On Monday, 30 April, the MBTA shared the 30% design for the Highlands T-stop. The presentation can be viewed here. A public meeting was held at the Women’s Club in the Highlands to a full house of residents, local politicos and MBTA team members.

Of the many design goals, ADA accessibility and rider safety were highest priority, with cost being a factor. The goals were generally recognized by the audience as being satisfied although several comments and questions were asked.

  • The design includes room for 4 car trains that the MBTA is planning to accommodate but there is no specific time when this will be implemented
  • The raised platforms needed to allow wheelchairs to easily board the trains requires a significant change to the location of the first train on the outboard line due to clarence of the station building
  • There was concern that riders would see long walks to access the trains 
  • The new ramps may cause congestion during peak hours as buses drop off riders
  • The single  at grade platform to cross the tracks (with a distant emergency crossing near Walnut St) will also be a congestion point
  • Safety fences will impede riders trying to catch a train
  • Along with other comments

As I have been thinking about the design, much of it makes sense on paper but I can see how harried commuters may not see the changes in ramps, canopies and lighting as an improvement to what we currently have. For those interested, the MBTA is collecting comments on the proposal through May 14.  Comments should be directed to Thomas Rovero, Project Manager MBTA Capital Delivery at trovero @mbta.com.  Comments are due by May 14. 

The next phase will be the 70% design with more details on the plan which may be ready by year’s end.