Demolition of Milton Station Staircase Beginning, Despite Local Pushback

The town of Milton sued the MBTA in the fall, in an effort to compel the agency to repair the dilapidated staircase

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Work will begin on Monday night to demolish a staircase at the Milton MBTA station, impacting service along the Mattapan Line for several nights this week.

Shuttle buses will replace trolley service along the Mattapan Line from 8:45 p.m. until the end of service, beginning Monday and continuing through Thursday.

The work to demolish the staircase will begin each of those nights from 9 p.m. and continue through 5:30 a.m., according to the Town of Milton, which also said that a contractor will use a hydraulic hammer to complete the work and will attempt to mitigate the noise.

A news release from the town said that there was no plan to immediately replace the stairs after demolition work is complete, despite "repeated requests" from the suburban community that the MBTA repair the stairs.

The stairs have been in bad shape for years, and the closure of them has blocked access from Adams Street. Access to the station is currently available only through Wharf Street or from the Neponset Trail, which some residents say is not practical and even unsafe.

“They’ve been blocked off for the last 4 to 5 years,” Kaitlyn Redman said of the stairs. “If you have to go around, it’s significantly longer. During the winter they don’t even plow the sidewalk over there. You’ve missed your trolley, you’re late for work, and they’re not even planning on replacing them with anything? What are my tax dollars going for?”

The MBTA released a statement that read in part:

“Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca has directed the MBTA to urgently move forward with design work for the new Milton station, including a fully ADA compliant path to travel in the area where this staircase is located.”

The MBTA did not say when the overhaul would be completed.

The town of Milton sued the MBTA in the fall, in an effort to compel the agency to repair the dilapidated staircase.

The legal complaint stated, "Milton's efforts have been ignored by the MBTA, leaving Milton with its hands tied and a perpetually decrepit staircase in a station frequently used by its residents. After years of attempted resolution and serious frustration, Milton files this suit as a last resort. To be clear, no monetary damages are sought; Milton simply seeks to compel the MBTA to do its statutorily-imposed job."

"It's a blighted eyesore and a hazard for the town," said State Rep. Bill Driscoll Jr. He was one of several local and state leaders who wrote to the MBTA urging the staircase be replaced.

After years of asking the MBTA to repair a broken set of stairs, the town of Milton is taking legal action.

In a letter responding to these requests, former MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak explained the Adams Street staircase cannot be repaired and reopened because it would require extensive repairs to make it fully accessible.

"At a minimum, this would require installing an elevator, and elevating the platform approximately 14 inches, which is roughly 8 inches higher than the existing platform. This would impact all station connections and ultimately require a full station replacement," Poftak wrote.

He also noted the staircase is scheduled to be demolished as part of the MBTA' Mattapan Line Transformation Project. The goals of the $114 million project include providing state of good repair and enhancing accessibility to all stations.

As part of the project, the Milton Station will eventually be replaced.

Mark Niederberger said the MBTA needs to do a better job at preventive maintenance to avoid these long projects and keep the aging infrastructure from crumbling like it has over the last few years – from a falling ceiling tile last week to the death of a professor who fell from the JFK Station staircase in 2021.

“Normally you go around and check everything and do preventive maintenance, and say, ‘OK, that’s broken, let’s fix it now,’ instead of decaying and falling apart like the stairs did,” Niederberger added.

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