I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

cden4

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At-grade is better than viaduct, even though the park space is less, because:
- Easier to create safe, appealing bike/ped bridge(s) to the river going over at-grade roadways
- Traffic noise at-grade is less than on viaduct (fewer grade changes for trucks to navigate, traffic noise is not spread across to Cambridge as much)
- At-grade is visually less intrusive than viaduct
- At-grade gives you the most flexibility to reconfigure the roadways over time (remove lanes or roads entirely)
- Lower lifecycle costs
 

Jahvon09

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Not too long ago, DOT once toyed around with the idea of putting a monorail in the middle of the Mass. Pike between the outbound & inbound lanes. I think that idea has been killed, probably due to the fact that it may end up becoming another years-long Big-Dig-style project. :(
 

Charlie_mta

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Not too long ago, DOT once toyed around with the idea of putting a monorail in the middle of the Mass. Pike between the outbound & inbound lanes. I think that idea has been killed, probably due to the fact that it may end up becoming another years-long Big-Dig-style project. :(
Monorails are odd ducks. The switching mechanism is big and cumbersome. If the route is a single line with no branches, and is completely elevated, it might be okay.
 

Jahvon09

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That is what they were going to do. Elevate it. But look how long it's taking to get one for Logan Airport!!
 
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Jahvon09

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I think that it was nothing more that just a pipe dream!! We'll probably never see one anywhere here!! :(
 

stick n move

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It was also a horrible bandaid that adds transfers and doesnt really solve any problems at south/north station. Nsrl creates through running CR service (or at least platform transfers) allowing people on the south/west the ability to travel through the city to jobs/housing etc on the north of the city and vice versa. A greenway monorail means someone coming from framingham for example trying to get to idk salem has to ride the commuter rail to south station, transfer to a freaking monorail, ride it down the greenway, then get off and go into north station and transfer back to another commuter rail train at and ride that to their destination. You can already do a version of this with the orange line so its a mega waste of money. Nsrl is much bigger than just creating a transit line to ride back n forth between north and south stations its an entire change to how the commuter rail system functions from stub end to through service.
 

BeyondRevenue

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So I went out into the fog early Sunday morning to get some images of The Throat.
For reference, all too often we drive by the things we’re talking about — or use Google Street View to see them. To let you know - and IANAE (I am not an engineer) -- this needs to happen. Soon. There is rust, broken concrete, and neglected infrastructure all over the area. I mostly went down there to show where BU is dropping the ball. Ironically, it’s near Nickerson Field! (Ha!)

I mapped out the rough angles of the pix I took and labeled them accordingly so you wouldn’t have to wonder what you are looking at.

My general takeaways?
  • There’s room for at grade. It’ll be tight but there’s room
  • If BU gives a little (land), we can save a lot (of money)
  • BU’s shorter abutting buildings look very movable
  • Harry Aggannis way should be raised 30 feet in the air and decked over what needs to be built.
  • The Grand Junction line will have to close for a little while
  • Malvern should go through to Allston Landing
  • Everybody who is foot dragging on this is whiny little punk
  • This can’t happen without a BU landswap or state purchase
Thoughts?

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Charlie_mta

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The Mass Pike viaduct looks like the old West Side Highway in Manhattan when had deteriorated to the point of collapse.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The Mass Pike viaduct looks like the old West Side Highway in Manhattan when had deteriorated to the point of collapse.
No way. That isn't anywhere near a *concerning* level of exposed rebar. McGrath Overpass is 10x scarier-looking underneath in between periods of lighting money on fire for 10-year rehabs. And the decking is nowhere near as shot as the I-84 Viaduct in Hartford, which rains flakes down over the street grid. The comparison between wartime materials shortage builds like West Side isn't apt. Pike Viaduct was extremely overbuilt even compared to I-84 simply by virtue of being second-decade Interstate construction vs. first. And was overbuilt in mind for all the nasty corroding particulates Beacon Park locomotives were spewing into its undersides.

It's a very well-built structure. It's simply a matter of 55 years with no major top-down rehabs and that kind of loading is beyond scope for patch jobs. It's not going to pancake onto the ground at another 20 years of use; it's simply going to punitively drain the MassHighway coffers with neverending patch work like Hartford if they don't get ahead of this call. That's catastrophic to budgets, but not the same as catastrophic to life-and-limb.
 

North Shore

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My general takeaways?
  • There’s room for at grade. It’ll be tight but there’s room
  • If BU gives a little (land), we can save a lot (of money)
  • BU’s shorter abutting buildings look very movable
  • Harry Aggannis way should be raised 30 feet in the air and decked over what needs to be built.
  • The Grand Junction line will have to close for a little while
  • Malvern should go through to Allston Landing
  • Everybody who is foot dragging on this is whiny little punk
  • This can’t happen without a BU landswap or state purchase
Thoughts?
There isn't room. There's a reason there's been so many conceptual cross sections presented. We've been through this time and time again. Unless the proposed Pike cross section losses lanes and/or they decide to build the pedestrian/bike path out over the water, there is not enough room to fit everything in with the existing constraints.

You're not moving buildings. You're not doing much on BU's property other than small easements.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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There isn't room. There's a reason there's been so many conceptual cross sections presented. We've been through this time and time again. Unless the proposed Pike cross section losses lanes and/or they decide to build the pedestrian/bike path out over the water, there is not enough room to fit everything in with the existing constraints.

You're not moving buildings. You're not doing much on BU's property other than small easements.
Yeah...even if you wanted to negotiate with BU for land-swappage, that negotiation bureaucracy is an above-and-beyond time chew that overshoots feasible project scheduling. It can't be overstated: this thing needs to be locked-and-loaded like yesterday to go into full design-build and pinned to a calendar date or else that first pure 'waste' funding dump of interim patch repairs has to immediately be programmed into the CIP to buy the necessary extra time. That's the no-give cutoff we face because it puts us into the same vicious cycle I-84 in Hartford is at digging out of a patch-repair hole that perpetually drains resources straight from ever mounting the perma-fix...at such a slippery slope for unbounded further delay and existential navel-gazing that we'll have a devil of a time trying to stop-loss it at only one 'waste' cycle of interim patches if it goes there. The sheer torturedness of this process to-date has already proven beyond reasonable doubt that the stakeholders are not capable from their own volition of staunching that vicious cycle once it's started snowballing, so the urgency to fish or cut bait now is paramount. We aren't going to be able to tighten up and still weigh nice designs after that first slip into interim patches, so fundamentally the Throat is at now-or-never for voting on a new concept. Past-due, actually, because the punt earlier this Fall on final concept has already raised the odds past majority threshold that we aren't going to be able to lock it down by end of ongoing FY21 to stave off the first waste cycle.

BU doesn't negotiate anything bang-bang quick...ever...for any reason. They're so plodding and bureaucratically top-heavy that no land-related transaction ever happens under that braintrust in any less than 5 years of pre-planning. Usually much longer, based on gestation periods of most recent campus builds or any home-run swings like the Wheelock College acquisition (jeez...that was hot rumor for full decade before it actually consummated they were sniffing around it so long). So it doesn't matter if the prospect only requires nipping at the fringes around Student Village; the negotiation timetables are already diametrically opposed at each side of the table. That right there is functionally the end of this prospect. Second...when you tally up BU's utter disappointing disinterest in the Beacon Park slab there's a major inertia problem. They already wouldn't stan for a second spanning street from their grid; they already wouldn't comment on the inverted/alienating positioning of West Station to their side. And there's no cooperation whatsoever between Big U's on redev possibilities on the slab; it's hands-off Harvard's baby from their perspective. So where's their sense of altruism on the Throat design sourced from if there's no apparent internal source of it on the biggest-prize land? Nevermind the primary concern of it being a time-criticality mismatch for MassDOT; the follow-through upside...doesn't follow here at these nipped fringes around the Throat if they already ain't been feeling for it very long time now re: the "prize" Beacon Park slab. BU has long expressed little strong opinion about viaduct vs. at-grade because the viaduct is largely non-impactful to them facing mostly loading docks, service driveways, and rear-packed athletic facilities. They simply have little inherent motivation to nip at those fringes, and thus they are unlikely to bat an eye at even the minor upside of those land swaps for this Alt. The fact that there is indeed 'some' minor upside to them is not inherently motivating enough in a vacuum to float this proposal. If that were true and it did follow them to the negotiating table with some matching sense of time-critical haste...wouldn't they have already been knee-deep in involvement on the big-prize BP slab for years/decades now instead of implicitly throwing shade at it the whole-shebang via their conspicuous disinterest?

They're not involved...so it doesn't follow that some fringe-flex land swappage is going to sway BU at any timetable that's going to matter for the Throat decision. They'll consider anything presented to them, no doubt...but only on their own glacial internal timetables. And those timetables are several orders of magnitude too slow for this project decision. We're well into patch-job appropriation vicious cycling if BU is the only card-holding prayer for an at-grade resolution. I know the intent of pitching this BU-swappy Alt. is so we can get out of this project-fatal rut of ponderous navel-gazing, but it doesn't accomplish that. The M.O. of the required players is too well-known, well-set, well-predictable. It conversely ends up sticking in the same closed loop of navel-gazing paralysis by assuming BU's going to act at the state's level of urgency and not BU's immaculately well-established level of urgency. Too big a mismatch in 4D time to be plausibly different from all the other existential implausibles the stakeholders are deadlocked on. When time is the only driver that truly matters now, the newest solution pitch has to front-and-center that. Anything that involves critical BU dependencies simply isn't going to compute vs. time.
 
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BeyondRevenue

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There isn't room. There's a reason there's been so many conceptual cross sections presented. We've been through this time and time again. Unless the proposed Pike cross section losses lanes and/or they decide to build the pedestrian/bike path out over the water, there is not enough room to fit everything in with the existing constraints.

You're not moving buildings. You're not doing much on BU's property other than small easements.
As my daughter would say... “Not with that attitude!” Obviously, money makes things happen. DOT needs to make BU know that they are REALLY needed here for the good of the Commonwealth. This should involve something more evolved than an easement. And we should know as adults that we will have to change our collective Never Build Over The Charles stance. Much as I think that the Pike can be narrower, well, I think the car lobby might win that one. Question: can the GJ spur go under this whole thing? Halfway? In a trench?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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As my daughter would say... “Not with that attitude!” Obviously, money makes things happen. DOT needs to make BU know that they are REALLY needed here for the good of the Commonwealth. This should involve something more evolved than an easement. And we should know as adults that we will have to change our collective Never Build Over The Charles stance. Much as I think that the Pike can be narrower, well, I think the car lobby might win that one. Question: can the GJ spur go under this whole thing? Halfway? In a trench?
When has anyone not implored BU that they are really, really needed here? That's been the attitude all along. They've been a party to all of this...all along. It's not for lack of opportunity that they've been relatively muted in comment.

BU's interest has been passive...at best. Why is that suddenly going to change now of all times? Do you think in the whole working-group history of throwing ideas at the wall that there was never once a scenario run up their flagpole about easement swapping? After a frigging decade of this??? Highly unlikely. They've been polled on more scenarios than we can count regarding potential intrusions on their property. They're fully clued-in.

Fully clued-in, but it hasn't upped their urgency at any point along the way. A last-second pitch like this has to posit how timetables state vs. university match in near-spacetime given the extreme time crunch for this decision. There's very little evidence that such a timetable match exists for a quick decision, or that any favorable movement on BU's part could ever happen in short enough time to make this shotgun marriage work in timing given their Administration's resolutely plodding planning M.O.. It's not enough to say it should happen because righteousness; you have to explain what compels it to happen in a timing match. BU isn't showing that it's compelled to hurry at anything...and it's not because they were left in the dark or that this possibility has never been spitballed to them at *any* level before. You can't just push the "URGENCY!" button harder to make it so when they clearly aren't responding to that urgency stimuli anywhere else pan- Beacon Park related. Including where the stakes to themselves are a whole ton greater than the Throat against their backlots...like the mega-important access grid, transit, and redev plans where they're similarly disengaged.

The mechanism for movement: what and where is it???
 
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jklo

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F-Line to Dudley

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Guess that means it's really dead now.
Or it will be when Harvard does a "HAHA...no!" on financial support on a 'throat' decision that doesn't materially impact their Beacon Park landholdings at all. Real reach right there.
 

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