Three from the T

Blue Line in line for upgrade and other notes from MBTA board meeting

THE BLUE LINE is the poor neglected cousin of the MBTA’s system and many think that needs to change, Amazon or no Amazon.

Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s chief operating officer, told members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board that the line is the system’s “most consistent and reliable line” with some room to grow, even without modernization. Gonneville said adding one six-car set to the current schedule could increase ridership capacity by 15 percent.

Gonneville said the line, which runs from the foot of Bowdoin Street in downtown Boston to Wonderland in Revere, courses along an area that is home to more than 70,000 people and nearly 750,000 jobs. In addition, there are at least four major commercial and housing development projects either proposed or underway, and if Amazon decides to locate at the former Suffolk Downs site, that would require even more infrastructure upgrades.

“Suffolk Downs is jobs and the goal is to get people out there,” said board member Steve Poftak.

State Rep. Adrian Madaro of East Boston urged the board to move aggressively with a plan to connect the Blue and Red lines, which would greatly enhance ridership as well as offer riders along the Blue Line the same options riders of the other three lines have. Madaro said for many of his constituents, trying to get to school, work, or medical appointments in downtown Boston or Cambridge can be a vexing experience.

“Whether or not Amazon comes here, it’s long overdue,” said Madaro of the connector idea. “It should have never been taken off the table…The Red and Blue lines are the only two major rail lines that do not connect. It’s a sensible solution and one of the most fundamental upgrades.”

Gonneville said the agency also needs to look down the road because the Blue Line could be the one most impacted by climate change. According to forecasts, the threat of flood or seawater damage along the line is higher than other lines and the agency needs to begin doing assessments for resiliency of existing infrastructure.

 

Diversionary tactics

Board member Monica Tibbitts-Nutt put Gonneville on the spot when she asked him to explain the problems the T had over the weekend with shuttle bus service that replaced subway operations.

Gonneville said bus service was used to shuttle riders between Park Street and Kendall/MIT along the Red Line while repairs were underway on the Longfellow Bridge. But because of a “number of issues” that developed on both the Orange and Blue lines, the T had to use more than 100 buses for shuttle services between stops and, he admitted, and there was some confusion in communicating to riders.

“We are in kind of uncharted waters,” he said.

Tibbitts-Nutt said she had received a number of complaints over the weekend and said the agency’s response needs to be better.

“We need to be significantly better,” she said. “Our riders deserve much better than they got this past weekend.”

 

Fatal commuter rail accidents to be reviewed

The MBTA is submitting data to federal officials in an effort to minimize the number of pedestrians struck and killed by commuter rail trains.

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

So far this year, 23 people have been killed by trains, nearly double the number killed last year. There have been another three non-fatal incidents. T officials, who label those hit by trains as “trespassers,” said 12 of the 26 strikes this year are classified as suicides, intentional on the part of the victims, while five people have been hit unintentionally. No determination has been made on the remaining nine incidents.

The information, which will be analyzed the Volpe Center in the Department of Transportation, will be used to identify areas of concern and ways to mitigate the dangers and reduce the incidents of trespass and suicide.

  • JFKWOULDROLLOVER

    Trains belong on the tracks, people belong on the sidewalks or streets…..gates down, don’t go around…There problem solved….