How will the Orange Line closure impact Boston students’ return to school? – NBC Boston
The first weekday ride during the Boston transit system’s Orange Line shutdown appeared to go fairly well on Monday, but officials warned that greater challenges remain, including when students return to the school in September.
The 11-mile subway line that runs from the town of Malden in northern Boston to the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood was closed for 30 days on Friday evening to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority can carry out track and signal repairs that would normally take a year. To complicate matters, a section of the MBTA Green Line was also closed for a month on Monday for construction work to be completed.
While many saw Monday as the first real test since the shutdown began, Mayor Michelle Wu said she believes the real test was when Boston students were part of the daily weekday commute.
Wu is scheduled to hold a virtual press conference at 5 p.m. Tuesday alongside Acting Superintendent Drew Echelson and BPS Transportation Director Delavern Stanislaus to share the steps the school district is taking to mitigate the impacts of the Orange Line closure of the MBTA.
During the month-long shutdown, the T is providing shuttles between stations, and the city has reserved bus-only lanes on certain streets. Commuter rail lines are also operating with increased frequency. The T has also deployed hundreds of workers to help commuters navigate the new system, including chief executive Steve Poftak.
The Orange Line normally handles around 100,000 rides per weekday, according to the MBTA. In addition to getting commuters to work every day, visitors also use the Orange Line to access many top tourist destinations.
After taking an Orange Line shuttle and transferring to the Green Line at Copley Square, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu gave her thoughts on how the first day of the shutdown went. She was happy with how her ride went, but noted that the signage could be better – and that more rigorous testing of the system is coming.
Wu took two buses and a subway train to work at City Hall on Monday, a bit late.
“It went pretty well,” she said. “It was a bit longer than a typical ride, but no real bottlenecks or traffic along the way.”
So far, the traffic nightmares that had been anticipated with more vehicles on the roads and reconfigured streets have not materialized. MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told NBC10 Boston that Mondays have seen unusually light traffic since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and he expected Tuesday and Wednesday to see busier roads.
For Boston Public Schools, Thursday, Sept. 8 marks the first day of school for grades 1-12, and Monday, Sept. 12 is when K-12 students will be back in class.