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Growing opposition to 'temporary' turnpike bridge over the Charles for Allston realignment

WFXT reports state officials might have to push back a planned 2022 start for a ten-year program to replace the current Allston/Cambridge turnpike interchange because of mounting opposition to a proposal to build a bridge over the Charles while the work is being done.

People living near the "temporary" Forest Hills T bus depot could probably speak to how temporary "temporary" is around here.

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Comments

They should just close the turnpike completely during construction, allowing them to hammer the whole thing out in a matter of months, at most a year. And that is true for almost every such project. It is ALWAYS better to close it down completely over diverting as you save tons of work, time, and money.

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Voting closed 48

If they could really do it in a summer, I think everyone would support that. But I've never heard that's even possible

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Voting closed 9

They don’t have to close all the lanes. The problem is the “need” to keep 6 pike lanes and 4 Storrow lanes open. They are more willing to close one of the train tracks to keep lanes which is crazy.

Also, will changing the final plan for the throat change the construction era plans?

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Voting closed 38

I don't get the logic of tearing down the elevated highway, because elevated roads don't work, but then turning around and suggesting elevating soldiers field road as the best solution.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind burying the pike, putting the train tracks on top of that and be done with it. :)

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Voting closed 31

It's below grade currently and prone to flooding during heavy rain so elevating it during this process makes sense. Elevated doesn't make sense when the infrastructure is several decades old and falling apart.

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Yeah, it needs removing.

The parkway is named for James J. Storrow, an investment banker who led a campaign to create the Charles River Basin and preserve and improve the riverbanks as a public park. He had never advocated a parkway beside the river, and his widow publicly opposed it.

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Voting closed 7

of rail roads ever coming back to being used as a major transporter of goods around this giant continent. Rail is the least expensive per ton and lowest use of energy per mile method of transporting goods that exists. Aren't we going away from burning oil as fuel (trucks, cars)? Why is the only necessary major part of the infrastructure (albeit presently underused) being eliminated so that there is no possibility of ever using it again in the future? Its because the oil companies are making sure there is not an easy way to go away from using cars and trucks to move packages. Its a make-work project, (unnecessary), and its a land-grab (political), and its a greedy & selfish infrastructure elimination (anti-competition) project for the oil companies benefit, against literally EVERYONE ELSE that is living on this planet.

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Voting closed 22

The Casey Arborway Project I consider "done" in 2020. They finally put a new T entrance in and I think that marks the end. So that began in 2015....yeah solid 5 years. Boston now has one season...construction...winter is no more.

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Voting closed 17

After the T shut the Arborway Line, they expanded they turned the trolley yard into what they said would be a temporary bus yard - that's still there, still in the same basic shape as it was back then.

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The Arborway line closed in 1985. The CNG bus facility opened in 2003, yes after the Green Line closed, but by almost 20 years. The bus facility is supposed to be temorary, but the plans were to build a permanent CNG bus facility at Arborway. They never said the future permanent facility would be any place else. In the case of this proposed temporary road, the claim is that the permanent one will be someplace else (not in the river).

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Somebody seriously said that back then? Where did they think they were going to park buses?
It drives me crazy, the number of people who think you can have technology, conveniences, and services without infrastructure.

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Voting closed 11

See: Seaport.

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People concerned about the water quality in the Charles lament that if they build a temporary bridge over the river to carry Storrow, all the pollutants will go in the river. Where do you think the storm drains on the current, land-based Storrow all drain? Right into the river. I don't know if the temporary bridge is the solution, but the pollution angle is a red herring.

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I'm waiting for somebody to "discover" that the location is actually a red herring spawning area and construction has to be halted 3 months out of every year for spawning season.

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MassDOT is really presenting people with a false choice. An at-grade solution for the final design is supported by pretty much everyone, but it doesn't "fit" because MassDOT insists on keeping all 8 lanes on the Mass Pike and 4 lanes on Soldiers Field Rd in the final configuration. Meanwhile, GoBoston 2030 aims to reduce the number of people driving alone to work by 50%. Since I-90 will still be under construction in 2030, there is absolutely NO need to put back 12 lanes for cars. (We would probably be fine with 6 lanes total, but even 8 would be better than the current plan!) If MassDOT relaxed that "requirement", they'd find that their lives would be much easier.

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Voting closed 46

If you read the comments and statements by residents and elected officials in Framingham and Worcester as well as the very conservative Pioneer Institute, it's pretty obvious to me that they are the ones demanding that MassDOT maintain the same roadway capacity as there is today. I don't think MassDOT is willing to take the political risk and reduce lanes on the pike because of the message that would send to Metro West commuters (Boston residents are more important than suburban commuters). Don't blame MassDOT for presenting a false choice - blame Metro West elected officials and Pioneer Institute for demanding no lane reductions.

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I don't exactly disagree, but MassDOT answers to an administration that is tight with the Pioneer Institute, sooo.. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Voting closed 11

As someone who commutes from Worcester to Cambridge, give us better train service before you reduce our lanes. I spent a good year-and-a-half commuting by train until I realized it saved me about an hour a day (or more) to drive in, since the "express" trains into town operate at a worse-than-1950 level of service (the old schedules on the Worcester line have faster trains into town than they do now).

I would gladly get off the road if the commute time by train came down significantly from the nearly 2 hours it would take me now to get from Worcester station to Central Square.

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Voting closed 4

It actually behooves them to start with 8 lanes or less on the straightening project, because further inbound, most of those lanes on the turnpike will be "temporarily" closed anyhow during construction in the Back Bay on deck mounted buildings.

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Voting closed 10

They should reserve a lane each way for buses. And do a major expansion beyond the current service which focuses on Watertown, Waltham, northern Newton, and Brighton to downtown, and start serving many more Metro West towns, and more job centers like Kendall and Longwood.

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Voting closed 5

Has BU been approached about temporarily taking Agannis Way? I'm sure they'd like to get paid while saving the Commonwealth tons of cash for not making whatever twisted plan they'll have to make to work with the confines and scope of the project. As one president said, "Make the pie higher!"

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Voting closed 3

Because they don't look pretty and quaint? Is the real estate industry really the ones behind anti-elevated roadways? Every example of removing elevated roads in and around Boston has generally made surface roads more heavily congested and made it more dangerous for pedestrians.

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And are rarely done well, so that the land underneath the elevated roadway doesn't become a wasteland.

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The most salient concern is maintenance. After just a few decades of use these elevated structures start needing repairs that only get more expensive over time, and they generally need to be fully rebuilt within 50 years. Costs and logistics involved are immense, compared to at-grade roads that can be repaired in a rolling fashion. Elevated structures are even more expensive in winter-having areas like Boston, due to added damage from frost, salt incursion, etc.

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Voting closed 5

elevated roads are essentially bridges. So they need serious ($$) maintenance every 30-50 years that a surface road does not. Plus, especially in the city, you just create massive dead zones underneath them.

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Both roads will have to be elevated (or depressed) at some point in the area. The branch track to the railroad bridge under the BU Bridge will remain, so the roads will have to go over or under it.

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Worth noting that the Forest hills bus yard was formerly known as The Arborway Car Shops and served as a maintenance facility for streetcars and later trackless trolleys like those in Cambridge. It also continued many years after that as a bus maintenance garage and bus stop terminus known as Arborway which was the last stop on all area bus lines... not Forest Hills. That is a recent invention.

It has been a transit rail and bus yard since at least 1900, maybe earlier.

The "temporary" item is the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling facility which is in one corner of the current bus yard. It is "temporary" because of the status of the license that was granted to them by the City which has to be renewed periodically. At one time the MBTA was hoping to convert its whole fleet to CNG buses to reduce emissions and pollution but only Boston was willing to issue it "temporary" license for the fuel depot. There are only 3 in the city; Forest Hills, Southampton Street, and Cabot Rail Yard. No other city or town had the foresight to allow the T to take a bold initiative at pollution reduction, mainly out of fear for the fuel represented.

So a bus yard will continue and stay there as it has for a decent 100 years. What may change is the fuel. The T already can have diesel there if they want to but the fleet operating there is CNG. If the city decides to disallow the fuel license -- the only temporary thing about the Forest Hills (Arborway) yard -- then the fleet will be turned back to diesel.

Electric hybrids? Only a handful of those in the city being evaluated for long-term implementation. In the meantime the T will continue to use CNG at Forest Hills and diesel where they must since that is what is available and what other cities will allow for fuel.

Some of the diesel fleet is already being retired in some sections of the system with new diesel on order. That's what bus manufacturing companies make.

So... not temporary. The MBTA is not moving from there. Write book on that.

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Voting closed 3