Following closure in March 2014, the Government Center Station of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority reopened again early Monday afternoon, according to a Monday press release.
Officials from the state and city level joined with leaders from the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in order to celebrate the reopening of the station with a crowd of about 100 people.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told the crowd that the station is the last of 80 stations to be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This is the final station to be brought into compliance, so I hope for all of you, this turns out to be a symbol and a statement by the commonwealth and by the T that we’re committed to giving you access to all of our public transit systems,” Baker said.
Baker was joined by Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who expressed excitement about the reopening of an essential station in the middle of Boston.
“Whenever we stand here in the plaza, we are in the heart of the city, a place where so many people pass through day to day to get to work, to get to school, to get to their appointments and to just live life here in this great City of Boston,” Polito said.
Polito added how proud she is of the work that has been done to make the MBTA accessible for all.
“One milestone that we can all be very proud of as we stand here today is the milestone of supporting our customers with disabilities in creating a place, a center, where there are vertical and horizontal connections to help people move about to places that they need to go in less time and in a safer manner,” Polito said.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh added that the success of the station construction comes as a result of strong partnerships between different groups working within the commonwealth.
“This is truly a partnership of the city and the state,” Baker said. “This project began over two years ago. When I got sworn in as mayor, I looked out the window and they were putting fence up … and it’s been incredible watching this project grow over the last couple of years, watching the MBTA and the BRA come together.”
Walsh added that a station this important should have been made ADA compliant “35 years ago.”
“This Government Center Station certainly is a connection point, not just here between the Green and Blue Lines, but for tourists coming to our city, for travelers, for commuters, for people who want to go both to City Hall and want to walk up to the State House,” Walsh said.
MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack joined the group of officials to express just how important the Government Center Station is for the large population within Boston.
“We are focused on reinvesting in the core of the city, which is used by over one million riders every single day,” Pollack said. “This station, before it closed, was the 17th busiest station in the system. Over 10 thousand people a day went through the fare gates, thousands more transferred and this is exactly what we need when we talk about investing.”
However, Pollack added that the MBTA and MassDOT have more work to do to make transportation accessible for all.
“This is the final of the 80 stations that were part of the MBTA’s key station plan,” Pollack said. “That does not mean that we have made the entire system accessible to everyone who wants and needs to use it. It is the end of one part of that effort. It is also the beginning of the next part of that effort.”
Following their remarks, the elected officials and transportation leaders joined together with scissors to cut the ribbon together, symbolizing the official reopening of the station.
Several attendees expressed excitement for the station to finally open.
Lauren Kroesser, 29, of Back Bay, said she was excited for the station to open after such a lengthy closure.
“It’s been closed for so long,” she said. “I think it’s great, though. It’s about time that the station opened, but it’s very nice now and I’m glad everything is working well.”
Andrea Matthews, 34, of Beacon Hill, said she was happy to see more stations become compliant with the ADA.
“It looks great,” she said. “I’m just happy the station is more accessible to those with disabilities. After all, it is public transportation, so all of the public should have access to it.”
Andrew London, 42, of the South End, said the station is a vital part of Boston transportation.
“It’s a really important station,” he said. “It’s right in the middle of everything, and it’s really necessary for people trying to get around the city.”