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Washington Pledges $68 Million for Green Line Accessibility Upgrades

A cropped view of the MBTA rapid transit map showing the B and C branches of the Green Line, with the following stations highlighted in red: on the B branch from left (west) to right: South St., Chestnut Hill Ave., Chiswick Rd., Sutherland Rd., and Packard's Corner; on the C branch, from left (west) to right: Englewood ave., Dean Rd., Tappan St., Fairbanks St., Brandon Hall, Summit Ave., St. Paul St., Kent St., Hawes St.

A map of the MBTA Green Line B and C branches highlighting the stops slated for ADA accessibility upgrades with funding from a new Federal Transit Administration grant.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced that the T will receive $67.6 million to upgrade 14 Green Line stops on the B and C branches to provide accessibility upgrades and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The funding comes from the Federal Transit Administration's All Stations Accessibility Program, which pledged $343 million in grants for eight transit systems on Tuesday. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocates more than $1.7 billion for this program through 2026.

Many of the Green Line stops slated for upgrades are currently bare-bones platforms that lack the kinds of amenities that riders would expect to find at most bus stops.

According to a June 2023 update from the MBTA's System-Wide Accessibility Team, the T has been planning to raise those sidewalk-level platforms by 8 inches to allow for level boarding onto newer Green Line trains.

A green line train stops in the median of a multi-lane roadway as a pedestrian crosses in a crosswalk towards it.
A Green Line train stops at the Sutherland Road stop of the B branch in April 2017. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pi.1415926535, licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.

On the B branch, which runs in the median of Commonwealth Avenue through Allston and Brighton, many stops feature nothing more than a narrow asphalt strip, with no shade or shelters, and no buffer between the platform and roadway traffic.

On the C branch, which runs through Brookline, riders are more likely to find a basic shelter and benches at most stops, and there's more shade from the mature trees that line Beacon Street on either side of the tracks. But the platforms themselves have a similar design, and require riders to step up onto trains.

According to MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston, the accessibility upgrades being planned for these stops are still under design – but even with the additional funding from Washington, riders probably shouldn't expect to see dramatic improvements.

"Final decisions regarding amenities are pending. Currently, canopies are not included in the scope, but benches and updated wayfinding are," wrote Battiston in an email to StreetsblogMASS on Tuesday afternoon.

Last year, the T's Accessibility Team projected that construction on the new platforms could begin this spring and be complete before the end of 2024.

According to Battiston, that timeline is being revised while design work continues.

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