Posted by Christina Jedra June 7, 2013 11:48 AM
The following was submitted by MassDOT:
On June 6, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott joined elected officials and community activists in re-opening the Wedgemere Commuter Rail Station in Winchester as a fully accessible station. Located along the Lowell Commuter Rail Line, the station improvements in Winchester create better accessibility for all customers through the installation of new ramps, platforms, and parking lot upgrades.
“In reopening Wedgemere Station, the MBTA is showing how we move forward in helping to provide better service for our customers. This project highlights the MBTA’s commitment to expanding access to our system for people throughout the Commonwealth,” said General Manager Beverly Scott. “Projects like these speak to the overarching MassDOT priorities of customer service and safety, as well as our goal of having accessibility system-wide.”
The improvements at Wedgemere station were made possible because of the tireless work of a Winchester resident, Jean Batty, who worked closely with the MBTA, Federal Transit Administration and local officials to secure funding so that her entire family, including her son Theo, who happens to use a wheelchair, could have access to the MBTA system.
“For a kid who just wants to be able to take the train to Fenway like everyone else, this is a dream realized. And for all of those who want the access to services they deserve under the law, this is another recognition that when we maximize participation, we move forward as a country,” said Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA). “Massachusetts has always been a hub of activism for increasing accessibility for Americans with disabilities, and I thank the Patrick administration for using Recovery Act funds to get this project completed.”
The Wedgemere Commuter Rail Station improvement project cost $2.2 million and has been funded through an American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (AARA) grant. This federal money allowed for the work of designing and installing two new mini-high platforms and two accessible ramps that lead to the platform from the public way. The funds also helped with parking lot improvements, and lighting improvements that comply with accessibility codes. The MBTA consulted with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Civil Rights Office to determine that the project represents an appropriate accessibility improvement.
Senator Katherine Clark said, "I'm so pleased that these upgrades to Wedgemere will improve the station and make it more accessible to all residents. They are another great example of the productive partnership between the Commonwealth and the Town of Winchester."
The Town of Winchester was a key partner to the MBTA throughout this project. The design of the accessible elements that we see today is reflective of the collaborative process that existed between the Town and the MBTA.
“I am very happy with the renovated Wedgemere Station, which increases the opportunity and convenience of public transportation for all,” said State Senator Patricia Jehlen. “I am grateful to the City of Winchester and the MBTA for their commitment to increase accessibility and improve the station for all T riders. I am especially thankful to Jean Batty for all of her important advocacy.”
The Wedgemere Station reopening demonstrates the commitment of the MBTA to expand access throughout the Commonwealth and brings the total of accessible MBTA commuter rail stations to 93. With the help of advocates, the town of Winchester the MBTA was able to identify problems and work together to ensure that Wedgemere Station is fully accessible to all.
“I’m thrilled that these upgrades to Wedgemere Station will open access to the commuter rail and Boston to many more Winchester residents,” said Rep Lewis. “This project was the result of a strong partnership between Winchester residents and our local, state, and federal government.”
Safety remained a priority throughout construction, as there were no major reportable accidents and throughout the construction process, the station remained operational.