Middlesex County

Some mayors not endorsing Orange Line shutdown

MEDFORD, Mass. — About a week ago, Medford’s mayor joined her counterparts in Malden and Melrose to send a letter to the MBTA asking for express buses from their locations into Boston and she’s now getting even more support.

“We have not received a definitive response to our letter and we continue to ask in whatever meetings we are in,” said Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn. “I was discussing with Somerville and Boston on one text chain and phone call chain and the Mayor of Malden and Melrose on another yesterday and I kind of combined the five just so we were all on the same page. We are looking for answers.”

“These shutdowns will have substantial regional travel impacts beyond just the transit,” MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said during Monday’s press conference to answer questions about the shutdown.

The mayors were invited but many declined.

“I didn’t feel it was a plan I could fully endorse,” said Lungo-Koehn. “I think it’s great they were going to be maintaining our tracks and replacing old infrastructure, but I think they should’ve been thought out.”

Some of the mayors say they have no idea what to tell their residents who know about the shutdown. However, they are even more concerned about those who haven’t been paying attention.

“If you’re going every day maybe you’re more in the know, but if you just have to pop on on September 1st for a doctor’s appointment at Tufts Medical Center and you show up to the Orange Line, well, you can’t go to Tufts Medical Center,” said Lungo-Koehn. “The shuttle buses won’t even go there. So it’s going to be very confusing and frustrating for a lot of people.”

Lungo-Koehn says she’s gotten together with the Mayor of Malden to try and figure out how to do their own bus lanes instead of waiting for help, but they say this all came on them so fast, that they would never be able to accomplish a task by themselves in the next few days.

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