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Community Impact

May 03, 2019

Allston Esplanade Charrette

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Image courtesy of Jenny Effron.

On April 18, the BSA and its Urban Design Committee, the City of Boston and MassDOT hosted a participatory design workshop to generate potential design solutions for key moments of the future “Allston Esplanade,” the area that will be created as a result of the planned rebuilding of the I-90 interchange and Allston Viaduct in Boston.

Building on a decade of work by design and community advocates, the event attracted over 75 people representing a mix of interests from architecture, to transportation to neighborhood stewards.

After an overview of the key opportunities and constraints of MassDOT’s current direction for the Allston Viaduct replacement project, the group broke into three sub-groups to more thoroughly address design opportunities at three subareas: The BU & Grand Junction Bridges/Soldiers Field Road/Commonwealth Avenue Nexus; the Allston Throat Esplanade; and the Agganis Way Crossover. For each focus area, two or three designers facilitated group discussion and potential design approaches/solutions based on each area’s unique challenges and opportunities.

The evening concluded with each group presenting their work. The group addressing the “Nexus” looked at a point where highway, roadway, railway and pedestrian path all looped over and under each other and created solutions that would allow people to move pleasantly through the space to the waterfront. The Agganis Way Connector group envisioned grand pedestrian bridges with viewpoints that also connect the neighborhood to the Esplanade without forcing people to walk 1.5 miles around the roadway system. Finally, the Allston Esplanade group contemplated a space that is green, spacious for walking and biking and providing ecological restoration for the Charles River. Each group pushed boundaries and looked for solutions that both improve multi modal transit functions and serve as inspiring visions.

A summary of the evening’s discussions and design outcomes will be made available to MassDOT and the public in the coming weeks.

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