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It looks like Allston is getting a new MBTA commuter rail station.
Crowded in the doorway of a brand new commuter rail train car at the Beacon Park Rail Yard Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Deval Patrick was joined by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey and other officials in announcing the new $25 million West Station on the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line.
The station will be part of MassDOT's $260 million I-90 Interchange Improvement Project, which will replace the bridge that carries the Mass Pike through the Allston/Brighton area, straighten out the highway, improve bicycle and pedestrian connections along Cambridge Street and install electronic tolls.
The station, which will be located at the rail yard site near the Mass Pike on-ramp at Cambridge Street in Allston, will allow commuters to "get in and out of Boston, back and forth to Worcester, and make the very best use of this new land and the abutting neighborhoods," Patrick said.
The building of the new station will coincide with the I-90 project, which is slated to begin construction in 2017 and be completed in 2020.
"The straightening out of the Pike is about simplifying the commute," Patrick said. "It's about finally resolving one of the worst off ramps in America, which we will do, and create some 25 or 50 acres of new developable opportunities."
Harvard, which owns part of the land, will cover a third of the costs of the project. The state will cover another third. Davey would not specify who would cover the final third but said MassDOT is "working with some other third parties to contribute as well."
The development project and the new station was included in MassDOT's five-year $12.4 billion Capital Improvement Plan released at the beginning of the year, which outlined a spending plan for various improvements to the state's transportation infrastructure.
"This is much more than a highway project," Walsh said. "This project is going to be a connection to the community."
Harry Mattison, 41, a member of an Allston I-90 task force that consulted with MassDOT on the project, said he was pleased to see the "wasteland" redeveloped and hoped to see a new connection over the Charles River for pedestrians and cyclists.
"I'm excited that the governor and the secretary are finally making this more than just a highway project," the longtime Allston resident said. "Now it has a rail component and we're really excited about the cycling and parks components we hope will come next."
Mattison said the project would mean a lot to the neighborhood and give the area a boost.
Renata von Tscharner, the president and founder of the Charles River Conservancy, said since the project will impact the river, she hopes the parklands along the river will be improved — and hopefully lead to the creation of a new green space along the river called the Allston Esplande.
"It's a great opportunity both for reweaving an urban fabric, but also to create open green space in the middle of the city where there was none before," von Tscharner said.
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