Goodbye Big Dig, Hello Pike Drop

(MassDOT)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Do you figure the massive disruption and runaway costs of the Big Dig turned out to be well worth it?

Then you will love the new Big Dig, which I will be referring to from now on as the Pike Drop.

The Pike Drop is the option chosen by the state for redesign of the Mass Turnpike Extension where it comes out of the Allston tolls heading into town. Between the aging viaduct that carries the Pike, the train yards below and Soldiers Field Road at ground level, a prime swath of choice riverside property has been locked up for decades, leaving just a measly path along the water.

Lots of Bostonians think we can do better with a setup that allows for more recreational access while allowing huge development opportunities, with Harvard and BU at the front of the line.

Sec. Pollack and the folks at MassDOT are professionals and there's been a long public process just to get to this point. Maybe dropping the Pike and elevating Soldiers Field Road will turn out to be the pest possible decision.

But in the meantime, let's just make sure what we're buying into.

What are the true plusses and minuses of creating a new neighborhood? Can we have the economic payoff of the Seaport without its grotesque traffic problems?

Does anyone really believe the $1.1 billion price tag they're citing. And will the billions more it will likely cost wind up as a subsidy to car and truck traffic, at the expense of mass transit, as the Big Dig was?

Before we buy the Pike Drop, let's ask these and other questions. Unless, that is, you thought the Big Dig was just swell.

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