Plans for Potential Allston Rail Station Tabled

UPDATED: May 28, 2014, at 11:13 a.m.

Nearly two months after Allston residents first met to discuss an extension of the Massachusetts Turnpike that would include a rail station, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced at a meeting of the I-90 Allston Interchange Task Force last week that it would postpone any action on the potential station.

Citing budgetary concerns, MassDOT spokesperson Mike Verseckes told The Boston Globe on Tuesday that the proposed rail station, “West Station,” has been delayed, but not cancelled entirely. The station would connect Allston to downtown Boston and Cambridge.

“Long term, the MassDOT Capital Investment Plan does envision a station in this area in the future,” Verseckes said. “However, at this time, there is no funding specifically designated for construction.”

The proposed designs for the extension of the turnpike still include the train station and the results of last Wednesday’s meeting do not preclude future rail development, according to Galen M. Mook, an Allston resident and member of the task force.

Many Allston residents expressed disappointment over the delay of the construction of West Station, which they believe will benefit the community and the environment.

“If West Station is built, [Boston University] will benefit tremendously from it, Harvard will benefit from it, the entire region will benefit from it, and the environment will benefit,” Allston resident Harry E. Mattison said.

The proposed project would follow the guidelines put forth by GreenDOT, a sustainability initiative by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Allstonians cited the environmental benefits of the station, which would allow residents to take public transportation rather than drive cars. Residents have also rallied around the proposed creation of the “People’s Pike,” a recreational path for cyclists, joggers, and walkers connecting the Allston with Harvard and the Charles River.

“I think the hope and expectation is that this project will mean much more for people using those green forms of transportation than those people sitting in their cars,” Mattison said of the Mass. Pike realignment project.

“Like other neighbors I am disappointed to hear the news, and I am hoping that something can be worked out,” said Allston resident Paola M. Ferrer.

Still, some Allston residents said they were not surprised by the scrapping of the rail station plans, given that funding had not been accounted for.

“It’s a little disappointing, but not surprising,” said Allston resident Richard Parr ’01, who said he suspected that the Department of Transportation was seeking funding for the project from Harvard.

Others said they are hopeful that Harvard will foot the bill for the station as well, including Mook.

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