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.
MassDOT: Fourth Annual Safe Streets Smart Trips High School Video Contest posted on May 19
MassDOT today announced the fourth annual statewide high school video contest – Safe Streets Smart Trips. The contest serves as an initiative within the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) to promote safe walking, bicycling, and driving behaviors within the Commonwealth. The contest began three …Continue Reading MassDOT: Fourth Annual Safe Streets Smart Trips High School Video Contest
New Bedford: Massachusetts Freight Plan Open House posted on May 19
MassDOT is hosting the fourth Open House for the Massachusetts Freight Plan as follows: Wednesday, May 24, 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, New Bedford Free Public Library, Meeting Room (3rd floor), 613 Pleasant Street, New Bedford MassDOT’s Freight Plan is a strategic planning document that …Continue Reading New Bedford: Massachusetts Freight Plan Open House
MassDOT Environmental Priority: Endangered Species Habitat Preservation posted on May 19
Today, May 19, is Endangered Species Day, a day when many environmental organizations and government agencies recognize conservation efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats. The MassDOT Highway Division works hard to ensure compliance with State and Federal endangered species regulations to avoid, minimize …Continue Reading MassDOT Environmental Priority: Endangered Species Habitat Preservation