Monthly Archives: April 2011

4 posts

Lechmere Green Line Service to be Replaced with Shuttle Buses

Lechmere Station, Cambridge – map

On Saturday, April 30th, the Science Park Green Line station will be closing so that an extensive rehabilitation of the station can be completed. The station will be closed to train service during the six month period that the renovations will require. During this time, service between Lechmere and North Station will be replaced with bus service.
During this period, buses will leave Lechmere and North Station every 4 minutes during peak hours and special events at the TD Bank Garden, every 10 minutes during off-peak day hours, and every 12-15 minutes during night hours. At Lechmere, the pattern of bus traffic through the station will be reversed, with Green Line shuttle buses entering the station on the passenger entrance side from Cambridge Street in the direction of Harvard Square. Bus service for the 69, 80, 87, and 88 routes will enter the station in the opposite direction (from McGrath in the Boston-bound direction), but will board in the normal location. Service for these buses will be unaffected. Green Line shuttle routes may be altered during the Fourth of July, but the exact details of any route changes are not yet known.
Map of shuttle service. Source: MBTA
This project is important for a number of reasons. The station improvements that will be undertaken will make Science Park fully accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Two new elevators will be constructed to bring customers from street level to the platform, the platform itself will be widened, and the interior stairs will be completely replaced. The platform canopy roofs will be completely replaced, two new paid entrance lobbies will be constructed, and various upgrades to lighting, signage, and landscaping will also be performed.
The MBTA has cited multiple reasons for closing the station during construction. It has been determined that the safest way to complete the improvements will be to close the station during the majority of the construction work. Were the station to remain open, construction would require a temporary pedestrian track crossing to be used while one station entrance would be closed, and platforms would need to be narrowed and remain uncovered. Closing the station allows the work to be completed with minimal risk to the public.
In addition to enhancing safety, the station closure will allow the work to be sped up significantly. The project will be completed six months earlier than it would be were the station to remain open, allowing the delivery of fully accessible platforms to be accelerated significantly. The station closure will also allow demolition required by the project will to be performed during the day, mitigating the noise problems that would have been created by night time demolition.
The proposed South Elevation showing elevator, lobby, stair, and canopy improvements.
While I expect that work on Science Park will be completed efficiently, safely, and without incident, I also recognize that the closure of Lechmere station to train service could negatively impact commuters who ride the Green Line each day. I am here first and foremost to represent the concerns of the residents of East Cambridge and East Somerville, and I encourage you to contact me should you have any comments, questions, or concerns during the course of this project.

Craigie Drawbridge to Reopen April 26th

On April 26th, 2011 at 7:00 a.m., the Craigie Drawbridge, which carries McGrath O’Brien Highway (Route 28) between Land Blvd. in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston, will be reopened to traffic inbound to Boston, and all marine traffic. 
This reopening marks the completion of an extensive bridge rehabilitation, and the beginning of the final phase of the project, which will consist of streetscape work and landscaping in the area surrounding the bridge. As this work is completed, there will be some lane restrictions during off-peak hours in the vicinity of the bridge, but the bridge itself will remain open to traffic in both directions.This phase of the project will be completed by August of 2011.

I am pleased to see that the contractor conducting the bridge repair will be completing the work on schedule, and I am looking forward to the bridge reopening. The community work done by MassDOT in preparation for this project, as well as the numerous police details in the area to direct traffic, have made this project one that has, despite all odds, gone extremely smoothly. 

As always, if you have any comments or questions about this issue or any others, please feel free to contact me via email or to leave a comment here at the blog. 

Salad Bar Opens at Winter Hill Community School Cafeteria

Winter Hill Community School, Somerville – map

On Thursday, April 7th, I attended the ribbon cutting for the Winter Hill Community School’s new cafeteria salad bar. The salad bar, donated through a grant program funded by Whole Foods Market, is part of an ongoing effort to increase student access to healthy foods and encourage healthy food choices at public schools.

Among the attendees were Ward 4 School Committee Member Christine Theberge Rafal and Somerville School Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi.

The salad bar will go a long way towards broadening the choices offered by the school cafeteria, and will offer a new and exciting option for students to take advantage of at lunch time.