SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 19, 2012

MBTA garage construction set to begin within weeks

(Continued)

“I remember the mayor said to us at the end of one meeting, ‘Think brick,’” said Terry Rookard, the principal architect for the garage. “What we heard is that you wanted it to look like Beverly.”

The garage will have four levels, but one of those levels will be “below grade” due to the way the land slopes as it leads away from Rantoul Street. It will have an open design, meaning you can see right through the building to the other side when you are inside, Rookard said.

“Garages inherently aren’t the most attractive buildings that you see, but they did a very good job with the design,” said Mark Boyle, the MBTA’s assistant general manager for development.

The building will have two elevators, eight charging stations for electric cars, a bike-storage area, solar panels on the roof, and security cameras that will take pictures of the license plates of every vehicle that enters and exits.

“It’s going to be a pretty high-tech garage,” Rookard said.

The garage will be set back 85 feet from Rantoul Street, leaving room for future development in front of it. There will also be a covered pedestrian walkway from the garage over Pleasant Street to the train station, which is a block and a half away.

The current MBTA parking lot that will be replaced by the garage will close starting Nov. 5 due to the construction. Neighbors expressed concern about commuters who normally use that lot parking on side streets in the surrounding neighborhoods.

City Planner Tina Cassidy said the city is preparing to take several measures to alleviate that problem, including restricting some of the street spaces to one or two hours, limiting others to residents only and putting up signs directing commuters to municipal parking lots on Cabot Street.

Scanlon said the city might provide a shuttle bus from Cabot Street to the train station to encourage the use of those lots.

Pleasant Street resident Denise Staples praised MBTA officials for their responsive to residents’ concerns and suggestions.

“They listened,” she said. “They have been phenomenal to make a building that fits so well with the neighborhood.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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