Giant step to Arborway Yard

December 1, 2006
By

PETE STIDMAN

FOREST HILLS—Keeping up the political pressure has paid off for the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY). Its wish for an extra $29 million to fill a shortfall in funding for a full-scale bus maintenance facility at Washington Street and the Arborway has been granted in the 2008-2012 MBTA Draft Capital Investment Program (CIP).

“It won’t get voted on until next spring by the MBTA board,” said Henry Allen, CPCAY chair. “But, we’re as certain as we can be that the extra money will be approved.”

Originally, the community was opposed to a bus maintenance and storage facility at the site. That was June, 1998. Since then the CPCAY, elected officials, city and state agencies and various community groups have hashed out a design that would benefit the
neighborhood and the T.

Most importantly, when the project is completed the community will oversee the development of 8 acres of land along Washington Street. New construction there, some say, could connect Forest Hills with the rest of Washington Street and revitalize the area.

At this time last year, the design process for the yard was stalled, and the cost of the project, originally estimated at $110 million, had risen to $139 million due to the T’s construction of a temporary facility on the site and rising construction costs, leaving the project short-funded.

Now, with the new funding almost in the bag, JP can look forward to a possible 2012 full completion date. CPCAY’s design review committee is meeting with the T on a monthly basis, and the 90 percent design submission is scheduled for May, 2007, 100 percent in July.

If everything goes smoothly, the construction contract will go out for bid in October, and they will break ground in spring, 2008. Full completion of the construction will be the first opportunity to take down the temporary facility currently in use and transfer the 8 acres to the community.

“We know [MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas] and the MBTA are under enormous financial constraints,” said Allen. “For him to follow through on these commitments is a testament to his understanding of how important this is, not only to the T, but to the JP community. A lot of times these officials don’t get credit where they deserve it.”