North Station renovations nearly complete

Just 4 weeks ago we reported on the renovations at North Station and since then much progress has been made. Joel sends this report to the mailbag at charlieonthembta@gmail.com

Joel here from HubArts.com. I think you ought to get over to North Station and take a look at the new, vastly expanded commuter rail waiting room that’s nearing completion. I like the old-school oval bench islands and the snazzy signage for the track numbers. Not so sure about the regular benches that will apparently fill out the space. But anything is better than the current chaos and gridlock.

Well, almost anything. There’s one awful development: this morning the coffee-breaking construction workers were enjoying a big diamond vision screen that was hooked up even though it hadn’t been attached to the wall yet. And the very bright and vivid picture was showing A BANK NORTH GARDEN AD. Let’s hope they’re not going to put this ten-foot screen to work brainwashing their captive audience into attending Rod Stewart concerts and Celtics losses, no doubt accompanied by a decibel level that will make us all bleed from the ears. That would be ten times more annoying than any airport departure lounge screen.

It’s great that they finally figured out the existing space wasn’t enough for train passengers alone, much less on the night of a game or concert. It’s too bad that they didn’t figure it out when they were designing the building in the first place. It’s also too bad that at that time they didn’t design a direct connection from the commuter-rail lobby to the subway station. It’s asinine that everyone has to march outside and then ten feet later go through another set of doors to get back inside. And there’s quite the bottleneck there at busy times.

Northside Commuter Rail passengers are finally getting a decent terminal again at North Station, something that has been lacking since the Boston Garden closed in 1995 to make way for the now TD Banknorth Garden.

Don’t blame the T for the long delay as the station is the responsibility of Delaware North Companies of Buffalo the owner of the Garden. DNC has been trying for a decade to develop the land the former Garden was on ( and currently a parking lot ) and they put the train station on the back burner. I’m told the reason there is not a direct entrance into the station was that the Garden and the T didn’t exactly know where everything would wind up. The T plans a ribbon cutting ceremony this week and crowd control should be much improved at the station especially on event nights at the Garden.

The T itself did an excellent job with the Green and Orange Line superstation and now transferring between lines is much easier.

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12 Comments

Filed under Commuter Rail, MBTA, North Station

12 responses to “North Station renovations nearly complete

  1. Mac Daniel’s column says the ribbon cutting will be Wednesday, but doesn’t give the time. If you or anyone else know, please post it here. I’d like to attend.

  2. Anonymous

    The “new” video display showing ads is not new at all. It used to hang from the Garden rafters as part of the old center structure as four separate parts before they replaced everything this season. The old parts were repurposed for use in the station. It is also possible that it could display train/track information.

  3. I’m still holding my breath waiting for a solari board…

  4. Sue

    Wow! They’re really trying to make North Station look
    like a TRAIN STATION?!?

  5. Dani B. said…
    I’m still holding my breath waiting for a solari board…

    Since they are replacing the Solari board at South Station maybe they could consider moving the board to North Station????

    Nostalgia for noise at South Station – Boston Globe April 6, 2006

    I like many have a fondness for the board at South Station but even I find this idea by the T to be a bit strange

    Passengers have become so used to looking up to see arrivals and changes when they hear the ticking that T officials plan to keep the old sound in the new board.

    ”We’ll keep a little bit of the history,” said Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, who said he believes that the new board may be the first in the country designed to mix the traditional and high-tech.

  6. John Mc

    Nice as the new area is, put all your blame on Delaware North (DNC). Due to the weird land arrangements, DNC is supposed to have a big real train station on the first 2 floors of the building where the garden stood. They’ve yet to build anything. They blamed the downturned economy, but with everyone building like gangbusters now, you know they’re just sitting on the land, and no one seems to be pressuring them to do anything.

    We pessimists are wondering if, now that DNC has paid for the new N Station waiting area, if they’re going to try to get out of their obligation to build a station in the new garden building…

    As for the TVs – when they were working, 1 TV had schedule info, and the other had Garden ads – so this is nothing new. Depends on if they include sound now or not.

  7. Donald

    One thing you can bet the farm on, if Jeremy Jacobs is behind this it was done on the cheap.

    If I am not mistaken all this somehow dates back to when the old station was built in 1928 and the Garden building was actually owned by the Boston & Maine railroad and not the Bruins. Some sort of deal was struck when the garage for the new Garden was built and the Bruins were supposed to build the new station, but

  8. Anonymous

    i think this has been the first T project I havn’t heard bad press about, but it could still come…

  9. John Mc

    You haven’t heard bad press because the press doesn’t do investigations any more. The T issues a press release sayinng “look at the cool new station” and the press stands there and goes “oooh” and it gets photos and glowing reviews in the press. No one things to actually ask a question.

    but I’m not bitter 🙂

  10. John

    BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority hopes to ease congestion at North Station with the opening of a new commuter rail passenger concourse that is twice the size of the old one.

    About 50,000 commuters pass through the train terminal each day. Congestion has been a particular problem when events at adjacent TD Banknorth Garden coincide with the evening commuter rush. The new passenger platform adds roughly 20,000 square feet of space around the trains.

    MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas and Delaware North Companies vice president Charles Jacobs opened the concourse with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday. Delaware North owns TD Banknorth Garden.

    Delaware North paid for the $5 million expansion project, which included the construction of larger restrooms and the installation of an overhead electronic message board with scheduling information.

    A second phase of the project calls for expanded retail outlets, including food and beverage services, at the commuter station

  11. Until the Solari board arrives, a flat-panel video display shows departing train times. It is on the east wall next to track 1.

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