MBTA to explain need to shut Government Center for two years for renovations at meeting today

Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at 100 Cambridge St. Details on the upgrade.

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2 Real Years or 2 T years?

Didn't it take like 4 years just to build a bus stop that was supposed to take a year or so (I think they started building the Commonwealth Hotel a year after the bus stop and they finished the hotel about a year before the bus stop was done).

Depending on when they really start we could be looking at a completion date that reads ??/??/2?.

I happen to like a lot of the architecture the T is putting up - but it takes entirely too long to complete.

Two years ....

The T has a horrible record of completing jobs on time. Hasn't it taken two years to install the new elevators at Park Street? And what about the new elevators at Porter? As a point of comparison, the Eiffel Tower was built in two years more than a hundred years ago (1887-89), well before the marvels of modern construction equipment. The T can't even install an elevator in two years.

On the other hand

Those projects are the reasons that they want to shut down completely. It takes them extra long when they have to keep the station open.

A few projects did get done more quickly than expected. Repairs to the Alewife extension, for instance. The Science Park elevator project.

Of course I'm still skeptical about this one, and why it needs 2 years even with the shutdown. Ought to be much less.

Two years .... OR MORE...

Matthew,

I was not advocating that the T even try to to this with the station open. To do so would probably mean a 10-year schedule. While the Alewife extension repairs and the Science Park rehab were done on schedule, there are many more examples where the T has failed to make their deadlines.

Recall the new elevators at Copley - all they had to do was dig a hole and install a prefabricated elevator. Instead they did significant damage to the Old South Church, after insisting that the elevator had to go on that corner and could be done safely. Lots of finger-pointing later, the church was still damaged and the T still has egg on its face.

I would rather that the T undertake the project with a 24/7 schedule so that it could be done as rapidly as possible. Government Center is such a critical part of the system, that any reduction in the construction schedule would be welcome. It will be interesting to see what measures the T is planning to take to still allow people to use the system and transfer between the Green and Blue lines. I hope that they're not talking about two years of bustitution.

How could they claim the

How could they claim the Alewife Extension repairs were completed last March, and then schedule four more weekends of floating slab and leak repairs this November and December?

And then they postponed the December 8-9 repairs until next spring, because they needed the shuttle buses for an Orange Line project.

At tonight's hearing I will

At tonight's hearing I will ask whether an "out of system walking" Charlie transfer will be established, so you could, say, leave State and walk the quarter-mile to Park or Haymarket without paying another fare (assuming you use a pay-per-ride card and don't use a pass). The walk would generally be faster than waiting for the Orange Line to make the connection, and such a walking transfer would relieve pressure on the Orange Line while Government Center is closed.

There is currently not a plan

There is currently not a plan to allow non-pass holders to leave one station and enter the other on one fare. The excuse given was that the Charlie system does not permit such transfers. NY has had such MetroCard transfers for over a decade. I call BS. It's software and can be programmed accordingly. I called the speakers out on their lack of creative workarounds to the closure.

I'll pseudo-code this for the T at no charge

Of course the Charlie system doesn't support such transfers today. Why would it, when the tariff doesn't allow for any out-of-system subway transfers?

But there's no technical reason why it couldn't have a software change to do so.

Here ya go, AFC Department:

if ((current_time - last_stored_value_subway_fare_paid_time < 1.5h) &&
(this_station == Park_Street || this_station == State ||
this_station == Haymarket || this_station == Bowdoin))
{
open_turnstile_and_don't_deduct_a_fare();
}

The closest Green Line stop

The closest Green Line stop from State St. is Park Street. Walk up School St. to Tremont St. Left on Tremont, 3-5 minutes from there and you're at Park Street

If you want to stay in the system: Blue Line to State> Orange Line to Downtown Crossing> Walk up Winter St. Concourse to Green Line, or Blue Line to Orange Line at State and transfer to Green Line at Haymarket or North Station.

I am most interested to hear

I am most interested to hear what they have to say re: how they plan to schedule B and D trains. Looping everything at Park would be an absolute nightmare - so I'm sure that's exactly what they plan to do. Alternatively I could see them extending both to North Station so that Government Center traffic can utilize Haymarket instead.

Not enough trains to do that.

Not enough trains to do that. The extra two stops each way plus turning around would add over ten minutes to each trip. It would be a disaster. If they can turn around the C at North Station in wonder if they could find a way to terminate the D at Haymarket.

Can't go to the meeting

Can't go to the meeting tonight because of work, but I hope someone addresses these issues:

- If the MBTA does not effectively come up with a plan to get people from Blue to Green in a timely manner (obviously I do not expcet no time added to the commute - I'm not ridiculous), they would have effectively written off East Boston/Revere/North Shore commuters. I assume that they will encourage people to reverse course and go to Haymarket to transfer, or take the Orange to DTX and walk the Winter Street concourse to Park. It seems like these will be the only logical ways of doing this aside from the above ground walking transfer.

- Do they anticipate this even remotely being on time? They need to be honest: if this will be a 3-4 year debacle, say so. I assume that it won't be finished on time.

- Will this overlap with the construction to Orient Heights? There is already a speed restriction there, and as of this coming Spring, they are shutting it down on weekends and shuttling from Wonderland to Airport via bustitution. I hope to GOD these projects do not overlap.

"a new emergency exit

"a new emergency exit structure on Cambridge Street"

For $90 million, they're not going to reopen the Cambridge Street entrance to the western end of the Blue Line platform?

For years they'd promised they would open that entrance, which would allow them to close Bowdoin, since they're a 2 minute walk apart.

Public meeting notes posted

Full notes here. To answer some questions:

They will be encouraging people to go to Haymarket or use the Orange Line to transfer at DTX.

There will be a shuttle bus between Haymarket, State and Bowdoin.

There will not be any out-of-system transfers beyond what is currently possible.

The project will begin in Fall 2013 and "should" finish by 2015. When asked if workers would be going 24/7 at it, there was some nodding but no firm commitment.

The "B" and "D" will turn at Park Street except that during the off-peak the "D" will turn at North Station. There aren't enough trains to do more than that. Also, the "B" will require one fewer train for normal operation, and that train will be shifted to bolster the "C" branch instead.

Many people were concerned about Orange Line overcrowding, especially on the State platforms. The T claimed to have done "simulations" which said it was feasible.

Work 24/7

I can accept a faster schedule and less money to close the station. But how much will they be working? I got tired of waling by a closed Science park station on weekends, or even 4 in the afternoon, to see NO work going on. With the station closed, I would hope to see double shifts and weekend work, especially with no residents in the immediate area.