The Herald reports MBTA officials figure a full shutdown would let them rehab the station in less time and wouldn't drag on forever and ever like certain other T-stop projects one could think of.
Go for it, Boston! Like most of your population, I won't be here in 3 years! LOL
And for that we thank you.
Enjoy the suburbs from whence you came!
Why is it that skyscrapers can be built in less time in this city than simple public projects?
It's sad that we've gone from building the entire original central subway in about 3-4 years to taking that long to rehab one subway station. If the entire station is closed to the public, shouldn't the construction take dramatically less time than 3 years? Saying that closure will speed it up by a year doesn't make sense. If there's no passengers in the way, why isn't the speed doubled?
There's a lot wrong with the station: it's pretty old, it sees a lot of traffic from both train and feet, and they might be budgeting time for unexpected disasters.
Also worth noting: sure, we built the central subway in 3 or 4 years, and killed a lot of people while doing it. Also, skyscrapers can be built in less time because they're not underground and don't generally have their funding controlled by dolts prone to hissy-fits and grandstanding.
Source: Library of Congress
March 4, 1897:
The wrecked Mount Auburn car was at once enveloped in flames; the conductor of the Back Bay car, on the back platform, was instantly killed. The horses drawing this car were also killed, one of them being blown some distance. A cab, just then passing the corner, was wrecked. Bystanders saw the driver fall into the wreckage, which slipped into the gap made by the explosion. One of the two women passengers was killed outright, and the other was rescued, only to die next day of her injuries. The horse was blown free of the vehicle and killed.
This website is JUST SO COOL! Thanks for posting it!
Off for some disaster-reading-bliss. :)
That's a neat photo. But the disaster was caused by leaking gas mains and neglect by the gas company. Not really a subway project disaster.
This one doesn't have a photo of the scene, but actually occurred during station maintenance:
Comparing the speed of new construction to renovation isn't fair. Building something from scratch on a clean slate is always faster than renovating something. Its like asking why they could build half of Levitown in a month but gutting and rebuilding the kitchen in my 1890s victorian takes three months. Also, the "entire original central subway" was only from Park to Arlington. Its actually surprising it took 3-4 years to construct.
Japan tore down a major stretch of highway, releveled the ground, and repaved it in about 6 days following the earthquake and tsunami.
So, not every reconstruction project should be expected to take forever.
HOWEVER, the biggest problem the MBTA probably has for going forward faster than even 3 years is the unique challenge that is our "oldest subway system in the world...or whatever". I also bet they can't afford more manpower per funding period than whatever they're budgeting. If they could, then maybe they could do it faster.
the "entire original central subway" was only from Park to Arlington. Its actually surprising it took 3-4 years to construct.
They dug the damn thing with shovels - what do you expect?
Well, it took about 2 1/2 years to get from the first shovelful of dirt in the Public Garden to opening day between the old Public Garden portal and Park Street. But the original idea had always been to run the subway through to a portal past Haymarket Sq. and that section between Park an Haymarket opened only a year after the earlier bit.
But discussing a shutdown of the location without also announcing the method at which people would get around town really just induces worry in the riders.
We're all aware that most Green Line trains from the west don't go through there and we have to change to get to Lechmere. The T is designed as a hub-and-spoke system, but it only has 4 change stations for switching spokes downtown (Park St for Red and Green, State St for Blue and Orange, Downtown Crossing for Red and Orange, Gov't Center for Green and Blue). To cut off one of those 4 stations for a 3 year period means breaking the cycle. It makes it that much harder for Brookline, Brighton/Allston, Fenway, Longwood, and Newton to get to the airport by T.
This plan seems half-baked at this point.
1. Query whether this will have any adverse impact on downtown businesses - do we really want to make it harder for tourists to get to our best tourist traps (Faneuil Hall, N End, Waterfront)?
2. Would it be possible to run all inbound Green Line trains to North Station, instead of just C and E? If you're trying to get from Newton / Brookline / Brighton to Faneuil Hall, Govt Ctr, N End, etc, it's a pain in the neck to either switch at Park St, or walk from Park. Haymarket's at least a little closer.
3. And, as noted above, how are Green Liners supposed to get to Logan?
I guess they'll have to get off at Park, then walk over and take the Orange to State or the Red to the Silver. Either option isn't ideal, but there are ways. Sucky ways.
Haymarket is about 500 feet away from Gov't Center... you can leisurely walk there as quickly as it takes to ride the train to/from GC.
It will make crossing lines a little more snarly though... booo
They can get to Logan on the silver line which connects with the green line (according to the T map, anyway.)
The Silver Line route to Logan does not directly connect to the Green Line.
The SL that connects with the GL (at Boylston) is the one that goes down Washington St to Dudley. The Silver Lines don't connect.
And it's not like this hasn't happened before. I don't think there was any service while the old Scollay-era stations were demolished and Government Center was built.
But you just know there will be two guys max working at any given time for at least 20 months of the project.
Then it'll reopen, but the new, shiny bits will be right next to the 50 years of chipped paint that got a hasty new top coat. (Oh hey Copley...)
Well, I've seen photographs of trains going through open trenches during all of that, so I don't think that service was entirely disrupted; just that there may have been no stops between Park St. and Haymarket Sq. (Not that there was anything to stop for, what with everything leveled.)
The station remained opened during the transition from Scollay to Government Center in 1962/63, it was not closed even though the Lechmere-bound trackway and platform were moved to a new (their present) location. They kept the old track/platform opened until they were ready to cut in the new one.
I like the idea of a full shutdown after seeing the tragedy Kenmore, Arlington, and Copley was, but 3 years and only shaving 15 months (thought more likely after delays, really shaving off 6-10 years)is still much more than I would think it will take with a full shutdown.
I think if they are going to do this, do the entire teardown if it means doing this faster. Make it fit to heavy rail standards to facilitate an easier transition in the long term future while removing one of the biggest barriers to it (the other really big barrier is the curve at Boylston) Alternately, just install an elevator and pour some cement.
The T should start using Bowdoin Station for more than just 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday only. Maybe that long promised connection from the Blue Line to the Red Line would be nice. Even just a walk way would be an improvement over nothing.
This seems INSANE to me. Yes, Govt Center needs an elevator in order to be handicap accessible. But they're talking about replacing the bunker with a glass cube. While that looks nice, why close the entire station for that? They were able to put in elevators at Copley without closing the station.
Also, won't someone please think of the tourists? Government Center is the most convenient station to Faneuil Hall.
And what are people who have to switch from the green to blue line supposed to do? Get out at Park and walk to Aquarium?
they could take the Orange Line to State Street.
It is an annoyance, but one can still get to the Blue line by doing some of the following.
Take Green Park Street, walk through the tunnel that connects park street to downtown crossing. Take orange line to State, switch to the the blue line.
Take Green to North Station, switch to orange line, get off at State, switch to blue line.
Take Red to Downtown crossing, switch to the Orange line, get off at State, switch to the Blue line.
That's just the subway, I'm not including possible routes with buses and the silverline.
They aren't just going to be doing the elevator and the headhouse. The work also includes re-designing the green line platforms (and I think railbeds) to accomodate the new Green Line cars among other more basic structural improvements. A good point that one commenter made is that whereas the T anticipates it will save 15 months, that probably means it will really save 50 months given the experience with Arlington, Copley, Kenmore, etc. Shut it down.
To make the GC Green Line wheelchair-accessible, they'll need to build 8-inch platforms for the Breda cars' ramps.
I don't see why doing this, and putting in some elevators, would require closing the station. The rest of the work, like the glass cube, is unnecessary.
You had "shutdown" and "Government" (Center) and you could come up with a witty and timely headline that mocks our federal legislature right now?
I've been trying to ignore the national news. It's one of the benefits of living in Massachusetts, where some people still think government actually has some uses :-).
Can they reopen or maybe refurbish the abandoned (Hanover St?) concourse on the other end of the BL platform? (the mystery stairs)
Yeah I think this idea is half baked. I, for one, can understand how T projects can drag on and on and on, however Im not sure if this is the right way to do it.
Trains still will need to by pass the station to go westbound or eastbound. The trains are still going to stop and turn around there, so why the need to shut the station down. I'm aware that it makes this easier as the construction plan won't have to accommodate moving/re-doing passenger waiting area.
But on the flip side, its not like other stations are far away so walking to another station wouldnt be that much of a big deal. People destined for the airport would re-routed via the Silver Line (which would be the recommended way to go).
Blue line passengers might be the worst off. Assuming that Bowdoin Station will be closed and demolished as apart of this project, trains would have to stop at State Street. Well, there's one problem with that, there's no easy way to turn the trains around and reverse direction. Trains would have to leave State Street Station, bypass Government Center and turn around at the soon-to-be-demolished Bowdoin Station. This just would lead to massive confusion.
I think the Green Line would be OK. There are 3 green line stations within walking distance, however outside of Government Center, there are no cut overs until you get to the underground layover facility under North Station.
It seems like one heck of a long time to shut down a station thou. One would hope they plan on doing several upgrades at the same time (demolishing/prep of Bowdoin Station for the Blue/Red Connector), or re-purposing City Hall Plaza above too.
According to page 41 of http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/documents/Bluebook%202009.pdf , there's a crossover between State and Government Center. So trains might not have to run empty all the way to the Bowdoin loop.
Hopefully an out-of-system transfer would be allowed, to let someone with a stored-value CharlieCard (not a pass) to get off at Haymarket or Park and walk to nearby State St to connect to the Blue Line, without paying an extra fare. NY has a few such transfers, where you swipe your MetroCard before exiting. Seems silly to force connecting passengers to take the Orange Line one stop when the stations are close together downtown.
Shut it down for a month to cut off a year?
Shut it down for 3 years to save a year?
Are they insane?
Especially because they have the second blue-line entrance available to them.
1) Redo to the blue-line entrance so it looks nice, is modern, etc. Add an escalator even.
2) Open it
3) Close the main entrance, add the glass and elevators
4) Finish that, and now you have them both open.
That was exactly my idea for the plan too. They should really re-utilize that Blue Line entrance.
"Temporary." Just like the closing of the "A" line to Watertown and the cutback of the "E" line to Heath St.
If shutting down Government Center does not result in a lynching mob charging the T headquarters then the final result might be the permanent closure of the station. If after two years of no station use the T might use the temporary shut down as proof that the station is not needed. While two years of work then goes wasted it still saves on the third (and inevitable fourth year of work) as well as eliminating the need for future maintenance and staffing.
They could argue that a Haymarket is sufficient to service the downtown area for Green line passengers and that anyone using the Blue line during rush hour has the State, Bowdoin Station (or is that station closing?) or Aquarium stations.
The deal sounds to me more like a Trogan Horse. Offer the promise of faster renovation but then sneak in the argument that the station is not needed.
Oh, yeah, when the T closed the Arborway line for renovation (even built new shelters at Arborway), then just never reopened it.
On the plus side, people were worried that's what they were doing when they closed the Mattapan line for repairs and yet it actually reopened.
The T shut down BU Central AND BU East at the same time for rehabilitation (they're two blocks apart) and put a new temporary stop in the block between the two stops on the B Line. For months, based on the success of having closed about 5 other stops further out on the line past Packard's Corner, riders going all the way downtown were happy to see another stop reduced.
I wrote "to the top" of the Green Line asking if they could make it permanent and they said there was too much traffic at the BU stop to keep it this way and that they were already rehabbing the other two stops. My response was that if it's too many people theoretically then why was it working in reality right now. No response to that one.
They opened the other two stops and killed the temp one...and now the T is back to stopping forever as students try to jam in the doors twice in 3 blocks on trains overloaded before they even got to Kenmore...
Actually, when the Arborway line closed in 1985 so that the ramp at Northeastern could be modified for the heavier Type 7 cars, the MBTA made no promises that the line would reopen beyond Brigham Circle, they said they would reevaulate things after the Orange Line was moved to the Southwest Corridor in 1987. I went to an MBTA public meeting at Northeastern in 1985 and directly asked then MBTA GM Jim O'Leary if the line would fully reopen and that was the answer I got.
The new (never used) Green Line platform at Forest Hills was built in 1989/90ish after the citizns group the Arborway Committee pointed out that the original application for federal funds for the Southwest Corridor Orange Line included a provision that a Green Line platform must be inclued at the new Forest Hills. The MBTA reluctently built the platform after they pointed this out.
CLF had restoration of the Arborway line added to the list of Big Dig transit commitments in 1990 as part of the package to get them to sign off on the mega-highway project. No one at the T or for that matter the city of Boston really was enthusiastic about returning street running trolleys to narrow Centre and South streets, and after years of no action, the transit requirements were later legally changed to remove the Arborway line from the list of required mitigation projects.
I don't see much connection at all between spending millions to meet access requirements at a key station and the MBTA's (and before that, MTA's) long-time strong dislike of running trolley cars directly in mixed traffic on narrow streets. The closure of the A line and the outer end of the E line were all about eliminating the last street trackage on the system.
It will expose fewer tourists to the monstrosity that is City Hall Plaza. Oh, wait, I forgot, that's a masterpiece of Brutalist architecture.
City Hall is a masterpiece of Brutalism, not the plaza, which was actually conceived and planned by IM Pei. The plaza was a failed attempt at bringing a bit of Italy to Boston. It used to be a little livelier with a fountain, but it didn't work half the time.
Regardless, it's going to be a very inconvenient and confusing time for tourists because GC is the most popular link to Faneuil Hall. What I would do first is either reconstruct the former Hanover St. concourse or somehow cut a pedestrian tunnel out to Congress St for quick access to Faneuil without going down all those stairs (possibly in the dead area at the base of City Hall next to the steps?). After they finish that, they can renovate the main entrance. As it stands, you have to traverse the entire plaza, first going up the escalator to leave the station, down some steps, up some steps, and then down the big flight of steps just to get to FH Marketplace.
It's a masterpiece of brutality.
Like a concrete dildo.