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Comment Letter with proposed Task Force Agenda

Comment Letter with proposed Task Force Agenda

June 25, 2018
Secretary Stephanie Pollack
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

Dear Secretary Pollack:

Thank you for resuming meetings of the I90 Allston Task Force. The dialogue and collaboration that we look forward to having with MassDOT and the MBTA will be an important step in this project towards achieving consensus on a multi-modal project that meets the current and future needs of Allston and the region to increase economic development, quality of life, and environmental sustainability.

We hope that the issues below will be used to frame the June 27th Task Force meeting. We believe that each of the issues must be resolved and incorporated into the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). We would also like to have a regular schedule of Task Force meetings at least until the end of 2018 because of the proposed deadline for production of the FEIR by March, 2019.

Thank you.

Sincerely, The following members of the I-90 Allston Interchange Task Force:

Anthony D’Isidoro
Allston resident
Allston Civic Association

Jason Desrosiers
Manager of Community Building and Engagement
Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation

Paola Ferrer
Allston resident
Attorney

Harry Mattison
Allston resident
Board of Directors
Charles River Conservancy

Galen Mook
Allston resident
New Executive Director
MassBike

Alana Olsen
Allston resident

Jessica Robertson
Allston resident

Emma Walters
Allston resident
Executive Director
Allston Village Main Streets

Tom Francis
Interim Executive Director
MassBike

Laura Jasinsky
Executive Director
Charles River Conservancy

Wendy Landman
Executive Director
WalkBoston

Stacy Thompson
Executive Director
Liveable Streets Alliance

Cc: Mike O’Dowd, Project Manager
Sen. William Brownsberger, Second Suffolk and Middlesex District
Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Middlesex and Suffolk District
Sen. Joe Boncore, First Suffolk and Middlesex District
Sen. James Eldridge, Middlesex and Worcester District
Sen. Karen Spilka, Second Middlesex and Norfolk District
Sen. Michael Moore, Second Worcester District
Sen. Cynthia Creem, First Middlesex and Norfolk District
Rep. Carmile Gentile, 13th Middlesex District
Rep. Mary Keefe, 15th Worcester District
Rep. Frank Smizik, 15th Norfolk District
Rep. Jeffrey Roy, 10th Norfolk District
Rep. Brian Murray, 10th Worcester District
Rep. Jim O’Day, 14th Worcester District
Rep. Jennifer Benson, 37th Middlesex District
Rep. Jonathan Hecht, 29th Middlesex District
Rep. Ruth Balser, 12th Middlesex District
Rep. Kay Khan, 11th Middlesex District
Rep. Chris Walsh, 6th Middlesex District
Rep. David Linsky, 5th Middlesex District
Rep. Alice Peisch, 14th Norfolk District
Rep. Jay Livingstone, 8th Suffolk District
Rep. Michael Connolly, 26th Middlesex District
Rep. Michael Moran, 18th Suffolk District
Rep. Kevin Honan, 17th Suffolk District
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh
Mark Ciommo, Boston City Council
Michelle Wu, Boston City Council
Andreae Downs, Newton Councilor-at-large, Ward 5
Susan Albridght, Councilor-at-large, Ward 2
Alan Ciccone, Jr., Councilor-at-large Ward 1
Maria Scibelli Greenberg, Ward 1 Councilor
Neil Wishinski, Brookline Select Board
Benjamin Franco, Select Board
Nancy Heller, Select Board
Bernard Greene, Select Board
Heather Hamilton, Select Board
Cambridge Mayor McGovern
Vice Mayor Devereux
City Manager Louis DePasquale
Councilor Carlone
Councilor Zondervan
Joseph Aiello, Chair

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board

Proposed agenda for I-90 Task Force meeting – June 27, 2018

Our preferred decisions are described below:

1.    West Station: Interim Station & Early Build

West Station should be built much sooner than the currently planned 2040, and an Interim West Station should be built during the earliest stages of the project. MassDOT should eliminate the proposed temporary railyard expansion that is part of their Phase 2 plan so that after the I-90 roads are constructed, new structures do not need to be removed to make room for West Station. The design and construction of West Station should include a commitment to full exploration of the Flip alternative, a center platform and early action on North/South walking, cycling and bus connections to the Station.

2.    Regional Mobility During Construction

There should be a commitment to continuous peak period two-track rail service on the Worcester Line during construction.  This is vital to providing regional mobility from the Worcester and Metro West regions.

3.    At-Grade Highway Replacement

MassDOT should move forward with the lower cost at-grade highway replacement alternative, saving tax and toll payers a minimum $100 million in construction costs and more costly lifetime maintenance costs that are likely to exceed the present $800,000/year. This alternative will also allow ped/bike connections to be made between Commonwealth Ave. and the riverfront.

4.    Improved Pedestrian & Cycling Public Realm

Allston Landing should be built in a community-friendly manner that reflects its proximity to neighborhoods and the Charles River and encourages sustainable mobility. Key elements of this are (1) commitments to “unchoke the throat” (improving walking and cycling with separated pathways along the Charles River and connections to the river across the corridor); (2) restoration of the river’s edge; and (3) building Wadsworth Path abutting the community.

5.   Early Action on 2-Track Grand Junction Line

The Grand Junction line will provide Worcester and Metro West commuters with direct access to jobs-rich Cambridge and Kendall Square and possibly North Station.  Regional equity, and sustainable urban mobility, requires a commitment to re-opening the Grand Junction to passenger rail as an early action item.

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