The MBTA plans to open the rebuilt Yawkey commuter rail station in Boston next month, clearing the way for the transit agency to boost service across the entire Framingham-Worcester line, officials announced Wednesday.
The station is set to open and a new schedule for the commuter rail line is set be implemented on March 10, T general manager Beverly Scott announced.
“I would like to thank everyone for their patience,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited about launching this new era in the continuing process of improving the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line.”
Completion of the $14.9-million Yawkey Station overhaul was delayed by about two months while the contractor worked to address accessibility-related issues, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
That delay forced the T to hold back on implementing increased service across the Framingham-Worcester line. The Yawkey project includes constructing a second track allowing more trains to move through.
The new schedule will bring the total number of weekday round trips on the Framingham-Worcester line to 24, up from 22 roundtrips currently. The revised schedule also allows trains to stop at more stations while making those trips.
The line only offered 10 weekday roundtrips just before the state struck a deal in 2009 to buy a 21-mile stretch of the line’s tracks for $50 million from railroad company CSX Corp.
Since then, the T has incrementally increased train trips and stops, while improving other aspects of passenger service on the line that was once among the least reliable in the agency’s commuter rail network.
The rebuilt Yawkey Station, located steps from Fenway Park, features a pair of 700-foot-long train platforms that are fully accessible to people with disabilities, four new elevators and stairs, track realignments, an open mezzanine and a new main station lobby, or head house, at Yawkey Way.
Those future improvements include building new entrance shelters on Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street and extending Yawkey Way so MASCO shuttle buses, which serve the Longwood Medical Area, can pull up to the station.
When a parking garage for the Fenway Center development is built, solar panels installed atop the garage will power Yawkey Station, which will make it the first “net-zero energy” rail station in Massachusetts, officials have said.
During the recent construction project, the station remained in use. Riders would use one side of the platform while work would take place on the opposite side, officials said.
State officials held a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project in the fall of 2010, but the actual work did not start until June 2012, about when officials had originally hoped to finish construction.
The project’s start was delayed because the state needed to wait until the track purchase deal with CSX was complete.
The project was paid for by the state, including through the use of federal stimulus funding, officials.
The developer of Fenway Center, Meredith Management Corp., has agreed to maintain the station’s entrances and elevators after the project is complete.
The MBTA said it will continue its annual tradition of offering free rides after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, while boosting service on its subway and commuter rail lines to accommodate people traveling to celebrate First Night.
On New Year’s Eve, the T's Green, Red, Orange, and Blue lines will operate on modified weekday schedules with extra trains running at “rush-hour levels of service” from about 3 p.m. until 2 a.m., officials announced.
The T’s commuter rail lines will also run on modified weekday schedules with additional service, including a number of lines that will see extra outbound service and some delayed outbound departures between midnight and 2 a.m., officials said.
To see a detailed list of extra commuter rail service and delayed departure times, click here.
Meanwhile, the T’s Silver Line, buses, trackless trolleys, express bus routes and boats will run on regular weekday schedules on New Year’s Eve, officials said.
The T’s paratransit service, the RIDE, will run on a regular weekday schedule with extended hours until 2:30 a.m.
On New Year’s Day, the four subway lines will run on Sunday schedules as will the Silver Line, the RIDE, the commuter rail and buses, meaning some commuter rail and bus lines will not operate, officials said.
For a detailed list of subway and bus routes that will not run on New Year’s Day, click here.
The T will not run boat service on New Year’s Day.
City officials have encouraged people traveling in and around Boston on New Year's Eve to ride public transit, including the T. A number of streets will be closed to traffic, while parking will be banned on others. For a detailed list, click here.
THE GREEN and yellow Brazilian flag adorns many downtown shops in Framingham, reflecting the pride of the town’s dominant immigrant group. But as much as the waves of Brazilian immigrants have transformed Framingham over the past 30 years, the town has been a melting pot for generations — only slightly more than half of its immigrants are from Brazil. One in four Framinghamites is foreign born.
All the same, immigration continues to cause political friction even in a town seemingly accustomed to newcomers of all nationalities. For here a microcosm of the national immigration debate played out very intensely on the local level: Town Meeting members faced a vote to require the town-funded English as a Second Language program to check the immigration status of its students to qualify for two classes funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Globe subscribers can read the entire column here.
Westborough High School students were victors at the debate competition held as part of the 2013 Boston International Economic Summit on Dec. 4.
The winning team, which beat 97 others, was made up of Ivan Truong, Adhithyan Krishnan and Maxwell Silverman. The debates focused on how best to improve the global economy.
The Summit marks the end of a semester-long program that teaches students the basics of international economics, global trade, political relations, and world geography.
“In today’s global economy, it’s vitally important to prepare students with experiences that really broaden their knowledge of issues facing countries around the globe," said Eduardo Garrido, director of Santander Universities US, one of the event's sponsors.
Other sponsors included the Challenger Foundation, Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place, the Massachusetts Council on Economic Education, and the International Economic Summit Institute at Boise State University.
Shandana Mufti can be reached at email@example.com.
By Shujie Leng BU Washington News Service WASHINGTON–Trained service dogs can provide many therapeutic benefits to military veterans suffering from both physical wounds and post-traumatic stress syndrome, Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester said Tuesday…
Milford voters emphatically rejected a $1 billion Foxwoods-backed gambling resort on Tuesday, crushing a casino proposal five years in development, and shrinking the field of applicants for the state’s most lucrative gambling license.
The casino plan proposed by Foxwoods and its partners, the last of 11 original Massachusetts casino or slot parlor applicants to reach the ballot box, joins a prominent list of pricey projects to die at the hands of the voters.
“There was always a lot of opposition,” acknowledged somber Foxwoods chief executive Scott Butera, after the votes were counted. “We tried to change people’s minds and educate people, but we weren’t able to do it. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
The Bay State suburbs have proven to be the graveyard of casino dreams, and Milford voters followed suit, defeating the proposal 6,361 to 3,480 in a town-wide referendum. Turnout was 57 percent of 17,400 registered voters, according to the town clerk’s office.
SHREWSBURY, Mass. (AP) — Authorities say an 86-year-old man has died in a house fire in Shrewsbury the chief says was difficult to fight because of a large amount of material in the home and a maze-like layout.
Chief James Vuona tells The Telegram & Gazette that resident Richard Hosking had to be rescued by firefighters and died later Wednesday night at the hospital.
His wife, 85,-year-old Anne Hosking, got out on her own but was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and is expected to survive.
He says firefighters who entered the home were hampered not only by thick black smoke, but a large amount of accumulated belongings and a complicated floor layout.
The cause remains under investigation. The state Fire Marshal’s office is assisting.
Hopkinton, where I live, is 26.2 miles from the heart of the city, as every runner knows. Realtors around here talk up the ease of the commute to the city, and technically, they’re right. We can walk to the Ashland station, bike to the one in Southborough, or drive to either and take advantage of usually ample parking.
Yet in the past six months, I’ve taken the train into Boston just once. Some of my neighbors never use it all. The service is too much like convenience-store coffee: promising, but ultimately disappointing. It takes too long and costs too much.
Globe subscribers can read this column here.
The state this week announced several major transportation projects, including plans to straighten part of the Massachusetts Turnpike that cuts through Allston and reconfigure exit and entrance ramps as well as some local roads.
State officials said the project will relieve traffic congestion and the pollution it produces, while opening up land for development.
The estimated $260-million, multi-phase project is scheduled to start in fall 2016 and be completed by 2020, according to the state transportation department.
The state said it is currently considering at least two options, or “conceptual alignments,” to straighten out I-90 and reconfigure ramps around the Allston-Brighton toll area, officials said.
The Pike’s alignment and interchange configuration there was originally driven by the layout of the abutting Beacon Park rail yard, transportation department spokesman Michael Verseckes said.
But, a large chunk of land in the rail yard was freed up several months ago when railroad company CSX Corp. vacated the property to move its operations to Westborough and Worcester.
As part of that move, CSX entered a purchase-and-sale agreement to sell the 80-acre rail yard to Harvard University, which, in its newly-approved master plan, says it hopes to eventually use the property as “enterprise research campus” space, but in the near-term will likely use the land for “construction support activities” as it builds out other projects.
Meanwhile, the state will maintain its transportation easement rights around the rail yard property, which will allow it to straighten the turnpike, preserve space for its commuter rail operations and reconfigure “the ramps and existing connections such that the area's future development potential can be maximized,” Verseckes said.
State officials said they expect the pike straightening project will open up about 60 acres of land for future development.
The project will replace a nearly half-mile long, “structurally deficient” viaduct that includes 29 bridge structures built in the mid-1960s, state officials said.
“Right now, MassDOT is evaluating the condition of the elevated portion of the turnpike in this area to identify any and all deficiencies,” Verseckes said.
And, officials said it will reduce congestion allowing traffic to flow through the area faster, which will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks that often inch along as they try to travel there during rush hour.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said its Highway Division will coordinate the project “with federal, state and city representatives and conduct public outreach with business, educational and other area institutions in the area.”
“In the next several months, MassDOT will be working with stakeholders and abutting landowners to refine the designs, identify any potential environmental impacts, and move forward with a plan that reduces congestion in this area by simplifying the roadway's profile,” said Verseckes.
“The nearly 50-year-old Turnpike viaduct in Allston carries more than 100,000 vehicles daily and no longer meets today’s needs,” said a statement from the department’s Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. “This project will allow us to straighten the roadway, replace and reduce the length of the viaduct, and to better support and maintain the future all electronic tolling format at the interchange.”
Governor Deval Patrick announced the turnpike straightening plan and three other projects Tuesday: more details about the previously-announced plan to convert the turnpike to all-electronic, open road tolling; a $1.3 billion project to replace and increase the capacity of Red and Orange Line trains, and to replace the Clayton Street Bridge in Dorchester.
The Patrick administration reinstated tolls overnight on the western end of the Massachusetts Turnpike, between Interchange 1 in West Stockbridge and the junction of I-291 at Interchange 6 in Springfield.
The state estimates it will collect $12 million from the tolls, money that by law may not be spent on turnpike construction or maintenance east of Interstate 95/Rte. 128.
The state Department of Transportation says the funds could pay for bridge deck replacement and resurfacing, bridge cleaning and painting, and bridge and culvert repairs, as well as service plazas and maintenance depot roof projects.