Wellesley feels Mass Pike pain

Wellesley-ites are far from alone in feeling the brutal impact of new Mass Pike construction that cutting lanes in both directions and adding hours to some travelers’ commutes. The Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal and others have begun weighing in on the impact, which the BBJ says could really take an economic toll.

The project’s noble aim is to rebuild failing infrastructure, specifically the Commonwealth Avenue bridge and nearby median strip in the Allston area.  Construction on this $22.3 million project is slated to last for a couple of years.

We got our first letter about the project from a Swellesley reader this week (a letter also sent to State Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch, who represents Wellesley). This commuter described frustration caused by “the nightmare that has become the MassPike” and a commuter rail schedule too inflexible to be of real use. While acknowledging there is a legitimate need for the construction, the reader questioned why fixing a 1.4-mile stretch would take 2 years and why there appears to have been no coordination between MassDOT and the MBTA.

I asked Rep. Peisch myself whether she’s been hearing from constituents and indeed, she has heard from a couple “and I have experienced the problem myself.”

Peisch says she has contacted the Mass. Department of Transportation “to advocate that they revisit the 24/7 lane closings” and plans to follow up with the governor’s office.

Some readers of our Facebook page have recommended that Wellesley commuters hop on the commuter rail, but as Peisch notes, the on-time schedule in recent months has not been good.

We took a look at the MBTA’s own on-time performance numbers, which have seriously trended down this year. They’ve gone from 93% on the Framingham-Worcester line in January to 80% in July. On-time performance fell from 92% to 84% to 81% in the period from May-July. The MBTA’s goal is to hit 95%.

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