MGNA: Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

Information about our green line extension.

Washington Street, Union Square station updates

11 June, 2013 (22:43) | Community Event, News | By: Editor

Above photo: A view of Washington Street Station from the west.

Here are some notes from Tuesday night’s design update meeting for the Washington Street and Union Square stations on the Green Line Extension, attended by about 85 people at the Somerville Holiday Inn.

Representatives from the project management and design teams provided an overview of progress to date toward the 60% station design stage, which they expect to reach by September 1.

Presenting and/or fielding questions were Karen Arpino-Shaffer, Deputy Program Manager, HDR/Gilbane; Greg Yates, Project Manager, AECOM; Randy Henke, Deputy Project Manager/Director of Design, HNTB; Deborah Fennick, Architect, Fennick & McCreadie Architecture; Mary Ainsley, MBTA; Margie Lackner, MBTA; Josh Burgel, HDR/Gilbane team/Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge; and Hayes Morrison and Brad Rawson, City of Somerville Planning Department.

Fennick, a Somerville resident, pointed out that the Washington Street and Union Square areas are similar in that they are both less than 2 miles from downtown Boston, focuses of major redevelopment by the city, and have very vibrant but distinct art communities. Yet their station designs are different.

+ The multi-level station is adjacent to/engaged into the rail bridge over Washington Street at Joy Street. The rebuilt bridge will be a single span rather than the former 2-pier bridge, with fewer columns and a header removed. This adds light and opens the view to below the bridges, improving safety.

+ Access to station remains unchanged from the 30% design – from under the bridge on the Joy Street side, and from the drop-off area on the east side.

+ The Community Path now runs alongside the length of the station on the Joy Street side, rather than crossing over the station toward Inner Belt, improving connectivity to the station. MassDOT has agreed to design the path extension beyond Washington Street to the North Point development.

+ The penthouse (third) level has been removed due to relocation mechanical elements.

+ The emergency egress path route was changed to a route attached to the platform.

+ Bike parking of 162 spaces (122 enclosed, 34 on plaza); the commitment in the Environmental Assessment report was for 70 bike spaces.

+ Station will offer a nice view of the Boston skyline.

+ Granite blocks from along the right-of-way are being re-used in the base of walls and bike enclosure.

Overall massing (size) of the station has been reduced by 10%, from 12,172 square feet to 10,920 square feet.

+ Fennick noted that Union Square is the oldest and largest commercial center in Somerville, and that planned future development will to further establish its importance. She noted the importance of the station being flexible to be functional both when it opens and when future development occurs.

+ Station abuts the existing Prospect Street bridge over the Fitchburg Commuter Rail tracks. Prospect bridge does not need to be rebuilt.

+ Commuter rail tracks will move only slightly to accommodate the two Green Line tracks on either side of a center platform.

+ Access unchanged from 30% design stage – an upper entrance off the Prospect Street bridge, and a lower entrance and a drop-off area on the Union Square side of the station.

+ The penthouse (third) level has been removed due to relocation mechanical elements.

+ Upper lobby was simplified with bicycle storage added. Lower lobby was enlarged to enhance flow.

+ Bike parking of 202 spaces (80 enclosed, 122 on the plazas). The Environmental Assessment report commitment was for 120 spaces.

+ Overall massing (size) of the station is essentially unchanged (11,710 gross square feet compared to the former 11,525 square feet)

+ Parking at Union Square? No structured parking provided at station, but any new buildings in Union Square are required to include structured parking.

+ Bike safety/access on Prospect Street bridge? City is engaging a consultant to work on improvements; public process information forthcoming in about 4 weeks.

+ Future expansion from Union Square to Porter Square? Station is being designed as to not preclude future expansion. However, that would require demolition/relocation of the station lobby, reconstruction of the Prospect Street bridge, and removal of other obstacles such as an NStar substation.

+ North-side connection from Community Path to Washington Street? Not enough available room for stairs/ramp unless existing parcels (Cataldo) were redeveloped.

+ Local art at stations? MBTA is working on a new community art policy and is looking to identify as many opportunities as possible to include community art in the GLX stations.

+ Flooding issues at Washington Street? This issue is being addressed through infrastructure improvements including a larger pump station and drainage pipes and a water retention system.

+ Which lines will serve which stations? Extending out of a newly relocated Lechmere Station, the E Branch will serve Union Square, and the D Branch will serve Washington Street, Lowell Street, Gilman Square, Ball Square and College Avenue stations.

View photos from the meeting on Facebook.

+ + +

Remaining station design update meetings:

Tuesday, June 18
Lechmere Station
6 to 8 p.m.
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second St., Cambridge

Thursday, June 20
College Avenue Station
6 to 8 p.m.
St. Clement School
579 Boston Ave., Medford

See the GLX project website for more information.

– Ken Krause
Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

Write a comment