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You can laugh or you can cry: MBTA announces new delay in opening of Green Line Extension, and says the one stop it has opened will be shut for a month

The MBTA announced today that it hopes to finally, actually, really, no kidding, open the Green Line Extension all the way into Medford by "late November," just in time for you to go over the river and through the woods to visit the Medford house where Lydia Maria Child's grandparents lived, prompting her to write the famous Thanksgiving song.

The T allows that, yes, this is yet another delay on the extension, which they'd once announced would be done by summer's end. They blamed this in part on the need to get safety workers they'd assigned to the extension instead working on all those urgent problems the feds blasted the T for letting fester - even before an Orange Line train burst into flames high atop the Mystic River and another Red Line train tried to go on a self-guided tour.

Oh, and, of course, the opening of the Medford wing of the extension will require shutting down the Union Square mini-extension for almost a month. Or as the T sums it all up:

In order help facilitate the opening of the Medford Branch and to allow crews to perform final-phase construction work, temporary shuttle buses will replace Green Line Union Branch service between Government Center and Union Square stations in both directions beginning Monday, August 22, through Sunday, September 18. This diversion in service is also necessary to allow for continued work at the private Government Center Garage project. Regular Union Branch trolley service will resume on Monday, September 19.

The opening date of the Medford Branch has been shifted from its previous target date of late summer 2022 to late November 2022 due to a number of contributing factors, including necessary additional work and re-testing of the Medford Branch’s power systems. Much of the work to be performed during the diversion in service from August 22 to September 18 is tied to the opening of the Medford Branch, including the advancement of final-phase construction elements on the GLX project and the East Cambridge Viaduct. The start date has also been affected by the availability of Safety and Operational support crews that were previously prioritized for GLX, but are now re-allocated to other critical MBTA construction work, including in the MBTA’s response to the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection directives. The MBTA is in full support of making these safety-related changes, and appreciates the support of riders and the public as the Medford Branch is brought into passenger service.

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Comments

I can't tell from this announcement.

Just saw on Twitter that everything beyond Govt Center is bus country for a month.

Whatever Somerville did to wrong Charlie Baker, he's really not gonna let us off the hook

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Haymarket and North Station will remain open for the Green Line, however it appears that Government Center is the best place to stage shuttle buses to Union Sq and Lechmere given the construction at Haymarket.

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I just spent too much time looking this up on the T's website. It's way too confusing. For example, they mention construction at the Government Center garage, but on the other hand, they note that shuttle buses won't be stopping at Science Park since it is close to North Station. Perhaps the T folk are unaware of the upcoming closure of the Orange Line.

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It’s worded slightly differently depending on where you look, so who knows. My guess is that because the GLX work is a separate project from the Govt Center garage demolition, some of the press releases are only addressing the former. It seems like everything north of Govt Center will be closed, but the separate shuttle service is only for Govt Center to Lechmere, because Haymarket and North station would be serviced by the OL shuttles. Maybe. I guess we’ll find out.

Those will only be running between Forest Hills and Back Bay along with the Oak Grove to North Station shuttle, because riders will be able to use the Green Line between Copley (a short walk from Back Bay) and North Station.

I'll defend the T when I think it's warranted, but if they are expecting Orange Line riders to hoof it to Government Center, I have absolutely no defense for that. That's an error that is completely stupid.

It ridiculous. For so many reasons.

Better be an oversight.

The orange line alert currently says "Shuttle bus service will operate in both directions, connecting Oak Grove and Forest Hills stations to downtown Boston. The MBTA is currently discussing options with the City of Boston for how to best service the downtown area."
(I don't see a GL alert yet for what was announced today.)

So maybe they are planning to work something out from North Station southward. Or maybe the just want to blame the city if there is nothing.

This whole thing seems so very unplanned, but at the same time announcing these on different days (and one on a Friday with a possibly misleading headline) seems very much planned.

Bottom of this page:

https://www.mbta.com/projects/building-better-t-2022

Allowing Full Access to Government Center Garage
The MBTA is in continuous communication with the HYM Investment Group. The demolition of Government Center Garage would typically require a closure. This 30-day closure will provide an opportunity for HYM Investment Group to complete demolition without further service impacts.

To me it says Haymarket Station will be closed for 30 days.

Not happy about this. 111 riders are already getting the shaft because of this garage take down.. and we keep getting it by them shutting down Haymarket. Sure N Station isnt far away, but the way the T routes the 111 buses to drop off at Portal Park.. then route around martha road/Nashua street, then back down causeway to pick up passengers in front of the station? You couldn't have just had ppl wait at Portal Park for outbound service and just used the on-ramp to 93/Tobin at Leverett circle instead of making buses wait.. forever in traffic to come back to where they started from!??

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Shuttle buses will not stop at Science Park station, which is within close walking distance to North Station.

I don't even commute in this area and I'm getting a headache because of it.

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No. The text says "Union Branch service" will be suspended, but the headline says "Green Line Service". https://www.mbta.com/news/2022-08-05/building-better-t-glx-medford-branc...

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I think I still have the "May 2027" square in the pool

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In 2007 I bet my co worker Jan 2023 would be earliest month with complete service on this. I say this with love as a T rider

I've been waiting for this branch to open for the past 30 years so what's a few more months?

What bugs me is how much the thing cost and they still couldn't come anywhere near hitting targets even once the project started in earnest.

The same could be said for the new Orange and Red trains. The recent OL fire shouldn't have happened because there shouldn't be any old OL cars in service at this point.

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If it means they can allocate more resources to making the existing infrastructure safer, I really can't complain.

Why aren't Ron Mariano and Karen Spilka holding mandatory public hearings with Poftak and Baker so they can testify to WTF is actually going on at the T?

It looks like this is a massive, system-wide failure that apparently has been criminally covered up by the MBTA for years and is now only coming to light due to the FTA investigation.

The public needs answers.

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They're only now scrambling because they can feel the Federal Government breathing down their necks, just itching to shut the entire system down, in turn forcing Beacon Hill to hold hearings.

I'm fully rooting for the Feds on this one, to be honest.

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They can just take the Orange Line...oh, wait.

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that BetterBus will be delayed?

It never ceases to amaze me with the MBTA.

any word on the Red Line.

Maybe they use higher grade duct tape, but it is hard to believe it is escaping this fiasco.

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They aren't going to suspend the Red Line. They might reduce headways until there's only a train once every 1-2 hours, but they certainly wouldn't dare inconveniencing riders with a full suspension.

/s

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And the week after. And the week after.

I’m not even bothering to look more than 24 hours ahead for anything to do with the T.

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Someone's working at the T, and it's probably their PR consultants. After all the accidents and mishaps, they pull out the dog & pony show for the Orange Line shutdown as if it were as groundbreaking as the Moon landing. They let that cool off for a day or so, and then announce the closure of an equally important stretch of the Green Line like it's another great benefit to the Commonwealth. Has to be done now, it's all been planned, take a vacation, fait accompli.

This management team can't go a day without catching themselves on fire but they sure know how to spend time workshopping a major system collapse into free coach rides for everyone. Kudos to whomever kept the Green Line shutdown out of the news for 48 hours.

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This is insane. They should be doing the opposite, accelerating owning the Medford branch so some of the orange line riders from the north could use that. Or delay the orange line shutdown until the green line extension and bike path are finished. How is the Union branch shutdown even needed to complete the Medford branch since the Medford branch was supposed to open in the summer? It seems like its more a gift from the state to the government center garage developer.
When the central artery/tunnel was being constructed the old one was never shut, despite how much money and time that would have saved. But T riders are considered disposable garbage by this state.