Alewife garage drops piece of self on car; entire second floor to be shut tomorrow

MassDOT reports a piece of "delaminated concrete" fell on a car parked on the second floor of the garage at Alewife station this afternoon.

Nobody was hurt at least, and engineers said the garage in general remains safe for use, but MassDOT says the second floor will be shut tomorrow for "limited spot repairs."

The move means the loss of about 500 of the garage's 2,500 spaces, so good luck getting a spot tomorrow.

MassDOT adds:

Following completion of spot repairs on the second floor and out of an abundance of caution, the MBTA will also be conducting assessments on each of the remaining floors of the garage and performing spot repairs as necessary. As work crews shift locations, the MBTA will ensure the path of travel remains open to the rest of the garage.

The MBTA is in the process of developing a long-term plan for the garage and is awarding a $5.7 million contract this week for initial work.



Free tagging: 



This opened in 1985

There is no good excuse for something this new to be falling apart already. We are still using Motor Mart Garage which opened in 1927.



I suppose that depends on who did the concrete work.



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And who cut funding, and saddled them with debt; causing maintenance to be cut the last few decades.

Long term upkeep was the first to go, because it was to be someone else's problem. Those bills are coming due.


Not to mention

Type of concrete, type of exposure, type of loading, type of use, degree of overengineering in the days when they didn't have CAD or micrometallurgical control, etc.


Modern engineering.

Modern engineering and materials gives us the ability to design, with proper safety factors, modern buildings.
During the blizzards of 2015, almost every building collapse that I remember was either a metal roof type structure or a wood truss structure. All the old Dorchester type three deckers and old Victorians? They did just fine.

Wasn't there a scandal in the

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Wasn't there a scandal in the 70s or 80s about poor concrete being used for projects? Maybe Alewife is a victim.

Is it that things were built

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Is it that things were built better back then or that we just don't see the failures because they have long since failed and been replaced?

about right

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Sounds about the quality of concrete work in Boston. On a state job too? Uh oh.

Of course

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They've had large sections of that garage closed off for "repairs" for years and years, although never once have I seen anyone actually working on anything. I guess this is what it takes.


Channel 5

Channel 5 had a story on it tonight.

Place is a friggin train wreck. Rebar exposed by several inches, large chunks missing, road surfaces with rebar sticking up. It needs so much work I'm wondering if it is worth it.


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If those scooters and bikes brought in $7/day to help subsidize transit.


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Isn’t Alewife for the suburban commuters? Doubt many people from Cambridge start there and I don’t see scooters and bikes helping people coming from further out Rt. 2.


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the expansion joints between the concrete floor panels failed long ago, so water just streams in from the roof and filters down to the lower levels. some spots are effectively waterfalls.


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You forgot the air part. That's necessary for the steel to degrade.

Long-term plan for Alwife garage - shrinkage and conversion

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The long term plan for the Alewife garage should be to manage it's shrinkage and then conversion into a higher and better use that throws off much more revenue for the T (there would be no shortage of entities who would love to build there). Many of the current trips to the garage will be accomplished by AV within 10 years, so the current use is on its way to obsolescence. (These kinds of short trips/long storage time are some of the first that AV will displace. While I am not "in" the field, I deal a lot with those who are, and this is one of the few consensus items that I hear.) The same applies for most or all CR lots. We are grappling with this right now in my metrowest community (thanks to those of us who flagged it as an issue - the boomers wanted to continue the 1960s with "more parking spaces!" in a downtown transit hub).

I'll take those bets

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Autonomous vehicles willnot become widespread or even a significant portion of vehicles (significant >= 5%) for waaaaaay more than a decade.

The problem is legal, social not technological.


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You seem to be continuing a conversation that isn't present here. What conversion? What is AV in this context? You want less parking for the furthest north red line station? So those cars will have to drive in to the city? I'm not following the plan here.

Are you serious?

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Many of the current trips to the garage will be accomplished by AV within 10 years, so the current use is on its way to obsolescence. (These kinds of short trips/long storage time are some of the first that AV will displace.

I hope not. This is pure bullpucky. 10 years? Uh, yeah, and my flying car is 20 years old.

In a future of autonomous vehicles...

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I think parking structures like the Alewife garage would still be very useful. Rather than having cars parked along our streets when they're not out moving customers, they can be warehoused, charged, and cleaned in large parking structures like the Alewife garage. Plus Alewife is a transit hub so it's ideal for staging cars waiting for customers to arrive by rapid transit.

The "short trips/long storage time" application will still exist even when AVs take over simply because the standard workday will still exist. Maybe an AV will be able to do two or three trips per commute period, but there's still going to be a long period in the middle of the day (great for top-up charging!) when most of the customer base is at work.

Yeah, that will really help

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Yeah, that will really help traffic at the Alewife light, if every one-way trip becomes a self-driving car doing a round trip.

How about improving the bus service? And adding more bike parking, since it regularly fills up?

Ha, AVs will always be 10

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Ha, AVs will always be 10 years away, just like that perfect battery tech.
(I'm not 'in' the field but I deal with those who are, and very few know what they're doing. Any rain = problems with lidar. Winter = forget it.)

In what probably isn't a

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In what probably isn't a coincidence, they're in the midst of tearing down the Quincy Center T garage (they've been doing it for months now). It's about 40 years old, max. I chatted it up with one of the cops working a detail last month, and they're removing the top couple of layers / levels but are leaving the bottom level intact, because THAT concrete's okay!


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Easy Solution -- Sell the garage to a private developer who can expand the capacity of the garage -- the elevator was originally designed to go up to 7

The same developer can put some office or residences on top of the garage [just like the Government Center Garage was so done] to pay for the project

When the New Alewife is finished the T can sign a long term lease of the original + at least one new floor worth of parking for use by T commuters

There is no reason why the T should be in the parking business except for making sure that the garage fees can be paid for by the New Charlie

Snappy Answer

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You just made it abundantly clear that you have never ever been to this facility in your life, yet you can smack down libertarian/neoliberal talking points on it as if you know what you are talking about.

Most of the footprint of this facility is T station and Bus Station.

Who's surprised?

I used to park there semi-regularly ca. 2001-2002 and the concrete was visibly falling apart (along the seams) even then.

No surprise

And clearly the T is in no rush to resolve the issue. How long do we think it will be before they get around to actually awarding a refurb project and getting it done?

Corkscrew Exit?

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I started working out by the garage in January this year and noticed that there is a huge spiral structure across the street that looks like it was designed as an exit from the top floor. But it's blocked off. What's the story?

I looked all over the place online and couldn't find anything. Is it unsafe?