Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here.
Good morning Boston, and an especially good morning to Somerville and Medford.
After many long years of waiting, the MBTA has completed the Green Line Extension. The first train on the second, longer branch through Somerville to Medford left the northernmost station by Tufts just before 5 a.m. this morning. And the crowd was so big that there wasn’t enough room to fit everyone on that first train. Here are photos of the jubilant scene from WBUR’s Jesse Costa (there were, regretfully, even some impromptu renditions of “Sweet Caroline” in that first car):
- The new GLX branch has five new stations: East Somerville, Gilman Square, Magoun Square, Ball Square and Medford/Tufts. (Check out the map here.) And while the opening comes about a year after MBTA officials originally planned to complete the project, it marks the fulfillment of a project that has been promised for literally decades since the Big Dig began. Listen here to the mayors of Somerville and Medford talk to WBUR’s Weekend Edition about the significance of the new branch, which is expected to carry 50,000 riders a day.
- How fast will it be? According to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo, it will take an average of 26 minutes to get from the line’s end at Medford/Tufts to Park Street in downtown Boston. (The GLX runs along commuter rail lines, so trolleys don’t have to contend with streets or intersections like on other parts of the Green Line.) According to The Boston Globe, trolleys run every seven to eight minutes, but official want to get that down to five.
- Take a virtual ride: This groovy 60-second video from the MBTA shows what the ride out from Lechmere to Medford looks like.
- Remember, like other above-ground Green Line stops, the five new stations don’t have fare gates. So, GLX riders are being asked to “validate” their fare by twice-tapping their cards at a fare vending machine by station entrances — at least until the T’s new fare system is installed on the Green Line in the next few years.
- What’s next: The extended Somerville community path to Cambridge Crossing won’t open just yet. Pesaturo says the T has “just a little more work to do on the path” and is working with Somerville to coordinate an opening date in the near future.
- Fun fact: During excavation work for the East Somerville station, MBTA crews unearthed an old flat-bed rail car — likely left from decades of former freight rail activity through the GLX corridor — that Pesaturo says took several days to remove. Other than that, officials say construction itself went relatively smoothly, despite the delays due to COVID, supply chain issues and staffing. (It was also, as T officials will tell you, under budget.)
If the MBTA is yet to expand to your neighborhood and you need to hit the road today, drive carefully. With temperatures still below freezing, the roads may be slippery from last night’s snowfall. State police have even instituted a 40 mph speed restriction on I-90 in Western Massachusetts, where snowfall was the heaviest.
For the first time in decades, Massachusetts’ First Middlesex House district appears to be sending a Democrat to the State House. After local officials finished up a recount over the weekend, Democratic candidate Margaret Scarsdale is holding on to a seven-vote lead in the open race along the New Hampshire border, according to Politico.
P.S.— Moms, you don’t want to miss this one. Jessica Grose, author of The New York Times’s parenting newsletter, will be at CitySpace tonight for a talk to Brown University professor Emily Oster about the “wholly unsustainable” expectations of American motherhood and how we can move towards something better.