A study by a regional planning group says development along the Orange Line will means thousands of new jobs and housing units over the coming years, which could put thousands of more riders on a line that is already crammed to the gills and dependent on an increasingly cranky collection of past-their-expiration-date cars.
In its Orange Line Opportunity Corridor Study, released this week, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council writes:
MAPC estimates that new development could add 2,900 new Orange Line commuters by 2020, and as man as 8,000 new commuters in the following 15 years. This new ridership is almost guaranteed to push ridership past the "service standard capacity," especially if increasing numbers of out-of-service vehicles reduce the capacity of the line. Investments of at least $1 billion are needed to replace the rolling stock and increase capacity.
Current Orange Line trains date to the mid-1980s and are kept in service by creative MBTA workers, who often have to fashion their own replacement parts for trains that are no longer being made.
The report provides current demographics of the Orange Line corridor - 25% of greater Boston lives within a half mile of a station; so do 20% of the region's poor - and looks at planned and possible development from Forest Hills to Oak Grove.