Green Line Extension Opening

Green Line Extension Opening

WalkBoston’s Program Coordinator Ava Dimond had the opportunity to attend the Green Line Extension’s (GLX) official opening ceremony in the Tufts Joyce Cummings Center on Monday, Dec. 12th. She stepped onto the Green Line at Haymarket station and comfortably rode it all the way to the Medford/Tufts stop, passing 5 new stops along the way at College Avenue, Ball Square, Magoun Square, Gilman Square, and East Somerville. The Green Line Extension is anticipated to carry riders on more than 50,000 trips each day, allowing residents of Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford to streamline their trips to downtown Boston and beyond. 

As the audience filed in and buzzed about the how the first rides went that morning (starting with an extremely well-attended 4:45 a.m. train departing Tufts), university a capella groups Essence and the Beelzebubs gave fabulous performances while Jumbo (the Tufts mascot) ambled around wearing a Charlie Card on a green lanyard. Speakers at the event included Tufts’ President Tony Monaco, Governor Charlie Baker, Senators Liz Warren and Ed Markey, Mayors Katjana Ballantyne and Breanna Lungo-Koehn, as well as officials from the T, many wearing green.

Like much of the media surrounding the GLX, the tone was celebratory and optimistic— but every speaker dutifully acknowledged the project’s enormous expense, major challenges from its inception decades ago, and seemingly endless delays. Having been officially in the works since 1991, the $2.3 billion project stalled over and over again due to lawsuits, funding struggles, and later, the COVID-19 pandemic. As trains serenely rolled in and out of the Medford/Tufts station just behind the speakers, it was hard not to reflect on the immense amount of community organizing, political will, and physical labor the GLX and the adjoining Community Path Extension (CPX) entailed. Some speakers, like Sen. Warren, alluded to the hope that one day soon Medford/Tufts will be just another stop until the Green Line and Community Path reaches Route 16. Many dream that this project represents a new beginning, and not the end, of an accessible, reliable, and affordable 21st century transit system for the Greater Boston area. 

We were glad to see Mayor Ballantyne take the time to shout out the Community Path Extension. In 2015 and 2016, the CPX’s future looked uncertain due to ballooning Green Line Extension costs. Thanks to the persistent lobbying by local officials, committed residents, and advocacy groups such as Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP), the Conservation Law Foundation, and more, the CPX became a reality. WalkBoston would especially like to congratulate Friends of the Community Path, a longtime supporter and collaborator on walkability, on this exciting success. When the Path’s current extension project is finally completed, “bicycle users and pedestrians will be able to enjoy a continuous off-street pathway between Davis Square and Paul Revere Park on the banks of the Charles River in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood.” We look forward to walking the path soon!

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