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What's Really Going to Happen to Allston's Beacon Park Yards?

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The plan for Allston's Beacon Park Yards is straightforward enough: Get rid of the toll plaza on the Mass. Pike, build a commuter-rail stop, and upgrade the highway significantly, including via better integrating it with the surrounding area (which it currently splits in half). This should, in turn, loose a torrent of development on dozens of surrounding acres. Cool. And yet. Some say the seven- to 10-year plan for this is not going so swell.

Globe op-ed columnist Renée Loth spells out the concerns: "Officially, MassDOT recognizes Beacon Yards' ability to improve 'livability and connectivity' in Allston, and to enhance public transit links to Kendall Square, the Seaport, and other job-rich areas. But so far the discussion has been dominated by highway engineers and their priorities. An example: The raised highway deck is currently slated to be rebuilt at roughly the same elevation."

That will mean the highway remains a stark barrier to any future neighborhood's connectivity. For now, the powers that be have promised a six-month study to examine the viability of the current plans. And MassDOT has put forward goals for its project that it says will create a more livable neighborhood regardless of the highway's fate, including rerouting Soldiers Field Road to open space along the Charles for "an Allston Esplanade." Stay tuned.
· In Beacon Yards, Will the Highway Trump the Neighborhood? [Globe]