Last year, Pioneer Institute proposed that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option – a modified at-grade option for the throat area – to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Institute believed then and continues to believe that an all at-grade design will shorten construction time, lower costs, cause fewer negative economic and congestion impacts, and improve neighborhood access to parkland along the Charles River.
We have reiterated this position numerous times, including here and here, and through public testimony to the MassDOT board and at project task force and other public meetings, as well as in open letters to the Governor and the MassDOT Board.
Numerous advocacy groups have expressed their preference for an all at-grade option. This past June, MassDOT announced that it would consider such an option. In August, MassDOT made a board presentation on a Scoping Summary Report to be submitted as part of the environmental review process that included, in addition to two viaduct options, a modified all at-grade option, with input provided by A Better City and the City of Boston. Still though, it appeared MassDOT preferred the highway viaduct option for the throat area.
This fall, many civic leaders and elected officials, including Mayor Walsh, US Senator Markey and US Representative Pressley and others, advocated for an all at-grade option. MassDOT conducted additional public meetings and asked for more public feedback on the design to be submitted by October 30, 2020. In response, Pioneer provided additional public comment and also signed on to a coalition letter in support of the concept: