With fewer than 500 feet of pedestrian infrastructure, thousands of commutes around Greater Boston are set to soon improve.
It started Monday morning on the South Shore, where a 200-foot walkway between the Quincy Adams Red Line station and the next-door neighborhood was opened to pedestrians for the first time in three decades.
The locked black gate had been closed for the long period because of concerns that it would encourage people to park in the residential neighborhood during the day. Barred from a short walk to the Red Line, neighbors who ride the Red Line have instead been forced to either take a long, roundabout walk of more than a mile to access the station on the other side, or get a ride there.
On Monday, after a few years of neighborhood advocacy (and a rebuilt intersection, plus some changes to local parking restrictions), city officials finally swung it open — with something of a festival atmosphere.
Coffee and doughnuts were served as Mayor Thomas Koch greeted residents as they approached the gate to access the station, according to Rob Buchholz, one of the residents who had been pushing for the gate to open.
It used to take Buchholz 35 minutes to walk from his home to the station. Now, it will take eight.
“It’s the difference between me being able to tuck my kids in at night and not, or have dinner with my family or not,” he said. “To think you could open up public transportation without having to put a shovel in the ground is remarkable.”
Meanwhile, North Shore commuters will soon see a big improvement of their own. This one required a shovel: private developers have built a new tunnel under Causeway Street to link the commuter rail lobby and subway platforms at North Station.
Commuter rail riders who switch to the Green or Orange lines have long had to step outside into poor weather to access the subway entrance. And in more recent years, with the subway entrance nearest to the commuter rail closed amid major nearby construction projects, they’ve also had to cross Causeway to access the other entrance — often mixing with rush-hour car traffic as they hustle to catch a train.
The new 250-foot pedestrian tunnel will instead provide one direct, indoor link from North Station’s 10 commuter rail tracks to the subway platform.
The MBTA has said it will open in early December, though hasn’t said exactly when. But the day seems to be getting close. While the tunnel entrance is still blocked, wood paneling that had been covering it has been removed and a new sign hangs from the ceiling, directing riders its way.