- Here’s a take a look at the deliberate phased enhance in service for the MBTA
- Crowding considerations because of the coronavirus could power MBTA to get ‘creative’
Say goodbye to the outdated Lechmere Station.
Beginning on Sunday, the Green Line’s northern terminus, in addition to Science Park Station, will shut for roughly one yr to make manner for the transit line’s future growth into Somerville and Medford. During the shutdown, MBTA officers are putting in devoted bus lanes to supply vacationers another between East Cambridge and Boston.
The prolonged service disruption is an important step for the Green Line Extension venture, in addition to the separate rehabilitation of the more-than-century-old Lechmere Viaduct that carries Green Line trolleys over the Charles River. Construction crews will demolish the present Lechmere Station and construct a brand new one on the opposite aspect of Monsignor O’Brien Highway.
From there, the Green Line will cut up into two branches, one to close by Union Square and one other working by Somerville — adjoining to the Lowell commuter rail line — to Tufts University in Medford.
MBTA officers say the $2.three billion venture stays on observe to be completed by December 2021, although they’re intently monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic’s results on their provide chain.
But first they should relocate Lechmere Station, which additionally offers officers the chance to make wanted repairs to the Lechmere Viaduct.
During a gathering final month, Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack stated the getting older viaduct, which restricted each the velocity and variety of autos passing over it, must be closed as a part of the GLX venture anyway. By utilizing the required closure to additionally restore the bridge, officers are successfully killing two birds with one stone and guaranteeing that future GLX riders could have a faster commute over the viaduct.
Still, the closure implies that Green Line trolleys will go no farther than North Station, affecting commuters who take the MBTA from East Cambridge into Boston, and vice versa. According to the company, greater than 14,000 folks took the Green Line alongside that route earlier than the coronavirus outbreak, which has since precipitated subway ridership to plunge roughly 90 %.
As the MBTA has finished with different short-term line closures, the company will likely be working shuttle buses between Lechmere and North Station. However, they’re additionally putting in all-day devoted bus lanes in each instructions on Charles River Dam Road to make sure that Green Line riders have “a reliable alternative” and don’t exacerbate site visitors over the often-congested stretch, in line with GLX venture supervisor John Dalton.
MBTA crews started marking the bus-only lanes, which will likely be painted pink, this previous Monday. And whereas the portray course of will take three weeks, the lanes will change into energetic on Sunday together with the Green Line closure.
“Dedicated bus lanes on Charles River Dam Road will allow MBTA customers to travel safely and efficiently during the closure of this key segment of the Green Line,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak stated in a press release.
In addition to shuttles, the lanes will likely be open to different MBTA buses (although the 69, 80, 87, and 88 routes will proceed to terminate at Lechmere), professionally pushed coaches, shuttle buses, and emergency autos. They may even be separated from the bike lanes put in final yr on the dicey stretch close to the Museum of Science.
Additional “dedicated-bus accommodations” will likely be made alongside the rest of the shuttle route on Martha Road and Nashua Street within the space close to North Station.
Officials venture that the lanes will save passengers on the route 15 minutes per round-trip throughout rush hour.
The bus-only lanes do imply that two of the 5 automotive lanes on Charles River Dam Road will likely be eliminated in the course of the period of the closure. But throughout a gathering final month, Dalton stated that congestion was prone to enhance “without or with a bus lane” because of the displacement of Green Line riders.
Before the pandemic, Route 28 — which is knowns as O’Brien Highway in Cambridge and Charles River Dam Road in Boston — carried 34,000 vehicles a day, as The Boston Globe reported final yr.
Pollack stated final month that the MBTA performed modeling on the potential site visitors impacts they usually have a “high degree of confidence” that each bike and bus lanes can stay in place they usually can “maintain traffic at an acceptable level.” A MassDOT spokeswoman stated Thursday that the company couldn’t present the modeling, which was performed by a non-public consulting agency.
In a discover Wednesday, the MBTA stated the variety of passengers on particular person shuttle buses will likely be restricted, in an effort to encourage social distancing to restrict the unfold of the coronavirus, although extra buses will likely be on standby to accommodate ridership calls for. Face coverings may even be required for shuttle riders over the age of two, in accordance with a statewide order.
According to the MBTA, the bus lanes will likely be eliminated when the Lechmere closure ends subsequent spring.