Faulkner Hospital's expansion plans now include a floor that could be quickly turned into a pandemic ward
Faulkner Hospital has filed a new set of expansion plans that are largely similar to the ones it filed in 2019, but with one major change: One of the new in-patient floors would have a special ventilation system to better let the hospital isolate and treat patients during the current and future pandemics.
In a new filing with the BPDA today, Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital says it needs to add a five-story addition to the front of its current main building that would include new facilities for endoscopy and radiology procedures on the first two floors and three floors with a total of 78 new in-patient rooms - the first major addition to the hospital since 1976.
Also proposed: More parking, by adding three levels to one garage and completely replacing another with a far larger one.
The hospital says the fifth floor of the new wing, which would have 26 beds, would be built for easy transformation into an infectious-disease ward:
The fifth floor has been designed with an air ventilation system that will allow additional air changes and capacity for negative pressure to provide the flexibility to convert the floor into an infectious disease floor and allow the Hospital to better respond to future pandemics and therefore better serve the community.
It adds that the garage work would mean a total addition of 503 parking spaces. The hospital is proposing a second entrance on Allandale Street, for use only by employees. Reconfigured loading and unloading areas, the new parking spaces and changes to the traffic signals in front of the hospital on Centre Street will help ease the congestion both on the public streets and on the hospital campus, the hospital says.
The hospital adds it will build a dedicated bicycle lane along Centre, from Whitcomb to Allandale and will create a passageway from the 38 bus stops up to the main building that are accessible to people in wheelchairs. Also:
BWFH has begun a series of discussions with the MBTA about possible improvements that might be implemented to its shuttle operations at Forest Hills Station, and that outreach will continue. Envisioned are actions that would help make the BWFH shuttle bus at Forest Hills Station more visible and easier to board and alight from.
The all new garage would be topped with solar panels, which the hospital says could meet at least 50% of the new main building addition's energy needs.
The hospital says that both the hospital addition and the garage changes will take roughly two years to complete. It says it hopes to begin work on the garages this year.
The hospital says that the new addition will mean the hiring of roughly 390 employees.
Draft project impact report (74.6M PDF).
Other documents and calendar.
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Here's a transit idea...
Merge the 37 and 38 during off-peak hours and all day on Saturdays, using the 38 route as far as West Roxbury Parkway before continuing down Centre Street to Baker/Vermont. This will make extra buses/bus-hours available. To make up for the loss of the 37, some of the extra buses can go toward 15-minute off-peak/weekend headways on Belgrade Avenue (35 and 36, each running every 30 minutes). Any remaining buses would go toward more-frequent service for Faulkner Hospital on the merged route.
This seems like a win-win in light of the hospital's complaint about inadequate service. The only "losers" here are residents of Bellevue Hill -- but they can walk the ~10 minutes to Centre or Belgrade (or even Washington).
They used to have the combined routes (37/38) on Sundays, with the 38 running as far as Holy Name Circle and then the 37 running on Centre Street to Baker & Vermont.
The 37/38 on Sundays was eliminated in 2012 due to low ridership, while the three Saturday 37/38s in the early morning became plain Route 38 to Wren Street with the Better Bus Project reconfiguration scheme in 2019.
Also, Bellevue Hill is not as easy a walk as imagined. Most of the streets in Bellevue Hill are on a very steep grade, and during the winter they get slippery. It would be at least a 20-30 minute walk to Centre St or Belgrade Avenue, and even Washington Street would be at least 15 minutes - and some of the residents are elderly and can't easily walk.
EDIT: Perhaps a loop route (similar to the Route 40/50 via Cleary Square and the Route 201/202 Neponset-Adams belt) operating every 15-20 minutes would help. Have the first loop route run on Centre Street out of Forest Hills, then return to Forest Hills on Belgrade Avenue; the second loop route would have buses leave Forest Hills via Belgrade Avenue, and then return via Centre Street and the hospital. Route 38 would still serve Wren Street, but use the current routing to the hospital during rush hours, and Belgrade Avenue routing (similar to the 35, 36 and 37) during the off-peak.
According to the BWFH website the shuttle is employees only. Will that change to include patients and other visitors?
Yes, the Faulkner Shuttle is for employees only, and even if they were to expand it to patients and visitors (or have?) no one knows about it.
Worth noting their drivers are also not very compliant with markings at Forest Hills Station sometimes, and pull in where ever is convenient, often not in areas marked for them. Lack of courtesy.
The 37/38 bus on Saturdays is a running joke. Worth remembering that there are no buses on a Sunday at all and not even the #51 which is a decent hike from there.
What they need is a #38 that runs on weekends, both days, at least every 30 mins (45 max) to handle the increased number of medical and rehabilitation facilities in that area, the senior housing, church, and even walkers in the Arboretum.
I frequently (well, I did in pre-pandemic times) take the Route 38 bus as it runs in front of my house.
They used to have Sunday service on Route 38 that ran every 60 minutes; then that got merged with Route 37 to Baker & Vermont Street (eliminating the Anawan Ave - Park St - Woodard Rd routing) until the Sunday route got eliminated in 2012. The Saturday early morning variant was converted to Route 38 trips with the Better Bus Project.