By SCOTT JACKSON
A local neighborhood group will host community meetings over the coming weeks concerning the possible re-opening of the Independence Avenue gate to the Quincy Adams MBTA station, and residents on both sides of the issue are invited to express their opinion.
The Penn’s Hill Neighborhood Association will hold meetings on May 31 and June 14 at the First Presbyterian Church, 270 Franklin St., concerning the gate re-opening. Both meetings start at 7 p.m. A third meeting is tentatively set for the church at 7 p.m. on June 28 as well.
The Penn’s Hill Neighborhood Association is not taking a position on the issue.
“We are agnostic on it,” Robert Buchholz, the group’s treasurer, said. “We see our role as providing a forum for people to say if it should be open or not.”
When the Quincy Adams station first opened in 1983, commuters could access it through entrances on Burgin Parkway and Independence Avenue. The Independence Avenue entrance, which served pedestrians, was closed in the late 1980s after Quincy residents complained about T passengers parking on residential streets near the station and using that gate, instead of parking in the MBTA lot accessible through Burgin Parkway.
The transit agency is set to begin a $42 million project to renovate the garage at the station beginning this September and continuing for 39 months, which will include work to prepare the Independence Avenue entrance for a possible re-opening. T officials told the City Council in April the city would have the final say on whether it re-opens. Chris Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch, said at that time the administration would need to gather public input before a decision is reached.
The issue of the gate is one that arises frequently, Buchholz said, but doesn’t get far because there has been no venue for people on either side to express their opinion. The MBTA held a community meeting in April on the planned renovations to the Quincy Adams station and many residents there that night wanted to discuss the gate, for example, but couldn’t.
“We figured we should provide a forum to have a conversation, Buchholz said.
The upcoming meetings will be open to all Quincy residents in Wards 2 and 4.
“Although we only represent a small portion of Ward 2, we want these to be open to folks outside our boundaries in Ward 2 and also in Ward 4,” Buchholz said.
City and MBTA officials will also be invited to the meetings.
The PNHA has also created an online survey residents can fill out.
While the neighborhood association is staying neutral on the issue, Buchholz, who walks to the Quincy Adams station each day, said he is in favor of opening the gate.
“Personally I am in favor of the gate opening. I walk to and from the train station every day, about 1.3 miles in each direction whereas if the gate were open it would be about a half mile, so it adds considerable time to my day,” he said.
“It would be nice to find a way to alleviate legitimate concerns about the gate opening and create benefits for the neighborhood at the same.”
Buchholz said Quincy, like many communities near Boston, is becoming a more popular place to live but remains affordable for people to purchase homes.
“But people moving to the Boston area expect train access,” he said.
“I understand there are legitimate concerns on the other side of the issue,” Buchholz added. “It is important they have their voices heard as well.”