Rep. Connolly Mops the Floor with Central Square T Station's "Perpetual Puddle"

Rep. Connolly Mops the Floor with Central Square T Station's "Perpetual Puddle"

"I’ve been hopping over that puddle for 11 years! This is amazing!"

If you've ever spent time in the Central Square Red Line T station (perhaps on your way to or from CCTV!), you may have come across a troubling rainwater puddle at the base of the stairwell leading to the station's outbound platform.

On Thursday, State Representative Mike Connolly took to social media to announce that he recently met with Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack to discuss the so-called "perpetual puddle."

According to Connolly, Secretary Pollack has alerted the MBTA's Director of Special Projects to the issue, and their team will begin draining the puddle and repairing the stairs sometime next week.

"The puddle has been present in that location for a long time," Connolly said in an email. "While I have advocated to MassDOT/MBTA at the staff-level for it to be addressed on several occasions, it still hadn't been addressed."

Connolly said that this lack of a response was what prompted him to tweet out a video of the puddle last week, which has since received over 140 likes.

"For me personally, the 'perpetual puddle' has been something of an annoying nuisance, but you also have to remember I am literally a giant at 6'8" tall..." said Connolly.

"I can only imagine that for some people, particularly the elderly or anyone with a mobility impairment, the notion of having to leap over a pool of water at the base of the stairs is absolutely unacceptable."

Connolly, who represents Middlesex County's 26th district (which includes sections of both Cambridge and Somerville), shared the outcome of his conversation with Pollack to his followers on both Twitter and Facebook.

This prompted a great deal of constituent feedback in the form of comments and replies, as many wondered why such a high-level intervention was required to initiate repairs.

"Can I point out how seriously dysfunctional this is?" wrote Cambridge resident Saul Tannenbaum. "It takes a State Rep and a Cabinet level official to resolve a puddle? This, as they say, doesn’t scale well."

Another Facebook commenter wrote that the puddle had been inconveniencing her for well over a decade.

"I’ve been hopping over that puddle for 11 years! This is amazing!"

Other responses pointed out that there are still many issues plaguing the Central Square T station, including a broken inbound elevator and outbound escalator.

The inbound elevator has been a specific sticking point for Connolly, who has been closely following its lengthy repair process for the past year. Construction on the elevator began in April 2018 and was expected to conclude in spring 2019, but various infrastructure problems led to the MBTA delaying the project's completion to "early 2020"

Connolly said that this issue was also briefly discussed in his meeting with Pollack, although it appears as if significant progress on the elevator was made this week unrelated to his intervention.

"Fortunately, it appears the issues they encountered with the standpipe and the conduit lines have finally be overcome, and we now have real outward signs of progress," Connolly said.

Fixing the MBTA — in ways both big and small — has been a major policy focus for Connolly, who is a progressive Democrat and member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Over the summer, he joined other politicians from Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline and Boston in opposing the MBTA's fare hike at a June 30 protest.

Connolly is also working on legislation that would provide the state with more funds to address large-scale transportation issues.

"I have filed bills to raise billions of dollars in new revenue, in a very progressive fashion, by asking the state's wealthiest individuals and largest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes," said Connolly. "With these funds, we could address the enormous 'state of good repair' backlog at the MBTA and fund investments in upgrades and expansion of the system."

Connolly said that the Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo has recognized recent advocacy efforts and will be allowing the House to hold a debate soon, "on raising new revenues for investing in our transportation system."

"So at present, I am actively working with others to prepare for that debate, which may occur as soon as January," Connolly explained. "This is significant because it will be the first time our legislature has considered proposals for major new revenue for transportation since 2013."