Part 5: Assessing Proposed Expansions for New Lines
In the previous entry, we addressed the Orange Line’s challenges, proposed extending it along the Needham Line to Needham Junction with a new station at Millennium Park, and discussed an alternative branch of the Green Line’s D branch to Needham Heights. We also explored extending the Orange Line from Oak Grove through Melrose to Wakefield, replacing some Haverhill commuter rail stops to reduce congestion.
The push for improvements to Boston’s T lines has led to the proposal of two new rapid transit lines, expected to significantly boost the existing network.
The first proposal, informally known as the Indigo Line, intends to replace the entire Fairmount commuter rail line, including all its stops.
The new line would intersect with Providence, Stoughton, Franklin, and Foxboro commuter rail lines, with an additional stop at River Street being considered.
The Indigo Line would then follow the Franklin Line right-of-way up to Dedham Corporate Center, with a stop at Endicott. In Boston, it would continue along the former Fairmount line to South Station, linking with the Red Line, before tunneling next to I-93 to North Station. This would provide a long-awaited direct rapid transit connection between the two rail hubs.
Meanwhile, another significant proposal focuses on the Boston urban ring rapid transit line, which would materialize as an above-ground light-rail system, dubbed the Yellow Line. This line seeks to establish robust connections for communities surrounding downtown Boston, like Roxbury, South Boston, and Chelsea.
The Yellow Line would commence at the waterfront area, traverse through South Boston, Lower Roxbury, and Fenway, meeting up with the Red, Indigo, and Orange Lines, and all the Green Line branches en route.
It would then proceed towards Cambridgeport, Inman Square, and along the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail line, replacing the Silver Line Busway, before heading to Logan Airport (meeting with the Blue Line) and servicing all four main Logan Airport terminals.
These proposals stem from the recognition of mass transit as the future of urban travel. With multiple studies indicating the potential of new rapid transit lines to provide more jobs and spur economic growth, especially in lower-income areas, the positive impacts of these proposals could be far-reaching.
They could reduce car usage, decrease traffic, and increase the safety of biking and pedestrians. In fact, these expansions promise to bring world-class transit to a world-class city, Boston.
It should be noted that these proposals, including the Lynn extension, Indigo Line, and urban ring, have been suggested by various sources and are currently under discussion.
Whatever transpires, one thing is certain—the MBTA needs an overhaul. The sooner the better.