It’s easy enough to support plans to bore a 2,500-foot, $850 million hole beneath someone else’s city, but count us behind the MBTA’s simmering plan to connect the Blue Line with the Red Line at the Charles/MGH station.
On Tuesday, the agency’s chief engineer briefed the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board on what such a project would look like, essentially closing the Bowdoin station on the Blue Line and building a two-track connector beneath Congress Street alongside the Mass. General Hospital campus to the Red Line.
For North of Boston commuters who park and take the T to jobs in Cambridge and Somerville, it would look like one less train connection and untold minutes saved on journeys into and out of the city. Surely it would steer more cars into the garage at Wonderland station in Revere, which wasn’t one-quarter full after Wednesday morning’s commute.
Of course, if the Santa Claus of transit wants to make wishes come true, North of Boston commuters are putting other things at the top of the list. Extending the Blue Line into Central Square in Lynn is one. Since we’re tunneling beneath Boston, extending the subway from North Station to South Station is another. But that second shiny new bicycle could cost as much as $21.5 billion, according to the latest estimate. Besides, D.C. still flinches at any pitch that involves digging beneath Boston.
At just a fraction of the expense, the MBTA can address a structural deficit in Greater Boston’s transit infrastructure — its hub-and-spoke design with little to connect the spokes — at least between the north and northwest suburbs.
Joseph Aiello, chairman of the T’s fiscal board, said after Tuesday’s presentation that a Blue and Red line connector “can’t come soon enough,” according to State House News Service.
Unfortunately we'll all have to wait at least a decade, with construction not starting until 2025, and that assumes funding is found quickly.
Let's hope the money comes through for the sake of everyone from this region trying to do the environmentally conscious thing by taking public transit — provided, of course, that they haven't retired by then.