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He saw something, he said something and the T did nothing, at least at first

Broken Park Street step with cone

If you happened to be at Park Street yesterday and noticed a cone alerting you to a broken step, you can thank Odd Onsentino, who reports what happened after he spotted the saggy stair:

Informed an employee and asked them to shut the stairwell down. He told me he wasn’t authorized to do so. I tried to reason with him, but that proved impossible. I found a cone, not too far away, and placed it in the stairwell.

An MBTA spokesman reports workers repaired the stair last night, and forwarded these photos, showing the new stair covering about to be glued down and then the completed step:

Repaired step



There are crumbling, broken, rusting stairways all over the T system, both indoors and outdoors. Sometimes the metal edges to the stairs are broken with rusty edges of the broken piece sticking up or out, presenting a dangerous situation if anyone steps on them, especially in flip flops or sneakers.

Make sure you have an updated tetanus shot when using the stairs on the T.

And why is it, when presented with reports on the T twitter account, does the T always pretend they are hearing about problems for the first time? Some of these crumbling stairways have been crumbling for 10-20 years, or more.


the escalators don't reliably stop when stuff gets sucked into them.

Have you ever been on the subway in New York. Same condition, except that almost all of the stations on the T are ADA accessible.

Yes, I’ve been on the subway in NYC. And London, and DC, and Chicago. And Mexico DF. That doesn’t mean I can’t criticize the T. Sheesh


That having problems with a city's public transit system does not disqualify it from "world class" status, as all of the cities you mention have had glaring problems with their trains and stations at one time or another, and for the most part all of them have troubles now.

I don't think this is true...

[source: I used to live in NY and visit fairly regularly]

I think Bostonians just assume whatever issue we have is worse in NYC.

This is not really a thing in NYC. Not that I've seen. Albeit their subway stations are hotter and muggier and less ornately designed.

Most of the stations in Gotham are not ADA compliant.

I'd take Park Street over Chambers Street any day.

The MTA takes you more places but the whole system is crap. Just as many delays. More homeless people. Beyond dirtier. I’d prefer the T any day of the week.

The closed pedestrian bridge at Suffolk Downs.

Here's the fun part: If you want to access the station from Bennington St., you can't -- unless you walk halfway to Orient Heights along Bennington and then back to the station on Walley St. (but you might as well just go all the way to Orient Heights then). There are no fare gates on the outbound side of the tracks.

And the concrete on that bridge (and the ramps to it) has been crumbling for years.

Aren't T employees and are not authorized to shut down exits. Should have notified the Transit Police on duty at Park Street.


He said he asked an employee...why do you think he asked a transit ambassador and not an actual MBTA employee?

Regardless, as others have mentioned, a lot of the infrastructure at multiple stations is crumbling due to years of neglect. It's surprising that there aren't more injuries reported.


Even if he did ask a Transit Ambassador -- or an employee who wasn't authorized to do anything about the damaged stair for some reason -- presumably that person could have either (a) directed him to the appropriate employee or (b) notified that employee themselves. But of course, they'd have to give a fuck for that to happen.

wHy dOn'T peOpLe wAnT tO rIdE tHe T????


Like, I'm super in favor of workers' rights, but union protection seems to just get abused in these heavily unionized government jobs. People seem to think it's fine to just shrug and be like, not my job in a way that isn't seen as widely even in places like fast food.

I've just never ever had a job, from entry-level on up, where it would have been considered at all acceptable to just be like, not my job. Literally every place I've worked, it's expected that if someone approaches you and something isn't your job, you find out whose job it is and you assist the person with getting in touch with that person.

(Also, as a human, I can't imagine being shown a really fucky stair and not having a reaction of like, damn, that could seriously hurt someone, so I better do something. Fortunately, Todd came along and isn't a horrible human.)


Just going to point out that to many who 'aren't in the know' may not know about Block by Block "ambassadors" . The Block by Block folks where a blue shirt with a T logo, have badges that look similar to T employees badges. You really need to look at one closely to see the "block by block" or whoever the contractor is.

So it could have been a mis-step and it was a block by block person. those folks don't have much power. Although the one at Haymarket seems to work the busway & help the inspector and driver board people, which I find odd.

The ambassadors position are mostly to help customers with vending machines & fare issues, directions, bus schedules... you know, very customer service-y things. But not people & facility management. Thats really for the inspectors and up. Not even in the days of the snarly dudes in the token booths.. those guys had no real power. They have to call someone.

And regardless of if it was block by block or a T employee, they should be able to call or radio someone... even if its not their home territory/station, to go and find someone who does or can help.

This was just a lazy employee

(my only cavate is if they were off duty, then all bets are off. Still a sucky reply but.. eh I get it)

Within the past few years, the T completely replaced most of the staircases at Park Street — but mysteriously left out one that looked to need it the most. The one going down from the Green Line to the Red Line next to Elevator 808 has had some very uneven steps for years. I can't tell from the closeup photo, but I wonder if this is that one.


It is.. I use this staircase when the lovely escalator is (often) out of service to get to Tremont @ Winter when coming from the Red Line.

If I am correct this is the staircase that leads from the Red Line southbound platform up to the pedestrian walkway under Winter Street from the Red Line.

Its been sinking for a few years now. Like the ones they replaced going to the Green Line In & out platforms (all six of them), they are just old. It will probably be done soon.

And to be fair on the repair.. I'm going to guess the last time this staircase was repaired was in the early 1980s when the Red Line was modernized to accommodate longer trains and the new extensions to Braintree and Alewife.

As much as I love the 80s... 1981 was 40 years ago. Thats 40 years of daily use... rain, slush, spilled dunkin donuts coffee, urine, puke.. you know lots of liquid. Its metal... its going to rust and eventually give way. Like everything and will need to be repaired.

Sometimes its just age why stuff breaks. But that step has been giving for a while........

...wow, that's a heavy traffic cone.


stole that cone from the Edison...

What needs to be done to authorize him to do so? MBTA needs more money to conduct failing infrastructure studies. Spend some of that money on a nap room and snack room in a hidden closet of each station for the employees so they can complain about us riders. Let's definitely upload this photo to the huge library of MBTA memes which are popular all over the internet. Any suggestion UHubbers for meme on this photo?

It looks like that would mean closing an exit, which I'm sure is heavily regulated - but there's a huge difference between putting danger tape across some stairs to prevent normal traffic, and nailing the doors shut a la the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. You'd like to think that regs would permit no-go signage that could be bypassed in an emergency


Baby! Safety first at the T!

I am sure there is a union person that only has authorization to place traffic cones.
Another union person who has authorization to shut down the stairs and another union person who has authorization to put up caution tape etc.
Every job in the union has a different person who has different authorization.
That's how unions work


You're repeating stereotypes you've heard, not making an informed comment. Your distaste for organized labor is noted.


I am periodically a musician (ssh, don't tell anyone) when the day job just isn't enough for me, and there are unionized performance halls where if you move your own chair or music stand a couple inches, someone swoops in and tells you that's not in your job description and you need to summon a stagehand. If you pick up your music after the concert and ask where it gets turned in, someone swoops in and says don't pick up any music, as that's the music librarian's job. You ask someone where you can fill up your bottle, they tell you to please not do that, and the designated person will go fetch you bottled water.


That's definitely how some places operate, but there are also many unionized workplaces that aren't like that at all. OP stating "That's how unions work" is false, that's all.


Yeah, I wish we had one of those nonunion transit systems where any employee could choose to close parts of a station if they felt like it.


Everywhere, all the time.


Oh well.

For her remaining days until City Council says "tag, you're it" to someone else?

Since Boston city officials have no authority over the T.


Those overpaid worthless sponges would never, ever, in a million years lift a finger to get anything fixed because we live in a dysfunctional shit show

The T repaired the stair last night and sent along a couple of photos to prove it.


All it took was a media campaign to shame them and beg them to do their job. Even odds they did a terrible job and it's broken again soon.


An employee wouldn't be allowed to shut an exit like that - fire safety and probably some other concerns.
It got fixed that same night - I assume during late night "system closed" hours, which is when disruptive maintenance gets done.


This guy had to do his job for him.


But let's keep pouring $ into car infrastructure and not raise the gas tax or excise tax.

In defense of the T, the PA goes "If you see something, say something". I've never heard it followed by "and we are going to do something about it".


In defense of the T, the PA goes "If you see something, say something".

Silly wabbit. They're not talking about broken stairs. Those announcements are to get you to report terr'ists.

If saving ourselves was a person! Thank you Odd Onsentino, you likely saved someone from injury.

Did the T worker at least say "We apologize for the inconvenience?"

"There's another staircase right behind this one."

Did the T worker at least say ...

Some of them don't talk much - listening to Frank Oglesby gave them an inadequacy complex.