Four Corners wins concession from T

The Greater Four Corners Action Coalition has succeeded in encouraging some significant changes to the MBTA Commuter Rail's plans for a Four Corners Station on the Fairmount Line. The adjustments could potentially set a new standard for the remaining three stations at Newmarket, Talbot Avenue and Blue Hill Avenue.

"The MBTA has begun regarding this line as a traditional commuter rail line and therefore believes it should be built with the same amenities (or lack of) as other commuter rail stations," wrote Pamela Bush of GFCAC in an e-mail to the Reporter. "The community has always maintained that this line was to be treated as a hybrid between commuter rail and rapid transit, as had the MBTA originally, and therefore should not be held to the same design conformities as traditional commuter rail stops."

Four Corners is expected to add the most riders to the Fairmount Line of any of the new stations.

One of the main points of contention had been the type of shelters planned. The MBTA had proposed a Y-shaped canopy, similar to those used at Uphams Corner, Morton Street and stations all over the commuter rail network.

In the 100 percent design plans finalized at a community meeting on July 29, the T unveiled changes that would include A-shaped roofs on the canopies on both platforms, as well as two fully enclosed shelters on each, including conduits for the possible future addition of heating elements inside, such as those that were recently installed at various stops along the Green Line in Brookline and Newton.

The T also agreed to include the foundation for 54 additional feet of canopy over the platform on the outbound side, a request from the community. Budget will determine whether the actual extra canopy can be added, said John Shwarz, the MBTA's deputy director of design and construction.

The finalized design also includes pick-up and drop-off areas, with parking, in lots just off of Washington Street and also Geneva Avenue. The Geneva side includes an additional ramp to the inbound platform, giving the platform three entrances, including one from Washington Street.

The station has ramps that are handicapped accessible, but advocates for an elevator at the station were not victorious. The T cited the cost of maintenance and staffing costs as the reason for their opposition to the idea.

Two meetings for the Talbot Avenue station have occurred so far, with little controversy, although some have called for A-shaped shelters, more protection from the elements, and attention to the traffic on Talbot when a new pick-up and drop-off are built.

The first meeting for Blue Hill Avenue Station took place on Tuesday, and Schwarz said the main issue there was parking. As the Community Builders Inc. plans to develop the Cote Ford property on Cummins Highway appear to be stalled, that may open new options for parking, he said, but emphasized no plans to use that property have been made yet, and it will be largely up to the community to determine how much parking is appropriate.

"We're looking at our options because there's not a lot of area we can build on right now," said Schwarz.

Some community members were opposed to a large amount of parking, according to state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, who also attended the meeting, but she said the T indicated it would look at projected ridership to determine how much might be needed.