Month: April 2011

Lechmere Green Line Service to be Replaced with Shuttle Buses

Lechmere Station, Cambridge – map

On Saturday, April 30th, the Science Park Green Line station will be closing so that an extensive rehabilitation of the station can be completed. The station will be closed to train service during the six month period that the renovations will require. During this time, service between Lechmere and North Station will be replaced with bus service.
During this period, buses will leave Lechmere and North Station every 4 minutes during peak hours and special events at the TD Bank Garden, every 10 minutes during off-peak day hours, and every 12-15 minutes during night hours. At Lechmere, the pattern of bus traffic through the station will be reversed, with Green Line shuttle buses entering the station on the passenger entrance side from Cambridge Street in the direction of Harvard Square. Bus service for the 69, 80, 87, and 88 routes will enter the station in the opposite direction (from McGrath in the Boston-bound direction), but will board in the normal location. Service for these buses will be unaffected. Green Line shuttle routes may be altered during the Fourth of July, but the exact details of any route changes are not yet known.
Map of shuttle service. Source: MBTA
This project is important for a number of reasons. The station improvements that will be undertaken will make Science Park fully accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Two new elevators will be constructed to bring customers from street level to the platform, the platform itself will be widened, and the interior stairs will be completely replaced. The platform canopy roofs will be completely replaced, two new paid entrance lobbies will be constructed, and various upgrades to lighting, signage, and landscaping will also be performed.
The MBTA has cited multiple reasons for closing the station during construction. It has been determined that the safest way to complete the improvements will be to close the station during the majority of the construction work. Were the station to remain open, construction would require a temporary pedestrian track crossing to be used while one station entrance would be closed, and platforms would need to be narrowed and remain uncovered. Closing the station allows the work to be completed with minimal risk to the public.
In addition to enhancing safety, the station closure will allow the work to be sped up significantly. The project will be completed six months earlier than it would be were the station to remain open, allowing the delivery of fully accessible platforms to be accelerated significantly. The station closure will also allow demolition required by the project will to be performed during the day, mitigating the noise problems that would have been created by night time demolition.
The proposed South Elevation showing elevator, lobby, stair, and canopy improvements.
While I expect that work on Science Park will be completed efficiently, safely, and without incident, I also recognize that the closure of Lechmere station to train service could negatively impact commuters who ride the Green Line each day. I am here first and foremost to represent the concerns of the residents of East Cambridge and East Somerville, and I encourage you to contact me should you have any comments, questions, or concerns during the course of this project.

Craigie Drawbridge to Reopen April 26th

On April 26th, 2011 at 7:00 a.m., the Craigie Drawbridge, which carries McGrath O’Brien Highway (Route 28) between Land Blvd. in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston, will be reopened to traffic inbound to Boston, and all marine traffic. 
This reopening marks the completion of an extensive bridge rehabilitation, and the beginning of the final phase of the project, which will consist of streetscape work and landscaping in the area surrounding the bridge. As this work is completed, there will be some lane restrictions during off-peak hours in the vicinity of the bridge, but the bridge itself will remain open to traffic in both directions.This phase of the project will be completed by August of 2011.

I am pleased to see that the contractor conducting the bridge repair will be completing the work on schedule, and I am looking forward to the bridge reopening. The community work done by MassDOT in preparation for this project, as well as the numerous police details in the area to direct traffic, have made this project one that has, despite all odds, gone extremely smoothly. 

As always, if you have any comments or questions about this issue or any others, please feel free to contact me via email or to leave a comment here at the blog. 

Salad Bar Opens at Winter Hill Community School Cafeteria

Winter Hill Community School, Somerville – map

On Thursday, April 7th, I attended the ribbon cutting for the Winter Hill Community School’s new cafeteria salad bar. The salad bar, donated through a grant program funded by Whole Foods Market, is part of an ongoing effort to increase student access to healthy foods and encourage healthy food choices at public schools.

Among the attendees were Ward 4 School Committee Member Christine Theberge Rafal and Somerville School Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi.

The salad bar will go a long way towards broadening the choices offered by the school cafeteria, and will offer a new and exciting option for students to take advantage of at lunch time.

Advocates Raise Stroke Awareness at State House

State House, Boston – map

Yesterday, March 31st, stroke survivors, their families, and stroke-prevention advocates from across Massachusetts gathered at the State House to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke, and to advocate for funding of programs that work to educate medical professionals about stroke treatment and prevention.

Rep. Garry and Sen. Montigny speak to a gathering of stroke-prevention and treatment advocates in the Senate Press Room at the State House.

At a gathering in the Senate press room, two of my colleagues, Representative Colleen Garry of Dracut and Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford, shared how they have experienced their own loved ones falling  victim to strokes. They expressed optimism about the level of awareness that the public has of stroke symptoms, but both stressed that we can do better as a state by ensuring that EMTs and hospital staff are properly trained and educated.

Please take this as an opportunity to remind yourself of the symptoms of stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

If you are experiencing these symptoms, or if you notice someone who is exhibiting these symptoms, please seek medical attention as they could be signs of stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that after seeking medical attention, you check and note the time at which the symptoms appeared. Time is critical in the treatment of stroke, and the administration of a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) can significantly reduce long term symptoms and disability if given within 3 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Part of the funding that Rep. Garry and Sen. Montigny were advocating for goes to a program that helps educate EMTs about which emergency rooms have stroke teams that administer tPA. This program is key to ensuring that patients are transported to hospitals where they receive the most effective and timely treatment.

For more information about stroke, its symptoms, and its prevention, please visit the Amercan Heart Association’s webpage.