SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 25, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions: Salem’s MBTA garage and temporary parking


The Salem News

---- — The city of Salem has provided the following information regarding the MBTA's plans for a new parking garage and temporary parking in Salem.

When will the MBTA and city parking lots near the commuter rail platform close?



The MBTA and city parking lots at the commuter rail station in Salem will be closed effective Saturday, July 20, 2013.



How long will they be closed?



The lots will be closed for the duration of the project. The project is scheduled to be completed in October 2014, with the opening of the new 690-space parking garage and commuter rail station.



What access will be available to commuters who wish to get to the platform?



Throughout construction the station will remain open for trains and bus service. Pedestrian access from Bridge Street and Washington Street will remain open, as will bicycle access at Bridge Street. Buses and the RIDE pickup and drop-off will remain available at the station, as will handicap parking and handicap pickup and drop-off. The precise location of handicap parking and other on-site access will change during the two construction phases; visit www.buildingsalem.com/projects-documents to see the MBTA’s presentation on where these locations will be during each construction phase.



Will passengers be able to drop-off/pick-up near the station (“kiss-and-ride”)?



“Kiss-and-ride” will be provided, however it will not be available at the commuter rail platform site during the construction period. It is proposed to be located in a dedicated lane along the north-bound side of Bridge Street and the Bridge Street overpass ramp onto North Street/Route 114. Pedestrians exiting vehicles from those locations have quick and safe access to the two pedestrian entrances to the station site. The lanes will be separated from traffic by jersey barriers and a police detail will be present at times for the initial days of its operation. The taxi stand will be relocated to the northwest corner of Federal and Washington Street.



When will the temporary parking lot at the Universal Steel site be open?



A precise date has not yet been determined, but the current goal is to have the 120-car temporary parking lot open as soon as possible, likely around mid-August. Construction of the lot has been delayed largely due to rainwater collecting on the construction site during the spring months (the site is in a floodplain) and to EPA and DEP’s contamination remediation taking slightly longer than anticipated. The city has begun the process of scheduling paving and striping, to expedite the lot’s completion once EPA and DEP have completed excavation and remediation work.



What is the charge to park at the Universal Steel site?



There will be no charge to park at the temporary city parking lot at the Universal Steel site.



What will happen to the Universal Steel parking lot after the MBTA garage is built?



Once the MBTA garage opens in October 2014, the temporary city parking lot at the Universal Steel site will be sold. The city will solicit proposals for redevelopment through a request for proposals (RFP) process. The site will have been remediated and will be shovel-ready for redevelopment. Once redevelopment is complete it will grow the city’s tax base.



What are other alternatives for accessing the Salem commuter rail station during construction?



Commuters seeking to access the station between July 2013 and October 2014 are encouraged to, as much as feasible, walk or bike. Public parking, while limited in quantity, will be available at the Universal Steel site, Leslie’s Retreat Park, and along Bridge Street.



The city also maintains a surface parking lot on Church Street — pay at the multi-space meter before you leave the lot. Portions of the Riley Plaza surface parking lot are also available on a daily basis to holders of a Zone 1 monthly parking pass; these passes cost $25/month and are available at the City Parking Office (1 New Liberty St., Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). The monthly pass application is online at http://parkinginsalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/parking-pass-application.pdf. Please note, a monthly pass does not guarantee you a parking space.



Another option for those looking to commute from Salem to Boston is the Salem Ferry, located at 10 Blaney St., off of Derby Street. Any commuter with a MBTA Zone 3 Commuter Rail pass can use their pass on the ferry’s commuter runs at no extra charge. Visit www.salemferry.com for schedule and commuter ticket information.



Alternative commuter rail access is also available at stations in Beverly and Lynn.



Will there be any improvements to the pedestrian access routes to the commuter rail station?



Yes, the city is working on a plan to enhance the two “unofficial” pedestrian access routes to the commuter rail station, from the HMA parking lot across the east side of the North Street overpass and from Leslie’s Retreat Park across the west side of the overpass. Both of these routes are complicated by private ownership issues, restrictions on how pedestrians are permitted to cross a freight train line, and handicap accessibility requirements. A draft plan to improve these routes is available on the Project Documents page at www.BuildingSalem.com. The city is establishing cost estimates for the three routes (the two above, as well as improvements to the pedestrian route from the Universal Steel parking lot to the commuter rail site entrance) and will proceed with implementation of the improvements subject to budget and legal considerations, which we hope can be addressed soon.



How can I stay informed about the garage, Universal Steel lot, and pedestrian access improvements?



News about these projects is shared via the City of Salem’s BuildingSalem public information initiative. You can find details online at www.BuildingSalem.com or by calling 978-619-5605 or emailing buildingsalem@salem.com. BuildingSalem can also be found on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/BuildingSalem and www.twitter.com/BuildingSalem. If you have further questions about the proposed garage and commuter rail station, visit the Project Documents page at www.BuildingSalem.com to see the latest design and construction phasing presentation from the MBTA.