Allston Multimodal Project

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is planning a one-billion dollar project in Allston, prompted by the need to replace the Mass Pike’s aging Allston interchange. The Allston Multimodal Project will reconstruct the Allston interchange and replace today’s tangle of highway ramps with a new street grid to allow development on dozens of acres of land owned by Harvard University. 

The project is also an important opportunity to improve regional transit and provides a once-in-a-century chance to improve the conditions and accessibility of the parks, paths, and river’s edge in Allston. The CRC, along with a coalition of mobility and environmental organizations, believes this project must be about more than just the highway.

OUR ADVOCACY PRIORITIES

  • Protect the river’s ecology and recreational opportunities
  • Improve conditions of the park and paths in the “throat” section of the site
  • Create connections to the river from the Allston-Brighton neighborhood
  • Encourage transit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

ALLSTON MULTIMODAL TASK FORCE

As a member of MassDOT’s Allston Multimodal Project Task Force, CRC Executive Director Laura Jasinski represents and advocates for the Charles River, the parks, and the park users. The Task Force consists of residents, business owners, and other local stakeholders and includes many of our environmental and mobility advocacy partners.

The Task Force meets monthly to review project updates and discuss details. It is a crucial opportunity for the CRC to influence and improve the project for the betterment of the Charles River, the parks, and our communities.

The Task Force meetings are public, so consider attending one to learn more about the project and make your voice heard! Learn more here.

RIVERFRONT RESTORATION STRATEGIES

For decades, the river’s edge near the I-90 Allston Interchange has been narrow and eroded. The Allston Multimodal Project is a once-in-a-century opportunity to improve these conditions and also to re-connect Allston neighborhoods to the parks.

CRC Board Member Gautam Sundaram, of Perkins&Will, worked with urban designers from CBT to develop riverfront restoration strategies that work in tandem with the community-supported “All-At-Grade” design for the project. These strategies have helped build important consensus among community members, transportation advocates, and environmental groups.

Review the Riverfront Restoration Strategies.

THROAT PATHWAYS CAMPAIGN

The section of the Paul Dudley White Path between the BU Bridge and River Street Bridge in Boston, termed the “throat,” is a key artery of transportation for pedestrians and cyclists. However, limited space and poor conditions make it over-crowded, unpleasant, and dangerous to use.

In January of 2018, we partnered with WalkBoston and designers at Sasaki to develop alternative proposals for the “throat” section of the project. Thank you to the Solomon Foundation and to the donated services of Sasaki for making this work possible.

View the Alternative Design Proposals and watch our campaign video.

GET INVOLVED

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UPDATES

October 30, 2020: Along with a coalition of advocates and constituents, the CRC submitted public comments urging MassDOT to select the “Modified All At-Grade” design. Read our comment letter and the coalition letter we signed.

October, 2020: MassDOT accepted a Modified All-At-Grade design for the “throat” area, developed by A Better City and backed by the City of Boston, to be considered as one of three alternatives to be reviewed by state and federal regulators.

September, 2020: CRC board member Gautam Sundaram of Perkins & Will worked with designers Kishore Varanasi and Devanshi Purohit of cbt to develop a series of riverfront restoration design principles that can be applied to the All-At-Grade design for the “throat.” View the Riverfront Restoration Designs.

August 7, 2020: MassDOT and the Federal Highway Administration released the Scoping Summary Report on the project, which describes the four alternatives proposed to be carried forward into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). These include a “no build” option, an I-90 viaduct option, a Soldiers Field Road viaduct option, and an all at-grade option.

August 3, 2020: A diverse group of advocates, including the CRC, sent MassDOT a short one-page letter summarizing our shared priorities.

December 12, 2019: Over 800 constituents and advocates, including the CRC, submitted comment letters in response to the project’s NEPA Scoping Report. Read the CRC’s comment letter.

November 6, 2019: MassDOT and the Federal Highway Administration published the project’s Scoping Report for NEPA.

September 16, 2019: The CRC teamed up with our partners at CLF, CRWA, WalkBoston, and MassBike and testified at MassDOT’s Board Meeting regarding the agencies plans to build a temporary trestle bridge extending 50 feet into the Charles River during construction. We urged the agency to minimize impacts and maximize mitigation for the river and submitted a comment letter outlining our requests.

June 20, 2019: MassDOT informed the task-force that the project’s construction plan includes building a temporary trestle bridge extending 50 feet into the Charles for Soldiers Field Road and Paul Dudley White path traffic. The temporary bridge would likely be in place for a decade, the expected duration of construction.

November 30, 2018: The CRC submitted a comment letter in response to the Independent Review Team’s report.

October, 2018: The Independent Review Team completed their 90-day Independent Review. Read the I-90 IRT Executive Summary.

June 27, 2018: MassDOT secretary Pollack convened an independent team of engineers, designers, and permitting experts to conduct a 90-day independent review of possible versions of viaduct and at-grade options for the throat.

February 9, 2018: Deadline to submit comments on the I-90 DEIR to Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Matthew Beaton. The CRC encouraged parkland supporters to write letters, and close to 50 did! The CRC also submitted our letter of comment.

January 24, 2018: Harvard University offers to nearly double its financial contribution to $58 million for the construction of West Station in a letter to the Department of Transportation aimed at accelerating their plans. Harvard wants some of its contribution to fund an interim version of the station for open by the mid-2020s.

November 30, 2017: MassDOT filed a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). The document makes public MassDOT’s plan to postpone the construction of West Station until 2040 and their reconstruction proposals fail to create a parklike riverfront with adequate pedestrian and bike paths.

February 7, 2017: A group of Allston residents and advocacy orgs, including the CRC, hosted a community meeting about the I-90 Allston project. Watch a recording of the meeting. The Harvard Crimson published “Residents Express Planning Goals at Mass Pike Public Meeting.”

January 19, 2017: Our friends at the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association hosted a meeting about how the I-90 project will affect Cambridge residents at the Central Square Library, beginning at 7:00 pm. View the presentation and watch the video.

December 22, 2016: The CRC submitted comments in response to the most recent design plan presented at a December 8th public meeting.

October 18, 2016: The Boston Planning and Development Agency released the I-90 Allston Interchange Placemaking Study.

September 17, 2015: MassDOT invited LivableStreets and A Better City to present alternative layouts for the reconstruction of the I-90 Interchange area. Download the LivableStreets presentation and view the ABC presentation.

November 12, 2014: MassDOT recently submitted an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) about the project. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs accepted comments on the ENF before issuing a scoping letter to DOT – read the CRC’s comments.

more (past) updates

Lead photo courtesy of WalkBoston.