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Government Center garage demolition and development will force temporary shutdown of bus terminal, but subway station should stay open, developer says

The conversion of the Government Center garage into a large mixed-use complex will require the temporary relocation of the Haymarket bus terminal and might require the shutdown of the Green and Orange Line stations underneath that, state transportation planners say. But HYM, the company that has started tearing down the garage for a six-building complex with 800 residential units, a 200-room hotel, 1 million square feet of office space and 82,000 square feet of retail space, says it is not expecting any complete shutdown of the subway station:

In December of 2020 we plan to begin deconstructing the section of the garage above the Haymarket bus terminal and T station, and the section that spans Congress Street.

In preparation for this work, the MBTA is assessing any potential impacts on service at the Haymarket bus terminal and T station. In the next 10 months, we will be working with the MBTA, the City of Boston and the community on a plan for temporary bus stops until work on the new Haymarket terminal is completed. We will also work with the MBTA to ensure there is sufficient notice, signage and time for the public to prepare for any temporary impacts on bus or train service, and to minimize any disruptions in service. We are not planning to shut down the Haymarket MBTA station, but construction elements may affect specific head house entrances or exits.

HYM's statement comes after the state's Central Transportation Planning Staff released a memo on an effort to plan the Haymarket station's future, both during construction and for the next 40 years:

A temporary closure of the MBTA Haymarket Station and the subsequent rerouting of bus routes is a possibility given the structural engineering requirements and conditions of the Bulfinch Crossing project. This is due to the temporary relocation of the Haymarket bus terminal along with the temporary closure of Congress Street, due to the demolition of the garage above it. Haymarket Station currently serves a significant number of transit routes, including the Orange Line, the Green Line’s C and E lines, and eight MBTA bus routes. This work scope will support the MBTA in the ongoing review and coordination of the developer’s plan to transform Bulfinch Crossing into a dense mixed-use development that will impact MBTA service in the short- and long-term.

At the request of the MBTA, the planners will also look at possible transportation requirements in a half-mile radius around the station for the next 20 and 40 years - although in their memo, the planners acknowledge they have no data to plan that far out, but will try to extrapolate from the data they do have.

H/t Ted.

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Comments

There are a fair amount of people who make that area their temporary home and gathering place. Now that the Food Basket is gone and everything is boarded up and barriered, I'm guessing that it's not too obvious that the developers and probably the city see this as a great opportunity to make the area less of an eyesore.

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Voting closed 5

Find the most congested choke point and stand in the middle of it until more money is handed out. This behavior was perfected throughout the big dig and is now a cultural/regional trait.

We haven't heard the ask yet, because the shutdown hasn't happened yet. Prediction: Wait until everything is roped off and then amazingly some "unanticipated problem" will reveal itself.

I know this is very cynical.

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Voting closed 2

The closures under Baker are due to poor planning. That's it. Small businesses are dying everywhere across Greater Boston because of these closures. But Ball Sq has been hit the hardest by epic-ly poor GLX planning

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It's that the desires of drivers and private developers always take precedent over the needs of commuters.

Given that they made ten thousand people walk outside every day for two years but wouldn't dare close a parking garage shows the MBTA's & Boston's commitment to public transportation. This Haymarket closure won't concern the governing bodies in the slightest.

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Voting closed 88

After all, entry/exit could be restricted to the entrance under the Parcel 7 garage. If the station can't be used safely during demolition/construction, is it really safe to run trains through the closed station?

But FWIW, closing Haymarket temporarily should be a relatively minor inconvenience to most able-bodied riders of the Green/Orange lines. North Station, State, and Government Center are a 5-10 minute walk away. The bus lines should terminate close to North Station to preserve connectivity for bus-to-subway users -- this could be reasonably done by reserving Haverhill Street as a temporary bus terminal while the Haymarket terminal is closed.

And if the developer is saving money by having the station close, they should pay the MBTA at least half of what they're saving, to compensate the public for the inconvenience.

Unfortunately, the MBTA always does a shitty job of preserving connectivity for the disabled when stations are closed, so there is that...

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Voting closed 24

Yes, not too terribly inconvenient for able bodied folks (though what about the non-able bodied folks?) but it really does send a message to us non-car commuters that we are being prioritized. This is exemplified with nearly every large boston project. Train stops, bus stops, and bike lanes get closed/moved/re-directed while cars continue to flow freely. When snow falls the streets get cleared while train stations ice and flood and bike lanes remain buried.

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Voting closed 36

...it really, really sucks.

Temporarily disabled, recovering from surgery, I found the MBTA to be really unhelpful. Between broken elevators and escalators, missing or misleading signage, and a "disability" information line that didn't know what station entrances were accessible (really, they have no idea), traveling on the T as a person without full mobility is really hard. On the upside? Fellow commuters see crutches or a cane or a person who's struggling, and they give up their seats.

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during the North Station construction was, the final product is a total disgrace. The too-narrow stairways and single reversible escalator create a choke point during rush hour and events that is exacerbated by TD Garden's ticket office every time they barricade off half the aisle between the tunnel and the commuter rail waiting area. And this will only get worse once the idiotic faregates are installed.

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Voting closed 19

Nothing about my statement should be read as support for the new walkway.

In a civilized city, officials from the MBTA and Boston Government would have denied building permits untill the new design was acceptable and the developer showed how they'd have it usable within a few months into the project.

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And I totally agree with your comments.

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Past date produce buyer here who is not thrilled about this. Am I supposed to cart 15 pounds of lemons to govt center now?

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Voting closed 16

No more Parcel 7 garage? :(

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I think the Parcel 7 garage is the one that has the Boston Public Market and the Registry office in it. That garage is staying. It has an entrance to the Orange Line on Congress Street.

The garage that's going is the big white concrete one that goes over Congress Street, between Sudbury Street and New Chardon Street. At the ground level next to Blackstone Street, it has an entrance to the Green Line and an MBTA bus terminal -- it used to serve all the north shore buses before they got cut back to Wonderland. It also has a Dunkin Donuts and a convenience store (I think) at the ground level.

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I initially called it the "Haymarket garage," meaning the garage above Haymarket station, but, of course, nobody calls it that, so I've changed the name in the first paragraph of the original post. My apologies for being unclear like that.

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With a little foresight they could make full access on Congress between Sudbury and Hanover by popping a hole in Orange Line mezzanine wall and adding a staircase to the center of the Green Line platform. Then they could close the whole north access station for the duration of the construction with no mitigation plan to deal with.

I doubt this would happen though. State bidding alone would take 5 years.Unless HYM wants to kick in....?

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Voting closed 3

HYM is heading this up so they get special treatment. Fuck the commuters who use this station daily (ME).

The plan already sucks for the final product with the busway. Its half the size. This is a very busy busway with lots of people. Yet the hotel entrance will take priority over T passengers.

And closing the station for this? I smell bullshit. You can close the entrance under the parking deck, but the Congress Street (orange line station) entrance should be able to remain open at all times. No need to shut the station.

I also see ZERO plans on what they plan on doing with the bus traffic? Gonna just make everyone wait on Congress Street with the 325/326 passengers? Yeah gonna be so over crowded.

All for MOR CONDOS MOR OFFICE SPACE.. for the rich. Fuck everyone else who lives/works/uses the area daily. MOR CONDOS ARE MOR IMPORTANT

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Voting closed 21

Congress st would have a bus only lane. But that will never happen for the same reason that some asshole who ran the light at State and Congress was screaming at pedestrians who were using the crosswalk with the light because he was "in the middle of the road" illegally.

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Past MBTA practice has been to move bus stops away from new developments when asked because buses are just too icky. Witness what happened with the Silver Lie Union Park St stop when the Penny Savings Bank building was remodeled into pricey condos. That stop moved almost three blocks down and is closer to W Brookline St. than Union Park St.

If they're closing Congress St under the garage, it'd be absolutely bonkers to use Congress for temporary bus stops. The traffic will be horrendous with all vehicles having to turn on Sudbury, and it's insane to make the buses get stuck in that traffic. Using Hanover St. isn't feasible with part of it being closed on Fridays for the Haymarket.

Like I said... reroute the buses up to North Station. Keep the buses out of the traffic mess that this project will create.

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Voting closed 7

First off, do I know you Scott B .. I know a few Scott B's :

Also I agree I am surprised they are putting the bus way back after but its too busy of a busway to just leave.

Not sure how N Station would work with traffic loops although it might make better sense for the 111 as it can loop up by Science Park, over the gilmore and onto the Tobin. Maybe surpassing some of the N Wash Bridge rebuilding issues.

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Voting closed 5

Down N Washington, right on Valenti Way, right on Haverhill, right on Causeway, left on N Washington. Even with the bridge rebuild it's probably quicker to go via City Sq. than the Prison Point Bridge. Honestly it wouldn't be a terrible place for those North Shore buses to terminate -- comparable or better access to the Green & Orange lines as well as convenient connections to the Fitchburg/Lowell/Haverhill lines and the EZRide to Kendall. The one minus would be that Haverhill St. could be a bit tight for boarding multiple buses at once.

And yes, you know me.

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Voting closed 4

The traffic loop would work well?
.
Full-size buses making this right from Valenti to Haverhill?
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3647034,-71.0593263,3a,75y,274.73h,76.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5-B6UBZtAij3rrsuabZpuQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

Full-size buses making this right out of Haverhill onto Causeway?
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3656334,-71.0605204,3a,75y,324.85h,78.83t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1spMnf7fzY30uG0JzXgRIEaw!2e0!5s20180601T000000!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

I have my doubts.

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Voting closed 5

It would probably be doable with buses turning right from the left lane (good luck!), but ideally that curb radius would need to be increased. I can model the turning movement with AutoTURN if people are interested.

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Then you'd have buses parked in berths which are currently the right-hand travel lane. The turn onto Causeway shouldn't be too bad. If you do need to make more space available for the turn from Valenti, that sidewalk in front of Jimmy John's is far larger than it needs to be for the amount of pedestrian traffic through there.

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Voting closed 3

...that Haverhill Street was originally intended to serve as a busway when they began redoing the North Station Green Line and Orange Line station in the late 1990s. I remember artists' renditions of the station showing Haverhill St as a busway.

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Disruption is required for change and this is a much needed project for the city. I use the Haymarket station everyday and I couldn't be happier about this project. That area is a massive eyesore to begin with and don't even get me started on the other issues that hang around the station. This project will do a great job of starting to connect the West End to downtown. This city needs more housing/hotels and brand new Class A office space is a great plus. Do I think they should plan disruptions accordingly? Yes, but blame the city, not the developers or the project on this one.

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Saw KC and the Sunshine Band there at a restaurant opening.
Or rather... K.C., two backup singers, and a cassette tape of backing tracks.

It was still a live singing act.

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Here's one... How about making access from the Orange Line inbound mezzanine wall to the center Green Line platform? Then the MBTA could close the North (Dunkin Donuts) tunnel side of Haymarket Station for the duration of construction. No mitigation until they open up a brand new station in the belly of these new buildings. Surely someone has thought of this before, right?

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The eastbound Green Line track is in the way.

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I'd like to question whether Haymarket is the best location for the bus terminal.

It made sense decades ago, since it was convenient to the Sumner entrance, and later the Tobin when it was built.

But hardly any express buses use the Sumner any more. And since the Big Dig eliminated the nearby on-ramp to Route 1, the 111 has to take a lot of slow local streets to get to the highway.

Has anyone looked into finding a location that will provide quicker rides for bus passengers? And would the Haymarket subway station have to exist if the bus station was moved, since it's so close to the adjacent stations? Consolidating it would speed up the commutes of a whole lot of Green and Orange Line riders.

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Voting closed 8

By anon on Thu, 02/06/2020 - 4:09pm

I'd like to question whether Haymarket is the best location for the bus terminal...
Has anyone looked into finding a location that will provide quicker rides for bus passengers? And would the Haymarket subway station have to exist if the bus station was moved, since it's so close to the adjacent stations? Consolidating it would speed up the commutes of a whole lot of Green and Orange Line riders.

The first question --- about the major bus depot being permanently relocated to a site potentially more easily accessible to the road network -- might make some sense

However -- the entire reason for the proposed temporary relocation of the buses and temporary closure of the Haymarket T Station is the multimillion sq ft of construction happening directly above in place of the old parking garage.

In the course of the next say 5 years thousands of people will move to residences and thousands of people will begin working right above the Haymarket T Station

Not only does it make no sense to close Haymarket and consolidate it with ?? -- The HYM project is almost sufficient reason to build the Haymarket Station if it didn't exist.

As an aside to HYM -- I hope that they consider building for the T a DTX-like underground connection to the "One Congress" office tower -- aka "State Street" When this project is completed it will be Pru-scale overall

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If every rider at Stop B instead got on at Stop A or Stop C -- and every rider who would have gotten off at Stop B instead got off at Stop A or Stop C -- what time are you saving? The literal time it takes an electric trolley to decelerate from 25 mph to 0, and then to accelerate back to 25 mph? That's what, several seconds?

We're not talking about buses that can get stuck in a station because drivers won't let it pull back out, or stuck at a red light because the stop was before the light. We're talking about dedicated right-of-way. How does eliminating a station provide meaningful improvement of service?

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Voting closed 1

The 111 and 426 (and 428) also have to deal with the Longest Red Light in Boston. The one northbound at North Washington @ Causeway. If I were a resident, I'd suggest they either shorten or get rid of the left run signal in the opposite direction and add that time to the green in both directions. But I'm not, so I can only rant to this site and a brick wall. The 92 and 93 have to deal with it as well, but they don't use the busway full time.

Let's see how this will be handled...or not.

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I recall some stage of Big Dig-related construction/demolition in '99-'02 that had one entrance closed for some period of time. Had to enter and walk along Orange to get to Green (or vice-versa?)

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For the life of me, I can't remember what the exact need/disruption was or how long it lasted.

There was so much that was happening around there in those few years (or just before/after - '99-'02 was my peak period when I was commuting Green Line to there and walking to work in North End).
The elevated artery was still standing, though I think they had it jacked up on wider temp supports so they could work where the old supports/foundations were. They were excavating tunnel or ramp sections there. They were building parcel 7 garage? I think there was something about accessibility - either the Congress St station entrance stairs/elevators or the Green Line station platform heights. They eliminated the Green Line branch/portal that terminated on surface along, ummm.... Canal? They were constructing the new Green Line underground through North Station, preparatory to demolishing the old incline and elevated.

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Green Line branch/portal that terminated on surface along, ummm.... Canal?

...or maybe Haverhill.

If you use MapJunction, there's an interesting map I had never noticed before: 1994 Boston 3D Downtown (corrected).
It may have been based on some of what was approved at that point, not just existing. It shows the Parcel 7 Garage which hadn't yet been built according to 1995 aerials.

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Green Line trains that did not continue up the elevated ramp towards Lechmere terminated instead in a loop inside a fare-control fence at the southeast corner of Canal and Causeway Streets. You won't find any trace of that today, as a building now covers the surface lot where this loop was. In later years, the loop was converted into two stub-end tracks.

If you wanted to board an inbound Green Line train at North Station, you had to decide whether to wait at the surface station or the elevated station, which were quite a long walk (up or down many stairs) apart.

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when the Boeing LRVs were placed into service. The Boeing cars could not negotiate the tight curve without derailing, and physical constraints prevented the T from widening the loop.

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HYM released a statement today saying that while some of the subway station entrances might have to be closed from time to time during construction, the entire station will not have to be shut down.

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All of this as the North Washington is under renovation?

Is Baker not satisfied with just one Big Dig under his belt?

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Trick question here. Haymarket has been rebuilt multiple times and relocated at least 2 times. Any rider of the Green line is treated to viewing the former platform just north of the current one which is now a maintenance and electrical junction area. The current Green Line station was cut out of the existing subway tube. Those little archways along the all are trackman cubbies where they would step aside in the tube to allow trains to pass. This is at least the 3rd version of Haymarket in the last 50 years.

Some people may also remember that the entrance to the station used to be on the OTHER SIDE of Congress Street which is now storefront type windows and building entrances to upper offices. Those underground passages are still there but closed off.

The Orange line platforms are wholly under the Haymarket marketplace building where the RMV is located, and the Green line platform is wholly under Congress Street beside the OL. They are connected by a series of underground passageways, and they should also have full ADA access via elevators. The entrance at the marketplace/RMV serves both lines completely.

The only closure that should be necessary s the busway at the current location and the entrance to the GL and OL at the busway location, which itself is an underground pedestrian passageway connecting what is described above.

The question becomes whether safety will require a closure of the tube and termination of both lines if they are concerned that demolition would require that, i.e. falling debris to the surface which might compromise the tube roof. Hopefully that will not be necessary.

So while they are saying "closure" tey should only be saying relocation of the busway and that specific entrance. Shutting the subway station itself is well-removed from the construction zone and people can use the alternate entrance.

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Voting closed 2