Allston Multimodal Project Outline for Purpose and Need Task Force Letter

Allston Multimodal Project Outline for Purpose and Need Task Force Letter

October 28, 2019

Dear Secretary Pollack, Mr. Miller, and members of the MassDOT Board and Fiscal Management and Control Board,

We, as members of the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project, have appreciated MassDOT’s commitment to an open and collaborative process over the past five years. We are eager to continue this collaboration as the state and federal environmental permitting processes commence. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the project team has refused to share a draft Purpose and Need statement with the Task Force. The development of the Purpose and Need is a crucially important element of the process; we are concerned that denying the Task Force an opportunity to contribute to this essential step will delay the process and jeopardize our collective ability to achieve the best outcome for this project.

We thus respectfully submit an outline of the Purpose and Need, drafted by a number of Task Force members on behalf of the many stakeholders that have participated in the Allston I-90 process to date.

Purpose and Need:

  • Replace the structurally deficient I-90 viaduct, Cambridge Street Overpass, and Franklin Street Pedestrian Bridge
  • Improve the functionally deficient I-90 interchange in order to improve highway safety and maximize the amount of land to be made available for non-highway uses
  • Provide a new network of street connections between the new interchange and existing city streets that prioritizes multimodal operations and safety, and complies with the City of Boston Complete Streets Guidelines, Vision Zero policy, and 25mph speed limit
  • Reinstate passenger rail service to an area where it was discontinued when I-90 was originally built
  • Provide a four-track station and associated rail and bridge infrastructure to enable passenger rail service along the Grand Junction line, and transfers between that line and the Worcester-Framingham line
  • Provide multiple new bicycle, pedestrian, and bus connections between the area south of I-90 and Lower Allston and the Charles River, reconnecting the two halves of the neighborhood that have long been divided by rail and highway infrastructure
  • Repair the large gap in the urban fabric that has historically separated North and South Allston due to the rail and turnpike open cut design, by providing decking over new rail and highway infrastructure sufficient to support continuity of people-oriented land uses connecting North and South Allston
  • Expand and enhance the Paul Dudley White Path and parkland along the Charles River in what is currently the most dimensionally constrained and functionally, aesthetically, and ecologically deficient section of the Charles River Reservation as a direct result of the impacts of I-90 and Soldiers’ Field Road
  • Repair the eroded, manmade edge of the Charles River in order to restore the riverbank conditions and aquatic and riparian habitat of the Charles River, expand tree canopy, minimize untreated stormwater outflows to the River, and provide for stormwater flood resilience
  • Provide a significantly improved safety, noise, and vibration buffer between highway and rail infrastructure and adjacent residential areas and parklands
  • Build a new “People’s Pike” bicycle and pedestrian corridor that provides a direct, safe, low-stress connection between the Allston neighborhood and the Charles River, as called for in the City of Boston 2013 Bicycle Network Plan
  • Address public health, environmental justice, and issues of open space access and equity for residents impacted by the highway, as called for in the City of Boston Open Space Plan 2015-2021

We look forward to continuing to work in an open and collaborative manner with your agencies to expediently permit a project that will meet all of these important needs.

Thank you,
Henrietta Davis, Former Mayor of Cambridge and Task Force member
Jason Desrosier, Allston Brighton Community Development Corporation, Task Force member
Anthony D’Isidoro, Allston Civic Association, Allston resident, and Task Force member
Laura Jasinski, Charles River Conservancy, Task Force member
Harry Mattison, Allston resident and Task Force member
Galen Mook, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, Allston resident, and Task Force member
Ari Ofsevit, LivableStreets Alliance, Cambridgeport resident, and Task Force member
Jessica Robertson, Allston resident and Task Force member
Bob Sloane and Stacey Beuttell, WalkBoston, Task Force member
Stacy Thompson, Livable Streets Alliance

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
State Senator William Brownsberger
State Senator Sal DiDomenico
State Representative Michael Moran
State Representative Kevin Honan
City Council President Andrea Campbell
City Councilor-at-large Michelle Wu
City Councilor Mark Ciommo
Chief of Streets Chris Osgood
Boston Planning and Development Agency Director Brian Golden
Kate Fichter, MassDOT
Michael O’Dowd, MassDOT

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