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Government Center Station Closure

When?

Beginning March 22, 2014, Government Center Station will be closed for two years while crews work to reconstruct the station into a fully accessible, safer, modern, more comfortable facility.

How Will This Affect My Commute?

During the Station's closure, both Blue and Green Line trains will pass through Government Center Station but will not stop there.

For customers who desire to travel outside the system or use Hubway during the months when Hubway is in operation, the distance between State and Downtown Crossing as well as State and Park Street is minimal. It should be noted, however, that customers who exit and re-enter the system will be charged again if they do not have an unlimited weekly or monthly pass.

Government Center Proposed Head House

During Government Center's closure, Green Line trains will pass through Government Center Station but not stop there. The last downtown stop will generally be the following for each branch:

• B-Branch (Boston College) will end at Park Street
• C-Branch (Cleveland Circle) will end at North Station
• D-Branch (Riverside) will end at Park Street during rush hours and North Station at other times
• E-Branch will end at Lechmere

Additionally, Bowdoin Station will extend its operating hours and be open during all hours of service for the duration of Government Center's closure.

What Are the Improvements?

We appreciate your patience as we work to reconstruct Government Center Station into a fully accessible, safer, modern, and more comfortable facility. The Government Center Station Reconstruction Project (the Project) will combine improvements to the Green Line Station, Blue Line Station, and Cambridge Street/Government Center Plaza, which will bring Government Center Station into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL) Agreement. Currently, access to and from Government Center Station is provided solely by stairways and escalators.

Government Center Proposed Head House Entry


Reconstruction to the Green and Blue Line Station will include a new head house structure as the primary entrance, raised code compliant platforms to provide accessible boarding of the Green Line low-floor trains, the introduction of new redundant elevators from the street to the Green Line level as well as from the Green Line level to the Blue Line level, new escalators, LED signage, a new and expanded fare collection area, upgraded back-up electrical power supply, improved interior finishes, mechanical systems, lighting, a public address system, and a new emergency exit structure on Cambridge Street. The existing Blue Line mezzanine will be renovated to provide room for new electrical and communication equipment. Additional vendor retail space will also be provided on both Green and Blue Line platforms. A security protection and monitoring system will be installed at all levels and in the vicinity of the head house. The project will also include reconstruction of Cambridge Street and a portion of City Hall Plaza in the vicinity of the Station to provide accessible paths of travel to the station. The Project will also upgrade the Station to comply with all current applicable code requirements.

The current schedule plan is summarized as follows:

• Construction Contract Award (NTP): July 2013
• Prepare station for closure (electrical, structural, civil): Fall 2013 through First Quarter 2013
• Reconfigure roadways and sidewalks for station closure: Fourth Quarter 2013 to Second Quarter 2014. This work began the week of November 18, 2013.
Close station for reconstruction: March 22, 2014 (Saturday)
• Reopen station: Spring 2016
• Completion of construction: Fourth Quarter 2016

 Government Center's Design and the Old North Church

As part of the extensive public review process for the Government Center Project, the Massachusetts Historic Commission, in its role as State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), requested information on whether or not the proposed station would block the view corridor. Graphics were prepared and presented to both the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and SHPO demonstrating that the project would not block the view corridor. As such, FTA issued a Determination of No Adverse Effect pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. SHPO concurred with the determination and it was based on that determination that a FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) was issued. (This project would not be possible without FTA funding.) 

Fully supported by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the tall, the elegant, glass structure included in Government Center's design will serve as a new landmark on City Hall Plaza. The design of the glass element was a major part of the coordination between the MBTA and the City of Boston, specifically the Boston Redevelopment Authority.  HeadHouse01

The station is a major destination point from multiple directions. In its old form, it was difficult to distinguish the brick headhouse from any significant distance across the plaza. Often when the station was open, customers standing ten feet from the old headhouse asked where the subway station was. A visible and striking element, the new headhouse will act as a landmark and attractor for the station from a number of streets and public corridors converging on the Plaza. Given that Government Center is a high-density pedestrian area, particularly for people from out of town and not necessarily familiar with the area and the transit system, the new station needs to have a strong and recognizable presence on the Plaza and from some distances away from the Plaza.

This glass element will have a minor impact on the view of the Old North Church from a particular point along the sidewalk in front of the Parker House where a plaque was placed by the BRA in the 1960s. However, there are still many points along both sides of the Tremont Street sidewalk where the Old North Church is visible. The MBTA has been talking with the BRA about the possibility of installing additional plaques to memorialize the view of the Old North Church from various locations. 

If the headhouse is to have the significant benefit of providing natural light to the station, it must be located where it is being erected today. Natural light not only acts as a wayfinding tool to help passengers orient through the station, but also reduces the need for artificial light and the corresponding energy consumption in the station. The glass structure must be located over the stairs/escalators and the location of those stairs/escalators is dictated by the current track geometry.Headhouse02

While it was technically feasible to reduce the height of the glass element, both the MBTA and the BRA believe that reducing the height would diminish the important urban design function that the station is intended to serve. As described, the station is designed to serve as a visible landmark across City Hall Plaza so that it can be seen from a distance, particularly at night. It’s important to note that the headhouse will also provide views never experienced before. As a customer ascends from the underground platforms, he/she will have clear views of the Old North Church. In other words, many people will enjoy a view of the Old North Church before they’ve even exited the station. 

Along with the views of the Old North Church, the headhouse will also include interpretive panels that will provide information about the Tremont Street view corridor and the Old North Church. 

Travel and Maps

The recommended path of travel for Green Line customers desiring access to the Blue Line is to travel to Haymarket Station and transfer to the Orange Line toward Forest Hills (southbound). Customers should transfer at State Station for Blue Line connections.

The recommended path of travel for Blue Line customers desiring access to the Green Line is to travel to State and transfer to the Orange Line toward Oak Grove (northbound). Customers should then transfer at Haymarket for Green Line connections. A map of the recommended path of travel is below.

Walking between stations may prove to be a useful alternative for some customers. Customers who decide to walk between stations outside the system should note that the travel time between State and Downtown Crossing is three-minutes on average (0.1 mi) with the travel time between State and Park Street an average of six minutes (0.3 mi). Customers who exit and re-enter the system, however, will be charged again if they do not have an unlimited weekly or monthly pass. Walking direction maps the Blue and Green Lines to the Government Center area are below.

Transfer Directions
Note: Accessible directions use station elevators while non-accessible directions include stairs and/or escalators.

From Green Line (eastbound) to Blue Line

From Green Line (eastbound) to Blue Line via Winter Street Concourse

From Green Line (westbound from Lechmere or Science Park) to Blue Line

From Blue Line (eastbound to Wonderland) to Green Line

From Blue Line (westbound to Bowdoin) to Green Line

Accessibility

Shuttle Bus Schedule

Monday through Thursday 5:20 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Friday and Saturday 5:20 a.m. - 2:40 a.m.
Sunday 6:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.

 

The bus will make stops outside State Station, Government Center Station, Bowdoin Station, and then return to Haymarket. No fares will be collected on the shuttle bus. This bus is not intended for those making transfers between rapid transit lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get from the Blue Line to the Green Line?

Whether you take the Green Line northbound toward Lechmere or westbound toward the B-, C-, D-, or E-Branches, the recommended path is to transfer from the Blue Line at State, take the Orange Line toward Oak Grove (northbound) one stop to Haymarket, and board the Green Line at Haymarket (see map). This path is fully accessible, will generally by less crowded than other options, and will take about the same amount of time on average as any other option. Also, additional Green Line service at Haymarket has been added in order to reduce customer delays. If your trip usually included Government Center Station, please allow an additional ten to fifteen minutes for your travel.

How do I get from the Blue Line to the Red Line?

Whether you are taking the Red Line northbound toward Alewife or southbound toward Ashmont/Braintree, the recommended path is to transfer from the Blue Line at State, take the Orange Line toward Forest Hills (southbound) one stop to Downtown Crossing, and board the Red Line at Downtown Crossing (see map). This path is fully accessible. If your trip usually included Government Center Station, please allow an additional five to ten minutes for your travel.

How will Green Line service work?

Green Line trains can pass through Government Center Station but not stop there. The last downtown stop will generally be the following for each branch:

  • B-Branch (Boston College) will terminate at Park Street
  • C-Branch (Cleveland Circle) will terminate at North Station
  • D-Branch (Riverside) will terminate at Park Street during rush hours and North Station at all other times
  • E-Branch will terminate at Lechmere

When traveling in any direction on the Green Line, it is always recommended to board the first available train and travel as far as you can, then switch trains if necessary. This ensures that you have access to any trip that is operated since trains are sometimes added or turned around short of their scheduled destination.

Why don't all Green Line trains go to North Station and Lechmere?

There are limits on how many trains can be turned around at North Station and Lechmere without slowing down other trains. Also, the Green Line has heavy passenger volumes and customers have various destinations, so the operation is designed to best meet the different needs within the available resources. For example, turning some trains at Park Street allows more westbound service than there would be otherwise.

How will the Blue Line work?

All Blue Line trains will pass through Government Center Station and stop at Bowdoin Station. Bowdoin Station will be open during all hours of service while Government Center is closed.

How do I get to the area around Government Center Station?

Using a nearby station will often be the most convenient alternative. On the Green Line, the nearest stations are Park Street and Haymarket. On the Blue Line, the nearest stations are State and Bowdoin. All of these stations are within a five-minute walk of Government Center Station. There will also be a shuttle bus connecting Government Center with some nearby stations.

How does the shuttle bus work?

The bus will leave Haymarket busway every twenty minutes. Monday through Thursday, the bus will run from 5:20 a.m. through 1:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, the bus will run from 5:20 a.m. through 2:40 a.m. On Sunday, the bus will run from 6:00AM through 1:00 a.m. The shuttle bus will make stops outside State Station, Government Center Station, Bowdoin Station, and then return to Haymarket Station. No fares will be collected on the bus. This bus is intended for the beginning or end of a trip for those traveling to and from the area immediately surrounding Government Center. The bus is not intended for those making transfers between rapid transit lines. The shuttle is called Route 608 and both scheduled and real-time bus arrival information will be available as of March 22, 2014 (see mbta.com/apps).

How do I get to Logan Airport?

As always, there are two primary MBTA alternatives for travel to and from Logan Airport as follows:

  • Silver Line: The SL1 connects South Station (Red Line) and airport terminals directly. Some additional Silver Line service will operate during the closure of Government Center Station.
  • Blue Line: Allow an additional ten to fifteen minutes if transferring to and from the Green Line. 

Massport has recently increased Logan Express and shuttle service at Airport Station in order to connect the Blue Line with airport terminals. Additionally, Massport began the new Back Bay Logan Express linking Logan Airport with the Green Line at Hynes Convention Center and Copley Stations.

Can I transfer between lines by walking between stations instead?

As always, this may be a useful alternative for some people. However, exiting and re-entering the rapid transit system is only a good option for those with weekly or monthly passes since anyone else needs to pay again when re-entering the system. Note that there is an underground Winter Street Concourse inside the paid area between Downtown Crossing and Park Street Stations so that anyone can travel between these two stations without paying twice.

What other alternatives should I know about?

More Information and Contacts

This page will continue to be updated and will remain your best source for all Government Center-related material and information. Please e-mail GovCenterProject@mbta.com or tweet @MBTA with #GovCenter with any comments or questions regarding the station closure. If interested in keeping in touch with this project, please sign up for e-mail project updates.

Photos of the Project

October 2014

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September 2014

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August 2014

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July 2014

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June 2014

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May 2014

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April 2014

4-4-14 Green Line westbound 4-4-14 Green Line eastbound 4-4-14 Green Line platform 4-2-2014 Government Center 4-4-2014 Goverment Center     

March 2014

Scollay Square Sign Removal Brattle loop Blue Line Stairs Green Line lobby AFC removed 3-25-2014      

Videos of the Project

 

 

More Government Center Station T-Project Information