasonable to wait to get a better result.

I think it is fair at this point to say put up or shut up to Harvard. Put in $100 million now AND agree to keep it as taxable property for 100 years AND BU put in $30 million.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:11 AM   #652
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

I could live with building the platform for eventual usage but in the near term there's nothing there. Not sure what Harvard building Harry is referring to but if its the science center on Western Ave that's on the other side of the rail yard and nowhere near here. There's no point in having trains stop until we get a street grid and development on the Harvard side. BU students can (and will) just catch the Green Line two blocks away.

It would almost be better for West Station to become an A Line extension of the Green Line running up to Boston Landing but I don't expect to see that before we all get our flying jet packs to zip around in.
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Old 12-05-2017, 12:10 PM   #653
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Absolutely not. This is first and foremost a highway project. It resolves deficient bridges, lowers long-term maintenance costs, and clears a nasty traffic bottleneck.
I agree. Often times highway projects get lost in this forum because they don't involve transit, or bike lanes, or widening sidewalks. It's going to be a nice improvement to the road infrastructure heading into the city.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:03 PM   #654
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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I agree. Often times highway projects get lost in this forum because they don't involve transit, or bike lanes, or widening sidewalks. It's going to be a nice improvement to the road infrastructure heading into the city.
Actually, this one includes bike lanes, mixed use paths, and widened sidewalks on top of everything else.

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Well, I am just being about as dumb as the state is in suggesting 2040 (basically saying never). It just isn't worth it to spend hundreds of millions extra in today's state and federal money if there is not going to be an economic benefit in the next two decades because Harvard isn't even ready to develop the land. At least put in a damn commuter rail platform and a pedestrian overpass to get to the BU side. You can't consider increasing frequency of service or gauging demand if there is no service to begin with. Ultimately this is about closing the loop on an actual transportation network, not a stop on a line.

That state has puttered along with maintenance on other elevated highways and bridges for many many years and an extra 15 years or so seems perfectly reasonable to wait to get a better result.

I think it is fair at this point to say put up or shut up to Harvard. Put in $100 million now AND agree to keep it as taxable property for 100 years AND BU put in $30 million.
The economic benefit of the train station is limited to the neighborhood. The economic benefit of the interchange is not. All of Boston benefits from a better-organized highway access to Storrow, Soldier's Field, Allston, Brighton, and Cambridge. Lower Allston benefits from a Cambridge St. redesign, People's Pike, and expanded parkland on the river.

It doesn't matter if the land never gets developed. The highway project is worth it. As things are today, the station isn't.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:08 PM   #655
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Absolutely not. This is first and foremost a highway project. It resolves deficient bridges, lowers long-term maintenance costs, and clears a nasty traffic bottleneck.
It was with this mentality that we ended up with the crappy network we currently have. You CANNOT split transportation projects up by mode and say screw the others.

This is why roads get built without bike lanes and sometimes even sidewalks.

This is why roads in pristine condition are repaved while the sidewalks along them crack and become inaccessible to those with disabilities.

This is why sometimes even brand new signals don't have transit signal priority.

This is why crosswalks and turn lanes are repainted while the bike lanes on the same road fade to black.

This is why hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year to expand and repave highways while there isn't a few thousand dollars to add an additional bus to an overcrowded route.

Just because there are different bodies tasked with narrowly defined duties doesn't mean that planners and pols can't look at the big picture and make an informed decision. That's how many cities, Cambridge most notably, do it.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:14 PM   #656
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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It was with this mentality that we ended up with the crappy network we currently have. You CANNOT split transportation projects up by mode and say screw the others.

This is why roads get built without bike lanes and sometimes even sidewalks.

This is why roads in pristine condition are repaved while the sidewalks along them crack and become inaccessible to those with disabilities.

This is why sometimes even brand new signals don't have transit signal priority.

This is why crosswalks and turn lanes are repainted while the bike lanes on the same road fade to black.

This is why hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year to expand and repave highways while there isn't a few thousand dollars to add an additional bus to an overcrowded route.

Just because there are different bodies tasked with narrowly defined duties doesn't mean that planners and pols can't look at the big picture and make an informed decision. That's how many cities, Cambridge most notably, do it.
There's a big difference between designing multimodal projects and making projects for one mode contingent on projects for others. The I-90 interchange is a multimodal project. Cambridge St. in its improved state will have better sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, and bus stops. Bike lanes run throughout the interior roads. Harry and his group is pushing for a multi-use trail through the site, while the current design includes significant widening and improvements to the Paul Dudley White path.

You want to throw all of that away because you can't make a ridership case for a commuter rail stop. That's a separate asset, built by a separate branch of State Government, that is useful for only one mode and is an active detriment to another (bus), which will be obligated to lengthen its routes to serve it simply because it's there.

There are many multimodal components of any good highway project. This project checks those boxes. If you want to advocate for West Station on its merits, great. Whether or not it exists has nothing to do with whether the interchange redesign will be successful.
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Old 12-05-2017, 01:47 PM   #657
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Harvard isn't even ready to develop the land
Who says Harvard won't be ready? Harvard can't put shovels in the ground on Allston Landing South until the interchange is done, so they are pushing ahead on Allston Landing North (at least the portions of that which aren't surrounded by a Pike ramp). By the time the interchange is done, I would bet we have an approved plan for their development.

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Things they don't know: Where are the best exist to maximizes pedestrian flow and access?
What??? Harvard's development will respond to the locate of the exits. If there's no station, then the buildings will probably just interact with the street network and ignore any future station. They aren't going to build high traffic exits from their buildings just for pedestrians to interact with the interstate for 15 years.
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:38 PM   #658
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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Who says Harvard won't be ready? Harvard can't put shovels in the ground on Allston Landing South until the interchange is done, so they are pushing ahead on Allston Landing North (at least the portions of that which aren't surrounded by a Pike ramp). By the time the interchange is done, I would bet we have an approved plan for their development.



What??? Harvard's development will respond to the locate of the exits. If there's no station, then the buildings will probably just interact with the street network and ignore any future station. They aren't going to build high traffic exits from their buildings just for pedestrians to interact with the interstate for 15 years.
These are both excellent points.

Equilibrium has decided that chicken must come before egg, but that virtually guarantees a malformed chicken. This is a recipe for failure. A knowable, foreseeable, and completely avoidable failure. This is a recipe for another Seaport.

The worst part is, it isn't even going to save money. Waiting to build the station decades in the future will cost much more than today. You don't have to stop trains there on day 1, you can wait for a signature building or 2 to come online. Heck, even just sitting there it will help attract tenants faster. For pete's sake don't squander the chance to build the thing.
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Old 12-05-2017, 02:43 PM   #659
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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These are both excellent points.

Equilibrium has decided that chicken must come before egg, but that virtually guarantees a malformed chicken. This is a recipe for failure. A knowable, foreseeable, and completely avoidable failure. This is a recipe for another Seaport.

The worst part is, it isn't even going to save money. Waiting to build the station decades in the future will cost much more than today. You don't have to stop trains there on day 1, you can wait for a signature building or 2 to come online. Heck, even just sitting there it will help attract tenants faster. For pete's sake don't squander the chance to build the thing.
This is the exact opposite of the Seaport. In that case the Silver Line was built first before anything new was down there. I remember the words "boondoggle" and "stations are clean enough to eat off the floor" because nobody was there. Now the same whiners are crying because its inadequate for the volume and follows a weird and poorly designed route (has to cross traffic at D street, goes long way around instead of taking State Police on ramp to tunnel, etc).

One could argue if they'd waited a little longer the Silver Line could have been designed better to handle volume and the location of all the development. Along the same lines the bus connections, street grid, pedestrian access, etc might be better off waiting for West Station until there's a better idea of what exactly is going to be built on the old rail yard.
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Old 12-05-2017, 04:10 PM   #660
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Re: I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

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These are both excellent points.

Equilibrium has decided that chicken must come before egg, but that virtually guarantees a malformed chicken. This is a recipe for failure. A knowable, foreseeable, and completely avoidable failure. This is a recipe for another Seaport.
No, I'm not. First off, it's not a "malformed chicken." That would have been the case if MassDOT were proposing their initial high-speed ramp approach. It's a transit-ready neighborhood with a station site reserved.

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This is the exact opposite of the Seaport. In that case the Silver Line was built first before anything new was down there. I remember the words "boondoggle" and "stations are clean enough to eat off the floor" because nobody was there. Now the same whiners are crying because its inadequate for the volume and follows a weird and poorly designed route (has to cross traffic at D street, goes long way around instead of taking State Police on ramp to tunnel, etc).

One could argue if they'd waited a little longer the Silver Line could have been designed better to handle volume and the location of all the development. Along the same lines the bus connections, street grid, pedestrian access, etc might be better off waiting for West Station until there's a better idea of what exactly is going to be built on the old rail yard.
Hey, you made my point for me, so I'll just quote you.

I AM worried about this neighborhood becoming another Seaport.

FWIW, I also never argued against building West Station at all, just against the idea that what's there now should be left to deteriorate at great and increasing expense until such time as West Station opens.
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