Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story misstated the connection points for a possible pedestrian link between the Red and Blue Lines. The connection points are State Street and Downtown Crossing stations.
STATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS, as part of a draft to-do list for 2040, said they are considering building a pedestrian link between the Red and Blue Lines.
The recommendation to have riders connect from the Blue Line at State Street to the Red Line at Downtown Crossing by a pedestrian walkway was included in a broad planning document called Focus 40, which attempts to provide a roadmap of MBTA investments through 2040 and beyond. Officials said the roadmap was not constrained by fiscal realities and was an attempt to link transit improvements to “priority places” that hold great potential for increased ridership and economic development. The draft roadmap was unveiled at Monday’s meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board.
Focus 40 identified three types of priority places – major employment centers such as the South Boston waterfront, Kendall Square, the Longwood Medical Area, and Logan Airport; inner core communities lacking rapid transit such as Chelsea, Everett, and Blue Hill Avenue and Roslindale in Boston; and urban gateways such as Lynn, Salem, and Waltham.
Using these places as focal points, the Focus 40 report identified a series of projects for the T to pursue, breaking them down into initiatives the T is working on now, initiatives the T is planning to do by 2040, and big ideas the T is thinking about in the distant future. Many of the initiatives have already surfaced in some form or another, but others were new, even to transportation insiders.
The pedestrian link between the Red and Blue Lines was listed under things the T is planning to do by 2040. The brief description in a presentation on Focus 40 said the two lines are only 600 feet apart and a pedestrian connection would be an alternative to actually building a rail link between the two lines. The report said the pedestrian link would relieve congestion on the Green and Orange Lines.
Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the control board, said during the meeting he had never heard of building a pedestrian link between the two stations. After the meeting, he said he didn’t know if it would be a good idea and indicated it caught him off-guard. “It was news to me,” he said.
Under longer-range planning beyond 2040, the Focus 40 document said the T would consider an actual transit link between the Red and Blue Lines and also explore the possibility of extending the Blue Line south and west to Back Bay and the Longwood Medical Area and north to Lynn.
Under Red Line improvements by 2040, Focus 40 listed the reimagining of the Mattapan Line, which uses 73-year-old trolleys to shuttle passengers between Ashmont Station on the Red Line and Mattapan Square. The report offered no additional details, but use of the word reimagining suggested the T is planning a different form of service in the future. The release of a study examining Mattapan Line options has been delayed several times, and is currently scheduled for release toward the end of the year.
On the Orange Line, Focus 40 said the T’s priorities for 2040 include adding a commuter rail station and a Silver Line stop at Sullivan Square. Under longer-range options beyond 2040, the T said it would explore extending the Orange Line to Roslindale and downtown Everett via spurs from Sullivan Square. The report also called for an express shuttle running between North Station and Back Bay.
On the Silver Line, the T called for giving buses emerging from the tunnel at D Street transit signal priority to move through the Seaport District intersection. For beyond 2040, the T said the at-grade crossing at D Street should be eliminated.
The Focus 40 plan also called for the development of super stations at Downtown Crossing (with links to Park Street and State Street) and at Sullivan Square (with links to commuter rail, the Orange Line, and the Silver Line).