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Overnight construction at Government Center Garage project driving nearby residents nuts; Michlewitz asks city to halt the work

State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz today called on City Hall to halt all overnight construction work at the Bulfinch Crossing/Government Center Garage project until developer HYM, the city and the T can figure out a way to allow construction of the office skyscraper part of the project while also letting his constituents get some sleep.

Michlewitz said he's been deluged in recent months with complaints from nearby West End and North End residents about jackhammering and other demolition work between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.

The problem is that the garage that HYM is replacing sit on top of the Green and Orange Lines and the T has only allowed work when the trains aren't running. In a letter to Wu and her transportation and inspectional-services chiefs, Michlewitz wrote that he understands construction schedules, but also that his constituents deserve some respite:

The construction plan for this project was conceived in 2013, a time in which Bulfinch Triangle was not nearly as heavily populated as it is today. The need for demolition to only take place while the MBTA is not operation is perfectly understandable for an area that is not densely populated. However, since 2013 this area has evolved into a diverse neighborhood in which many residents now reside, and it is my belief that a new construction plan which takes their quality-of-life concerns into effect is needed immediately.

He adds that one possible solution would be to have the T set up a daytime diversion program to temporarily run buses instead of trains on some days so that HYM's contractors can do some work then.

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Comments

At the newly built nearby tower "The Sudbury", a 2 Br starts at $4500 and a 3 Br at nearly $10k. Must be tricky to tell (or not tell) a potential tenant that there will be jack hammering between 1:30 and 4AM.

https://www.thesudburyapartments.com/floor-plans/?view=grid&sort=unitren...

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Voting closed 36

My first question was.. where do these people live that are complaining about it.

Do they live in that new highrise right next to it? If so, please have a seat. You bought your condo knowing that was going up and would be a few years. No buyers remorse. You knew.

Also, so let's bus thousands of subway riders daily for a few hours so people who live near construction of a high rise... that had community input meetings about the project.... can sleep at night.

You should have spoken up when you had the chance. Sowwy.

Full stop.

We're (T riders that use Haymarket Station) are having to deal with random weekend closures, moving of bus stops, re-alignment of walkways.. and now they want to bus ppl.

I knew this high rise going up would be a disaster & would be a disaster for t riders being inconvenienced for this. Once again Boston delivers.

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Voting closed 89

Money talks....

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Voting closed 12

If your answer to all people who live near transit is "fuck you, transit is more important," you know what you get? You get thousands of people, and their elected officials, actively working AGAINST transit.

There has to be give and take. We need people living in cities, and we can't then blithely ignore their quality of life needs.

To be clear, I'm not arguing any particular position on any given transit-vs-local residents issue. I'm simply pointing out that taking a one-side-or-the-other approach guarantees that everybody lines up to fight hard on every single disagreement or tension, thereby ratcheting up cost, delays, frustrations, and reducing the chance of getting (a) more dense housing in urban areas as well as (b) improved transit.

C'mon folks. Work together.

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Voting closed 38

How else do you think workers get to the many restaurants in the North End? Don't they contribute positively to the quality of life in that neighborhood? Another way to put it: does Rep. Michlewitz prefer a North End without any local businesses?

As far as I can tell, transit riders aren't taking anything at all. Those who spend the most time on their commutes are the ones who will never be able to afford the downtown-area housing that's being built during these service disruptions. How can you "give" if you've already given out a lot (in dealing with the current level of construction-related delays), and if there isn't anything for you to "take", either now or in the future?

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Voting closed 13

Don't [the restaurants] contribute positively to the quality of life in that neighborhood?

You're joking, right? Have you asked anyone from the North End who has not cashed out and who is simply trying to live there, about what living in a neighborhood packed with restaurants is like?

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Voting closed 10

What's the minimum rent above which you think people lose the right to complain about nighttime noise?

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Voting closed 40

the builders could have afforded some soundproofing...

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Voting closed 48

I lived on Canal St. facing New Chardon when they first started dismantling the Government Center garage. I moved away that September. Main reason: the ever-present construction noise. That five years later they're just starting to address the problem is probably, as you guessed correctly, something that correlates to having neighbors paying upwards of $4500/month for a one-bedroom.

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Voting closed 16

a. There is no mention in the complaint of where the sleepless neighbors live, yet it only takes one mention of high rents in the neighborhood to turn this into a flood of sneering at spoiled, wealthy residents.

b. Complaning about jackhammering between 1am and 4:30 am does not seem to me to reek of privilege. I would think such a complaint reasonable, whether the complainer was paying $4500 a month or $450 a month for rent.

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Voting closed 37

Where anyone with money is a leper, and almost always an absentee landlord.

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Voting closed 19

Thank you for understanding the problem. These are ordinary folks who live in places like One Canal (which includes affordable units) and the outskirts of the North End. They are going through hell night after night. The BRA approved all of the construction without requiring a mitigation plan because, after all, who cares about residents. The developer, a former BRA director, doesn’t want any delays because they affect his very large bottom line. Good for Aaron Michlewitz for taking a strong position on this situation. As for the negative comments, it is easy to be dismissive when you live at a distance and haven’t experienced what the neighbors are going through.

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Voting closed 23

I have an idea: close Haymarket Station.

About 100 years ago, transit planners learned that subway stations should be spaced at least half a mile apart. The only reason for a station that close to Government Center and North Station is the bus terminal. The only reason for the bus terminal was convenient access to the Tobin and Sumner/Callahan. However, the direct Tobin ramps were removed during the Big Dig, so buses have to take local streets to Charlestown. And almost all of the Sumner/Callahan service has been cut back to Wonderland.

Move the bus terminal to Government Center and everyone benefits. Bus passengers get a faster trip and a station closer to the concentration of jobs. Subway passengers have one less stop to slow them down. And the T saves the costs of running a station.

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Voting closed 28

It's the lines that are running through it.

No Orange Line this weekend between Sullivan and Back Bay because of construction. You want to be the one to tell Orange Line riders that these closures are going to be happening weekdays?

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Voting closed 16

Ok. But were there any other weekends where just the station was closed?

Closing the station does have the other permanent benefits listed above.

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Voting closed 7

This weekend is the second closing. They close the line, not just the station.

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Voting closed 13

With this idea there would be no Orange line connection.

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Voting closed 5

Is so close to State Street that you really would still have the Orange Line connection. The bigger problem IMO is that the buses would have to navigate even more downtown congestion than they already do. I've said this before, but I think the better solution would be to have the Haymarket bus lines terminate at North Station instead. That means less congestion for the buses on N. Washington St. (and currently the Greenway) and better intermodal connections to Commuter Rail.

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Voting closed 9

Is so close to State Street that you really would still have the Orange Line connection

If by that you mean that (most) people could physically walk there, you're not wrong -- but then they have to pay another fare. How do you propose to solve that?

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Voting closed 7

Buses don't go into the station itself. It doesn't matter if the bus stops at Haymarket, Government Center, or State -- you still have to pay a fare (or the difference between the bus & subway fare) to transfer.

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Voting closed 8

We're talking about the bus-subway connection.

If you're thinking of the Green-Orange connection, that's available at North Station.

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Voting closed 10

Maybe North Station would be easier for buses to access. Though it is farther from the core employment district.

Of course it would have been better if the Big Dig ramps were designed for quick bus access to whichever station they serve. But that bus sailed 25 years ago.

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Voting closed 12

“ The only reason for a station that close to Government Center and North Station is the bus terminal.”

Off the top of my head are the courthouse, the Public Market, the North End and the Haymarket itself.

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Voting closed 23

All within short walking distance of North Station, Government Center, or State.

In a downtown area, there's always going to be some destination between two subway stations. But we can't just build a subway station between every existing pair of stations. There's a sweet spot between minimizing walking distance with lots of stations, and keeping service fast by spreading out the stops.

Haymarket is 1000 feet from the adjacent stations. That's shorter than Park to Boylston or Arlington to Copley. But nobody is saying that part of the Green Line has stops too far apart.

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Voting closed 10

That may be true and would make sense when talking about the expense of building a new station. But to remove an existing station, downtown, with lots of destinations for both tourists and non-tourists within a shorter walking distance, doesn't make sense to me. We need to be going in the direction of making public transit more friendly (within financial constraints), not less. The time savings by removing that station would be minimal.

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Voting closed 10

This is why we're stuck with a transit system that was state-of-the-art in 1915. Any existing station or route has a constituency, even if it's tiny. But the group of people don't exist yet who would benefit from closing a station or rerouting service in order to improve service somewhere else.

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Voting closed 4

Haymarket is ~1500 ft (0.3 miles) from both State and North Station, according to the MBTA Blue Book (page 35). It's roughly the same distance from Park to Boylston (page 31).

Nobody is asking to build a new subway station between an existing pair of stations; Haymarket already exists. Unless everything gets gutted, which would cost a fortune, closing the station will require routine safety inspections, which will cost just as much as keeping the station open.

At this point, I don't know if you're joking or serious. I hope it's the former.

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Voting closed 10

Oh, I'm serious. If there's some unintentional humor there, I must be missing it.

Maybe the track distance is 1500 feet, but the walking distance by road from the Haymarket entrance to the Haverhill/Valenti entrance to North Station is less than 850 feet. Haymarket to Government Center is 1000 feet by straight line, 1150 feet by the shortest walking route. Haymarket to the City Hall entrance to State is 1200 feet walking.

NYC closed most of the original quarter-mile stations around 1920 or so. The T didn't. That's why they have fast service and we have the Green Line. The Orange Line isn't much better. A billion dollar signal system might get us to 4.5 minute headways? That's pathetic.

I'm not sure why routine safety inspections would cost just as much as everything involved in running a station: customer service agents, servicing the turnstiles and ticket machines, cleaning, electricity, snow removal at street level, sending someone to unlock and lock the station every day, plus those same safety inspections. How does the operating budget for Adams Square compare with Government Center? How about Harvard/Holyoke vs the regular Harvard?

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Voting closed 5

If you're going to use facts from the MBTA Blue Book, please use them correctly.

North Station to Haymarket: .27 miles/1425' (Orange). .219 miles/1156' (Green)
Haymarket to North Station: .27 miles/1425' (Orange), .22 miles/1161' (Green)

Haymarket to State: .35 miles/1848'
State to Haymarket: .22 miles/1161'

Haymarket to Government Center: .279 miles/1473'
Government Center to Haymarket: .275 miles/1452'

Boylston to Park: .303 miles/1599' on the B and D, .296 miles/1562' on the C and E (figure that one out -- this was in 2014 when all branches served the same berth to continue past Park)
Park to Boylston: .263 miles/1388' (B, C, E), .315 miles/1663' (D)

Do you think the Green Line has too many stations, too few, or just right? I think about half the stations should be closed.

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Voting closed 4

Citation PLEASE.

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Voting closed 10

As in "I don't have to shovel the snow in front of my house because what if I were HC? Ableism!" Then someone insists that T stations should be a 1/2 mile apart (a Very ableist notion) and suddenly everyone is fetching the stick.

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Voting closed 9

I would be curious to hear more of this apparently widely-accepted but little-known standard. On the Paris Metro, one of the world's largest subway systems, stations are, on average, about a third of a mile apart, even less on the oldest, most central lines. It's an old system, about the same age as the T, and it has its problems, but having stations too close together isn't one of them. It's pretty great, actually. You're never that far from the Metro.

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Voting closed 11

Closely spaced metro stations are less of a problem when you also have the RER for faster regional trips. And Transilien and everything else for longer trips.

And they’ve figured out how to run the Metro frequently. The T chokes on its 5 minute headways every rush hour, and the close station spacing is a big part of the problem.

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Voting closed 4

And the money for this diversion is coming from?

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Voting closed 11

And how does State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz pay for this?

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Voting closed 15

… in the middle of the night. It’s not just the sleep of the elite being disturbed.

But more high rise office buildings are so so necessary!

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Voting closed 16

None of this is being done to build anything. All of this work is to take down the existing garage, which is a huge positive for the area and city.

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Voting closed 25

… a community garden in its place?

According to the article….

“ State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz today called on City Hall to halt all overnight construction work at the Bulfinch Crossing/Government Center Garage project until developer HYM, the city and the T can figure out a way to allow construction of the office skyscraper part of the project …”

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Voting closed 10

But they're knocking down the garage so that they can build some additional high rises.

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Voting closed 13

Stand your ground 'T' and tell the city "Hell no we won't close."

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Voting closed 14

the T has only allowed work when the trains aren't running.

How necessary is this?

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Voting closed 8

If no one makes a mistake. If someone screws up and a few tons of concrete come crashing down on top of the Green/Orange Line tunnel while there's a train passing through, we might have a problem.

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Voting closed 29

"Drill bit blunder in MTA's East Side Access project nearly cuts into occupied F train in Queens"

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/massive-drill-bit-cuts-occup...

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Voting closed 6

Hey! You can always look around you and be grateful you have a place to live and have the means to afford such 1% housing. Look at the Ukraine people hiding in basements. Fucking spoiled clueless fucks you are to complain.

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Voting closed 7