Photo: The Waverley Station in Belmont.
Despite being out of the running for a portion of $150 million in state-financed accessibility upgrades, Belmont’s Waverley commuter rail station will remain open while the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority seeks a variance to delay required work on the site, according to an email message from State Sen. Will Brownsberger.
At a Friday, March 24 meeting with MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola about the future of the Waverley Station, Brownsberger said the Authority and the state’s Department of Transportation are conducting their capital planning process in which the DOT intends to allocate $150 million to upgrade the accessibility to its stations and other assets.
But while “[t]he specific project list has not been released … [DePaola] indicated that Waverley would not be on the list – other stations that are more heavily used are clear higher priorities for access improvements,” said Brownsberger.
While missing out on the current pool of funds to upgrade the facility in the heart of Waverley Square, Brownsberger said DePaola and the Authority would be “seeking a ‘time variance’ from the Architectural Access Board — keeping the accessibility upgrades of the station on the long-term to-do list, allowing the station to remain open and hoping to reach it as a project in the future.”
It was a decision by the state’s Architectural Access Board in 2013 that ordered the transportation authority to improve access to the Waverley Square commuter rail station to allow access-challenged citizens to take public transportation after what was considered “substantial” improvements were made to the station.
“If the AAB allows this variance, the station will remain open. Given the large investment that the MBTA is making in accessibility, it would be reasonable for the AAB to allow the variance,” said Brownsberger.