T notes: Blue Line only major peak concern
New subway cars: ‘They’re coming, they’re coming’
WITH THE EXCEPTION of the Blue Line, MBTA officials on Monday forecasted that the transit system’s subway lines should be able to absorb sharply higher numbers of riders at peak travel periods through 2040.
The forecast assumed the introduction of all-new Red and Orange Line cars over the next six years, a wide assortment of planned track improvements, and the extension of the Green Line into Somerville and Medford.
The MBTA has been losing ridership on weekends and off-peek periods, but T officials say they want to continue building their market share on subway lines at peak travel periods. “While new services exist that are helping to meet the transportation needs of our customers, we believe the MBTA rapid transit system will continue to be the ‘backbone’ of mobility as eastern Massachusetts’ economic vitality continues to add more jobs and residents,” said Scott Hamwey, the Transportation Department’s manager of long-range planning, in a presentation to the Fiscal and Management Control Board.
He said T ridership traditionally tracks population growth in Boston and 13 surrounding communities, from Revere in the north to Newton and Watertown in the west and Milton to the south. The population in those 14 communities has been growing much faster than expected, rising from 1.3 million in 2010 to 1.4 million in 2015.
The Blue Line, where no major service improvements are currently planned, could face capacity constraints at Maverick Station in 2040 under just about every future growth scenario, Hamwey said. He said East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Lynn are seeing a surge in development, which could be accentuated with the redevelopment of Suffolk Downs.
Control board tentatively approves Quincy Center project
The Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday tentatively approved a joint venture of Hingham-based Atlantic Development and Bozzuto Development of Maryland to redevelop Quincy Center Station in three phases.
The approval means the T and the development team can move ahead with a six-month due diligence study to determine if the project is economically feasible and can be built without negatively affecting transit services. T officials said they can cancel the deal at any time during that period for any reason.
The project calls for the creation of 600 residential units, an office building, and new retail space. The developer is also expected to provide $21 million in infrastructure improvements, including renovation of the Red Line subway station and relocation of the bus terminal.
Rent would be $118,000 a year during the first phase, rising to $338,000 once the second phase is completed, and to $675,000 following the completion of the third phase.
T officials said the project is expected to need $10 to $20 million in subsidies, none of which will be provided by the MBTA or the state Transportation Department. The officials said the subsidies might come from the city of Quincy or the federal government. The project also requires the approval of city officials in Quincy.
Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager, told the Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday that the first two “married pairs” of Orange Line cars left the port of Shanghai on November 17 and should arrive in Boston in late December. He said testing on the fifth and sixth cars is still ongoing in China.