Allston Is Getting a Brand New MBTA Stop Called ‘West Station’
A plan that was once tabled due to budget constraints is now back on the map, thanks to MassDOT and Harvard.
It looks like people’s speculations about a new transit hub were spot on.
On a rain-soaked Tuesday afternoon, Governor Deval Patrick joined together with Mayor Marty Walsh, MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey, and MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott to announce that a new $25 million transit stop will be built in Allston’s Beacon Park Yard as part of the I-90 Interchange Improvements project that’s set to get underway beginning in 2017.
Tentatively called “West Station,” the new Commuter Rail stop along the Worcester Line will be constructed through an agreement with Harvard University, who owns the portion of Beacon Park Yard where transit officials envision the station. Harvard has agreed to pay for one-third of the project, according to Patrick.
“Harvard is pleased to be part of a partnership that includes the Commonwealth, city of Boston, CSXT, and the general public, in helping accommodate this visionary project that will serve the region for decades to come,” said Katie Lapp, executive vice president of Harvard University.
Beacon Park Yard, which was once used as a CSX freight and rail terminal, consists of 22-acres of land surrounded by the Mass. Pike, the Worcester Commuter Rail line, and the I-90 Allston Toll Plaza.
The redevelopment of the site for the new Commuter Rail stop, which will be serviced by Diesel Multiple Units, or DMUs, will happen in conjunction with the state’s massive Interchange Improvements project to rebuild and straighten the loops of roadway that stem off of the Mass. Pike and connect into Allston. Besides reducing traffic congestion and confusion, the project will also bring the new streetscapes in line with the state’s planned rollout of all-electronic tolls.
“With this project we are paving the way for future opportunities that will advance economic development in Allston and help build a brighter future for Massachusetts,” Patrick said of the development, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2020, when the pending Interchange realignment comes to an end. The new stop will allow riders to get from Allston to South Station and Back Bay without stepping on the Green Line.
The announcement comes a day after advocacy groups that have been pushing for the inclusion of a new transit station as part of the Interchange shifts made guesses as to what Patrick’s announcement would be about. Curiosity piqued on Monday as the governor offered a teaser that he would be on site at Beacon Park Yard along with other elected officials.
The outlook wasn’t always a positive one, however.
Last May, MassDOT indicated that there wasn’t enough funding to move forward with the station, which was originally included in the agency’s Capital Investment Plan and vision for “2024.” The sudden about-face, however, has been met by applause.
“This opportunity is much more than a highway project; it’s about unlocking the full potential of this neighborhood, enhancing our connection with the Charles River, and envisioning the future of mobility in Boston,” said Walsh in a statement. “This promises to be an excellent opportunity for our entire region, and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to see this come to fruition.”