Sullivan Square station in April 2017
|Location||Maffa Way and Cambridge Street|
Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts
|Owned by||Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority|
|Line(s)||Haymarket North Extension|
|Platforms||2 island platforms|
|Tracks||3 (Orange Line)|
2 (commuter rail)
|Connections||MBTA Bus: 86, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 101, 104, 105, 109, 194, CT2|
|Parking||222 spaces ($6.00 fee)|
7 accessible spaces
|Bicycle facilities||16 spaces|
|Opened||June 10, 1901 (elevated station)|
|Rebuilt||April 7, 1975 (modern station)|
|Passengers (2011)||10,125 (weekday average boardings)|
Sullivan Square is a rapid transit station in Boston, Massachusetts. It serves the MBTA's Orange Line, and is also a major bus transfer point. It is located just west of the Sullivan Square traffic circle in the Charlestown neighborhood, adjacent to East Somerville. The modern subway station was built in 1975, and replaced an earlier Charlestown Elevated station established in 1901.
Sullivan Square and its station are named for James Sullivan, an early 19th-century Governor of Massachusetts and first president of the Middlesex Canal Co. A plaque commemorating the canal is on the column right of the entrance to the station.
The B&M's East Somerville station building was closed in 1927; in February 1932, with just a few trains a day stopping, the railroad successfully petitioned the Public Utilities Commission to abandon the station entirely. However, the station remained in use, served by a small number of trains on both the Eastern Division and Western Division. On April 18, 1958, the Boston and Maine Railroad received permission from the Public Utilities Commission to drastically curtail its suburban commuter service, including abandoning branches, closing stations, and cutting trains. Among the approved cuts was the closure of all Eastern Division service south of Lynn, including the Saugus Branch plus mainline stations at East Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Forbes. The Saugus Branch and mainline stations were closed on May 16, 1958.
The first rapid transit station at Sullivan Square opened on June 10, 1901 as part of the Charlestown Elevated rapid transit line, a predecessor to the modern Orange Line. The original elevated station was considered a crown jewel of the "El", along with a similar station complex at Dudley Square in Roxbury. Surface streetcars ran up to 10 stub-end tracks at the level of the elevated stations, allowing cross-platform transfer underneath an expansive trainshed.:21 The station was designed as a major transfer point, with many streetcar lines that had gone downtown truncated to Sullivan.
Over time, deferred maintenance on the Charlestown Elevated and Sullivan Square station took its toll. A large fire also caused significant damage to the station's upper level on November 1, 1967. The Haymarket North Extension was constructed in the early 1970s along the Haverhill Line right-of-way, with a relocated new Sullivan Square station under the elevated I-93 expressway. The Charlestown Elevated closed on April 4, 1975; the Haymarket North Extension opened as far as Sullivan Square on April 7. The new Sullivan station was the terminus of the extension for five months until Wellington opened on September 6, 1975.
There were proposals to renovate the cavernous old trainshed for use as retail or gallery spaces, but no such conversion took place; the massive structure was subsequently razed in 1975 and repurposed as an MBTA service vehicle parking lot. Only supports for a footbridge crossing the traffic circle remain of the elevated station. A similar structure at the Dudley Square station on the Orange Line was carefully preserved, lowered to ground level, and reopened in 1993 as a major bus transfer station.
Sullivan Square Station was a proposed stop on the MBTA's planned Urban Ring Project. The Urban Ring was to be a circumferential Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line designed to connect the current MBTA Lines to reduce strain on the downtown transfer stations. Plans from 2008 also called for the addition of platforms to serve the adjacent Haverhill and Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail lines. The project was cancelled in 2010.
The MBTA plans to add an elevator to the reconstructed lower busway.
|Southbound||← Orange Line toward Forest Hills (Community College)|
|Island platform, doors will open on the left, right|
|Northbound||→ Orange Line toward Oak Grove (Assembly)→|
|Island platform, doors will open on the right|
|Northbound||→ No regular service|
Sullivan Square has long been a major transfer point for surface transit. The original elevated station had surface and elevated streetcar loops to serve a number of BERy and Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway lines. The modern station has a two-level busway that serves 13 MBTA bus routes to Medford, Everett, Malden and other surrounding cities:
- 86: Sullivan - Reservoir
- 89: Clarendon Hill or Davis - Sullivan
- 90: Davis - Assembly
- 91: Sullivan - Central Square, Cambridge
- 92: Sullivan - Downtown Boston
- 93: Sullivan - Downtown Boston
- 95: West Medford or Arlington Center - Sullivan
- 101: Malden Center - Sullivan via Winter Hill
- 104: Malden Center - Sullivan via Ferry Street
- 105: Malden Center - Sullivan via Newland Street Housing
- 109: Linden Square - Sullivan
- 194: Clarendon Hill - Haymarket
- CT2: Sullivan Square - Ruggles
- Belcher, Jonathan. "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit.
- "Ridership and Service Statistics" (PDF) (14th ed.). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. 2014.
- "James Sullivan (1744-1808)". mass.gov. James Sullivan (1744-1808). 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "B. & M. WANTS TO ABANDON STATIONS: One at East Somervile in List of Three". Daily Boston Globe. February 12, 1932. p. 20 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Authority to abandon East Somerville station". Daily Boston Globe. March 26, 1932. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
- Form 5: Haverhill - Lawrence - Boston (timetable), Boston and Maine Railroad, July 8, 1956
- "Drastic Service Cuts Approved on Five B.& M. Divisions". Daily Boston Globe. 19 April 1958. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
- Humphrey, Thomas J.; Clark, Norton D. (1985). Boston's Commuter Rail: The First 150 Years. Boston Street Railway Association. p. 77. ISBN 9780685412947.
- "B.&M. Closes Saugus Branch, 3 Other Lines". Daily Boston Globe. May 17, 1958. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com.
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- "This Time in History". Rollsign. Vol. 54 no. 11/12. Boston Street Railway Association. November–December 2017. p. 15.CS1 maint: date format (link)
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- "Main Line Elevated Photos". CelebrateBoston. CelebrateBoston.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Sullivan Square: Part 3 of 3". Somerville Development Forum. Somerville Development Forum. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- Sanborn, George M. (1992). A Chronicle of the Boston Transit System. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – via Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Urban Ring Phase 2 Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine. Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation.
- Urban Ring Phase 2 Plan Profile Drawings. Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation.
- Mullan, Jeffery B. (January 22, 2010). "Re: Urban Ring Phase 2, EOEEA #12565" (PDF). Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
- Brelsford, Laura (June 5, 2019). "SWA Initiatives—June 2019" (PDF). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Department of System-Wide Accessibility. p. 9.
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