|Transportation & Infrastructure||Land Use & Development||Environment & Energy|
When its highways, roads and bridges are working, so is Greater Boston and Massachusetts. Businesses operate more efficiently. Commuters get where they’re going on time, and quality of life seems to ticks up a few notches.
A Better City supports the region’s highways, roads, and bridges by reviewing plans for new construction, for maintenance and repair and for enhancing the mobility and safety of those who travel these thoroughfares every day.
Beginning in 2018, MassDOT will replace the I-90 Allston viaduct, redesign the Allston interchange, transition from physical toll booths to electronic tolling on the interstate, and build a new multimodal station that accommodates a variety of transit options. The project will also include a West Station on the Worcester commuter rail line to serve rail, bus, and other transportation modes.
The Allston interchange serves up to 147,000 vehicles each day but is becoming structurally deficient. Replacing the viaduct will help ensure the safety of motorists and enable the free flow traffic into and out of the city. Converting to electronic tolling will improve safety and efficiency by allowing motorists to maintain their speed through the interchange rather than slowing or stopping to pay a toll.
A Better City serves on a 50-member I-90 Allston Interchange Task Force along with other Allston residents, business organizations, advocacy groups and institutions abutting the interchange. A Better City has developed an at-grade solution to replace the viaduct approaching the interchange. Our solution will reduce both initial costs and future expense, freeing up resources to make other multimodal improvements, to mitigate the impact of construction and to create better connections. This alternative will be part of a draft Environmental Impact Report scheduled for publication at the end of 2016.
The Commonwealth Avenue deck over the Mass Turnpike near BU Bridge is now 50 years old and is deteriorating. In 2017 MassDOT will begin replacing the deck using accelerated techniques.
This section of Commonwealth Avenue is heavily trafficked by motorists, the Green Line, bicyclists and pedestrians. The project will make the bridge safer, more reliable and more economical to maintain while accommodating pedestrian, transit, bicycle and wheelchair traffic in compliance with current standards.
A Better City is reviewing design and construction methods, focusing on ways to minimize disruptions during the project. We are also advocating for improvements to traffic circulation and intersections in the area surrounding the project.
Begun in 2013, the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project is designed to address structural deficiencies, upgrade capacity and bring the bridge up to modern standards. Rehabilitation will include better access for pedestrians, bicyclist and drivers, as well as better connections to meet accessibility guidelines. The middle span of the bridge which supports existing Red Line service will also be reconstructed. Repairs and modifications are designed to preserve the historic character of the bridge and its iconic salt-and-pepper towers while complying with environmental standards.
The Longfellow Bridge is a vital link between Boston, Cambridge and the Charles River Esplanade, providing mobility for hundreds of thousands of transit commuters, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists every day.
In 2010, A Better City served on MassDOT's Longfellow Bridge Task Force and helped to prepare recommendations on the use of the bridge for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The task force also studied the relationship of the modified bridge design to the approaches at each end of the bridge, and to the Esplanade open space along the Charles River. A number of design recommendations brought forward by A Better City were adopted in the final design of the project. A Better City continues to closely monitor construction and traffic management plans for this project.
The old Northern Avenue swing bridge connecting Boston’s Seaport District to the Financial District is structurally unsound and was closed to motorists and pedestrians in December 2014. With the announcement that GE plans to relocate its headquarters to the Seaport District, the City of Boston has committed as much as $100 million to reopen the bridge.
The Seaport District is experiencing rapid growth as new businesses and residents relocate to this prime neighborhood. Over the next two decades, transit trips are expected to increase by 64 percent and car traffic by 27 percent. Reopening the bridge to bicyclists and pedestrians and to limited vehicle use will help to relieve congestion in the Seaport.
A Better City participated in an advisory group that reviewed bridge options early in 2015. Recently a jury was established to review design ideas for the bridge’s construction, and A Better City’s President & CEO, Richard Dimino, was asked to serve on this panel. As the City explores options for reopening the bridge, A Better City will continue to contribute to the decision-making process.