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5 Boston areas that will see big changes because of public transit

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Including in Somerville and Quincy

Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images

No one should doubt the transformative power of public transportation on cities or parts of cities.

Here are five spots around the Boston region that will surely see some mammoth changes—if they’re not seeing them already—due to new or expanded transit.

Union Square in Somerville

Somerville’s Union Square is slated to get one of the new stops along the extended Green Line from a relocated Lechmere to Medford—one of the biggest public transit projects in the entire U.S. of A.

The station is supposed to open in 2021—though delays have plagued the $2.3 billion extension—and, when it does, it will open among some historic development, at least for Somerville: Developer US2 plans to construct 1.38 million square feet of office, lab, retail, hotel, and arts space in Union Square as well as approximately 950 residences.

The project’s footprint is highlighted above.

East Somerville

People boarding a subway trolley. Boston Globe/Contributor

East Somerville is essentially getting two stops on the 4.7-mile Green Line extension, including a relocated Lechmere station nearby in Cambridge. (Editor’s note: This sentence was reworked to make it clearer that the relocated Lechmere station will be in Cambridge, near East Somerville.)

The Green Line presence will only raise the profile of the neighborhood in terms of desirability for prospective tenants and owners with jobs in downtown Boston.

Medford/Somerville borderlands

Site of the College Avenue stop in 2015.

The border between Somerville and Medford will get two Green Line stations come early next decade, including one dubbed College Avenue next to Tufts University.

It will be the second proper T stop in Medford (after the Wellington Orange Line stop farther to the east), and one that could do for that area what the Red Line’s Davis Square stop did for its surroundings following its opening in 1984 (e.g., drive up prices and spur development).


Jason Lawrence/Flickr

Silver Line service from downtown Boston into Chelsea is expected to start in April 2018. The five-mile route will run from South Station to a stop just west of Everett Avenue, and will facilitate connections to the Red and Blue lines.

An estimated 8,700 people will use the route daily, a figure sure to further boost Chelsea’s status as a Plan B for buyers and renters priced out of Boston proper.

The route will include an exclusive right-of-way for Silver Line buses once in Chelsea, where there will be four stops total.

And, as part of the extension, the state will relocate Chelsea’s commuter rail station westward and spruce it up quite a bit.

Quincy Center

John Phelan/Wikipedia

The MBTA in July 2017 issued a request for interest in redeveloping Quincy Center Station.

Specifically, the agency wants to know if anyone’s interested in developing the 6.31 acres of air rights above and around the hub, which includes Red Line and commuter-rail stops.

If there is interest, the MBTA will then issue a request for proposals. And that could lead to a major project at the site—which could, in turn, lead to even more development in that already busy, busy area. Stay tuned.