Union Sq. MBTA station might be closed throughout Somerville’s Fluff Competition for 2nd straight 12 months

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Union Sq. will shut for 25 days beginning Sept. 18 and will not present shuttles, complicating transportation to the annual pageant.

MBTA map at Union Square.
Union Sq. will shut for 25 days beginning Sept. 18. Vincent Alban For The Boston Globe

For a second 12 months in a row, the Union Sq. MBTA cease might be closed throughout Somerville’s annual What The Fluff Competition, elevating issues from the occasion’s organizers.

The station will shut for 25 days starting Sept. 18, the Division of Transportation introduced on Wednesday.

The favored Fluff Competition might be held on September 23 from 3-7 p.m. within the coronary heart of Union Sq.. It usually attracts greater than 20,000 attendees. The pageant celebrates Marshmallow Fluff, initially created and offered in Somerville.

People put Marshmallow Fluff into participants' hair during a What The Fluff? Festival game.
Pairs compete in a fluff hairdo contest on the annual Fluff Competition held in Union Sq. in Somerville. – Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Union Sq. Important Streets oversees the pageant and has expressed concern that the T closure will affect attendance.

The MBTA closed Union Sq. final 12 months throughout the pageant as nicely, solely weeks after the station first opened. 

“It’s been irritating and it’s been disappointing,” Jessica Eshleman, govt director of Union Sq. Important Streets informed Boston.com. “We all know that there’s a bridge that must be repaired however as a result of it’s two years in a row, the timing is only a very tough association.”

Inexperienced Line service will terminate at Lechmere beginning on Sept. 18 to renovate the Squires Bridge, which carries Route 28/McGrath Freeway over the Union Department of the Inexperienced Line, the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line, and Somerville Avenue Extension, in accordance with MassDOT. No shuttles might be supplied to switch service. 

Union Sq. Important Streets reached out to the town and elected officers upfront to advocate for a closure that wouldn’t overlap with the pageant this 12 months, Eshleman stated. Union Sq. Important Streets wasn’t sure in regards to the closure timeline till the MBTA’s announcement yesterday. 

Eshleman stated she lately had a telephone name with a excessive stage consultant from MassDOT who’s trying into offering a shuttle service from Lechmere to the Union Sq. space. 

“It was made clear to me that MassDOT hopes that they’ll reduce the impacts to the pageant so I’m going to stay optimistic that the MBTA might be offering shuttle companies repeatedly on the day of the pageant,” Eshleman stated. 

There’s no approach to perceive the direct affect of final 12 months’s Union Sq. closure on attendance, Eshleman stated, however pageant numbers are just one issue. Distributors rely upon the Fluff pageant to construct clientele.

The Union Sq.’s 25-day closure is a consolidated model of MassDOT’s authentic plan to shut the station from July 18-August 28. The 42-day closure was met with backlash from locals and political officers, main the Healey Administration to push the closure again to September. 

“We all know this can come as an inconvenience to Inexperienced Line riders and we’ve labored to regulate our development schedule to reduce impacts as a lot as doable whereas balancing the necessity to full obligatory infrastructure work,” stated MassDOT Freeway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver in a press launch. “With this new 25-day schedule, we will strike a greater steadiness between finishing necessary repairs whereas minimizing the impacts to transit service.”