Subway Line Extension Brings Changes to Square

If you live in Wigglesworth or any of the other dorms that border Mass Ave, you'll notice that your suite may be a little different from those elsewhere in the Yard.

The air-conditioners and the double-paned windows that you'll find are just one by-product of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's (MBTA) half-a-billion-dollar decision to extend the Red Line subway to the northwest.

Although that project initially met with intense community opposition--the city council filed a suit against the construction, but it eventually lost--the bulldozers, cranes and huge belching duptrucks of the Perini Corporation are now as familiar a site in the Square as the street musicians.


Not everybody is happy with the project. The noise and the dust--which prompted the University to strike a deal with the MBTA for $1 million dollars for soundproofing and other construction activities--have angered may residents, who fear the Square will never look the same.


Businesses lining Mass Ave from the new Out of Town News stand (another by-product of the change) to Davis Square were worried that the construction would cut down on their clientele and disturb normal operations.

But businessmen up and down the extension route have formed the Merchants on the Line organization, and despite delays during the winter and some problems with construction, work has proceeded at a fairly regular pace.

The extension--which will go from the Square to the Alewife Brook Parkway on the Arlington town line--was not scheduled to be completed until 1984 but now promises to stretch well into 1985.

At the border of Harvard's property, a number of things have changed. The Perini Corporation, the same company which contracted to build the Seabrook nuclear power plant and is now working on the shell of the new Harvard station, has erected fences on the outside of the Yard adjacent to where huge brick and iron gates were lifted from their original positions and moved back into the Yard to make room for construction.

Next door to the Kennedy School on Eliot St., the "T" has built a temporary station (Harvard/Brattle), which will close once the new station in the Square is completed.

But the new wider sidewalks, the tearing down and renovation of the Square's historical kiosk--a landmark for many years--and the Class of '84 will never get to see Harvard Square as it once was, or one day will be.

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