Happy Monday, all! (If there is such a thing..!)
I’ve got a couple of questions answered for you today, with a few more on the way for later this week. For now, though, let’s get right into the mailbag and see what we’ve got.
Nichole, hopefully you can help me ... I was talking with a friend the other day and she mentioned that she had heard of a new construction project setting up on Route 1 for the summer. Is this really the case? Even with the already difficult Tobin delays? What are they doing that can’t wait?
Believe it or not, Alicia, your friend was correct. Starting tonight (June 25), work crews in Saugus will be replacing a water main under Route 1 northbound. According to the Saugus DPW, workers will close one lane on Route 1 North between Main Street and Noah’s Motors, which is just past the Hilltop Steakhouse. They’ll be working every weekday from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m.
Thankfully, it looks like the closure during morning drive will be opposite the heavy traffic flow heading toward the Tobin, but northbound morning commuters will obviously have to deal with some significant delays in the area. The DPW says they won’t be blocking access to any local businesses in the process, so that’s a plus. Construction is tentatively expected to wrap up in November, but I’ll keep an eye on it for you and mention if anything changes.
You can head to the Saugus DPW website and click on “Water Main Construction 2012” to download a .pdf version of the letter sent to all Saugus residents advising them of the project.
I know the MBTA is raising rates sometime soon, but I was curious to know if those just affect the T riders or if the commuter rail or the parking is going to be affected. I drive into the city some days, but I also sometimes like to take the commuter rail and want to know if it is even going to be worth it for me anymore to bother. Why would I spend more when I can just drive?
Well, Gene, it’s up to you in that regard - gas prices are up and down these days, and there’s no telling what they’ll do next or how high they’ll go. What I can do for you, first, is lay out the new charges that relate directly to commuter rail passengers, as well as new charges for parking. This will thankfully be easy, because the Globe’s Eric Moskowitz put together a this handy guide to some of the increases taking effect next Sunday. Here's what he has to say:
A $3 fee for purchasing commuter rail tickets on board will be applied at all stations, though a majority lack vending machines, ticket windows, or local retail partners selling tickets and passes. That replaces a surcharge ($1 off-peak, $2 peak) typically imposed only when purchasing from conductors after boarding at major terminals, such as North and South stations.
The 12-ride commuter rail pass will become a 10-ride pass July 1. The expiration period on those passes changed in April from 180 days to 30 days. The expiration on a single-ride commuter rail ticket also changed from 180 days to 14 days in April.
Also, new fare zones are being created: Zone 10, as well as InterZones 9 and 10. To find your new fare, check out this chart from the MBTA.
Also, keep in mind that the MBTA is eliminating some commuter rail service. Saturday, there will be no service on the Needham, Plymouth/Kingston, and Greenbush lines. Sunday service will not run on the Greenbush or Plymouth/Kingston lines.
Thankfully, park-and-ride parking fares are not increasing except at the Route 128 station. Fares there are going up to $7. Fares are also increasing to $6 at Riverside, Waban, Wellington, Eliot, Chestnut Hill, Lechmere, Malden Center, Sullivan Square, and Oak Grove.
A quick note:
President Obama is going to be in town today. He’ll be speaking in Durham, NH at Oyster River High School in the early afternoon, then heading to Boston during the mid-afternoon.
Expect roadblocks from Logan into the downtown - he’s making a stop first in the South End, then heading to Symphony Hall for a speech around 4:30, and then to a home in Weston for dinner later in the evening.
The motorcade will cause significant traffic delays downtown during the rush hour - be sure to allow yourself plenty of extra time around the Pike and in the area of Huntington Avenue after about 4 p.m. if that’s when you normally leave work. Here’s some more info on the visit.
That’s it for today. In addition to those questions I mentioned, I’ll also have more information on the MBTA fare increase, including an important notice for “E” line riders, later this week. Send me your thoughts on the increase, or how it will affect you if you normally ride the rails. If you were planning to switch solely to the T, would this put that decision off for you?
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