While Boston’s mayor projects a month-long Orange Line and partial Green Line shutdown will unleash “chaos,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he feels confident that recent subway closures have gone more or less smoothly.
“For the past two summers, we closed the E Branch of the Green Line and ran buses all summer long. People said that was going to be chaos,” Baker said. “People thought it was going to be chaos when we shut down the Red Line to deal with the signal boxes that got crashed into at JFK.”
“You know, generally speaking, if the T puts together a plan and people have lead time – which was important to us to make decisions about how they plan to deal with it – it’s awkward, but generally speaking, it works out,” he added.
Commuters and employers are bracing for upheaval in the greater Boston area when the entire Orange Line shuts down for major maintenance work, much of it prompted by a federal safety investigation, starting the evening of Aug. 19. A section of the Green Line between Government Center and Union Square will also close starting Aug. 22.
Both diversions will run through Sept. 18, taking highly traveled subway stops offline while college and K-12 school students start their classes, tourists make the most of the end of summer and employers push to bring workers back into offices.
Baker said the MBTA is still working with businesses, local officials and schools on a plan for alternative transportation options, including shuttle buses, that will be released “shortly.”
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Monday she hopes the closures will bring about substantial improvements to the T, though she warned that for travelers, “it will be chaos. There’s no other way.”
Business leaders have also been worried about the administration’s plans to extend the Orange Line closure, in particular, past Labor Day. Business-backed group A Better City put forward a counter-proposal Monday with the backing of a major transit advocacy group to end the shutdown the morning after Labor Day but keep the line closed for five successive weekends afterwards to finish work and, the group claims, make even more work time available to construction and repair crews.