Allstonians Brainstorm Solutions to Traffic Congestion

Honk if You Hate Traffic
A protestor stands on Cambridge Street in Allston early Thursday morning as part of a rally about transit issues.
Allston residents brainstormed ways to reduce traffic congestion on a key street near Harvard-owned land in the neighborhood during a meeting with Boston officials Monday.

The Boston Transportation Department and the mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services hosted the meeting, held at the Honan-Allston Library, to give Allstonians a chance to suggest possible solutions to traffic concerns surrounding Windom Street. The road crosses near the plot of Allston land Harvard plans to develop into its “Enterprise Research” campus.

The University first proposed developing a 36-acre lot of land in Allston into an enterprise research campus to promote entrepreneurship in 2011. In Dec. 2017, Harvard filed plans for the entire campus with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, the city’s urban planning body.

Concerns about traffic in Allston have been a common theme at community meetings held with city and state transportation officials across the last month. Last week, Allstonians rallied to ask Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79 and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to implement plans to alleviate vehicle congestion.

The gathering Monday follows several other meetings held over the past few weeks specifically to discuss traffic and transit issues.


During the meeting, Warren O’Reilly, the constituency liaison for Boston Mayor Marty J. Walsh, took notes as residents shared their worries over traffic congestion on Windom Street.

Allstonians stressed the importance of addressing current vehicle congestion issues now, given they believe construction associated with Harvard’s enterprise research campus will only exacerbate the problem. Residents proposed erecting jersey barriers between traffic lanes to reduce traffic.

Joyce Radnor, an Allston resident, recounted her experiences navigating through morning rush hour traffic with Cambridge commuters.

“In the mornings, it’s impossible to back out of your driveway—[you’re] sitting there for 10 minutes waiting to back out,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is find a way to limit Windom to local traffic.”

Allston residents also raised concerns that the traffic congestion on Windom Street does not seem to be a priority for Massachusetts.

Attendees asked if Commonwealth representatives could attend future meetings and explain the development timeline in more detail.

Jim Gillooly, the deputy commissioner at the Boston Transportation Department, attended the meeting and responded to residents’ concerns Monday night.

“I can ask the state if they can come over,” Gillooly said. “They do hold the bigger meetings for the very purpose you are talking about.”

Near the close of the event, Bill Conroy, a representative from the Boston Transportation Department, laid out the steps he and Gillooly will pursue following Monday’s meeting.

“What will happen after tonight is we’ll go back to city hall and talk to city planners and engineers and also [the] mayor's office and the commissioner of transportation and come up with a solution,” he said. “Then, [we’ll] come back here and have another meeting with you and present the other option[s].”

—Staff writer Truelian Lee can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @truelian_lee.

—Staff writer Jacqueline P. Patel can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jppatel99.


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