Pole yard move forced by stalled T garage plan

March 14, 2014
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By Rebeca Oliveira and John Ruch/Gazette Staff

FOREST HILLS—A City pole yard next to the MBTA’s Arborway Yard is moving as part of an old agreement to build a new bus maintenance facility there—even though that project is stalled and unfunded.

As the Gazette previously reported, the City last month advertised for bids to create a new pole yard—a streetlight pole facility—at 430 Canterbury St., near the Boston Pre-Release Center.

City and MBTA officials recently clarified to the Gazette that the new pole yard is a replacement for the existing one at 327 Forest Hills St., about a mile away.

The existing pole yard is adjacent to the MBTA’s Arborway Yard bus maintenance and administrative facility at Washington Street and the Arborway. The MBTA has a longstanding plan to build a new bus facility on that site, but after nearly 20 years of planning, the massive project remains unfunded. Instead, the MBTA is operating a smaller, “temporary” bus facility there that is now many years old.

Moving the pole yard to free up land is a crucial part of the plan for a permanent Arborway Yard bus facility. It is included in an old “memorandum of understanding” (MOU), a legal agreement between the City and the MBTA, about how the new facility will be built.

The MOU requires the pole yard to move by this summer, according to City spokesperson Kate Norton and MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo.

That is happening even though there is no funding in the foreseeable future to build the permanent Arborway Yard facility.

In fact, longtime bus facility activist Allen Ihrer recently floated a plan, gaining in popularity, to build the permanent facility along American Legion Highway instead. As it happens, his proposed site is very close to where the new pole yard will go.

While the current plan calls for a “temporary” pole yard on Canterbury, the eventual permanent facility will be on the same site, Norton told the Gazette.

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