After years of delay, the Green Line extension to Medford will be celebrated in a series of events this week. Commuters will enjoy the extended T service to Medford starting Monday, Dec. 12. The community celebration will commence with music at Ball Square Station on this same day, and a kid’s choo-choo train, a food truck and other events at Somerville High School on Saturday, Dec. 17. (1)
Riders are excited about the project completion, which was delayed for years. The announcement came after excruciating delays, years of advocacy by residents, travel delays due to the construction, and a last-minute $50 million payment to salvage the situation. (3)
East Somerville, College Avenue near Tufts University, and Gilman Square are some other new stations opening along with the Medford Branch. Fifty thousand riders are expected to commute daily on the new green line. (3)
“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate the beginning of full Green Line service in Somerville. Expanding public transit access is vital to creating a more equitable future, more jobs, cleaner air, and greater sustainability,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne of Somerville. (1)
The initial completion date for the $2.3 billion project was 2014. The project’s initial phase, which included opening the Union Square Green Line station in Somerville, was eight years late. The MBTA kept pushing the deadline for the second branch, reaching into Medford even further. The new extension of the Green line will be a relief for commuters relying on buses and other transportation options to reach the Orange Line or Red Line to get to the Downtown Area. (2, 4)
MBTA Green Line Extension program manager John Dalton told reporters that the new extension would travel an estimated 40 miles per hour between stations. Dalton also expressed some obstacles faced during the extension process. He said the team worked very strictly with budget management and could not incorporate many suggestions into the project. Dalton said the $2.3 billion project is financially in “very good shape.” (4)
Apart from residents, students living in the vicinity of the Somerville and Medford area, especially students commuting to and from Tufts University, are excited about the extended T service. Kaitlyn Wells, a sophomore studying International Relations at Tufts, expressed her excitement in a statement. Wells said there had been quite a buzz about the Green Line extension, but students are finally thrilled at the announcement of an official opening date.
“I’m personally looking forward to the new T station because it will connect the neighborhood to places in Somerville that I’m less familiar with because they’re less accessible from Tufts,” said Wells. “There’s also been talk at Tufts about the possibility of the new Green Line station raising costs of living in the area, as well as the positive and negative impacts it might have on local businesses,” added Wells.
“As a frequent rider myself, I look forward to seeing my neighbors on the T soon—and at our two upcoming celebrations,” Ballantyne said in a statement. The first ride will depart at 4:45 a.m. from Ball Square.
Initially, the extended line was planned to open by December 2021. Still, the date got pushed in late November and was finally decided for Dec. 12. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said that some additional work was needed across all new Green Lines before opening the service to the residents. Poftak, who is stepping down from the position in January, commented, “I look forward to seeing you all at approximately 4:45 a.m. for the grand opening of service.”