The FY15 TIP includes funding for Comm Ave Phase 2A: from Amory Street to Alcorn Street, and there are rumors of the project finally starting to get in motion. This started in December when BTD requested permissions to chop down trees along Comm Ave, a request which was denied. I thank the Senator for acting quickly to help the community on that particular aspect.
It has been over two years since any kind of public presentation of Phase 2A, and several of us are starting to worry that bad decisions may be made behind closed doors without public input. Such as the previously stated decision to try chopping down trees without even showing the plans to the public.
Comm Ave Phase 2A is an important corridor, with a high number of pedestrians and bike riders. It also hosts the busiest yet slowest branch of the Green Line, and a large amount of vehicular travel.
I believe transparency on the upcoming design is important to ensure that
- BTD is following its own Complete Streets Guidelines to protect vulnerable street users,
- the MBTA is fixing longstanding issues with the Green Line by incorporating signal priority and station modernization/consolidation,
- the new design becomes an asset, not a barrier, to the community.
Phase 2B will include the reconstruction of the overpass of I-90 and the intersection with the BU Bridge. This intersection was designed by Callahan during the Mass Pike extension days, and is a sore mess that is hated by every user, as far as I know. I have been told that there are negotiations behind the scenes with regard to Phase 2B, but no public action as of yet.
Phase 3 will be the reconstruction of Comm Ave between Packard’s Corner and Warren Street. This part of Comm Ave differs significantly from Phase 2A and 2B. Vehicular travel on this section is extremely low, lower than the 2-lane streets which are perpendicular to it. Yet, it hosts one of the busiest surface stations on the Green Line, in Harvard Ave, and it is a densely populated corridor with high walking, transit and biking mode shares. There is also a major opportunity here to fix many of the longstanding problems with the Green Line by shifting the reservation towards the center of the street, instead of the way it is on the north side. No public process has been forthcoming as of yet for this phase, and I am not sure funds are identified yet either.
I believe that moving forward into 2014 and FY15, we ought to see a public process begin on at least Phases 2A, 2B, and insofar as the changes impact 2A, on Phase 3. Comm Ave is a critical corridor for the health of the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods, and it is important for the future of those neighborhoods that we are able to fix many of the longstanding problems caused by past negligence.