When its Summer Street doors opened to the public on New Year’s Day 1899, South Station was considered one of the largest and most luxurious train stations in the world. At its opening, the terminal boasted 28 tracks for passenger trains as well as passenger amenities that suited the era, including men’s and women’s waiting lounges. For decades, rail travel boomed and South Station boomed right along with it, until the private automobile supplanted the train as the preferred method of travel for many Americans. But as the railroads declined so did South Station’s facilities, which were carved up and partly sold off, eventually leaving a reduced station, fewer amenities, and only 13 tracks.
Over the last several decades, annual ridership for the various modes of transportation at South Station – rail, subway, bus – has soared to 20 million passengers, leaving the station too small to meet daily demands. The waiting areas are often overcrowded, and passengers line up in uncovered areas to board trains. Passengers must contend with an uninviting and difficult-to-find passageway to the adjacent bus terminal and street congestion from taxis and other vehicles on Atlantic Avenue.
Although its original footprint has shrunk, many of South Station’s key features have been preserved. These features serve as inspiration as MassDOT begins to design a bigger, better, and more modern South Station. As a core principle, MassDOT intends to honor the historic architecture of South Station, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, while simultaneously securing the future of the station as an intermodal hub that will serve the expanding transportation needs of the Northeast U.S. for decades to come.
MassDOT has listened to its customers – the daily users of South Station – and is now exploring design concepts for an expanded South Station that include more light; more open space inside the station; better connections to surrounding neighborhoods; better services and facilities for passengers; better use of technology for passenger information; and waiting areas that are safe, comfortable, and easy to find. Over time, South Station will become more than a rail station: it will feature a great civic space, public venues, shopping, restaurants, and other amenities. The design team is looking for feedback about what you would like to see in the expanded station.
Like other landmark railway stations around the world, South Station is now being reinvented. We envision a new kind of landmark, one that serves several modes of travel while also offering a variety of experiences. Stopping by after a walk along the harbor, meeting friends for dinner, or shopping in a new retail arcade – these activities will all be possible at the new South Station.
Worcester: Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center Project Advances posted on Feb 25
MassDOT has announced that it is continuing to move forward with the project to construct the Worcester Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center and the adjacent multi-use path in the City of Worcester. A Notice to Proceed (NTP) was recently awarded for Phase II of this project …Continue Reading Worcester: Blackstone Gateway Visitor Center Project Advances
I-90 Toll Plaza Demolition Construction Updates posted on Feb 24
The MassDOT I-90 Toll Demolition and Road Reconstruction Project continues with work at all 23 locations trending on or ahead of schedule. Each work location has its own unique traffic management and construction management plans. All work is contingent upon the weather. Please check the …Continue Reading I-90 Toll Plaza Demolition Construction Updates
MassDOT Freight Plan Second Open House Set posted on Feb 22
MassDOT is hosting the second Open House for the Massachusetts Freight Plan as follows: Thursday, March 9, 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, The Conference Center at Bentley University, Room 325ABC (Third Floor), 175 Forest Street, LaCava Campus Center #300, Waltham The second Freight Advisory Committee …Continue Reading MassDOT Freight Plan Second Open House Set