T vows ‘blitz’ will make stations look, smell better
Park Street to get major overhaul later this summer
THE MBTA, concerned that efforts to improve service have not been visible to most of its riders, is launching a $25 million spring cleaning at several of the transit authority’s busiest stations and following that up this summer with the launch of a $65 million initiative to overhaul a number of stations.
The first phase, dubbed “station brightening,” will focus on making stations cleaner and smell better. The initial focus, starting April 1, will be on Ashmont, Back Bay, Downtown Crossing, Dudley, and JFK/UMass. More stations will be added in the coming months.
Using existing employees and cleaning contractors as well as new vendors, the T hopes to power-wash walls and platforms, paint ceilings, repair leaks and cracks, improve lighting, and provide landscaping. The work will be done at off-peak times without shutting down the entire station.
Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s deputy manager, called the effort a “short-term blitz” that should clearly be visible to riders. But he cautioned that the makeover won’t happen all at once at any one station because contractors will be deployed separately and not as part of a team. He said most of the work will be done off-peak and likely won’t involve shutting a station down entirely.
“The Park Street program is going to touch everything – painting, lighting, and repairing some of the existing leaks we have in the station,” Gonneville said.
Monica Tibbits-Nutt, a member of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, welcomed the news that the transit authority is going to gives a number of stations makeovers. But she said T officials should use this opportunity to reset the existing cleaning and maintenance programs to make sure stations that get makeovers remain in good condition.
“The contract [for cleaning] we have now is not sufficient,” she said.
Although T officials indicated planning for the station improvements has been going on for some time, Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, credited Tibbits-Nutt for making it happen.Tibbits-Nutt raised concerns on March 11, when the control board approved a 5.8 percent average fare hike, that riders were being asked to pay more when they were seeing no improvements in service. One of her chief complaints was the elevators aren’t working and stations aren’t clean.
“Dudley Station is disgusting and we have not found a way to clean it,” she said. “I’m not asked for an expansion of the system. I’m asking for the existing system to work.”