Full shutdown of 18 days through Labor Day, 7 weekends-only shutdowns a viable approach for addressing FTA concerns and revitalizing service by resuming vital weekday rapid transit service
Today, A Better City (ABC) delivered a letter and workplan to Governor Baker, outlining an alternative option for the Orange Line shutdown that builds off the administration’s current plan. Based on concerns from riders, students, school officials, businesses large and small, and our region’s health care and academic institutions, ABC’s alternative plan prioritizes Federal Transit Administration (FTA) safety directive actions through a full shutdown for 18 days (August 19th to September 5th) and then weekend shutdowns from September 9th to October 22nd to accomplish the remainder of the work while also resuming vital weekday rapid transit service.
The MBTA’s current proposal provides 764 work hours over the 30-day period with service expected to resume on September 19th. ABC’s alternative option would provide 792 work hours, allowing for vital Orange Line weekday service to reopen on September 6th., the day after Labor Day, and require only seven weekend shutdowns – five more than the MBTA’s proposal – to complete the same amount of work. This alternative provides additional time for staging and testing, and it allows new Orange Line cars to come online by September 19th as the T proposed.
"Planning and execution of a transit disruption of this scale and duration should be undertaken in a way that maximizes repair efforts and minimizes burdens on transit riders and others," said James Aloisi, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation. "A Labor Day pivot to weekend shutdowns rather than full time shutdowns would be the best path forward."
"The month-long shutdown of the entire Orange Line would cause more harm to the regional economy than is necessary to address the significant problems that exist and would create a dramatically unfair burden on our transit-dependent population," said Jim Tierney, Market Director for JLL New England and A Better City Board Chair. "Governor Baker should expeditiously consider A Better City's alternative plan, which would limit impacts to riders and our economy alike as we enter the critical post-Labor Day return to work and school.
"Given that a significant part of the Orange Line's ridership comes from Environment Justice communities, the T should be doing everything possible to lessen the impact of this shutdown, including considering A Better City's alternative plan that would reduce complete shutdown times," said Jarred Johnson, Executive Director, TransitMatters.
The urgency of adopting this alternative is more pronounced by the recent announcement of the Green Line shutdown, which serves riders in a similar corridor and could leave T passengers stranded at North Station if they choose the Commuter Rail as an alternative mode.
Read the full letter and work plan here: https://www.abettercity.org/assets/images/A%20Better%20City%20Letter%20to%20Gov%20Bak er%20Alternative%20Shutdown%20Option%208.8.22.pdf