Boston officials today announced some changes to roads along the route of the soon-to-stop-running Orange Line to help ease the passage of the big replacement buses until the trains allegedly start running again in a month.
Starting tomorrow, the Gilmore Bridge, Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square in Charlestown will get bus-only lanes. State Street between Congress and Washington streets downtown will be shut to cars completely, as will Dartmouth Street between St. James and Boylston streets in the Back Bay and the northbound side of Washington Street between the Arborway and Williams Street in Jamaica Plain.
Parking will be banned at places where the Yankee Line buses will stop in place of the Orange Line; BTD is adjusting signal timing along their route to give them priority.
The shuttles won't be tempting fate on the congested streets between Back Bay and Haymarket. At the city's urging the MBTA yesterday agreed to add a stop on the SL4 Silver Line outbound route at Surface Artery and Kneeland Street. The T also agreed to add a rush-hour shuttle bus running connecting Tufts Medical Center, the Chinatown stop and Government Center - running once every 30 minutes.
BTD is working up street signs for posting in Chinatown to get residents there to the closest Green, Silver and Red Line stops.
BPS will be distributing up to 5,000 CharlieCards loaded with free seven-day passes for students who had been planning to take the Orange Line - but the city says students "should plan for delays and ensure they leave additional time to get to and from school." Officials say, however, that "sudents arriving late due to transportation issues will not be penalized" - and that schools will keep breakfasts available for students who arrive to school late.
BPS adds that parents of seventh- and eighth-grade students can apply for a waiver on the BPS Transportation Support Portal so that they can ride a yellow BPS bus instead of trying to navigate to school on an Orange-less T. Parents with questions can contact the BPS Transportation Helpline at 617-635-9520 or by e-mail at [email protected], 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. now or 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. once school is in session.
People with disabilities
Boston Public Works has been going along the shuttle route and patching and fixing sidewalks at stops to make them accessible to people with disabilities.
Boston residents can get free 30-day Bluebikes passes during the shutdown, which provide an unlimited number of 45-minute trips at no cost. Available at the Bluebikes Web site or app starting Friday. The city is adding more bike racks downtown and is installing temporary bike lanes along Columbus Avenue in the South End and along Boylston Street in the Back Bay.
During the shutdown, CharlieCard or CharlieTicket holders can get on any commuter-rail train from a Zone 1, 1A or 2 stop for free - you don't even need any value on your card or ticket. CharlieCards are available at City Hall and BPL branches.
Boston-specific Orange Line replacement info.