The Hidden Story of the Science Park/West End T-stop Restoration

November 15, 2011
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Ten years ago, the only means of reaching the tracks of the Green Line’s “Science Park/West End” Station, on a historic viaduct was an exhausting climb of three sets of stairs.

It presented a serious challenge for the handicapped, the elderly and mothers with children in strollers living in the nearby buildings of Boston’s West End. This condition troubled members of the recently founded West End Civic Association (WECA), who had been acting in the interest of the area’s residents during the years of chaos caused by the  “Big Dig” and construction of new buildings.

Appeals to the MBTA for the installation of an elevator at the station resulted in word that lack of funds would make it impossible to improve the station in less than 20 years. Undaunted, WECA appointed a committee with the goal of persuading the T to install elevators now. Additionally, the committee was commissioned to obtain the reconstruction of an overpass at the adjoining Leverett Circle that had been removed during tunnel construction. The committee’s leading members – then current and past presidents Paul Schratter, Louise Thomas and Marie Cantlon, through letter appeals and direct contact, managed to get the attention of the foresighted current General Manager of the Transit Authority Daniel Grabauskas who in short time announced that a plan to reconstruct the old Science Park station, including elevators, would be given priority.

The $22 million project was supported and led to its completion by the current acting T General Manager Jonathan Davis and his staff.

In his dedication address of the modern “Science Park/West End” station, Davis stated: “It was all neighborhood-   marshaled. … they are not afraid to hold people’s feet to the fire. If it was not for them, (the elevators) would not have gotten done as quickly.”

The first objective of the West End Civic Association‘s special committee had been achieved.

The ground to platform elevators on both inbound and outbound sides were initiated on Nov. 9, when the E line trains once again ran between North Station and Lechmere.

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