The MBTA Wollaston T station renovations will be delayed until December, but they will still put ENC commuters and frequent city-goers in a difficult position.
According to the MBTA website, the Wollaston station will be closed for 20-months for a $33.4 million renovation, re-opening again around the summer of 2019. The Wollaston station is the only stop on the Red Line without handicap accessibility, so the MBTA has mandated reconstruction to make the station more accessible and safer for passengers.
Myesha Neely, a commuter student, relies on the red line to get to class. She is excited to see how the renovations will transform the station, but she points out that the deconstruction will “prolong [her] commute which is already…unpredictable, especially in the wintertime.”
Despite the inconvenience to her own commute, Neely does think that “renovations are a good idea.” She explains that the handicapped are not the only ones in need of an elevator or an escalator at the station. Neely recalls, “The other day, I saw a woman carrying her stroller down the long flight of stairs. It made me think about there not being an elevator in the station.”
While the renovations may be needed, many people in the Wollaston area are opposed to the demolition and rebuilding of the station because of the extremely lengthy time frame for reconstruction. Approximately 4,600 passengers board the T at Wollaston and this could be a major inconvenience for those who rely on the Wollaston station to get into Boston. Despite many outcries from the general public, the MBTA’s fiscal management and control board is continuing with their plan. Neely “just hope[s] it doesn’t take ‘forever’” and that “construction can move swiftly.”
To accommodate the construction, the MBTA will offer a free shuttle service between Wollaston and North Quincy, and the parking spaces at the Wollaston station will remain open to enable commuters to continue to start the commute at Wollaston rather than having to travel to North Quincy first. These renovations will not provide an inconvenience for T passengers boarding on earlier Red Line stops as the train will continue to travel on the tracks through the station.
Initially, the renovations were intended to start this fall, but the delays have been convenient in allowing ENC’s commuter students to continue with their regular commute for the entire semester before making the transition in the spring. However, once demolition begins, they will have to rely on public shuttles to get to class.