The MBTA will “most likely” release its alternative transportation plan on Friday, according to Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville, which would give more than 100,000 riders just a week to figure out their travel plans before the 30-day Orange Line closure.
“We are still continuing to work through a bit of the granular details,” said Gonneville during an MBTA safety subcommittee meeting, adding that the T was working closely with Boston and other impacted municipalities, and MassDOT.
The final plan is “pretty well buttoned up,” Gonneville said, but details, such as where shuttle buses will make turns and where exact stops will be on the alternate service route, are still being worked out.
“I certainly do not want to portray that this is going to be an easy alternative service by any means,” he said. “And I certainly do not want to portray as well that this will not have an impact on traffic and congestion throughout the downtown area, and even getting into the downtown area if you think about the north and south ends of the Orange Line.”
Gonneville said a “high-level” diversion overview has been posted on the MBTA website, but it only shows that shuttle buses will be traveling somewhere between Oak Grove and Government Center stations, and Back Bay and Forest Hill stations.
The MBTA tweeted that it invited Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, and representatives from the Boston Transportation and Police departments “for a ride-along as we test drove the shuttle route for the upcoming Orange Line diversion” on Thursday.
The T said the test run was meant to help all coordinating agencies get a “first-hand look at the routing and identify areas” where it can optimize service during the closure, from Aug. 19 to Sept. 18, which will overlap with a closure on part of the Green Line.
On Thursday, Wu and Boston Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge said the city is taking a number of steps to prepare for the closure.
The city said the shuttle buses will help connect riders to Green Line service, bus priority lanes are planned in key areas, and it is working on “pop-up transportation hubs at Government Center and Copley Square.”
“These locations will have extensive dedicated curb space and clear signage to help commuters to navigate transfers to the Green Line, bus connections, and access to Bluebikes,” the city said.
The MBTA is allowing people to ride the commuter rail for free by flashing a CharlieCard in Zones 1, 1A and 2 during the duration of the closure.
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