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80% of MBTA Blue Line under speed limits, MBTA says




The MBTA announced Friday that it expected to end the global speed limits on all streetcar and subway lines by this weekend, but admitted that block restrictions will remain in place. According to the MBTA, block speed limits are a stretch “that may include multiple defects that will need to be investigated or reduced as each defect is validated and corrected,” MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “We are taking a conservative approach as we continue to work through this issue,” Gonneville said. “The MBTA lifted the global speed limit on the Mattapan line, and I̵[ads1]7;m optimistic that we will be in a position to lift the global speed limit on the green at the start of service,” Gonneville said. The MBTA presented a series of pie charts showing the remaining block speed limits that will remain in place. The Blue Line, with service from downtown Boston to Wonderland Station in Revere, has the largest proportion of tracks that must have reduced speeds, at 80%. The MBTA’s monthly speed limit report, released in late February before global speed limit measures were implemented by the transit agency, put the amount of speed-limited Blue Line track at 1.6%. January’s report put the speed-limited track on the line at 0%. An MBTA spokesperson said Friday that the restrictions were added “as part of the ongoing process of validating and verifying inspection data collected during the previous geometry track scans.” “Riders should continue to plan for longer headways and additional travel time throughout the system,” Gonneville said. “Some of these speed restrictions will require corrective action and will take longer than others to resolve and lift,” Gonneville said. “We are actively working on it now and working through those plans.” When the end-to-end speed restrictions are lifted on the Green Line, about 16 percent of that line will be subject to slow zones, according to MBTA data presented Friday . Slow zones cover 22 percent of the Mattapan line. The T said Friday that 24 percent of the Red Line and 22 percent of the Orange Line are still under slow zones, a combined rate of 31.9 percent that did not budge during the work week. The MBTA did not provide details on where the newly applied brakes are located. The MBTA said it intended to unveil a more dynamic dashboard that gave riders more real-time information about speed limits. Gonneville said the dashboard would be unveiled at next week’s MBTA board meeting. The widespread mandatory slow zones, announced and ordered last Thursday night after MBTA officials determined they did not have sufficient documentation to prove they fixed previously identified track defects, continue to saddle riders with slow, less reliable and more crowded rides. The Department of Public Utilities, which serves as the state agency responsible for the MBTA’s safety oversight, inspected a section of Red Line track on Monday, March 6 and observed concerns with the quality of the tracks. On Tuesday, March 7, DPU Rail Transit Safety Director Robert Hanson sent MBTA officials six letters ordering corrective actions. On Thursday, March 9, the MBTA implemented a system-wide slowdown, then replaced universal speed limits with a vaguely defined patchwork on the Red, Blue and Orange lines the following morning. In a statement to WCVB, the governor’s office said Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has been in contact with MBTA management about the speed restrictions and instructed them to conduct the track inspections as quickly and safely as possible while keeping the public regularly updated. “We are in the final stages of our search for an MBTA General Manager and will have more to share soon,” Karissa Hand, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a written statement. Information from the State House News Service was used in this report.

The MBTA announced Friday that it expected to end the global speed limits on all streetcar and subway lines by this weekend, but admitted that block restrictions will remain in place.

According to the MBTA, block speed limits are a stretch “that may include multiple defects that will need to be investigated or reduced as each defect is validated and corrected,” MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said at a news conference Friday afternoon.

“We are taking a conservative approach as we continue to work through this case,” Gonneville said.

“The MBTA lifted the global speed limit on the Mattapan line, and I am optimistic [Saturday]we will be in a position to lift the global speed limit on the green at the start of the service,” Gonneville said.

The MBTA presented a series of pie charts showing the remaining block speed limits that will remain in place.

The Blue Line, with service from downtown Boston to Wonderland station in Revere, has the most tracks that must have reduced speeds, at 80%.

80% of MBTA Blue Line under speed limits, MBTA says

The MBTA’s monthly speed limit report, released in late February before global speed limit measures were implemented by the transit agency, put the amount of speed-limited Blue Line track at 1.6%. January’s report put the speed-limited track on the line at 0%.

An MBTA spokesperson said Friday that the restrictions were added “as part of the ongoing process of validating and verifying inspection data collected during the previous geometry track scans.”

“Riders should continue to plan for longer headway and additional travel time throughout the system,” Gonneville said.

“Some of these speed restrictions will require corrective action and will take longer than others to resolve and lift,” Gonneville said. “We are actively working on it now and working through those plans.”

When the end-to-end speed restrictions are lifted on the Green Line, about 16 percent of that line will be subject to slow zones, according to MBTA data presented Friday. Slow zones cover 22 percent of the Mattapan line.

The T said Friday that 24 percent of the Red Line and 22 percent of the Orange Line remain under slow zones, a combined rate of 31.9 percent that did not budge during the work week.

The MBTA did not provide details on the location of the newly imposed decelerations.

The MBTA said it intended to unveil a more dynamic dashboard that gave riders more real-time information about speed limits. Gonneville said the dashboard will be unveiled at next week’s MBTA board meeting.

The widespread mandatory slow zones, announced and ordered last Thursday night after MBTA officials determined they did not have sufficient documentation to prove they fixed previously identified track defects, continue to saddle riders with slow, less reliable and more crowded rides.

The Department of Public Utilities, which serves as the state agency responsible for MBTA safety oversight, inspected a section of Red Line track on Monday, March 6 and observed concerns with the quality of the tracks. On Tuesday, March 7, DPU Rail Transit Safety Director Robert Hanson sent MBTA officials six letters ordering corrective actions. On Thursday, March 9, the MBTA implemented a system-wide slowdown, then replaced universal speed limits with a vaguely defined patchwork on the Red, Blue and Orange lines the following morning.

In a statement to WCVB, the Massachusetts governor’s office said Gov. Maura Healey has been in contact with MBTA management about the speed restrictions and instructed them to conduct the track inspections as quickly and safely as possible, while keeping the public regularly updated.

“We are in the final stages of our search for an MBTA General Manager and will have more to share soon,” Karissa Hand, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a written statement.

Information from the State House News Service was used in this report.



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