Coming up: Lots of weekends without Red Line service across the Charles

WBUR reports on the impending three-year Longfellow Bridge repair project that will include a total of 25 weekends of Red Line bustitution and lane restrictions for drivers.



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Will Joseph Falzone be working those weekends?

is an interesting question, Robert. That remains to be seen.

Red Line service

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Unanswered is whether the Red Line will terminate at Park or Charles/MGH. Is there a crossover between the two so that trains can terminate at the latter?

Park St. They would have to

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Park St.
They would have to run signle-track for some distance to terminate at Charles. The north end of Charles platform is also very close to where the tracks will be cutting over to the new alignment, it would be hard to keep the power on the third-rail at Charles while also accomodating the construction.

A shame, since it's less than

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A shame, since it's less than a 15-minute walk (¾ mile) between Kendall and Charles, and could be faster to walk than to take the bus.

But better for transfers

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If you are coming from the Green Line, Blue Line (to green), or even Downtown Crossing from the Orange Line and need to go into Cambridge, you can get a bus at Park instead of hopping on the train for 1 stop, then still having to walk/bus to Kendall.

So, sure, you can't walk to Kendall as easily but everyone who wasn't on a Red Line is going to find a Park St bus transfer more convenient by far.

Blue Liners

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Is this happening the same time as they're shutting Government Center to build the big glass greenhouse? Because if you live in Eastie and want to get to Cambridge or vice versa, it's going to be even more of a nightmare than usual.

Probably. The GC shutdown is

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Probably. The GC shutdown is supposed to start in September. The Red Line weekend shutdowns start this summer, over 25 weekends for 3 years.

But if the Red Line buses stop near Bowdoin or State, that would mitigate some of the inconvenience. Except that people without passes would have to pay again in one direction, since they're probably not opening the gates at those stations.

And because at the GC closure

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And because at the GC closure public hearing the T officials refused to entertain any notion of a walking transfer between downtown stations.

Oh God

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Dedicated bike and ped areas

To try and nip this in the bud, the Globe graphics do nothing to show the complete phasing of the project, but please know that there are dedicated bike lanes and ped lanes at all times. They'll move around a little bit but will always be in place. It's been a major topic during logistics planning. It's not a single tiny lane.

At the project completion there will be real sidewalks on both sides of the bridge as well as bike lanes, unlike the mess that's there now.

As for the 25 weekends, I think it will happen.

I'd love to see better, more detailed graphics

If you have them, or links to them, can you post them? Thanks.

Two-way bikes and pedestrians sharing the narrow upstream sidewalk during the first phase of construction would be nightmarish. I'm glad that isn't the plan, but I'd like to see what the real plan is.

Waiting on full approval...

Ron, I know the general plan, but believe I have to wait until MassDOT blesses the whole thing before I can get too specific.

Bikes always have two dedicated lanes separate from peds. Weekend diversion work will be slightly different (peds and bikes still separate)and I'll do my best to let folks know what is up when everything has been approved.

A total?

Everyone who thinks this will actually get done in 25 weekends, raise your hands.

As a veteran of many bussings

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As a veteran of many bussings on the north end of the orange line, the MBTA, as with the current weekend bussing, will put up signs indicating the weekends in February where the bussing occurs, when those have passed, they will announce further weekends.

Silly me

You want the WHOLE hand raised. I accidentally put up just my middle fing...awe, you get it.

The cost to rebuild the existing Longfellow Bridge is very high

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Build a new bridge along side the present one. Continue using the present bridge until the new one is ready. I understand Longfellow Bridge is a 'landmark' but the cost is ridiculous. Build a modern 'landmark' bridge,it'll cost less.

let's save some money up front by building a new bridge.....

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You might save a lot of money by building a new bridge. But any savings are going to be chewed up in moving the Red Line over a hundred feet, realigning the tunnels leading to Kendall Square and Park Street stations, rebuilding the Charles Street station, realigning the streets around these new tunnels, as well as realigning the streets for the roadway on the new bridge. And don't forget that eventually, someone will have to pay to demolish the existing bridge, or continue to maintain it as a cycling and pedestrian bridge.

I can't imagine that all this re-engineering of the existing tunnels and roadways would cost less than the money that you might save if a new bridge were built, instead of rehabbing the existing landmark bridge. But by all means, let's save some money up front by building a new bridge .....

Red Line diversion gets diverted

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Here's one important detail:

Since the northbound roadway will be closed for the entire project, northbound Red Line shuttle buses will have to detour to the Museum of Science bridge.

This would be a great excuse to fix the traffic light stupidity at the 28/Land Boulevard/Gilmore Bridge intersection. But I doubt that's going to happen.

On the plus side (for transit riders), the southbound Longfellow roadway will be closed to all vehicles except the T shuttle buses during the Red Line closures.

A bit confused...

I'm not 100% clear on what you're saying here.

During weekend diversions, the only (motor) traffic on the bridge will be the buses running in both directions. Before anyone goes here, peds and bikes will always have access, weekend diversion or not. Also, both sides of the bridge will be closed - one at a time - at one point or another.

If you expand on the traffic situation you mentioned, I can take a look and see what's up.

Buses will run inbound only

According to the Globe article and graphics, there will be only one lane of motor traffic open on the Longfellow at any time during construction, and it will be inbound to Boston only. Outbound buses (like any other outbound motor traffic) will have to detour over the Craigie (or maybe the Mass Ave) bridge.

True, true

I was getting caught up in talking about the physical lanes / sides of the bridge instead of the traffic flow. Agreed, only inbound traffic at all times except weekend diversions, when there will be two way MBTA traffic only (plus peds & bikes). It's just that the inbound lane may happen to be on the outbound side of the bridge.

By the by, are there any T buses that travel on the Longfellow? I know there are tons of tourist buses and shuttles and such and I'm sure each and every one of them is going to be oh so pleased about it, but don't recall seeing any T buses.

Overall, it is a significant bridge and I'm glad the full repairs are finally happening. It's going to look fantastic and be more ped and bike friendly when complete and that's a good thing.

How will there be two lanes during weekend diversions

if there is only one lane during the week? I need to see some diagrams to understand how this is supposed to work.

The MBTA does not run any regularly scheduled buses over the Longfellow. Many years ago, the 350 bus from Burlington crossed the bridge and ran all the way into downtown Boston, but now it ends at Alewife.


Ron, I know you don't know me, and for that matter I don't know you, but I ask if you'll just trust me on this one. As mentioned before, once everything is approved, this 'roving UH reporter' will be able to share more.

Why not just shuttle between Kendall and Lechmere?

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Wouldn't it take less time to get to Park Street via bus from Kendall to Lechmere and then via the Green Line? I'll bet it takes half an hour or more to run a bus from Kendall to Park Street in traffic.

How is that better?

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So, half hour by bus to Park...or fifteen minutes to Lechmere plus another 15-30 to get to Park by Green line.

There COULD be more service to Lechmere

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It's not physically impossible to run a non-E line train all the way to Lechmere, right? I mean, they'd have to get the trains in and out of there faster and it might cut down on employee breaks, but we've all got to dig in and pitch in if we're going to get through this.

(Also, on weekends, 15 minutes from Kendall to Lechmere seems pessimistic. And I say that as one of the most pessimistic CharlieCardholders in the city.)


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Not enough trains available at rush hour to stretch the other routes out to Lechmere.