According to a Boston Herald report, a “critical structural issue that was threatening public safety” was discovered this past weekend during an inspection at the entrance to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) JFK/UMass Station from Columbia Road to the pedestrian concourse leading to the station headhouse.
“The MBTA determined that closing the entrance was in the best interest of public safety,” said MBTA spokesperson Lisa Battiston, who added that, upon closing the entrance [of the Red Line station], inspectors “continued to look at the rest of the concourse and found additional structural issues that needed to be addressed.”
According to the Boston Herald report, “given the design details, mobilizing material and access, the T anticipates that the entrance will be closed for at least four to five weeks. Inspections will continue and additional areas may need to be closed and secured,” Battiston said.
The decision to close the station entrance “comes a week after the widow of Boston University professor David Jones, 40, who fell to his death through a decrepit staircase at Dorchester Station, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the MBTA and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT),” the Boston Herald reported.
According to the Boston Herald report, Jones of Milton, Mass., “somehow accessed the staircase, which had been closed for nearly two years, while out of a run and fell through the rusted-out stairs. His family called his death last September ‘preventable.’”
During the closure, according to the Boston Herald report, the MBTA “directed pedestrians to divert to the pedestrian bridge connection from the bus ramp, and the exist-only stairs at Columbia Road to the Ashmont platform will be opened, allowing riders to enter and exit.”
“The entrance was fenced off and signs were placed to notify the public of the closure,” the Boston Herald reported,” adding that “transit ambassadors are on site to assist customers, and accessible van service is available upon request for disabled riders between the Columbia Road entrance and JFK/UMass busway,” said Battiston.
“The MBTA recognizes that this is an inconvenience to our customers,” Battiston said. “We remain committed to safely operating and investing in our facilities, infrastructure and vehicles while delivering reliable service to our riders that depend on the MBTA for their transportation needs. We will continue to update the public as more information becomes available.”