Businesses Impacted by Green Line Extension Get Creative

From a "#BeatTheBridge" hashtag to a detour date night, businesses in Somerville, Massachusetts, are getting creative as they deal with the construction on the MBTA's Green Line extension.

The third Green Line extension bridge closure is scheduled for the end of the week. The Medford Street bridge will close for work on Somerville High school before it can be modified for the extension project. The Broadway and Washington Street bridges are already closed for months at a time.

Surrounding the bridges are small businesses that are just trying to make sure they are still around when the project is complete.

"It is definitely scary. It is definitely stressful, but we are trying to stay positive," Dimitra Murphy, the owner of Daddy Jones Bar, said.

After driving the detours around the Broadway bridge, Murphy came up with the idea for a detour date night. She encourages her customers to stop by several businesses in the area of Magoun Square and Ball Square and use the hashtag "#BeatTheBridge."

"I figured, what can we do to make the most of it? I'm just trying to make some lemonade out of lemons," Murphy said.

At Gracie's Ice Cream in Union Square, they are making ice cream. On top of dealing with detours from the Washington Street bridge, they have a front row seat to some infrastructure work. With the road in front of the shop closed, they are getting creative with their posts on social media, reminding customers that Gracie's and other nearby businesses are still open.

"People keep telling us we should do a Green Line extension flavor, like a rocky road of some sort," Gracie's Ice Cream owner Aaron Cohen said. "We just want people to know there's a lot going on in this corner even though the road is closed."

A group called Union Square Main Streets was busy putting up flyers Thursday as part of a campaign that was sanctioned by the city of Somerville. They encourage people to shop local with sayings like "Break a Sweat" and "Trim Your Stache" in Union Square.

Zach Baum, the owner and manager of Bow Market, said a construction project that would normally drive people out is actually bringing the neighborhood together. He said he is confident Somerville will be filled with businesses by the time the Green Line is schedule to stop there in late 2021.

"Construction won't keep us down," Baum said. "We have to stay creative and stay positive."

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