Massive turnpike project could improve Allston

Boston Globe

ANTHONY FLINT’S retrospective on the Big Dig offers useful lessons as we move forward with similar mega-projects, not least the massive Massachusetts Turnpike realignment in Allston (“10 years later, did the Big Dig deliver?” Magazine, Dec. 29).

While the rebuilt artery succeeds in moving cars through the downtown, Flint makes clear that its real success is measured above ground, along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I hope MassDOT’s planners are taking notes.

The turnpike project will move a lot of cars too, but will it also create a beautiful riverfront park? Will new paths for cyclists and pedestrians allow them easily to reach the Charles River? Will connections be created between the severed halves of North and South Allston? Will a fully accessible transit hub promote new service across the river to Kendall Square?

The turnpike project could be the catalyst for brilliant place-making or “value capture,” to use Flint’s term. It could open a new chapter in city-building, but only if the engineers can see past the cars to take in the full range of possibilities.

Brent Whelan

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