By John Lynds
On Monday City Councilor Sal LaMattina headed over from City Hall where he could see from his office window the construction of the Government Center MBTA station progress over the past two years.
“This has been hard for my constituents in East Boston,” said LaMattina. “So many people rely on the T to get to work, school, doctor’s appointments and this closure forced thousands of residents to seek alternative routes. I’m so happy that the station is reopened and that inconvenience is behind us. What we have now is a state of the art station that looks incredible and something T riders deserve.”
On Monday LaMattina joined Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and others to officially cut the ribbon on the Government Center station’s reopening.
The MBTA spent the past two years reconstructing the station into a fully accessible, safer, modern, more comfortable facility. Government Center connects the Blue Line to the Green Line and makes travel between these two MBTA lines easy and convenient for thousands of Eastie commuters each day who commute. The two year closure forced thousands of Eastie travelers a day to seek alternate routes to connect to the blue or green line.
“The reopening of Government Center, done on-time and under budget, represents another step forward as the MBTA works to improve the core system for commuters and visitors alike,” said Governor Baker. “This project reconnects City Hall Plaza and a key area of Downtown Boston to those here for business and leisure, with an increased focus on greater accessibility for all travelers.”
The Government Center project yielded combine improvements to the Green Line Station, Blue Line Station, and Cambridge Street/Government Center Plaza, which brought Government Center Station into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL) Agreement. Before the project began, access to and from Government Center was provided solely by stairways and escalators.
Reconstruction to the Green and Blue Line Station included a new head house structure as the primary entrance, raised code compliant platforms to provide accessible boarding of the Green Line low-floor trains, the introduction of new redundant elevators from the street to the Green Line level as well as from the Green Line level to the Blue Line level. There are new escalators, LED signage, a new and expanded fare collection area, upgraded back-up electrical power supply, improved interior finishes, mechanical systems, lighting, a public address system, and a new emergency exit structure on Cambridge Street.
The existing Blue Line mezzanine was renovated to provide room for new electrical and communication equipment. Additional vendor retail space is also provided on both Green and Blue Line platforms. A security protection and monitoring system was installed at all levels and in the vicinity of the head house.
The project also included reconstruction of Cambridge Street and a portion of City Hall Plaza in the vicinity of the Station to provide accessible paths of travel to the station.
“Crews have worked hard to keep our pledge to reopen the station in two years – a feat they were only able to accomplish by closing the entire station, rather than parts of it,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “We were able to work around any issues because we had the whole station available.”
The station was closed in March 2014. During the two-year reconstruction, both Blue and Green Line trains passed through Government Center Station, but did not stop there. DePaola said he greatly appreciates the patience shown by T customers during that time.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the revamped station will play a major role in drawing visitors and business to the area.
“With our exciting plans to activate City Hall Plaza, the reopening of Government Center will further our efforts to make City Hall a destination, not only for matters of business, but also for pleasure and enjoyment for people of all ages,” said Mayor Walsh. “I commend Governor Baker and all of the workers who played a key role in reconstructing the station, and I look forward to the unveiling of these improvements.”