The MBTA has tried to address complaints that the Salem station is unprotected from the elements, he said, by adding an enclosed waiting area inside the garage with room for about 100 people. The area will not include heat or air-conditioning, he said, because those features attract people looking for shelter who are not using the trains.
“We find that it’s better for everyone if we don’t heat and cool it,” he said. “It’s much safer.”
There will also be two areas under the garage, although not enclosed, where people can wait for buses. The area along the roadway into the garage will be landscaped and include trees and benches, he said.
Doherty said the project lacked funding to incorporate art in the construction, but an architect designed an image of a locomotive wheel and piston for the side of the garage along the tracks.
The MBTA will make repairs to the historic brick signal tower next to the garage, then issue a request for proposals to see if someone wants to make use of it, perhaps for a coffee shop.
The garage is scheduled to open on Oct. 10, in time for the busy Halloween season in Salem.
In Beverly, Doherty pointed out that the four-level garage looks like it is only two levels, because one level is below ground level and another is on the roof. Cars can get into the garage from Rantoul Street in the front and from Court Street on the side.
The garage is set back from Rantoul Street, leaving an area where a building as tall as six stories could be built. The garage was also constructed to accommodate four stories of construction on top of the garage.
Doherty said the MBTA will put out a request for proposals in October looking for developers to propose projects for the space in front of the garage, on top of the garage, or both.