Dec 12, 2022 - News

MBTA's Green Line extension finally opens

MBTA employees ready the new Medford/Tufts station for its debut today. Photo: David L. Ryan/Globe/Getty Images

Many thought the day would never come, but the completed Green Line extension from Cambridge to Medford opens Monday.

Details: Riders will be able to take the MBTA's streetcar line from the current terminal at Lechmere Station in East Cambridge all the way to the new Medford/Tufts station at Tufts University.

  • The route also includes new stations at Ball Square, Magoun Square, Gilman Square and East Somerville.

Why it matters: The new line is a boon for Tufts, which will have direct access from campus to downtown Boston for the first time.

  • WBUR talked to some Tufts students excited about riding downtown without having to transfer to get to nearby Chinatown or to the neighborhoods surrounding Boston University on the Green Line.
  • "Since we live all the way across campus we have to take the shuttle to Davis, to get on the Red Line, to get to Park Street," sophomore Charles Mitchell told the station. "This just takes us directly there."

Flashback: The effort to extend the line has been in the works since at least the 1940s.

  • The state agreed to the modern $2.8 billion effort in 1990, but proper planning didn't occur until 2006 and construction was delayed multiple times, pushing back the initial 2014 opening date.
  • Green Line service to Union Square in Somerville opened in May, along with a reconstructed Lechmere Station.

What they're saying: "It's been a long-time promise, well before I was born and I'm 70 years old," former U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Somerville) told Axios.

  • Capuano was a pivotal force in getting federal funding for the project and advocating for the extension with state officials and two governors while serving in Congress from 1999 to 2019.
  • The new maintenance facility on the route is named after Capuano.

The latest: There's an opening day celebration at the new Ball Square station at 7am; city officials will greet passengers and hand out memorabilia as a band plays.

  • Somerville will host a larger celebration at Somerville High School Dec. 17, featuring music, a food truck, hot cocoa and an oral history project.

What's next: The MBTA expects to expand commuter rail service to the South Coast as early as next year and Gov.-elect Maura Healey has said rail service to Springfield is one of her top priorities.

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