For MBTA commuters in Quincy, things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Officials say changes are planned for all four MBTA stations in the city and, depending on project timelines, multiple stations could be under construction at the same time. Meanwhile, just down the Red Line in Braintree, initial work has begun toward revamping the station’s garage.
“That’s going to cause a level of disruption,” Christopher Walker, director of policy and information for Thomas Koch, the Quincy mayor, said of the multiple projects.
While the city and MBTA work to manage disruptions, passengers eagerly await station improvements.
As longtime Quincy commuters are joined on the platform increasingly by young professionals drawn to the city by new apartments and condos close to the train line, the need for dependable public transit and updated stations takes on greater urgency. T officials say riders can look forward to new train cars in 2022, but in the meantime it is the stations that will get upgrades.
The most urgent needs are at Wollaston, the only stop on the Red Line that is not accessible to riders of all abilities. There is no elevator at the facility, and flooding is a common problem.
The MBTA is preparing for a major renovation later this year that will make the station friendly to people who use wheelchairs or push strollers, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail. Drainage and security will also be improved, according to a project description on the MBTA website.
Wollaston can have large puddles, riders say, and is difficult to navigate for people with disabilities.
“I’d like to see the place dry sometime,” said Carlton Zeigler, who walks to Wollaston from his home, five minutes away. “It would be nice if the steps were even. I walk with a cane, and navigating those steps is difficult.”
At Quincy Center, the T says it plans to demolish the long-shuttered parking garage, while the garage at Quincy Adams is set to be renovated. At the North Quincy station parking lot, a private development team is planning stores, apartments, and a new parking garage.
Making Wollaston accessible to all riders is the motivation for a major rehabilitation of the station, Pesaturo said. The T could begin soliciting construction bids this spring, with construction beginning later this year once the contracts are awarded.
Pesaturo would not say whether Wollaston could be closed during construction, and said details would be forthcoming during public meetings.
Those meetings have not yet been scheduled, frustrating some commuters.
“People need to know what they’re up to,” said Mary Lally, who walks to Wollaston on weekdays to commute to Boston for work. “I’m so fed up with them.”
‘It’s almost a nightmare scenario, with all of these [station upgrade projects] happening at once.”Brian Palmucci, Quincy city councilor
Lally said that she hopes the station doesn’t close during construction, and that she would like to see two escalators in the station, one in each direction, and a large elevator to accommodate the many strollers she sees around Wollaston.
“We’ve waited this long,” she said. “I want it done right.”
The MBTA says it is also planning to solicit bids this spring to rehabilitate parking garages at Quincy Adams and Braintree. Construction could begin in late summer or early fall, and the garages would remain in operation, Pesaturo said.
The work on those garages, located at the last two outbound stops of the Red Line’s Braintree branch, includes structural concrete repairs and repairs of parking deck membranes, replacement of damaged expansion joints, and replacement of the drainage systems.
Upgrades to the fire alarm, security cameras, electrical systems, and emergency power systems and full replacement of lighting fixtures and circuits are also part of the plan for both garages, as are restoration of employee office areas, accessible spaces on each garage level near elevators, better signs, and improvements for people with disabilities and pedestrians.
At the Braintree parking garage, the pedestrian bridge is being replaced by a lobby with elevators and stairwells, according to the MBTA. The bridge has already closed for construction and won’t open again until summer 2020.
The T is also planning to demolish the Quincy Center garage, which closed in 2012, but has not yet released details on that project.
At North Quincy, the Bozzuto Group and Atlantic Construction are working on plans to bring 600 apartments, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and a parking garage to the MBTA station. Construction is expected to begin in 2018. The partnership, which won the rights to develop the property in a busy part of town at Hancock and West Squantum streets, has said it wants to minimize disruptions for commuters and residents.
Councilor Brian Palmucci, who represents the area around the Quincy Adams garage, said he wants to hear from the MBTA how construction will affect that neighborhood, as well as the timelines for the projects at all Quincy stations.
“It’s almost a nightmare scenario, with all of these happening at once,” Palmucci said.
The MBTA says it is planning to host community meetings to discuss the Wollaston, Quincy Center, Quincy Adams, and Braintree projects, and is also planning a presentation to the City Council. Dates for the Quincy gatherings have not been set.
MBTA officials will discuss details and timelines for the Braintree garage project on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Braintree Town Hall auditorium, 1 JFK Memorial Drive.Jill Terreri Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jillterreri.