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Salem Station Garage


 

Building a parking garage at the Salem MBTA station is one of the major priorities for the Salem Partnership. The current parking lot provides only 460 spaces, of which 340 are on land owned by the MBTA and 120 spaces are on city-owned land. After 7am, commuters are forced to park on busy Bridge Street or on surrounding neighborhood streets due to the parking lot filling up completely in the early morning. There is an urgency to complete a new garage by 2011 due to a settlement requiring that monies be used for public transportation improvements in exchange for the major investment in highways that made up the "big-dig". Regardless of that, the fact of the matter is that Salem is in a real dire need for a parking garage at the Salem commuter rail platform.

In 2008, from 6:15 am until 8:30am on a typical cold north shore winter morning the Mayor, Kim Driscoll, and members of her administration, representatives of the Salem Partnership, and concerned citizens asked commuters to sign a petition in favor of developing the garage. Over 1,000 commuters readily signed the petition. All petitions were sent to state to the governor, as well as state and federal officials in the hope of stimulating support for the proposed project. 


Mayor Kimberly Driscoll and executive director Patricia Zaido produced a documentary on the petition drive and the status of the MBTA parking garage. This documentary was also sent to the governor, state, and federal officials. The petition drive and the documentary pushed the project forward. Mayor Kim Driscoll then formed a working committee. This group consists of representatives from the City, state, federal legislative delegations, and officials from state agencies including the T. The working group met and formulated a strategy to move the project forward. The MBTA announced that they were moving forward on a 15% design for the garage. 


As part of the 15% design effort, the City, MBTA, State agencies and design team are coordinating and continuing efforts for the proposed garage. Under consideration include structured parking for between 700 and 950 spaces, with additional surface parking, kiss and ride area, accessible spaces, and buses. A sheltered waiting area is being incorporated into the design and future access to the waterfront is being explored.

  • In October 2009, Gov Deval Patrick came to Salem and announced that a parking garage will be built at the MBTA train station.
  • There have been two public meetings held and a 30% design has been completed.
  • In June 2010 Gov Patrick was the featured speaker at the Salem Partnership's 23rd annual dinner. Both Gov Patrick and the Secretary of Transportation, Jeffery Mullan, stated at that event and to the media, that a true train station will be built in Salem.
  • In April 2011, the board of directors of the MBTA approved $30 million for the Salem commuter rail. Also in April, Richard Davey, General Manager of the MBTA came to the Salem commuter rail platform and spoke to commuters about their needs and concerns. He assured all that a real train station would be built in Salem.
  • In July 2011, The MBTA released the Salem station scope of work and schedule. Actual building of the garage is to begin in January 2013 and the project is scheduled to be completed in September 2014. It is anticipated that this will be a 28 month project.
  • On February 16 2012, a MBTA Salem Station and Parking Garage community meeting was held. The MBTA project team was introduced. Project updates and impacts as well as design progress were discussed and a schedule projected.
  • On April 9, 2012 a MBTA public meeting was held. The MBTA team gave a project update. Building elevation studies were shown and possible options based on available funding (approximately $32 million) were presented for consideration.
  • On June 15, 2012, it was announced that an additional $5 million of funding has been secured for the Salem MBTA garage project. This vastly improves the previous plan, adding an extra level of parking, enhancing pedestrian and site conditions, and completing the external restoration of the historic signal tower which is located on the project site. Securing this additional funding adds a key component to the overall success of this project, as it will bring the total number of spaces in the garage from 553 to over 700. In addition, the funding affords opportunity for some aesthetic improvements to the original plan, which will be highlighted by the preservation of the longtime decaying signal tower.
  • On June 26, 2012, a public meeting was held on the 30% design of the project. The meeting was well attended. Both positive and constructive feedback was given.
  • On June 28, 2012, a MEPA consultation meeting was held. The MBTA is requesting a waiver of the requirement to prepare an Environmental Impact Report. This meeting was also well attended. Many spoke in support of the waiver; only one person spoke against it.
  • Construction has begun on a parking garage at the MBTA train station. it will be completed by October 1st, 2014. There will be 700 parking spaces, an indoor lobby, a high platform to enter the train, a bridge to access the station from the street and newly landscaped space. It took 20 years but it has begun!