Green line in East Cambridge

MBTA Orange and Green Line Closures: August - September 2022

This page is no longer being updated: as of September 19, the Orange Line and closed segment of the Green Line are running again. 

Check the MBTA service alerts webpage for information on future service changes

The MBTA closed the Green Line between Government Center and Union Square between Monday, August 22 and Monday, September 19. The closure included the portion of the Green Line connecting Government Center, Haymarket, North Station, Science Park, Lechmere, and Union Square. The entire Orange Line closed from Friday, August 19 at 9 p.m. to Monday, September 19.

Shuttle buses replaced Green Line and Orange Line service along the closed routes. At Lechmere, the only Cambridge station impacted by closures, shuttles stopped on Water Street.  

Resources

 

What are alternative travel options?

Stay home

If you have the option, please consider working from home during the shutdowns. Staying home if you can will open up space for first responders, essential workers, and people who must travel. 

Free shuttles

The MBTA is running shuttles frequently during peak hours. Plan for shuttles to take longer than Green and Orange Line trains. All shuttles will be ADA compliant. You can also request accessible vans at shuttle stops. The MBTA will post the latest shuttle information on its website.   

Green Line: 

The MBTA will replace the Green Line between Union Square and Government Center with shuttles. At Lechmere, the only Cambridge station impacted by closures, the MBTA plans for all shuttles to stop on Water Street. (Note: these plans are subject to change and will be updated accordingly.)

MBTA Green Line Shuttle stops at Government Center, Haymarket (Congress Street at Hanover Street), North Station, Science Park/West End, Lechmere, and Union (34 Prospect Street).

The Green Line shuttle route includes stops at Government Center, Haymarket (Congress Street opposite Hanover Street), North Station, Science Park/West End, Lechmere (stops on Water Street), and Union Square (34 Prospect Street).

Orange Line: 

There are Orange Line shuttle routes: between Oak Grove in Malden and Government Center in Boston and between Forest Hills and Back Bay/Copley. Between Government Center and Copley/Back Bay, you should take the Green Line or use other service alternatives.

Government Center/Tufts/Chinatown: 

A shuttle connects Government Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Chinatown stations every 30 minutes for free from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. You can get to to Chinatown from South Station by taking the Silver Line 4 and getting off at a temporary stop at Surface Street and Kneeland Street. 

Shuttle maps: (posted 8/18/22)

Biking and walking

Biking or walking to your destination will help keep roads clear of vehicles.

Cyclists and pedestrians should be extra cautious around shuttle buses and on shuttle routes. Shuttle buses move differently than MBTA buses: they are taller, take longer to turn, and swing wider to make turns. Because the shuttle buses are not regular city buses, shuttle drivers have a harder time seeing cyclists and people on sidewalks.

In and near Cambridge, watch out for shuttles on:

  • Charles River Dam Road (Craigie Bridge)
  • Gilmore Bridge
  • O'Brien Highway
  • Morgan Avenue
  • Side streets near Lechmere, including East Street, North First Street, and Water Street.

See the "shuttles" section above for maps.

Free Bluebikes

Bluebikes is offering free 30-Day Passes until September 18, allowing anyone who signs up to take an unlimited number of 45-minute trips at no cost. You can sign up for this free pass on the Bluebikes smartphone application or visiting Bluebikes.com/join and selecting "monthly membership."

MassDOT Bicycle Guidance

MassDOT has developed bicycle routes for people who choose to bicycle instead of taking the Orange Line during the closures. In Cambridge, these routes take cyclists on Medford Street, Cambridge Street, East Street, and Morgan Avenue, avoiding Charles River Dam Road. Please note that shuttle buses also run along Morgan Avenue and East Street. Exercise caution in these areas. 

Click here for the MassDOT Orange Line Bicyclist Guide

Commuter rail

During the shutdown, you can board the commuter rail at all Zone 1A, 1, and 2 stations for no cost—you just have to show a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket (the CharlieCard or CharlieTicket does not need to have funds or a pass on it). If you need a Charlie Card, the City of Cambridge's Parking Services division distributes them at 344 Broadway. 

Porter station (on the Fitchburg Line) is in Commuter Rail Zone 1A. You can take the Commuter Rail to North Station at no-cost. Click here to learn more about commuter rail schedules.

Buses

Consider taking MBTA buses. Key routes from Cambridge into Boston include the 1, 47, 66, and CT2buses. Use the MBTA Trip Planner to figure out your route.

Consider the EZRide from North Station to East Cambridge, Kendall Square, and Cambridgeport. Visit www.charlesrivertma.org/route-and-stops to figure out your trip.

Driving

We expect traffic increases on streets and highways in Cambridge, Somerville, Malden, Medford, Everett, and throughout Boston. Avoid trips by car if you can. By staying home, walking, biking, or taking transit instead of driving, you are leaving room on the roads for first responders, buses and shuttles carrying dozens of people, and people who must drive.

If you must drive, you can use Mass511 to check real-time traffic information and see real-time traffic cameras along your route. You can call 511 or check the Mass511 website for this information. Sign up for a Mass511 account online and you can save and get traffic alerts about your regular routes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What progress is the MBTA making during closures?

The MBTA posts weekly progress reports on the Orange Line and Green Line shutdown projects, with details on the work completed. 

What can businesses, universities, and private other organizations do?

Businesses should consider allowing staff to work from home for the duration of the closures. Although the Red Line isn’t shut down, everyone traveling during this time will be impacted by increased congestion.

Universities should make sure that students, staff, and parents are aware of closures and congestion before the semester starts.

Encourage employees and students to avoid driving or using rideshares when possible, and to switch trips to shuttles, public transit, bikes, and walking. Avoiding driving helps clear the roads for first responders, buses and shuttles carrying dozens of people, and people who must drive.

What accessibility measures is the MBTA taking?

  • Shuttle buses are all required to meet DOT accessibility standards. Some will have lowered floors, but the majority will have rear entry lifts.
  • Wheelchair accessible vans will be available upon request. Any rider preferring to be transported via accessible van—regardless of whether or not the rider uses a wheeled mobility device—can request to do so by speaking to the MBTA personnel who will be located at each station.
  • The RIDE will continue to be available to anyone with a disability that prevents them from taking the fixed route. To schedule The RIDE, call 844-427-7433 (MA Relay 711).
  • MBTA and Yankee employees are required to honor all reasonable requests for assistance, including providing sighted guide to/from shuttles and stations, finding a seat on a vehicle, requesting accessible vans, etc.
  • Service animals are welcome on all shuttle buses and vans during all hours of operation.

What is the City of Cambridge doing?

Cambridge staff are meeting daily with staff from the MBTA, MassDOT, other municipalities, and advocacy groups to advocate for Cambridge residents. We are helping the MBTA plan shuttle routes, communicating about traffic issues and Cambridge roads, and coordinating to prepare for the closures. Our goal is to support the MBTA shuttles and riders. We will monitor the shuttles, traffic pattern changes, and modify shuttle routes or traffic patterns, as necessary.

How do I contact the MBTA?

To ask questions about this diversion, you can contact the MBTA’s Customer Support Center by calling 617-222-3200 (MA Relay 711), emailing OLT@mbta.com, or submitting an online customer support form.
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