Expanded Green Line Could Make Commuting Much Easier

Map showing Green Line extending into Somerville and Medford.

Map showing Green Line extending into Somerville and Medford.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) plans to contribute close to $1 billion towards the $2.3 billion Green Line Extension project, which will make commuting to points north of the neighborhood to Somerville and Medford a whole lot easier.

 The Green Line Extension project is an initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) that would add 4.7 additional miles of Green Line service to Greater Boston.

The project will extend existing MBTA Green Line service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford.

Currently, residents in Charlestown traveling to these areas have to take the Orange Line back into Boston, switch trains to the Red Line to points in Cambridge and then use MBTA bus service. To get to Somerville or Medford and areas near Tufts University, Charlestown residents can also use bus service but that takes nearly an hour to get to these points. The project would reduce these commute times to Somerville and Medford for Charlestown residents be nearly 20 minutes

“From a regional perspective the infusion of this much needed federal dollars is a tremendous boon to this area,” said Charlestown State Rep. Dan Ryan. “I applaud Congressman Capuano, Senators Warren and Markey for making this happen in a fiscally constrained atmosphere. This type of federal investment took over twenty years of planning and tireless advocacy for this vision to be realized. Charlestown should look at this as an example of how to coordinate a cohesive plan so that our neighborhood can effectively take part in the regional economy that is building around us”.

MBTA officials said the project would greatly improve public transit service in some of the most densely-populated areas of Greater Boston.  In a statement MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said the project is, “among the most important transit projects in the nation.”

The money from the FTA was confirmed this week when Administrator Therese McMillan wrote to a U.S. Senate committee to inform Senate members that the FTA plans to contribute $996 million to the project through a federal New Starts grant.

The project is slated to be completed by 2021. In the opening year, service will be provided twenty hours per day, seven days per week. Service will operate every six minutes during weekday peak periods, every eight to 10 minutes during weekend peak periods, and every eight to 14 minutes during off-peak periods.

Following publication of the draft Alternatives Analysis, “Beyond Lechmere Northwest Corridor Study,” the MassDOT identified the Green Line Extension project as the locally preferred alternative in August 2005. The Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization approved the project into the financially constrained long-range regional transportation plan in September 2009.

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