Forest Hills Station will be taken back down to one track starting March 25 as part of the Casey Arborway project. The plan is the same as from when the T shut down one track from September through December. This time, instead of installing a jet fan needed for the new station entrance north of New Washington Street, the closure will make it easier to do electric work and build "underground elements" required by the massive project, MassDOT said in an advisory issued Wednesday. During the last stretch of one-track operation, the T said its plan for rush hour would not cause added delays. The September-December closure allowed the following work on the Casey Arborway project to be done:
Forest Hills residents peppered a would-be developer with questions about where hundreds of car commuters will go if the LAZ Parking lot becomes a mixed-use development. There were other issues raised during a community meeting Wednesday about "The Residences at Forest Hills," but much of the discussion revolved around parking. The three-building, six-story development would add 252 apartments and townhouses plus 5,500 square feet of retail to Forest Hills' burgeoning stock of mid-rise transit-oriented developments. The meeting was held in the fellowship hall at St. Andrew Church, just up Orchardhill Road from the proposed development.
Local Latter-Day Saints sang carols during the Monday commute. The large group's singing gave the bustling station a different atmosphere than usual. When Jamaica Plain News passed by around 7 p.m., Sister Sophie Brooks said the group had been singing for a few hours. While the nearest Mormon temple to JP is in Belmont, there is an LDS meetinghouse just south of JP in Roslindale on Mount Hope Street.
If you've passed through Forest Hills Station since Saturday, you know only one of the two tracks is in use. Why? The short answer is for Casey Arborway construction. The platform will stay down to one track through December. The MBTA has said it has a plan for rush hour so the closure won't cause added delays.
JP residents recently learned that one side of the platform at Forest Hills T will be closed starting next week through December. An MBTA spokesperson says the change "should have no impact on customers other than the fact they will be boarding on the southbound side." Joe Pesaturo of the T said the agency does not anticipate delays during the closure. One side of the platform will be closed to accommodate work on the Casey Arborway. Pesaturo, in a voice mail to Jamaica Plain News, said the T has a plan so that during rush hour as many trains can enter and leave on one side as do currently on two.
UPDATE: The T explains that it has a plan so that during rush hour it can keep to the regular Orange Line schedule. ~~~~~
Fellow Orange Line riders, get ready for some additional chaos in your favorite subway line. The T will be shutting down one of the two platforms at Forest Hills soon as part of the Casey Arborway Project. Here's the laconic announcement posted by the T:
All train service will board on the southbound platform at Forest Hills beginning Saturday, Sept. 3, and continuing through December 2016, due to the Casey Overpass Project.
The schematic drawings of the new Washington Street upper busway canopy and platform published last week caught many readers by surprise; it was the first time even the most active observers had seen the replacement shed. Some questioned the practicality of a flat roof. The Jamaica Plain News asked the Department of Transportation for more clarification and Michael Verseckes, a MassDOT spokesman, sent the News the birds-eye plan. He said in his message that the elevations and plan were all that MassDOT had to show the community; "The finalized design of the canopy will be done in accordance with Mass Building Code and snow, wind and seismic loadings." First and foremost the most significant part of this plan is that it moves buses away from South Street and Asticou Road; the biggest flaw of the 1982 station plan.
Barletta Heavy Division Inc. brought in the enormous tracked demolition claws and jackhammers at 2 a.m. Saturday. By 5 a.m., the first canopy sections crumpled, and by the end of the day, the upper busway on Washington Street opposite Asticou Road was down. By Sunday afternoon, the surface busway was open again for passengers, but this will only be used for about a year. A new busway is being built where the old MBTA parking lot used to be, set on a platform that will extend over the Hyde Park Avenue parking lot. The changes are part of the massive Casey Arborway project that is changing the face of Forest Hills and Jamaica Plain.
Workers have removed several canopy panels already and hoe rams were at work Thursday preparing the way for full demolition of the roof over the upper busway at Forest Hills. State officials announced that night work on the project would begin at 1 a.m. Saturday. Work will go on 24-hours-a-day through Monday at 5 a.m.
Officials promise that the loudest jobs in removing the remaining structure would be done during the day. While all this is happening, every bus out Forest Hills Station except for the 39 will leave from the lower busway. Forest Hills is a major hub for buses going to Roslindale, Mattapan, Dedham, West Roxbury and beyond.
If you commute through Forest Hills Station, you've gotten used to abrupt changes this fall. With rain expected all the rest of this week, that's going to mean soggy wait periods at the upper busway. Crews have removed portions of the canopy over the upper busway, leaving open air where panels once stood. Beginning this weekend the rest of the canopy is slated for demolition. Already, bus stops for all the upper busway routes have been condensed to one lane (the one that happens to already have its roof removed.)
As we recently reported, cabbies aren't happy about new arrangements that temporarily have them exiled down near the corner of Ukraine Way and Washington Street.