Though he appears open to the project, Boston mayor Marty Walsh says that traffic issues should be addressed if the New England Revolution build a stadium in Dorchester.
In his search for a soccer-specific venue for the Revolution, owner Robert Kraft is targeting the site of the Bayside Expo Center in Dorchester. While talks about the location have heated up this summer, it was recently revealed that this location has been on the team’s radar for some time, as discussions between the Revolution and property owner University of Massachusetts began last fall.
Walsh, for his part, sounds supportive of the project, which would bring the Revolution to Boston from Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium. He says that he is open to a private/public initiative for the stadium, but that his main concern at this time is that the roads surrounding the site cannot withstand the traffic generated by an MLS venue. The area was previously discussed as a supporting location for the Olympics, but more work may need to take place in order to make the site compatible for the Revolution. More from Boston.com:
The transportation trouble near the Bayside site is highlighted by Kosciuszko Circle,a devilish rotary at the epicenter of several major roads in Dorchester and South Boston that counts I-93 among its feeders.
The state transportation department’s five-year capital project plan does not include proposed funds for fixing Kosciuszko. The ill-fated Boston 2024 Olympic bidding group — for which Walsh was the chief political supporter — sought to build athlete housing in the same area, and it estimated that turning the traffic circle into a four-way intersection and otherwise dealing with the roads would cost between $120 million and $220 million. That plan called for the state and city funds to pay for the transportation fixes. (Kraft representatives last October requested Olympic infrastructure planning documents from officials at UMass, which owns the Bayside site.)
Walsh thinks the rotary needs reworking, regardless of what the Bayside site becomes.
“I think there has to be a traffic solution there anyway, even with nothing there. … That circle is chaotic,” he said.
The mayor said he’d expect many fans to travel to a soccer stadium by public transit. The MBTA’s JFK/UMass Red Line station is nearby.
This is not the first time that traffic concerns have been raised about the site, but Walsh’s comments–both about the potential of bringing the Revolution to Boston and of studying the location–give some idea about how the mayor feels about the proposal, For Kraft and the Revolution, having the traffic issues addressed in some way could be key to getting the project off the ground.
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