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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lowell Street (Magoun Square) and Gilman Square Station Design Meeting Recap

Due to the start of budget season in City Hall, I was unable to attend the Lowell Street (Magoun Square) and Gilman Square Station Design Meeting. Big thanks to Ken Kraus of the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance for allowing me to publish his notes for my readers! ~Courtney O'Keefe



Here are some notes from Tuesday night's design update meeting for the Gilman Square and Lowell Street stations on the Green Line Extension, attended by about 90 people at the Center for the Arts at the Armory in Somerville.

Representatives from the project management and design teams provided and overview of progress to date toward the 60% station design stage, which they expect to reach this fall.

Presenting were Karen Arpino-Shaffer, Deputy Program Manager, HDR/Gilbane; Greg Yates, Project Manager, AECOM; Randy Henke, Deputy Project Manager/Director of Design, HNTB; and Deborah Fennick, Architect, Fennick & McCreadie Architecture.

GILMAN SQUARE

+ Fennick, a 20-year Somerville resident, said the goal of the station is to re-establish Gilman Square – well-served by rail service up to the 1940s – as a transit-focused commercial, residential and civic location.

+ The station has two entrances, one from a headhouse on Medford Street and one from an accessible path from School Street on the high school side of the tracks (and ultimately, the Community Path)

+ The Medford Street headhouse will have a lower plaza and an upper plaza; the upper plaza would be reached by a pedestrian bridge attached to the reconstructed Medford Street bridge.

+ A raised intersection would be added at Pearl Street at the entrance of the Medford Street headhouse lower plaza

+ A U-shaped drop-off area for The Ride is located at the lower plaza at Pearl Street.

+ The size of the Medford Street headhouse has been reduced; overall, the station size has been reduced by 21% from the May 2012 design but the number of fare gates has been doubled.

+ The traction power substation has been "buried" at track level behind a retaining wall and covered with the accessible path from School Street and a sloping green space; in the previous design the substation was a two-story building. An existing NSTAR substation will be removed.

+ Covered bike parking is next to the substation with 124 enclosed spaces; another 22 spaces would be on the plaza for a total of 146, or six more than committed to in the Environmental Assessment for the project.

+ Granite blocks from the former Gilman train station will be re-used at the station.

LOWELL STREET

+ Unlike Gilman Station which is near a mixture of residential, commercial and institutional properties, Lowell Street Station will serve a mostly residential area featuring traditional houses and large multi-unit complexes such as the VNA Assisted Living Center and the Maxwell's Green condos and apartments. There were fewer changes in the last year to this station design than at Gilman.

+ There is a single headhouse accessed from a plaza on a reconstructed Lowell Street bridge. Drop-off for The Ride is also at this location.

+ The roof line of the station was lowered by relocating mechanical activities under the bridge and the massing of the headhouse also was reduced by 7% from the May 2012 design.

+ Bike parking was moved to adjacent the station and integrated with the lobby. There will be 78 spaces (60 enclosed, 18 on the plaza); the Environmental Assessment commitment was for 50 spaces.

SOMERVILLE BY DESIGN

+ George Proakis of the Somerville Planning Department gave an overview of the development concepts around the station that have come out of the city's Somerville by Design community planning process. Updated draft plans will be released for public review in June for Gilman Square and in July for Lowell Street/Magoun Square. Check for them at www.somervillebydesign.com.

Remaining station design update meetings:

Tuesday, June 11
Washington Street and Union Square stations
6 to 8 p.m.
Holiday Inn
30 Washington St., Somerville

Tuesday, June 18
Lechmere Station
6 to 8 p.m.
Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second St., Cambridge

Thursday, June 20
College Avenue Station
6 to 8 p.m.
St. Clement School
579 Boston Ave., Medford

See the GLX project website for more information: www.greenlineextension.org

- Ken Krause
Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance

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