I-90 Allston Multimodal Project
I joined 45 of my legislative colleagues in the Central MA, MetroWest and Framingham/Worcester/Grand Junction Caucuses to submit a letter outlining comments on the National Environmental Policy Act Scoping Report for the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project. The letter formally expressed our concerns regarding the Project’s decade-long impact on commuters. With the significant existing congestion on the Mass Pike and with a 46% ridership increase between 2012-2018 on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Line that is currently constrained by a lack of parking and capacity during peak service, the impact of lane closures and the potential for reduction to a single track would be detrimental. We asked for actual mitigation commitments that can and will be acted upon to minimize the negative impacts to commuters, stressing that the effort to mitigate the transportation challenges of commuters must be done with equal commitment to the success of the overall project.
It addressed 5 key areas of concern and requests, including:
#1 Planning and Communication
A full, detailed mitigation plan that encompasses all efforts should be developed with input from and review by the delegation and key stakeholders as soon as possible.
Develop and implement a two-way communication channel with the Central MA and MetroWest delegation so that legislators are fully aware of project developments that impact their constituents.
Accelerate the I-495/I-90 Interchange Project to reduce overlap with the Allston Multimodal Project in order to minimize the amount of time commuters are navigating massive construction projects and associated delays.
Ensure that there are not simultaneous reductions in lanes on the Mass Pike and a reduction to a single rail track.
#2 Reduce Congestion/Travel Time
Identify and enhance Park-and-Ride service on the Mass Pike.
Provide bus and shuttle service on the Mass Pike.
Engage the business community to offer flexible scheduling and work at home options.
Incentivize public transportation and invest in real-time information sharing.
Engage in scenario planning to determine which main, secondary and side roads in communities off the Mass Pike will be most impacted by drivers using apps such as Waze when traffic is congested.
Accelerate programmed work and funding for raised platforms at train stations.
#3 Capacity to increase ridership on the Framingham/Worcester Line
A minimum of 9-coach, double stack sets on all peak trains.
Investigate feasibility of additional peak service.
Expand parking at commuter rail stations.
#4 Reliability of Service on Framingham/Worcester Line
Accelerate rolling stock and coach procurements and upgrades.
Store a secondary train set to call into service in cases when primary sets malfunction on the line.
Schedule for assessing and upgrading all signals and switches.
Fund and complete new center high platform at Union Station.
MBTA must work with municipalities to identify near-term solutions for at-grade crossings.
Release the detailed feasibility study of the 3rd track between Framingham and Newton and in MetroWest.
These comments are based in the our fundamental belief that the massive and complex I-90 Allston Multimodal Project cannot be successfully planned or constructed unless a strategic review and mitigation plan is adopted and implemented that prioritizes, plans, and funds mitigation efforts that significantly lessen the impact the Project will have for a decade on the thousands of daily commuters from the regions west of Boston. The letter was addressed to Jeffrey McEwen, Division Administrator at the Federal Highway Administration, and Michael O’Dowd, Acting Director of the Bridge Project Management for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Construction for the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, which involves replacing the viaduct, straightening of I-90 in Allston, building of West Station and making improvements to multimodal transportation, and is anticipated to begin in late 2022. More information on the Project can be found at mass.gov.
Newton Commuter Rail Stations
For 15 years, Representative Khan has been committed to providing a handicapped accessible commuter rail station in Newton. Working with former Congressman Barney Frank, the Newton legislative delegation and the MBTA, federal funds were made available for a redesign of Auburndale Station. MassDOT has also allocated $21.3M for the reconstruction of the station.
The handicapped accessibility project initially considered only the Auburndale Commuter Rail Station; however, an MBTA feasibility study revealed that reconstructing all three commuter rail stations, (Auburndale, West Newton and Newton) is imperative. This is a vital development for the handicapped, young families with infants needing strollers and senior citizens.
We look forward to having more conversations and meetings with community stakeholders, disability advocates, transit advocates, and elected officials, about the future commuter rail accessibility improvements in the City of Newton.
Representative Khan is passionate about rebuilding the Riverside Trails Network. The Representative is working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and bike advocates including the Solomon Foundation on connecting bike and pedestrian trail infrastructure in Auburndale on both sides of the Charles River. MassDOT has committed to rebuilding the bridge across the Charles River at the Lasell Boathouse and we are considering options to open the tunnel underneath the commuter rail tracks, also in Auburndale. Updates will be forthcoming.
Green Line D Track and Signal Replacement
The Green Line D Track and Signal Replacement Project end its construction in December of 2020. The MBTA is delivering on its promise to “bring the Green Line track and signal systems into a state of good repair.” In order to replace about 6.5 miles of signal infrastructure and 25,000 feet of track, MBTA contractors will be working overnight on 100 feet of track at a time (from east to west) for the next two years. Special track work will take place on weekends and bus shuttles will replace train service.
For all queries and comments related to Green Line D Track and Signal Replacement, please check out: https://www.mbta.com/projects/green-line-d-track-and-signal-replacement
Or contact: DBranchInfo@mbta.com
If the MBTA does not get back to you, please contact Constituent Services director, Amani Mansour, in my office: Amani.Mansour@mahouse.gov.