I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

tangent

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Politically shutting down the Pike for any extended time is a non-starter, even during summer. You'd have an easier time getting the Worcester Line shut down.
They did it for a short period of time in August for the overpass replacement. I would like to see some data on how bad that was. People adapt and the planning could help with additional commuter options.
 

tangent

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If you want to continue our convo about figuring out how to eliminate the River Roads, click here.
Just going to address the part that involves this project. Not eliminating the road, but eliminating a lane in either direction would help with the space limitations. Throw in an on and off ramp to a newly grounded Mass pike and I think you can divert traffic away from Soldiers Field Rd. Just go down to one lane West of the BU bridge and work out an overpass ramp configuration so people driving west can get on the pike and people driving east from the Pike can get on Storrow.
 

whighlander

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Just going to address the part that involves this project. Not eliminating the road, but eliminating a lane in either direction would help with the space limitations. Throw in an on and off ramp to a newly grounded Mass pike and I think you can divert traffic away from Soldiers Field Rd. Just go down to one lane West of the BU bridge and work out an overpass ramp configuration so people driving west can get on the pike and people driving east from the Pike can get on Storrow.
HUH??? -- have you ever seen the traffic reports on the Pike in the winter?
No -- What is needed for I-90 and Storrow in the segment from Newton to BU is unfortunately a SWXSW solution -- in Austin I-35 bisects the city on two levels -- the express lanes through the city and the local highway with entrances and exits

Do the same Make I-90 express only and then make Soldiers Field / Storrow into a local highway

Since we need to rebuild the I-90 / I-95 Interchange on the Charles anyway -- here's the plan [in part] -- all of these can be accessed from the main I-90 coming from Worcester and beyond:
  1. I-90 to I-95 N
  2. I-90 to I-95 S
  3. I-90 to local stuff around the bend in the Charles [Reservation road, Riverside T, etc.]
  4. I-90 express to Harvard / BU, South Boston, East Boston -- 1 or 2 lanes with no intermediate stops and some special exit lanes
  5. I-90 local highway -- 2 to 3 lanes with the existing exits
  6. Soldiers Field / Storrow -- 2 to 3 lanes mostly as exists already

Allocate the lanes as needed for the various further exits, etc.

then do Something similar to reassemble I-90 heading West to Worcester and beyond

Combine all the rebuilding and as someone suggested -- use express construction -- 3 years -- with max disruptions in the summer building season 20 hours per day and all day every weekend except 4th, etc.
 

jklo

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Looking at it again, I'm not sure as to why SFR even needs to be touched at all, unless that's part of the staging.
 

tangent

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Looking at it again, I'm not sure as to why SFR even needs to be touched at all, unless that's part of the staging.
I think in all the plans they are assuming that minimizing the closures is a much higher priority than overall project time and overall cost. In which case you probably have to build temporary elevated highways because there isn't enough room to build a permanent structure.

I disagree with this approach when dealing with confined spaces and elevated structures, and the DOT approach in general, because to save X number of months of closures you are adding hundreds of millions to the overall cost and at least doubling the overall project time which itself increases the risk of extended disruptions every time you have to switch over to a new temporary road configuration.

If you eliminate the requirement to minimize closures and instead focus on minimizing costs and minimizing overall project time then I think you get to a much lower project cost and a much shorter project.

To me that should be your baseline project and only then should you see what you can do to minimize disruptions and examine that trade space.
 

JeffDowntown

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I think in all the plans they are assuming that minimizing the closures is a much higher priority than overall project time and overall cost. In which case you probably have to build temporary elevated highways because there isn't enough room to build a permanent structure.

I disagree with this approach when dealing with confined spaces and elevated structures, and the DOT approach in general, because to save X number of months of closures you are adding hundreds of millions to the overall cost and at least doubling the overall project time which itself increases the risk of extended disruptions every time you have to switch over to a new temporary road configuration.

If you eliminate the requirement to minimize closures and instead focus on minimizing costs and minimizing overall project time then I think you get to a much lower project cost and a much shorter project.

To me that should be your baseline project and only then should you see what you can do to minimize disruptions and examine that trade space.
I agree with this. I think DOT has an obligation to be sensitive about the closure time, but it is certainly not the only variable to be optimized on. There is probably some balancing space the has reasonable project cost, reasonable project duration and low but not minimum closure time. It does not feel like that is being solved for.
 

jklo

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I think in all the plans they are assuming that minimizing the closures is a much higher priority than overall project time and overall cost. In which case you probably have to build temporary elevated highways because there isn't enough room to build a permanent structure.
It might still be years, which isn't happening. I think the only thing that could happen would be to reduce the scope to just the throat and not touch the aqueduct at all. But I think they want to include that since it would likely get Phase 2'd and would likely mean no West Station.

I guess my point is that anything that closes the Pike for an extended duration isn't getting approved and won't happen. I think there's a good chance this project gets cancelled despite Harvard's influence.
 

George_Apley

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Cancelled? The viaduct needs to be replaced one way or another.
 

jklo

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Cancelled? The viaduct needs to be replaced one way or another.
I know it's in rough shape, but it might be politically easier 20 years from now to nuke the Pike and build a new aqueduct then.

Would say the quickest solution would be to nuke both the Pike and the Worcester Line; and then build the Pike at grade and the Worcester Line on top. You'd be talking about years of both being gone.
 

whighlander

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I agree with this. I think DOT has an obligation to be sensitive about the closure time, but it is certainly not the only variable to be optimized on. There is probably some balancing space the has reasonable project cost, reasonable project duration and low but not minimum closure time. It does not feel like that is being solved for.
JeffDowntown -- I think there are plenty of creative solutions -- that might appear highly disruptive for a time -- But could substantially reduce the overall cost and time devoted to construction

For example [not necessarily seriously reviewed]:
  1. Take Memorial Drive and make it 3 lanes one-way for AM and PM commutes
  2. Transfer I-90 to Storrow Dr while the Viaduct is being demolished.
  3. Build a temporary at grade road to carry both I-90 and Storrow across the open ex-rail yard
  4. Construct the New I-90 and Storrow
  5. Construct the new West Station where the temporary road was located with temporary approach tracks
  6. Fix the PDW Bike and Hike and extra grass and trees -- a permanent improvement
  7. Tidy up all the stuff
  8. Return Memorial Dr to its current configuration
 

millerm277

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Another update/set of commentary in the first half of today's FMCB/MassDOT meeting today. (Starts around the 1:30 mark)

I got a pretty firm sentiment watching it that they are committed to sticking with their plan of keeping everything open throughout the project, including having the temporary SFR in the river.

Some of the slides and discussion regarding the scope of the utility relocations involved in this are worth looking over, as well as the cross-sections about the grade changes.
 

tangent

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Another update/set of commentary in the first half of today's FMCB/MassDOT meeting today. (Starts around the 1:30 mark)

I got a pretty firm sentiment watching it that they are committed to sticking with their plan of keeping everything open throughout the project, including having the temporary SFR in the river.

Some of the slides and discussion regarding the scope of the utility relocations involved in this are worth looking over, as well as the cross-sections about the grade changes.
Then hopefully the project gets killed and we can get new people to run it twenty years from now...

Keeping everything open throughout the project is a monumental waste of money. People can and will adapt to an extended closure.

Just knock it all down and build it all at ground level and it could be done in three months at a third of the cost (Yes I know that is only if we brought in out of state workers which is politically infeasible in the current political regime.)

We are only talking about 1000 feet of ground level highway that would need to be graded and paved once the viaduct comes down. The rest of the the disruptions would be relatively minor lane shifts and such that are going to be happening more frequently in an extended project anyway. Add up all the traffic disruptions for a ten year project timeline and compare it to a project that it is less than a year and far more limited in scope.

To make up for lost transportation capacity instead of a West Station last approach, do West Station First in order to accommodate the disrupted commuters. Build a 4000 car garage and pave the rest of the area for surface parking and get everyone into buses, commuter rail and green line from there before you shutdown the highway for the extended closure.
 

Harry Mattison

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Comment deadline for the Federal Highway review of this project is Thursday. Comments can be emailed to I-90Allston@dot.state.ma.us


BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) should revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), according to Pioneer Institute’s Public Comment to MassDOT and FHWA. The Institute believes that closer analysis of an at-grade option may reveal that an at-grade design will shorten construction time, lower costs, create fewer negative economic and congestion impacts, and improve neighborhood access to parkland along the Charles River.

The I-90 Allston Multimodal Project will cover nearly 150 acres bounded by the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Line, Cambridge Street, and the Charles River. The Project aims to address a failing Massachusetts Turnpike viaduct over a former rail yard; facilitate safer, more efficient travel; and make way for a new urban neighborhood.

“The state’s approach to this project should reflect the interests of the commuters and neighborhoods most significantly impacted by it,” said Mary Connaughton, who co-authored “Public Comment on MassDOT’s I-90 Allston Multimodal Project National Environmental Policy Act Review Scoping Report” with Andrew Mikula. “To reflect those interests, the option MassDOT is currently recommending to the FHWA should be analyzed side by side with an at-grade option.”

In its Scoping Report, MassDOT recommends the “Soldiers Field Road Hybrid Option” for further environmental review by the FHWA. That approach would once again create a new viaduct to elevate Soldiers Field Road (SFR) and partially depress the Massachusetts Turnpike in a narrow section of the project called the “throat area” just east of Boston University’s Nickerson Field. It would also straighten the turnpike west of the throat area through former railyards owned by Harvard University.

Pioneer recommends a full review of a “Modified At-Grade Option” for the throat area that includes a permanent bicycle and pedestrian path bridge over the Charles River in the throat area, similar to what was previously proposed by A Better City. This option may minimize disruption to commuters, provide park users with a more pleasant environment, and allow both riverfront space and an all at-grade transportation corridor.

Remarkably, the MassDOT Scoping Report, in weighing its options, fails to consider construction costs, life-cycle costs, and the duration of project construction. The project will have significant daily impacts on commuters from the west and other commuters. MassDOT envisions that construction will take eight to 10 years and, for much of that time, the turnpike will be trimmed from eight to six lanes.

According to the Scoping Report, the SFR Hybrid Option, which MassDOT is promoting, would reduce the Framingham/Worcester Line from two tracks to one in the construction area for up to half of the project’s duration. Additionally, the Scoping Report states that under the SFR Hybrid Option, “construction staging for this option will necessarily require more time than other Throat options to move major utilities, construct the temporary trestle, and then sequentially construct the proposed railroad, interstate, and parkway infrastructure.”

MassDOT cited “unacceptable impacts on the water, parkland and historic resources of the Charles River Basin” as a major reason to remove at-grade options from consideration. Pioneer Institute believes that policymakers should recognize in developing the appropriate option for the project that the Charles River has undergone numerous changes over its history. Man-made alterations, from the construction of the Fens in 1878 to the reconstruction of the Charles River Dam in 1978, have yielded favorable results.

Pioneer’s recommendation of a Modified at-Grade Option, to include the bike and walking path on a bridge over the Charles, sees the change as an enhancement that allows neighborhood access to parkland and maintains resources for cyclists and pedestrians. Pioneer’s public comment aims to re-examine such an option as meeting the purpose and needs of the Allston Multimodal Project.

Pioneer’s comments also include suggested mitigation plans for those adversely impacted by the project.

Public comments on the project are due by December 12th.
 

Equilibria

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where in Pioneer's comment are they proposing a handout to BU?
The bike/ped bridge on the throat has been proposed by BU forever, never at their own expense, and the connection wouldn't serve anything but the BU campus.
 

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