The University will push Boston to establish a new commuter rail
station near the Allston campus, Harvard officials said on Monday.
The stop is an outgrowth of a long standing Boston plan for a
public transportation “urban ring” that would enable people to get into
the western area of the city without being forced to connect through
the Downtown Crossing and Park Street stations. Harvard wants to expand
the ring more deeply into Allston than originally envisioned in order
to create a “life science necklace” that would link Boston University,
MIT, and Harvard.
“This is a pretty big idea and no one has said yes yet, but we
think it makes a lot of sense,” said Harvard’s Director of Physical
Planning Harris Band at a meeting of the Harvard-Allston Task Force
Monday night. He added that the plan had been “gently discussed in a
lot of different circles.”
The stop, tentatively named West Station, would be located
near the turnpike ramps with the intention of reducing traffic by
providing an incentive for people to abandon their cars before they
enter the city. Band said the plan could be realized “fairly soon.”
A Harvard shuttle would connect the stop to the Allston
campus. Band said that in the coming years the University would have to
completely revamp its shuttle system, which runs throughout the city
from Cambridge to the Longwood Medical Area. The University hopes to
receive permission from the city for exclusive transit lanes, which
would help eliminate congestion.
Band also presented the task force with possible locations for
new parking lots to replace the parking that will be lost in the
construction of new buildings. Planners currently envision putting all
parking lots underground, an expensive proposition in an area that is
The University’s transportation plans for Allston center
around creating a more friendly environment for pedestrians. Now an
area defined by high density thoroughfares like Western Avenue,
proposals include creating bike lanes, broader sidewalks, and slowing
traffic with traffic lights and sharp right turns.
“There’s something of a revolution that can be achieved here in terms of pedestrian dynamics,” Band said.
Adam Shulman, who works for Boston’s Department of
Transportation, also said Boston may turn the parking along North
Harvard Street by the Business School into two hour or metered spots in
response to resident complaints that commuters are leaving their cars
there all day, as they park and walk into Harvard Square to catch the
—Staff writer Natalie I. Sherman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.