Keller @ Large: Mass Pike Straightening A Luxury We Can’t Afford

BOSTON (CBS) – Before I begin, a quick word to the well-meaning transportation officials, neighborhood activists and others eyeing a major redevelopment of the Massachusetts Turnpike’s Allston interchange who I’m about to infuriate – I respect your intentions and your initiative, I really do.

It would be great, in a perfect world, to straighten out the Pike, ease the traffic bottleneck where it empties onto Cambridge Street and Soldiers Field Road, open up the old rail yards to commercial and residential use, and create more riverside parkland.

In a perfect world, the $1.2 billion they’re estimating all this would cost – which really means it will cost at least twice as much – would be easy to raise, because in a perfect world, money grows on trees that thrive year-round.

But this isn’t a perfect world.

This is a world where many glaring transportation needs are going begging for funding.

pik3 Keller @ Large: Mass Pike Straightening A Luxury We Cant Afford

The Allston interchange on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (WBZ-TV)

This is a world where there are far worse bottlenecks then the one next to the Doubletree that deserve our attention. How about first fixing Bell Circle in Revere, Route 16 through Medford, Kosciuszko Circle in Dorchester, and a dozen others I could mention?

This is a world where we’re still suffering the economic consequences of a failed mega-project pushed by eyes-are-bigger-than-their mouths pols and bureaucrats known as the Big Dig, which, by the way, has proven to be totally incapable of accommodating its traffic.

Let’s take all those shiny ideas for the Allston interchange and put them in the stack marked “maybe, someday, if the state wins Megabucks.”

You know – the one where all those big Olympics plans wound up.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. I’ll support your position, Jon, if you promise not to complain about “crazy” drivers on the crowded roads.

    A key point to trffic moving smoothly is not to have vehicles pile up behind problematic stretches of roads. It also makes the drivers far less prone to trying crazy stunts to beat the delays and inconveniences on a lot of the roads leading up to and out of the bottlenecks.

  2. The costs will be partially offset by increased property tax revenue. If the new building development creates new jobs, we get increased income tax revenue too.

    And of course, a safer road means less accidents, less injuries, and less insurance claims.

    While the Big Dig was far from perfect, it is certainly an improvement over what we had before. Ask anybody who has ever come into Logan Airport and headed west.

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