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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

MTBA opens new Green Line extension to Somerville

William Woodring

The MBTA opened the first phase of the new Green Line Extension Project (GLX) on March 21, extending the Green Line past the previous Lechmere terminal stop to the Boston neighborhood of Somerville at Union Square.

The first train took off at 4:50 a.m. from Union Square, carrying MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and a group of passengers. Throughout the first day, young and old riders were excited to travel and talk on the train revolved around the new stops and the new possibilities available for the residents of Somerville. 

Once complete, the GLX will feature six new stations along two branches, the Union Square branch and the Medford branch, as well as the current reconstructed and relocated Lechemere stop. The Green Line will extend to Tufts University in Medford.

The first phase of the Green Line extension project helps connect neighborhoods in Somerville to more public transportation. Previously, residents would have to take a bus or walk to the Red Line or Orange Line in order to be downtown. Now, the extension will provide a ‘one-seat’ ride, according to the website.

Zoya Quraishi, associate director of the office of Orientation, New Students and Family Programs, commutes to campus from Somerville and is happy to see a smoother trip in her future when her respective stop opens.

“I currently take the bus to the T, which I have no major qualms about but I am beholden to the bus schedule, which can sometimes mean deciding between walking home 25 minutes or waiting 40 minutes for the next bus,” said Quraishi. 

According to the city of Somerville website, 80% of the city’ residents will be within walking distance of a station by the completion of the project.

The project will significantly reduce vehicle trips and related air emissions while increasing access to fast and reliable public transit service in historically underserved areas. The project is expected to support increased ridership of more than 45,000 passenger trips per day by 2030.

The project has been in the works for decades for the residents in these communities with bumps along the road. The original plan was first announced in 1990 as part of a mass-transit plan. By 2005, the deadline for completion was set for 2014. In 2007, the project was pushed by two years to secure funding and for three years in 2011. Construction finally began in 2012. 

Suffolk’s Commuter Student Council is excited for the prospect of any new addition to transit to support commuter students. 

“The Green Line extension is going to be a big help for a lot of Commuter students who didn’t have the accessibility to easily get to the Green Line as many of our other commuter students have,” said the council.

However, there are concerns by many that the new stops could increase travel times on the green line.

“There are a lot more people on the Green Line and the stops are longer due to the extension so a lot of our students have to make sure that they leave earlier than before,” said a council representative. “Due to the longer wait times, they have to wait longer at stops now that they have to face on the new Green Line extension, especially on the E train.” 

According to Boston Pads and 2021 data, the average rent price in Dec. 2021 in Somerville was roughly $2,400 compared to Boston’s average price of $2,500.

“Rents have dropped more for smaller apartments in Somerville than for larger units. Average rent price in Somerville for studios, one bedrooms and two bedrooms have dropped -6.77%, -3.15%, and -4.96% respectively over the past 2 years, while average rent prices for three and four bedrooms have only slipped -1.84% and -0.21% respectively over the same time span.”

The extension also opens up more opportunities for commuters to explore the culture and history of the area.

There are some really great small businesses over here and I’m excited for more people to have access to them and support them as a result of the Green Line extension,” said Quraishi.

The neighborhood is in an urban environment that is easily accessible, with an 89 walk score, encouraging many residents to turn to walking and riding bikes compared to using cars.

According to a statement concerning the completion of the GLX project on the Massachusetts government website, “The Union Square Branch’s strategic location will contribute to an estimated removal of 26,000 vehicle trips per day from local streets.”

Maddy Burton, a graduate student at Suffolk and real estate agent at Boston Property Group, sees the extension as an opportunity for students to live close to campus.

“I think it will greatly benefit Suffolk students, and it will change the housing market in those areas. The extension will make it easier and possibly more affordable for Suffolk students to live relatively close to campus,” said Burton.

Suffolk students are only guaranteed two years of on-campus housing causing many of them to look for rental options in areas around Boston. As rents rise in Boston after recovering from the peak of the pandemic, some theorize that rent will rise along the project route.

“As time goes on, the demand for more housing options in those areas will increase the rent in those areas because they will be more desired,” said Burton. “In the Somerville area, you get more space for your money and the extension of the Green Line will attract more people to Somerville.”

At the Lechmere and Union Square stations, there will temporarily be a requirement that passengers validate their CharlieCards or CharlieTickets at a fare vending machine prior to boarding, or use the fare box at the front of the train.

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About the Contributors
Katelyn Norwood, News Editor | she/her
Katelyn is a senior majoring in public relations and minoring in journalism. When this Massachusetts native is not typing up a storm, you can find her dog watching in the Boston Common, working at Suffolk Performing Arts, and passionately talking about the latest political issue with a hot chai latte. One day Katelyn hopes to be working on the editorial side of the magazine or media industry. She has completed interning with HGTV as an editorial intern. Follow Katelyn on Twitter @katelyn_norwood Email her at [email protected]
William Woodring, News Editor | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Ma. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on Twitter @woodringwill

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MTBA opens new Green Line extension to Somerville