The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

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MBTA unveils the design for Ruggles improvement project phase II

A rendering of the new Columbus Avenue entrance to Ruggles Station. Phase two designs have been completed with construction expected to begin in the spring of 2024. Photo courtesy MBTA.

Ruggles Station, located in the heart of Northeastern’s campus, services many bus routes, the Orange Line and the MBTA Commuter Rail, making it a primary stop for many Massachusetts residents and one of the most used stations in the MBTA network. On Nov. 8, the MBTA announced the completion of the design for Phase II of the Ruggles Improvement Project, as the authority continues to conduct renovations on the station to improve the experience for riders.

The MBTA’s Ruggles Station Improvement Project, an $124.5 million initiative, began in 2017 with the goal of updating the station and addressing customer concerns. Sabrina Rice, a first-year business administration and media and screen studies combined major and regular T rider, said that the renovations are long overdue.  

“I think there is definitely room for improvement,” Rice said. “[The trains are] really slow, and the station is kind of old and sometimes it can feel a little unsafe, especially at night, but my main complaint is that it is really slow.”

The project has been split into two phases. During Phase I, which was completed in December 2021, the MBTA addressed many of the concerns Rice and other riders expressed by making Ruggles fully accessible —replacing four of the existing elevators at the station and installing a new one for passengers transferring from the bus to the train. Additionally, to enable more train flow through Ruggles, the MBTA built an 800-foot platform so more trains could stop at the station.

For those who frequent Ruggles Station, the first phase of the improvement project was an exciting announcement, addressing several of the accessibility concerns at the station. Eddiel Dones, an MBTA employee at Ruggles, hopes the rest of the $124.5 million project budget will go to more structural renovations as Phase II of the project commences.

“It’s been a while since they’ve fixed anything in the building. The money should go to better services, for elders, people in wheelchairs, etc.,” Dones said. “It should also go for more cover when the winter comes, of course. We need that.” 

The entrance to Ruggles Station from Northeastern’s campus. The $80 million improvement project for the station began in 2017. (Darin Zullo)

Phase II of the repairs is expected to begin in Spring 2024. The MBTA is planning to conduct structural repairs as well as add some additional accessibility improvements, addressing many of the concerns Rice, Dones and other Ruggles station regulars have brought up. One of the most anticipated renovations is the addition of a covered walkway at the Columbus Avenue entrance of the station.

The station upgrades are a part of the larger MBTA initiative, which was approved in July of 2023, to upgrade all its transportation infrastructure. With a $9.6 billion budget, the MBTA is embarking on the five-year task of renovating its stations, updating its fare collection systems and improving the accessibility of its transportation. 

An MBTA rider purchases a ticket at a payment booth in Ruggles. The MBTA approved an initiative earlier this year which would update fare collection systems and transportation accessibility. (Darin Zullo)

Joey DeVingo, a lifelong Massachusetts resident, said he is thrilled about the renovations the MBTA have lined up.

“I think the MBTA gets a lot of flack but it’s not really the company’s fault, it’s more Massachusetts’s fault for not funding them,” DeVingo said. “So I think this is really exciting that they are putting so much money into renovations because it is much needed.”

He said he is especially excited about the Ruggles Station improvement project and the new era of Ruggles the renovations will bring.

“Ruggles is right by Fenway, and any time I wanted to go to a Red Sox game I would take the train into Ruggles, so I have a lot of nostalgia tied to the station,” DeVingo said. “But if you were to tell me the whole station was being torn down and rebuilt, I would say that’s probably necessary.” 

About the Contributor
Darin Zullo, Deputy Photo Editor
Darin Zullo is a second-year journalism and English combined major with a minor in photojournalism. He is currently one of the deputy photo editors for the News. He has also written for both The News and the Global Observer in the past.
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