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More Red Line stair problems: Part of Savin Hill staircase detaches and crashes to the ground, just missing rider

Crashed piece of metal at Savin Hill

Photo by Tim Shannon.

Tim Shannon says he'd just gotten off the Red Line at Savin Hill last night when he heard a cracking sound. And then, a 2 to 2 1/2-foot long metal slab, the bottom of one of the staircases leading up to the exit crashed at his feet.

Shannon, who commutes on the Red Line to his job in Harvard Square, said today that's not even the staircase he'd been worrying about - it was the other one that now wobbles as you get to the very bottom, and has been doing so for a few weeks now.

Shannon said he feels really lucky: He'd paused a moment to put in his ear buds so he could listen to music on his five-minute walk home from the station.

Last month, a man died falling through a set of stairs next to the JFK/UMass station that were supposed to have been fixed a year ago, but weren't. The MBTA says the stairs belonged to DCR - which finally sent in a crew to completely remove the stairs a few days after the death.

A little hard to see, but here is the bottom of the stairs, where the metal and debris came from:

Bottom side of stairs

Meanwhile, at Hynes on the Green Line:

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The MBTA response will be the same as the response at JFK claiming that they don't own the stairs and have no responsibility to fix them.

Not likely, since all the staircases at Savin Hill are inside the station building.

Perfectly normal mass transit system.


It has been a disaster waiting to happen. Crumbling concrete and loose rusty steel treads have just gotten worse and worse. The T hasn't done a damn thing, not even repairing the worst and most dangerous treads.
Baker and the legislature don't care, won't care, and we'll have a coverup investigation when someone dies.


when you reported it?

The T is really a disgrace.


summer 2005.

First.. poo poo the T for not doing regular inspections.

The issue with it is salt in the winter. That station because of where it is, any sort of water on any surface will freeze instantly. It being next to I-93 and that wind tunnel effect it has in the winter, makes all the surfaces freeze pretty instantly. (similar to "Bridges freeze before roadway" signs you see). I have a buddy who lives down that way so I use Savin Hill alot, and its COLD in the winter.

So the T puts down a ton of salt everywhere cuz you know, we can't have people slip because lawsuits.

Then as the ice melts, it becomes this pool of salt water that gets splashed around by people's feet (walking down stairs) or too much of it and it drips over the side. Sometimes across the ceiling above (depending if its level or not) and drips elsewhere.

And this is happening every day, all day, all winter long. All this causes eventual decay in metal.

This is pretty common at multi-level outdoor T stations that use exposed metal staircases and supports.

Concrete (i.e. OL North of N Station), Brick (i.e. Wood Island, Wonderland), are OK and often just need the steps redone (i.e. its not structural)

And absolutely poo poo on state agencies (yes all, as this issue happens at others) for not doing regular inspections. They should, especially if people complain.

But I'd also like to mention that some of these station layouts, similar to Savin Hill Station are going to be used on the GLX. I'll write this now so in 10 years I can say I was right but I predict similar problems.

While Baker and co tout "we're saving money', remember metal staircase vs brick/concrete is some of the ways 'we're saving money'. Think about this in 20 years when we're on some future social media platform and someone posts a 3D picture of the same thing.

If you walk down the platforms for the commuter rail at South Station in the summer, you will notice bits of salt still around the steel which holds up the roofs over the platforms.

Which means, no one has swept the platforms for months as the salt oxidizes the steel.

Heck of a job Brownie.

You’re doing a heckava job Baker. I can’t believe he’s running again. Boring Trump seems to think the only things he has to do is keep taxes down for the rich and keep regulations at bay. His base doesn’t use public transit so he doesn’t care.


In front of the escalator to the second floor from the food court / scratch card dispensary at 10 Park Plaza.

Perhaps one, just one of the hundreds of dead souls who work there because they gave some money at a time and held a sign for a state rep. would think about doing their job.

It took Milena Delvalle dying in the Ted Williams Tunnel before now Great Grandpa Romney decided to do a "stem to stern" review of the Big Dig and fix any structural problems.

Chahlie, perhaps you should do that with the T before you get clocked on it next time you run.


I got dismissed from jury selection once because I recalled her death, and I recalled the name of one of the investigated companies as a defendant in the civil case for which I was being considered.


Was it lack of maintenance or just crappy to begin with? I'm leaning towards the latter.


The T replaced some of the original wood and marble collection booths with metal ones which had AC in them.

A collector at JFK / Umass, who has now passed on, rotted the floor out by pissing on the floor because he would get hammered in the booth all day.

The pride of place at the T is non-existent for many employees, not all, but a lot.


And in that case, it's really frustrating that there is so little accountability for contractors who deliver subpar-quality projects.

Crappy construction succumbs to the lack of maintenance even faster.

Speaking of lack of maintenance, anyone want to start a betting pool for when the Alewife parking garage will collapse? That concrete was looking pretty shabby back when I parked there ca. 2001-2002.

I'd rather not, and that's just because I have a bad feeling that it actually might collapse. It hasn't improved since 2001-2002, although they do shut off parts of it periodically, in theory to do "work" (and possibly, in practice, to close off the area and prevent more injuries or damaged cars while they fix the immediate and obvious problems). I haven't seen anything systematic that looks like it might be addressing structural issues (and I freely admit I haven't exactly been in there every day in the daytime to see the work in progress, but...). If it does collapse, I would feel pretty bad if I'd bet on it. I mean, it's not as if I could do anything about it, but I'd still feel bad.

I have a friend who was an engineer who worked on rehabbing that garage.

The problem is Alewife station is sinking.. well the land is. This is was a wetland long before the station nor the industrial area that was there before the station were there. And its all landfill. Look on a map, there's a reason why Alewife has a small pond on one side (and jerry's pond nearby). It was wetlands.

I can't recall what the exact measurement was but it was like a 1/4" every few years. Not enough to cause a major issue right away, but enough to cause cracks in odd places and over time, cause structural issues.

You can fix the garage to be safe, but as the land sinks some more, you'll need to do it again, and again. Eventually you can't fix it anymore.

The station & garage opened in 1988. 33 years. That's alot of 1/4 inches.... I think in the next 10 or years there will be calls to replace it (and prob referb Alewife station too).

Not to scare you, but it has been looked at in very recent years (like 2-3 years ago) so it's OK for now. Just remember falling concrete doesn't always mean a structural issue.