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Projects piling on for Dudley Square

Sandra Larson | 2/29/2012, 11:07 a.m.

Mahendra Patel, MBTA senior project manager, listed the planned Dudley Station improvements, aimed at improving passenger comfort and meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. They include addition of heated bus shelters, electronic message signs and bus arrival countdown signs, and removal of unused booths, as well as replacement of Plexiglas windscreen panels and some busway pavement.

Task force members urged the MBTA to distribute proper information whenever bus movements are temporarily changed.

“The last time [station work was done], they put buses outside the station,” said task force member Joyce Stanley. She expressed concern about elderly bus riders. “We want to make sure they know where to go to get the bus.”

Patel said signs and additional T agents will direct passengers to new bus locations, but task force members pressed, suggesting advance notification in the form of schedules and flyers.

“Some of these buses only come once an hour, and you don’t want to miss it,” said Stanley. “Most of the people planning this don’t take the bus.”

Patrick Hoey of the BTD explained that Melnea Cass Boulevard improvements are in the design phase and expected start in late 2013. And in Dudley Square, design work will start soon on improvements to curb lines, sidewalks, signal timing, pedestrian crosswalks and street lighting, with construction to occur in 2014. For more information on the street projects, including public meeting announcements, see bostoncompletestreets.org and cityofboston.gov/transportation/melnea/.

Task force members also pressed the BWSC and MBTA presenters to provide numbers and policy details on their commitment to minority hiring.

The presentations seemed to allay concerns that the various agencies were not communicating and coordinating with each other. While the simultaneous construction and infrastructure projects will be burdensome, continued vigilance by the Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force and the community could help ensure each agency sticks to its promises of advance notification, interagency coordination, monitoring, mitigation and minority hiring.

For more information, see bwsc.org (sewer project), mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/ (Dudley Station work), and dudleyvision.org (Ferdinand site construction).