Green Line

Green Line
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Union Square Green Line opening delayed until March

Frustrating news: The Union Square station, previously delayed to open in December, will now open in March.

From a press release:

“Senior MBTA and GLX leadership are working closely with GLXC to bring this project to fruition on this updated timetable,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We’re strongly committed to GLX and very close to safely bringing extended Green Line service into Somerville and Medford.”

“We are disappointed that the schedule has had to be adjusted, but GLXC is dedicated to working with our MBTA partners to complete this project by March,” said Thomas Nilsson, president of Fluor’s Infrastructure business line and a GLXC board member. “We are committed to providing MBTA Green Line passengers with a quality, safe, and affordable mode of transportation for decades to come.”

“The opening of the first Green Line Extension branch has been delayed — again” (Boston.com)

While he acknowledged the news was “disappointing,” Poftak expressed confidence that Thursday would be the last time he would have to make such an announcement, at least when it came to the Union Square branch.

“I have a real high level of confidence that this will be the last delay, sort of leaving open that we are still working on Branch 2,” Poftak told reporters.

“It was my hope that the announcement in June was our final announcement related to schedule,” he said. “Obviously, that’s not the case. We have spent an awful lot of time — both internally at the T and with GLXC — to make sure that we can hit this March date.”

“Green Line Extension Delayed Again; Won’t Open This Year” (Somerville Patch)

Poftak said the project has failed to meet key benchmarks, including completion of the first traction power substation, which powers the Green Line trains, as well as other construction and testing activities. Functional testing is underway as remaining work is finished within the substation, he added.

Officials did not announce changes to the longer branch, which includes six stops in Somerville and Medford, although they are evaluating whether the timeline needs to be adjusted. That branch is expected to open in May, five months behind the original schedule, the MBTA said in June.

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Big infrastructure projects such as the Green Line cost more than they should

“Why does it cost so much to build things in America?” (Vox)

“The 4.3-mile [Green Line] light rail project was estimated to cost $1.12 billion in 2012 — by 2015, that number had nearly tripled.

The researchers were able to identify a few reasons for what happened to the Green Line: Jockeying between two different understaffed agencies with little experience managing large projects and consultants, a laissez-faire approach to allowing stakeholders’ expensive ideas to be added to the project scope ‘even if impractical,’ and public pressure for more as the project dragged on and the demand for transit options increased.”

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Green Line Extension opening delayed

Today’s joint meeting of the MassDOT Board and the Fiscal and Management Control Board included an update on the Green Line Extension, and there’s a bit of bad news. The Union Square line will open in December instead of October, and the Medford branch will open in May 2022 instead of December. There were rumors that such a delay was coming.

View the slides for more details.

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Here’s a 1902 map of all the electric trolleys and trains we used to have

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Green Line Extension under budget, will benefit richer, whiter riders

“A remarkable turnaround for Green Line extension” (CommonWealth Magazine)

“The idea that extending the Green Line from Lechmere into Somerville and Medford could come in under budget is somewhat remarkable given its tangled and tortured history. In its early stages, the price tag of the project ballooned from $2 billion to $3 billion and forced state transportation officials to redesign and revamp the project to eliminate roughly $1 billion in costs.”

“MBTA finds that the Green Line Extension will disproportionately benefit richer, whiter riders” (Boston.com)

“Somerville — which will see the percentage of residents within a half-mile of a transit stop increase from 20 percent to 80 percent when GLX service begins — has seen its old, blue-collar reputation transformed by an influx of young professionals and new development in the years since state officials first committed to the long-delayed project in the 1990s.

‘I think it’s fair to say the demographics of the neighborhoods encompassing GLX have changed,’ [Lynsey] Heffernan [the T’s director of policy and strategic planning] said.”

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Great drone footage of Green Line construction

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Union Square station to open in October, Medford line in December

Good news from the MBTA: General Manager Steve Poftak revealed at the March 29 MBTA board meeting that the Green Line construction is on schedule and that the Union Square branch will likely open in October, with the other stations along the Medford line opening in December.

Edward Orde on Twitter noticed that the MBTA map at the Ruggles station already includes the Green Line Extension:

The new map also shows that the Riverside “D” branch will run to Union Square and the Heath Street “E” branch will run to Medford.

It’s coming!

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Public art coming to the Green Line Extension

New Green Line Stops Bring New Public Art to Medford, Somerville, and Cambridge (StreetsBlog)

In a statement, MBTA officials wrote that “this GLX Art Enrichment Program seeks to contribute to the vibrancy of the GLX communities by investing in the success of local artists… The goal is to enhance existing station elements to create a warm and welcoming environment in key areas experienced by the riding public, to both unify and differentiate stations, and to enhance the connection between the station and the community.”

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Watch Green Line construction on these live cameras

Can’t wait for the Green Line Extension to open? Curious how the construction is going? Now you can watch via several live cameras positioned along the line.

Here’s a camera near Ball Square:



View more live cameras

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Dec 9 Green Line public meeting

If you missed the official Green Line Extension construction update, you can watch it here or view the slides.

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