The MBTA has recently completed preliminary design drawings for a proposed reconstruction of the Boston College Station at Commonwealth Avenue and Lake Street in Brighton. Click here to view the drawings.
My understanding is that the MBTA has not committed construction funds for this station project. The MBTA will be advancing the design to the 30% design stage to refine the costs necessary to advance the design and construction of the station. However, in a letter dated May 18, 2012, General Manager Davis stated
[W]e have not committed funds that would enable the project to advance into final design or construction, and, in fact, given our pressing infrastructure needs backlog and budget constraints, the Authority would certainly require funding from sources other than the MBTA should a decision be made to complete the station improvement project.
They have indicated that they will engage all stakeholders including neighborhood residents later in the design process — they are currently at the 15% design phase and have said that they will conduct a hearing at the 30% phase. I have not made a personal decision as to whether to support this design. I will weigh in after the public hearing.
Essentially, the design under consideration would include new inbound and outbound platforms located in the middle of Commonwealth avenue, bracketing the tracks east of the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Lake Street. The design includes an attractive shelter on the inbound side and improved pedestrian crossings. The drawings are a little hard to look at, but there is an index on the second page and there are page numbers in the lower right of each page. Pages C-3 and C-4 show the top down view of the proposed new station. Page C-5 shows a section looking east. Page A-12 offers an artists rendering of the proposed station. Click here for the MBTA’s online project synopsis.
My understanding is that the recently renovated station in the T yard would no longer be in regular use under the plan, so that residents of the abutting neighborhoods north of Commonwealth Avenue would now need to cross the street to board. However, the MBTA will continue to use the yard for maintenance and storage of cars — there is no plan to close the yard. Also, although Boston College has historically expressed interest in closing Thomas More Road, this design does not appear to facilitate that.
I am naturally supportive of improving T stations in my district. I recently supported a bond bill earmark of funds for this and two other stations along Commonwealth Avenue. However, by the terms of the bill, the earmark is just an expression of legislative interest. The bill specifically provides that “the secretary of transportation shall have the responsibility for evaluating and selecting eligible projects . . . the amounts specified in this item or for a particular project may be adjusted in order to facilitate other projects.” I have not married the particular approach represented in these drawings and will look forward to getting input through the public process before determining what comments to make on it. Certainly, to the extent state funds would be used for the project, the benefits of the project must be compared to those of other possible projects.