Back in January of this year, the MBTA released a sketch of a long range plan for 2024 that showed a new rapid transit line that would connect Riverside via Newtonville to a new West Station in Allston and then on to North Station via Cambridge via the long defunct Grand Junction railroad line right-of-way.
Then at the end of May, the State Dept of Transportation announced that the first piece of this puzzle, the new West Station in Allston, had been dropped from the highway project to re-engineer the Mass Pike in Allston.
This past Sunday, the Boston Globe reported that West Station in Allston is now back on the drawing board. The initial plan will connect Allston’s new West Station to Back Bay and South stations. This is big news for the Allston neighborhood and appears to be in response to Harvard University ante’ing up for a substantial fraction of the cost of the project.
Long term, this all could be be good news for Newton down the road. There’s a long road from here to there, but this would be the first essential step for the MBTA to eventually build the hazy plan to one day connect Riverside to North Station via Cambridge.
What’s most curious about all of this is that the only information about the supposed end game – a new rapid transit line by 2024 from Riverside to North Station is this fuzzy map that was included in the MBTA’s report from last January.
Now that the new West Station is back on the table it seems like it might be time for the MBTA to flesh out that plan a bit in public, even if there’s a lots of ifs, ands, and buts to eventually get there.’