There’s a new tunnel under North Station.
No, it’s not the much-ballyhooed rail link to South Station. But when it opens in December, the pedestrian tunnel under Causeway Street will be a small boon for commuter rail riders by providing them with direct access to the subway.
These riders have long been forced to leave the lobby in North Station on the ground floor of TD Garden in order to access the Green or Orange lines.
The tunnel is about 250 feet long, wedged between the Orange and Green line tunnels, and surfaces inside the station lobby at one end, and the T station across Causeway at the other. There will be elevators and an escalator for riders and plenty of maps and signs to guide them.
The tunnel opens just in time to save riders from an unpleasant winter walk, as the subway entrance closest to the TD Garden has been closed because of a major construction on Causeway, forcing crowds to navigate across the street at rush hour.
“You’re crossing a weird intersection, you’ve got shuttles and just regular traffic,” said Tony Bailey of Andover. “There are police details, but it’s kind of a mess.”
Claire Lucius, who makes a long commute each day between Lawrence and UMass Boston, said she’s missed trains because she’s been held up by traffic signals at the crosswalk.
MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez said the new tunnel will keep most of these riders off the street and also protect them from poor weather.
“To me, it’s a big safety issue,” he said.
TD Garden owner Delaware North and developer Boston Properties paid for the tunnel as part of their redevelopment of the Garden area. The companies declined to say what it cost.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.