Residents at odds over Blue Hill Ave. station site

Mattapan residents clashed last week over the siting of a commuter rail station between Blue Hill Ave. and Cummins Highway. The MBTA is building the train station on the Fairmount Line as part of a court mandate that came out of an environmental lawsuit over the Big Dig.

T officials say the site is the best location for the T station, citing lower construction costs, no permanent land takings needed, and the only area in which a center island platform will fit.
The station drew support from several community members at a Thursday meeting between Mattapan residents and MBTA officials at the local branch library. “We need a stop there,” said Ardis Graham, who drew scattered applause for his remarks. “I think it’s a great idea. I don’t see what is the problem.”

But direct abutters to the proposed station say construction will damage their foundations and once built, the station will interfere with their quality of life. Barbara Fields, who leads a neighborhood group of residents of seven to eight streets near the proposed site, the Woodhaven Culbert Regis Neighborhood Association, pledged to do “whatever it takes,” including lying down in front of the tracks, to stop the station’s construction. Speaking with Graham after the meeting, Fields continued the debate, telling him, “If it was your house, you’d be taking a different position.”

Local lawmakers appear split on the issue, with state Reps. Russell Holmes and Linda Dorcena Forry supporting the construction, saying the new station will bring economic development to Mattapan Square and access to jobs in downtown Boston, and state Sen. Jack Hart and City Councillor Rob Consalvo saying they are sympathetic to abutters’ concerns.

Three other Fairmount Line stations are already under construction: Four Corners/Geneva Ave., Newmarket by the South Bay Shopping Center, and Talbot Ave., near Codman Square.

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