The Green Line Extension Working Group met yesterday for the first time in a long time, getting updates from the head of the MBTA and the interim project manager of the GLX. Despite the snow, about 100 residents joined the meeting in support of the project. A few highlights:
- The goal of the new project team is to try to reduce the scope of the GLX in order to bring it back down to the $2 billion currently budgeted. (Here’s the team.)
- John Karn of ARUP summarized the areas being explored to cut costs (view the presentation), including:
- Lowell cross section: slim down the right-of-way area and potentially cut the Community Path (something STEP finds unacceptable).
- Stations: redesign stations to be “smaller, more spartan but functional,” which STEP supports. Unfortunately, that might also include redesigning station access and egress, which could negatively impact the Community Path.
- Union Square: consider alternatives for this stop, such as a commuter rail stop or bus service – not at all acceptable.
- Viaducts: reduce their size, mass, and number (which might also include cutting the Community Path).
- Maintenance facility: make it much smaller and simpler.
- Schedule/productivity: work off-peak hours and shut down the commuter rail to save time and money.
- We finally got to see cost estimates for various components of this project, including Lechmere station ($72 million in contractor bid), Union Square station ($40M), Washington station ($50M), and more. (Here’s the detailed spreadsheet.)
- There will be multiple public meetings to involve the community in this process between now and May, when the team’s report is due to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB). (Here’s their schedule.)
Below are detailed notes from our friends at MGNA…
This was the first Working Group meeting since the project was put on pause due to the projected cost escalation, and a new project team was installed to fully re-examine the project to determine whether it still will be built, and in what form. Chairperson Doug Carr said the Working Group was eager to be engaged in the process and offer its input and expertise, noting that many of the members have been involved with the project for 10 years or longer.