T notes: Questions raised on shuttle buses

Is the Green Line Ext. being extended?

OFFICIALS WITH THE Federal Transit Authority have raised questions about the handicap accessibility of Yankee buses being used to shuttle Red Line passengers between stations on weekends when work is being done on the Longfellow Bridge.

The questions came up at a regular meeting between MBTA and federal officials and came in the wake of some complaints by riders two weeks ago.

MBTA officials said the decision to not run weekend shuttles between Park Street Station and Kendall/MIT over the next two weekends was unrelated to any discussions with the Federal Transit Authority.

T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email that the transit authority will work with the Federal Transit Authority to make sure services provided by outside vendors meet the needs of all customers.

“When accommodating critical infrastructure work, the MBTA strives to provide customers with the highest levels of substitute service,” he said. “To that end, the MBTA will work with the FTA to ensure that alternative services meet the needs of all customers.”

Officials at Yankee Lines declined comment and officials at the Federal Transit Administration could not be reached.

Green Line extension extension?

The MBTA put out a press release on Wednesday indicating the transit authority was seeking environmental approval to extend the proposed Green Line extension one more stop – to Mystic Valley Parkway (Route 16) in Medford and Somerville.

At first glance, the press release appeared to indicate a major change to the $2.3 billion project, for which a design-build contract is scheduled to be awarded in the next week to 10 days. But state officials quickly sent out a new press release clarifying that the environmental review is only being done in case the state at some point in the future decides to extend the project to its original finish line at Route 16.

“We’re keeping the idea alive, but we’re not on the cusp of doing it and we’re not going to change the scope,” said Jacqueline Goddard, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation. She described the idea as “perhaps, maybe, someday, years in the future.”

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Rafael Mares, a vice president at the Conservation Law Foundation, said the Mystic Valley Parkway stop was the original termination point for the Green Line extension, but when funding became scarce for the overall project the terminus was moved to College Avenue in Medford. Mares said the state is now in the process of completing the environmental review that would be required for extending the project to Mystic Valley Parkway.

“It’s a much better project going all the way to Route 16,” he said.