STEP is a community group dedicated to improving transportation in Somerville, MA. We advocate for the Green Line extension, a more livable city, and public health issues.
The State has published new draft maps of the future Community Path that will live alongside the Green Line Extension. The new improved route avoids awkward bridge crossings, which is good news.
View slides from the July 10 Community Working Group meeting. Keep reading for more maps.
“Green Line extension breaks ground — for real, this time” (Boston Globe)
“Green Line Extension breaks ground” (Somerville Times)
Today in Union Square a crowd gathered for an official groundbreaking for the Green Line Extension project! (Yes, there have been ceremonies like this before, but as a few speakers joked today, this time it will stick.) Keep reading for more photos from the event.
At the May 1 meeting of the GLX Community Working Group, the project team presented an update that included the following news:
- The overall design is approximately 15% complete.
- They shared new viaduct drawings near Lechmere and also Community Path renderings in the same area.
- Tree clearing will continue through the summer as construction begins in earnest.
- The Broadway Bridge in Ball Square will be closed Fall 2018 to Fall 2019.
- Washington St will be closed at the railroad bridge (between Joy and Tufts Streets) for about 11 months in 2019 and another 4-5 months in 2020. Washington St will be closed to all traffic including bikes and pedestrians.
START OF WORK: APRIL 2018
After years of community advocacy and planning, the GLX was given an official “Notice to Proceed” in December 2017, and work is already underway with completion expected by late 2021, which is a contractual obligation by the GLX contractors. The GLX contract team is currently mobilizing at each of the six station areas, and you will begin to see work happening in April around each of these station areas (Union Square, Washington Street, Gilman Square, Lowell Street, Ball Square, and College Ave. in Medford). Preliminary work throughout the month of April will include tree removal, digging test pits, and pest control. More significant construction is expected to begin in summer 2018. Note: you may start to see some larger equipment along the rail corridor beginning in the spring; however, this does not mean that excavation or major construction is beginning at that time. Arrival of equipment is part of the pre-construction preparation.
The MBTA has issued the Notice to Proceed to GLX Constructors, the joint venture it selected to complete the design and build the extension to Somerville and Medford, and the first $100 million in federal funds has been released.
“The Federal Transit Administration today informed the MBTA Green Line Extension (GLX) Project Team that it has released the first $100 million installment of the total approved $1 billion in federal funding for the 4.7-mile light rail line from Cambridge to Medford, marking another milestone for the project. With federal funding in place, the MBTA issued the Notice to Proceed to GLX Design-Build team, GLX Constructors.”
“Governor Charlie Baker’s commitment to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in the building of this project was persuasive,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “The region can now look forward to an enhanced transportation network as the Green Line is extended to serve tens of thousands of area residents daily.”
MassDOT recently updated the community on the possible extension of the Green Line from College Ave to Mystic Valley Parkway (Route 16). Specifically, they walked everyone through a Notice of Project Change (NPC), which describes potential environmental impacts. View the slides to see this additional project’s scope and information on noise and vibration, land use, transportation, and more.
Some points to consider:
The U-Haul building at this location does not need to be acquired (saving millions of dollars and also minimizing the environmental and neighborhood impacts of demolition) in order for a station to be added at Route 16. The MBTA can work with the building owner to repurpose the building for a higher and better use (housing, office, retail) that would complement the Green Line station. (See the great station plan from the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance.)
Included in the scope of the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) should be the potential improvement to Mystic River water quality due to reduced auto trips/vehicle miles traveled, which translates into less tailpipe emission and fluid leaks falling to the streets and being carried into the river by stormwater.
Since the GLX Phase I bid came in $239 million under budget and all budget inflation risk is supposed to be borne by the design-build contractor, the $157 million that last year was reprogrammed for GLX Phase I might be reprogrammed back to GLX Phase 2 (Route 16 Station) and the cities of Somerville and Cambridge might no longer be required to make their $50 million and $25 million contributions to GLX Phase 1.