Milton Threatens Lawsuit On MBTA Over Closed Staircase

Photo: Chris Fama (WBZ)

MILTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Town of Milton is threatening the MBTA with a lawsuit over a long-closed staircase connecting Adams Street in Lower Mills to the Milton Station on the Mattapan Line.

In a letter to the MBTA sent Aug. 30, the Milton Select Board told the agency that it would file a civil lawsuit in Norfolk Superior Court in two weeks if nothing was done to fix the crumbling staircase. The staircase has been blocked off for years by steel fences, a concrete barricade, and a "DANGER" sign.

"This is not a new issue," Milton Select Board Vice Chair Michael Zullas told WBZ NewsRadio. "This is something that we’ve been trying to get a remedy for for at least four years, asking them for a response, and we’ve gotten nothing. The T has a statutorily mandated obligation to operate its facilities in the public interest. We try to be good partners in government, but with the T, they’ve ignored us and then they’ve done nothing with something that’s been a problem here for many years."

In a Sept. 14 letter, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak responded that the staircase cannot be repaired or reopened because it would require extensive repairs to make it fully accessible. Instead, the staircase will be demolished as part of the MBTA's Mattapan Line Transformation, a multi-year project to make improvements to the line's existing fleet and infrastructure. 

"The bottom line is, this [staircase] has been closed and in this condition for the better part of a decade," Zullas said. "And now they’re talking about another decade. 4,500 years ago, the Egyptians built a pyramid in 20 years. The T is now telling us they can’t fix a staircase in 20 years. Something is very, very wrong."

The MBTA has faced severe scrutiny in recent months after a series of safety-related incidents, including the dragging death of a man who got his arm stuck in the doors of a Red Line train in April. Federal Transit Administration officials ordered the T to implement four safety directives following a preliminary investigation, which prompted a month-long shutdown of the Orange Line for extensive repairs and replacements. The line is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 19.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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