I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

stellarfun

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Much of the B&T article can be found here.
https://6park.news/massachusetts/harvard-seeks-development-of-air-rights-over-mass-pike.html

State Rep. Michael Moran, D-18th Suffolk, has asked Harvard to schedule a public meeting before the summer to provide details of his talks with Boston and state officials. “Given the additional development that the covers will generate for Harvard, my constituents would like to know the University’s intentions for the development of air rights,” Moran wrote in a May 9 letter to Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp, obtained by Banker & Tradesman.
Harvard has committed to building a platform over the Turnpike and the former CSX rail yard for the project, according to the correspondence. In his letter, Moran said a “high-level development plan” is needed and asked for more details on the type, size and density of future Harvard development.
MassDOT is discussing cost-sharing options and “creative financing techniques” for the I-90 project with Harvard and the city of Boston, according to an agency statement.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 

Stlin

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The NPC (Notice of Public Change) for the At-Grade Alternative officially kicked off today with the public information meeting (PDF), and the public comment period kicking off soon. As far as I can tell, the only substantive changes to the plan from that of Sept 2021 is that they managed to narrow the overall cross section from 221.5 ft to 217.5ft by pinching SFR lanes to 10.5ft instead of 11 (from current 10ft) and by reducing horizontal clearances on the GL and WML from 9ft to 8.5ft, effectively getting SFR pavement "out of the river." (see attached plan from 9/29/21) Timeline wise it looks like it got pushed out another year or two, with the final EIS only expected in summer 2024.

Other than that, only new things are that:
1) FHWA has determined that the depressed segment where I-90 passes below the GJ bridge is a floodplain at risk of flooding, and therefore requires further refinement.
2) adjustments to the West Station area have been made to better accommodate a shared use path, whose inclusion appears to be more certain.
3) a potential connection from the west station "loop" over the yard tracks to Cambridge Street as a "bypass road" to be further analyzed. (see 2nd attachment)

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dhawkins

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The NPC (Notice of Public Change) for the At-Grade Alternative officially kicked off today with the public information meeting (PDF), and the public comment period kicking off soon. As far as I can tell, the only substantive changes to the plan from that of Sept 2021 is that they managed to narrow the overall cross section from 221.5 ft to 217.5ft by pinching SFR lanes to 10.5ft instead of 11 (from current 10ft) and by reducing horizontal clearances on the GL and WML from 9ft to 8.5ft, effectively getting SFR pavement "out of the river." (see attached plan from 9/29/21) Timeline wise it looks like it got pushed out another year or two, with the final EIS only expected in summer 2024.

Other than that, only new things are that:
1) FHWA has determined that the depressed segment where I-90 passes below the GJ bridge is a floodplain at risk of flooding, and therefore requires further refinement.
2) adjustments to the West Station area have been made to better accommodate a shared use path, whose inclusion appears to be more certain.
3) a potential connection from the west station "loop" over the yard tracks to Cambridge Street as a "bypass road" to be further analyzed. (see 2nd attachment)

View attachment 25516
I really don't like the current 4' foot bike path along that stretch of Storrow Drive now as it is. I like the river platform; it will be a plus to be away from the traffic. EAs for the pavement; either way you look at it, elevated or at grade, it will be the same amount of pavement. And the area under the highway will not be useful.
 

Charlie_mta

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The NPC (Notice of Public Change) for the At-Grade Alternative officially kicked off today with the public information meeting (PDF), and the public comment period kicking off soon. As far as I can tell, the only substantive changes to the plan from that of Sept 2021 is that they managed to narrow the overall cross section from 221.5 ft to 217.5ft by pinching SFR lanes to 10.5ft instead of 11 (from current 10ft) and by reducing horizontal clearances on the GL and WML from 9ft to 8.5ft, effectively getting SFR pavement "out of the river." (see attached plan from 9/29/21) Timeline wise it looks like it got pushed out another year or two, with the final EIS only expected in summer 2024.

Other than that, only new things are that:
1) FHWA has determined that the depressed segment where I-90 passes below the GJ bridge is a floodplain at risk of flooding, and therefore requires further refinement.
2) adjustments to the West Station area have been made to better accommodate a shared use path, whose inclusion appears to be more certain.
3) a potential connection from the west station "loop" over the yard tracks to Cambridge Street as a "bypass road" to be further analyzed. (see 2nd attachment)

View attachment 25516
Looks like they included a 2-lane road from West Station to connect with Malvern Street, for buses, bikes, and pedestrians, which is a big plus. The "Cambridge Street Bypass Road" also looks like it would be only for buses. bikes and pedestrians, based on it tying into West Station and it's narrow width. That would be great for bus and pedestrian access to West Station.
 

Equilibria

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Given that they're now building some wacky pavement to ensure access for the Doubletree, might it be a good idea to check with that property owner as to their future plans? Will that hotel still exist in 2040? What will its driveways need to look like? Could they land swap with Harvard and build a new hotel elsewhere in this massive property?
 

Stlin

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Given that they're now building some wacky pavement to ensure access for the Doubletree, might it be a good idea to check with that property owner as to their future plans? Will that hotel still exist in 2040? What will its driveways need to look like? Could they land swap with Harvard and build a new hotel elsewhere in this massive property?
I presume the majority of the existing pavement is over existing utilities serving the extant hotel and chemical plant, and the new stub to hotel way about tieing those into the new utility grid. If we're going to be talking about pre-existing land users, we should talk about that chemical company that's adjacent to the Doubletree. It wasn't a bad location when that was Beacon Park Yard, especially since they had a spur, but I would fully expect them to sell during the redev. Given that its exclusively a Glycols (antifreeze) operation that serves all of New England, a non Boston site would probably be sufficient. Of course ownership is local, and they're probably holding out for a large payday, + whether or not the environmental remediation is a killer.

As for the hotel itself, it's not a local franchisee - it's actually owned by Hilton Corporate, who I must assume would be loath to give up the closest hotel to HBS. That said, that's also ~40 years old. Building a new hotel on the same site better aligned to the new Harvard neighbors is also something I would expect Hilton to do eventually, and I don't think the new access pavement would be massive blockers to redevelopment.
 
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millerm277

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Given that they're now building some wacky pavement to ensure access for the Doubletree, might it be a good idea to check with that property owner as to their future plans? Will that hotel still exist in 2040? What will its driveways need to look like? Could they land swap with Harvard and build a new hotel elsewhere in this massive property?
Not sure they're really building much of anything. The little stub down to "Hotel Way" is basically the only thing new there. The rest of that is pretty much the current road configuration unmodified.

And I suspect the impetus for that spur is more to get a better route for trucks to Houghton Chemical. The current inbound truck access is solely from the SFR on-ramp. I don't think it's in anyone's interest to have chemical tankers taking the SFR ramp and potentially causing a major incident (at minimum, a major traffic delay) if they miss one turn as long-term plan. Past discussion on this forum has indicated that they are uninterested in moving at present, and I suspect it would be rather difficult to get permission to site a significant chemical storage/distribution facility anywhere near as advantageous for them - so I'm guessing a buyout would have to be pretty generous.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Not sure they're really building much of anything. The little stub down to "Hotel Way" is basically the only thing new there. The rest of that is pretty much the current road configuration unmodified.

And I suspect the impetus for that spur is more to get a better route for trucks to Houghton Chemical. The current inbound truck access is solely from the SFR on-ramp. I don't think it's in anyone's interest to have chemical tankers taking the SFR ramp and potentially causing a major incident (at minimum, a major traffic delay) if they miss one turn as long-term plan. Past discussion on this forum has indicated that they are uninterested in moving at present, and I suspect it would be rather difficult to get permission to site a significant chemical storage/distribution facility anywhere near as advantageous for them - so I'm guessing a buyout would have to be pretty generous.
I keep thinking there's someone at the Harvard University Real Estate Office who is acting like Daniel Day Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" pointing at the Doubletree and Houghton Chemical'
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