Commute

Merging of 4 Green Line B Branch stations on Commonwealth Avenue begins next week

Yes, that means shuttle buses are coming.

A rendering of the proposed station that will replace the Babcock Street and Pleasant Street stops. MBTA

Several stops along the Green Line’s B Branch will see service changes starting next week as the MBTA starts to consolidate four stops on Commonwealth Avenue into two.

The $29 million effort, which starts construction on Monday, Feb. 15, will completely remove the existing Babcock Street, Pleasant Street, St. Paul Street, and Boston University West stops and replace them with two “proper stations.” The new stations will have longer raised platforms for accessible boarding, canopies to protect waiting passengers from the elements, and standard amenities like lighting, seating, and upgraded signage.

The current four stations, which lie packed together in a half-mile stretch by Boston University’s west campus, are simple ground level platforms and are not fully accessible. The consolidation will also help speed up the notoriously slow rides along the B Branch.

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“Instead of stopping at every block, the train will stop at every other block but will still pick up the same amount of passengers,” said project manager Leo Murphy during a recent virtual public meeting. “Instead of standing along a windy curb right next to traffic at a busy intersection competing with pedestrians, riders will now be able to enjoy the benefits of a modern, accessible light rail station.”

Construction on the project, which was first announced last March, is scheduled to wrap up in February 2022.

The Pleasant Street stop is the only one that overlaps with either of the planned new stations, so it will permanently close after Friday, Feb. 26. The other three stops will still be open before 9 p.m. on weekdays, but shuttles along the parallel 57 bus route will replace the stretch from Babcock to Kenmore during nights and weekends.

Drivers can also expect overnight road and lane closures along that stretch of Commonwealth Avenue during construction.

The B Branch consolidation is part of the sweeping Green Line Transformation project that began in 2018, which includes new vehicles, a long-awaited extension into Somerville and Medford, and several accessibility improvements to individual stations.

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