BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack today joined state and local transit officials, federal and state elected leaders, and community partners today to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $38.5 million improvement project to the MBTA’s Ruggles Orange Line and Commuter Rail Station.
The new station includes elevators, a reconstructed lower busway, and a brand new 800-foot Commuter Rail platform to better service Track 2 and increase capacity for nearly all inbound commuter rail trains to stop at the station.
“This investment will improve service for riders and access to neighborhoods and employers in Boston for all communities around this T stop,” said Governor Baker. “This new platform at Ruggles will reduce congestion and allow more trains to stop at this major and busy local hub for commuters throughout the region. We are grateful to our federal, local and community partners for their support in delivering more reliable service for the riders.”
A contract first authorized in March 2012 that included the layout and design of a brand new 800-foot Commuter Rail platform to service Track 2 was amended by the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) last December to include ADA improvements, a reconstructed lower busway, and new elevators.
Once construction is completed, the station will also feature:
- A completely reconstructed lower busway with a new elevator
- Wider sidewalks, concrete bus berths
- Additional paths of travel, enhanced pedestrian safety and security measures
- Interior and exterior building code-related improvements and east and west access to the station with canopies
- Replacement of four existing station elevators
Currently, approximately 30% of inbound trains bypass Ruggles due to physical limitations of the current platform and daily congestion along the corridor from MBTA and Amtrak trains. Construction will increase the size of the existing platform and improve the infrastructure in keeping with ADA guidelines to allow improved access to the neighboring community that includes the Longwood Medical and Academic Area, which is the largest employment center near Ruggles Station, and Northeastern University (NEU).
“Ruggles Station is one of our busiest stations because it is a major hub for MBTA bus routes and a stop for commuter rail and for the Orange Line,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Pollack. “Infrastructure improvements being made at Ruggles will make access to the system much easier for people with disabilities, for customers connecting from bus routes, for the local college and high school student population and for the public in general. These improvements are long-overdue and will vastly improve the customer experience and make for more efficient boarding and disembarking for commuter rail and subway riders.”
A total project cost of $38.5 million is supported by a $20 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VI Grant awarded in October 2014, federal FTA funding of $6.8 million and state funding of $11.7 million from the MBTA Revenue Bond fund. With the design phase completed in January 2017, construction is scheduled to be performed from 2017 through 2019.
Governor Baker and Secretary Pollack were joined by MBTA Interim General Manager Steve Poftak, Keolis Commuter Services CEO and General Manager David Scorey, Congressman Mike Capuano, State Representative Chynah Tyler, Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina Fiandaca and Northeastern University Senior Vice President and General Counsel Ralph Martin.
“This TIGER Grant is an example of how targeted federal dollars can make huge improvements in American communities,” said Congressman Mike Capuano. “Ruggles Station is an important component of our public transit system and the upgrades being made will improve the overall commuting experience for passengers. I am proud of my role in securing these federal dollars. I am also pleased to celebrate today’s groundbreaking with Governor Baker as well as our local and state partners,”
“The upgrades underway at Ruggles Station, when completed, will provide more access and better service for our customers to and from this area,” said MBTA Interim GM Poftak. “We appreciate the close coordination with Northeastern and are committed to these kinds of collaborations in the future.”
“With three commuter rail lines stopping at Ruggles, this station is an important component of our network throughout the greater Boston area,” said Keolis Commuter Services CEO and General Manager Scorey. “Through strategic collaboration with community leaders, local organizations, and our team at Keolis, the MBTA continues to make positive investments into the commuter rail that further improve the passenger experience for approximately 125,000 people who rely on this transportation every day. We look forward to playing a role in this initiative which will help to attract more riders to the commuter rail.”
After close coordination between the MBTA and NEU due to NEU’s close proximity to the project, NEU plans to construct a pedestrian bridge over the tracks, providing access from Columbus Avenue to NEU’s main campus and surrounding areas. NEU will also relocate a power duct bank and construct approximately 300’ of shared wall along their new proposed deck on behalf of the MBTA project. Some of this work has already been completed with more underway.
“From the state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex to a revitalized Carter Playground, Northeastern has sought to invigorate Columbus Avenue in ways that benefit the community, the university, and the region,” said Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun. “I would like to thank Governor Baker, Mayor Walsh, and everyone involved in this powerful partnership to enhance Ruggles Station and bring our communities together.”
Ruggles Station is a multi-modal station that serves thirteen MBTA bus routes, seven private bus shuttles, the Orange Subway Line, and three Commuter Rail lines (Needham, Franklin, and Providence/Stoughton).