Arborway represents a way forward for Smart Growth

(An actual BPS middle-school teacher weighs in. - promoted by Bob)

The new administration’s transportation goals need to include “Smart Growth” alternatives in the urban core where the MBTA has shown a long-term pattern of disinvestment in the kinds of hard infrastructure that encourage sustainable practices of development and travel.

There are plenty of examples to go around, but specifically, I’m talking about the Arborway Line restoration and the disingenuous stance of the past administration in dealing with what was once a mutually-agreed-upon high-return project with demonstrable air quality and ridership benefits. 

First the state allowed the project to languish.  Then it wriggled through a substitution attempt that it finally admitted it couldn’t win, because no substitute provided the real benefits the Green Line restoration did. And admirably, it dropped its resistance and began a productive community design process.  Until, that is, the last administration decided to begin dismantling the state clean-air regulations requiring the project, providing none of the smart growth or clean air benefits to the corridor where they were taken away in 1985.

As an environmental justice project serving minorities in the Hyde Square and Mission Hill areas, as well as a smart growth project ensuring that high density business and residential districts like Centre/South Streets and Brigham Circle retain their walking- and transit-oriented development qualities, the Arborway project is a lifeline waiting to happen.  And the relatively low level of infrastructure needed makes it a bargain when you compare the costs and returns.

Where the Romney administration gave mainly lip service to its own boldly-stated smart growth platform, the new administration has in this project an excellent opportunity to embrace investment in the things we’ve had all along (walkability, light rail, transit oriented development) that other cities nationwide are scrambling to get back.

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27 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Wholeheartedly agree

    As a resident of Hyde Square, Boston's emerging new "Latin Quarter", we are in dire need of quality transportation alternatives.  Simply look at the stats.  If you've lived in that area for over ten years like I have, you've seen the worsening situation first-hand, confirmed by the statistics.  The growth in automobile usage has skyrocketed, ridership on the pathetic 39 bus has fallen dramatically since 1985 despite people moving back into the area.  Now that MBTA fares have gone up again, there is little incentive to take public transit especially given the poor service.

    Ten years ago, nearly all of my peer group lived a car-free lifestyle, now I only know one person who does not own a vehicle, including myself.  I finally had to break down and buy a car in the fall.  The urban core transit system is falling apart, the MBTA is mismanaged and swimming in debt (has been for years) and there is no vision from the City of Boston.  Shame on Menino

    If Boston is to be a world-class city, we need to be able to get people around in a safe, quiet, comfortable, affordable, rapid manner.  Sometimes cars don't always have to come first.  I saw a great film the other day at http://www.livablest... called "Contested Streets" http://www.contested....  I highly recommend it.

    Let's hope the new administration will have some vision on this issue.  Restore the Arborway Line! Put Hyde Square/Boston's Latin Quarter on the subway map!

  2. It is embarassing and infuriating

    that the state has failed to come through on Arborway restoration.  For heaven's sake, the thing has been diddled over for two decades now!  While cities and states around the country (and the world) have been dramatically expanding their use of light rail, here in Boston, we've been cutting back - with predictably crappy results.

    While there is plenty of blame to go around on this matter, the chief villain is mayor Menino, who has blockaded Arborway restoration since day one of his administration.  The guy has a general contempt for public transportation  and a specific aversion to in-street LRV's - I'm not sure why, though I did once hear him remark that he didn't like looking at "all them wires."  My suspicion is that Tommy doesn't really know why he's agin it (his so-called "grave public safety concerns" are totally bogus), but his gut reaction is that the streetcars are a menace to the unimpeded mobility of his humongous, gas guzzling SUV.

    We need to expand our light rail system across the board.  But if we can't follow through on the Arborway restoration (one of the cheapest and least complicated items on the T's menu of improvements), then it's hard to have hope for the rest of the system.  It would be a great symbol of the Patrick administration's robust commitment to public transit and smart growth if they were to quickly green light this project regardless of Menino's lame objections.

    • Need merchant's coopertion

      All the restoration planning in the world will just be an exercise in futility unless you have the cooperation and backing of most of the Centre and South Sts. merchants and property owners.  JP center is an economic engine and it cannot be tampered with.  As a good many people rely on their autos to get to JP center (I do), this probably means that there will have to be compromise in dealing with the tight parking situation.  It is essential that LRVs and vehicle traffic exist together, and any proposals that eliminate a significant amount of parking will absolutely fail to get the necessary merchant support. 

      We HAVE TO convince the merchants that Green Line service can only enhance their business (as we all know it will.)  And they should be included in the planning process.  For instance, maybe they don't want the pedestrian mall concept if it restricts motor vehicles carrying customers or deliveries.  A key reason the last attempt failed was the selfish motives of that group called Better Transit Without Trolleys.  They were able to convince the merchants that LRVs would result in chaotic traffic conditions, stalled emergency vehicle response (what if they had a fire?) and a significant loss of business because of these sluggish, noisy monsters clogging the street on slippery tracks.  Yet notice that group did not put forth a clear way to get that "better transit".

      Obviously it is the best interest of the merchants to have Green Line rail vehicles bringing customers to their doors, but we have to educate them and include them in the planning from that point on.


  3. Why can't The Commonwealth get it's act together?

    With the rest of the country expanding public transportation, and not with substandard Bus services, it amazes me that as a city (and state) with a history so steeped in excellent public transportation tradition is dismantling its infrastructure.  Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, New York City, Washington D.C. ; the list goes on, are all actively expanding their heavy and light rail systems, and trying to do away with more and more road-based services.  Light rail seems to be the method of choice according to articles I just read in the NY Times and USA today, costing less and carrying more that even the largest buses.

    As far as the specific restoration of the Arborway Green Line goes, as a new shop owner in Jamaica Plain I am livid that a project that will increase not only my own accessibility to my place of work but additionally increase the foot traffic my business depends on is being thrown by the way side in favor of a noisome, inferior, and ultimately more expensive bus service. 

    I voted for Governor Patrick in hopes that he and his chosen team could reverse some of the damage that was done to our public infrastructure under the Romney reign.  This one project should act as a kind of litmus test as to whether he can truly effect changes for the better throughout our state.

    Vincent J. Bono

  4. Public safety, or mayoral job safety?

    Regarding Kosta's comments on the public safety "arguments" the administration's offered, it really hasn't offered anything but vague allusions without discussing specifics.

    Take double parking, an already serious public safety problem -- transportation officials actually dismiss this as not their responsibility.  Part of the Arborway Line restoration would be a comprehensive analysis of parking and loading needs and resources, with a plan to use what's there to improve an already poorly managed transportation situation.  One might suspect the BTD isn't interested in the can of worms this would open, requiring them to do their job.

    The city does indeed have to come on board and stop wasting so much time on what it claims can't be done.  It's time for everyone to sit down at the table and look at how to get the most people through this corridor while improving how all its parts function together.  Beacon Hill needs to take a leadership role in making this happen. 

    • Arborway Restoration

      One of the alleged major impediments to restoration was the concern that LRVs would block emergency vehicles.  Anothers were that too many parking spaces would be lost and that ADA requirements would be too expensive  It is really time to think "out of the box" to meet these challenges. 

      The idea that Centre Street is usually tied up in traffic is a red herring.  Vehicular traffic is admittedly heavy during specific limited hours, but effective law enforcement to prevent double parking would go a long way in keeping things moving.  Normally Centre Street is relatively free flowing and tolerable.  To provide more space for emergency vehicles during the high traffic periods, the use of a gantlet track should be considered.  This is essentially a single track without mechanical switches at each end.  (For a detailed explanation, find a description on Google.)  For Centre Street, the gantlet track would run down the middle for one-quarter mile (between Green Street and the Monument) thereby leaving more driving space on each side of the roadway.  In this day of sophisticated technology it should be entirely possible to schedule the operation of alternating one-way operation, adjusting the directional movement as necessary.

      With the track remaining in the middle of the street, why is it necessary to eliminate the parking for the complete length of the LRV.  Speed bump type "mounds" could be extended from the curb and designed to match the LRV doors.  In addition to complying with ADA requirements, the "mounds" would also serve as traffic calming devices to reduce vehicle speeds on Centre Street, something most pedestrians should welcome.  Objections from Public Works regarding these mounds complicating snow-plowing?  They are used on several other streets in JP now.

      Again, the original problems cited are entirely surmountable with out-of-the-box thinking, and with citizen input, there are many more ideas than those mentioned here.


      • I like the gantlet idea for Centre St.

        But why limit it to 3 blocks or so?  You could probably extend it all the way down South St. I bet.  Also, wouldn't you have to move the tracks to one side or the other for accessibility reasons?

        • Gantlet Track on Centre Street

          I don't think there is a real need to extend gantlet track all the way down South St.  I DO think it may be necessary to eliminate parking for a few spaces near the corner of Carolina Ave., the narrowest part of South St.  But don't waste the space, use it for a stop.  The shorter the gantlet section, the less complication in controlling the two-way running.  The tracks should remain in the middle of the street - no one, especially the merchants, are willing to sacrifice parking space.

          I'm sure the rubber edging along the street-running portion of the line, Huntington and So. Huntington, was not put there for the benefit of bicyclists, but as a vibration insulator between the tracks and the pavement to prevent cracking and pot holes.  It also allows motor vehicle tires to retain adhesion while momentarily on or crossing the metal (driving directly on the tracks is just asking for trouble, especially bicylists!)

      • I took the Green Line to Arborway

        I'm puzzled by all this concern about emergency vehicles (and parking, and the rest of it).  It's not as if we're talking about something new, that we don't know how it will work.  We're talking about restoring something we had.  We can improve on what we had in the past, but we're not going to make it worse!

        I don't know how many Blue Mass Group readers remember the Arborway E line when it was running.  I remember riding it.  I don't remember there being a lot of concern about emergency vehicles not being able to get through JP, back then.

        When they cut off the E line at Heath Street, as I recall, the story was that they'd just bought a new fleet of trains without realizing there was a turn on the E line that was too tight for them to make.  Based on that, I expected the E line to extend back to Arborway once they modified some trains, or at the latest, when they bought the next fleet (which they've done several times since).  For years, the signs on the fronts of the trains still had "E - Arborway" and E with a slash through it for Heath Street.  It felt like a temporary limitation, and then it dragged on and on and on.  How did it happen?

  5. Restore the Green Line to Forest Hills

    It never ceases to amaze me that restoration of the Green Line was killed by the "neighborhood mayor" and a coalition of cycling enthusiasts and small minded shopkeepers. The mayor is all caught up in "street geometry" and wires over the street, without seeing the big picture - moving the most people, quickly and comfortably to where they want to go.   The cyclsts can't figure out how to cross the tracks on a bike while ignoring the ever increasing glut of cars and trucks. I am fed up with lack of enforcement which has resulted in the wholesale ignorance of the rules of the road when it comes to double parking, U-turns, parking in bus stops - anything goes on Centre Street - except caring about the transit user.   The laughable thing about the JP shopkeepers who complain about parking and traffic is that they are the ones who take up all the parking with their employees and clog the streets by allowing 18 wheelers to make deliveries while double parked, when most of the time deliveries could be made from the rear or from side streets. Further, they don't seem to understand that those big LRV's will be packed with people who might get off and walk into their store or restaurant and buy something. It seems that every other shopkeeper from Porter Square to Union Sq knows that being on a stop that is listed on every transit map in Boston is GOLD.   Since we can't make any headway with these knuckleheads, why can't we push for incremental extension. How much could it cost to extend the line just to Centre Street by the Alchemist and Hyde Square? The street is wide enough to allow for handicapped bump out of the sidewalk. I bet the increase in convenience to all those commuters and the ease of coming out to the "Latin Quarter" from all parts of the ciy, will turn the attention of the opposition to how they can be part of the line.

    • As an urban cyclist

      The cyclsts can't figure out how to cross the tracks on a bike while ignoring the ever increasing glut of cars and trucks.

      I can tell you that crossing tracks is a real problem.  You have to cross them at a 45-90 degree angle or you get caught in the well of the track, bend your wheel, and fall.

      This isn't a problem when you're going across the tracks, but when riding parallel it means you can't "cross them" while staying in your lane.  It's also really confusing to a car driving behind you.

      I don't know what happened with Forest Hills, and so I can't defend or justify the cycling complaints.  However, since cyclists have been listened to and reacted to, oh about never by the city of Boston, somehow I doubt it was a coalition of cyclists that successfully undermined Forest Hills.

      • You're right on both counts, stomv

        I'm a life long Forest Hills resident and cyclist who has been nagivating over those tracks since about age 10, and I can attest to the fact that it IS frightening to catch your front wheel in the track groove - I've done it a couple of times myself.  That said I don't see it as a prohibitive hazard, just a matter of being on the ball.  The real danger to biclyclists along this stretch of road (as in the rest of the city) is the cars.  By the way, the T has made a modest  gesture to mitigate this problem a bit by surrounding newly installed in-street rails with striated, hard rubber "rumble strips".  I find these very helpfull.

        Having observed conditions in European cities where FAR more cyclists coexist happily with FAR more tracks, I don't see why we should be unable to do the same.

        As for who agitated against E line restoration...  While there were a few disgruntled bicyclists involved, most of the noise came from a small claque of business owners and adjacent residents anxious about traffic and parking issues who had been worked into a lather by the blatant misinformation circulated by the T and the mayor's office.  They even formed an astroturf group called (I kid you not) "Better Transit Without Trolleys" (!).  This was exploited by a hostile officialdom as proof that JP was "sharply divided" on the issue, a notion that was flogged relentlessly in the press (thanks for nothing Mac Daniel!)  despite the fact that two successive non binding referenda had shown overwhelming community support for the restoration of service.

        • When was the last referendum?

          Hi Kosta --

          Re: cyclists, I remember living in Brighton when a cyclist was killed skidding on the unused A line tracks on a rainy day.  Finally, those tracks were removed and improvements to the roads implemented.  Different situation in JP, of course.

          I'd like to see the T manage what they have, first of all, then, for economic justice, get that Fairmount line in place, possibly with some tax incentives to get businesses and housing to bolster those locations.

          I liked the idea that someone had to bring the E line up to Centre Street/South Huntington, for starters.  It would be even more interesting if you could loop it by Hyde Square, but that's probably not doable (Last Stop: Latin Quarter/Milky Way!).

          Anyway, when was the last referendum, and haven't a lot of people moved in and out of the 'hood since then?

          Thanks as always for stimulating a discussion, hope some of the new posters will "stay and play" on other issues as well. 

          • Hyde Sq. Loop

            I'm curious as to why you think a loop around Hyde Sq. "not doable."  For me, most of the arguments I've heard over the years not in support of the greener line have to do with the width of the street.  Those arguments simply fall away when you consider restoring the service along S. Huntington which is half again as wide as Centre Street at its narrowest points (approximately).  There is ample room for pedestrian plazas, parallel parking and a travel lane on each side.  The Streetcar could turn left onto Centre Street from S. Huntington and then loop back to S. Huntington inbound at Barbara Street one way. 

            Novel solutions exist, some have been mentioned here and though the MBTA is hard up for cash, continuing to raise fares and simply "maintaining" a system in a state of disrepair is no way, in my opinion, to escape the downward spiral.  Fundamental change is necessary at the top, bold visions and leadership must take hold.  When projects present themselves that have lower operating costs and higher fare-box collection why would the T not take advantage of that?

            The T is not serving its primary constituents and the gutting of the clean air regulations and abandonment of Arborway are but symptoms of an agency in need of serious medicine.

            • I said $quot;probably$quot;

              Be happy to be proven wrong.  I enjoy walking from Hyde Square to Jackson, but from Heath to Hyde is a bit more of a stretch.

          • Not sure

            when the last referendum was - at least ten years ago, I believe (I'm pretty sure there's a complete timeline somewhere at http://www.arborway....).  The shifting of population isn't really germane here.  The point is that the case for restoration has only grown stronger with the passage of time, and that the recent opposition to restoration was almost entirely the result of alarmist assertions spread by the mayor's office, all of which were thoroughly and publicly refuted.

            Face it, this project has won approval on its merits over and over again, only to be axed by shortsighted politics.  Now I'm told we must endure another yearlong "public process" even though none of the fundamental facts and conditions of the case have changed (except those effected by inflation) since 1985.  So, at the end of the year the restoration will most likely have won on the merits once again.  We'll all just be one year more tired, angry and broke, the air will be a bit dirtier and, oh yes, the T will have lost another army of riders due inadequate and unreliable service on the Arborway corridor.  Just nifty!

      • Solving problems was removed from the agenda

        See, this is one of those areas where there was a lot of creative talk here and there about how to make it work for everyone, cyclists included.

        But that was never part of the official program, which was always, "Oh, look, there's another setback -- there might be problems with cycling.  Another obstacle.  Sigh."

        We need leadership that says, "This can work, this has worked, and we have the creativity and the will to find solutions," not a transit establishment that's trying to get itself out of the transit business.  I thought crafting bold new solutions was what people involved in government and urban development were supposed to not only be good at, but what they're supposed to want to be doing.

  6. Arbroway Restoration

    It is shameful that the Restoration is not finished.  We were scheduled to have it on track by 2006.  My familiy appreciates greatly the service from the Riverway Stop on the "E Line".  It was resumed in January and it makes our lives so much better.  We have more options and use our car less.  We tried to take our granddaughter's stroller on the #39 and it was nearly impossible, but on the "E Line" we had plenty of room!  To visit our granddaughter, we take the line to Lechmere and transfer to a bus that takes us to Arlington.  If it were the #39 bus, we would have to transfer twice!  I'm delighted to live where I can ride the "E Line" and I feel sorry for the sad faces that I see wating everyday for the cramped #39 bus.  What I especially like is the short walk and no transfer (not a mile walk to the Orange Line which I used to have).  In case our leaders have forgotten, research has shown that transit riders don't want to walk more than 10 minutes to the closest.

    Jamaica Plain is a Smart Growth area.  Why doesn't it get the same consideration as other Smart Growth areas?  Recently, the Globe had a picture of a house with a paved over front yard for a car park.  If we don't get streetcar service, we will see more of this in Jamaica Plain--more trees, grass and open space lost to car parks.  It is a no brainer why people will ride streetcars and not buses.  The bus ride is not smooth and the vehicles are more cramped.  AND, the streetcars run better in traffic, I ride, I know that the cars and trucks move out of the way.  Isn't this why we ride public transportation?  Don't we want to move better than if we drove and parked?

    Our government leaders should be pushing for the best public transportation for air quality and global warming.  It is the best way to cut down on emissions and let the trees remain to clean the air.  They did a good job of pushing for the Greenbush Line and Mayor Menino wanted stops on the Fairmount Line to help his "Smart Growth" area, so why is this different?  We actually have the tracks, so let's get the necessary work done and begin the service.  AND, living during the reconstruction of Huntington--it was nothing--the traffic moved OK for all those months when the streets were being redone.  Let's hope that the new administration does the smart thing for Jamaica Plain and finish the Restoration of the Arborway Line.

  7. Great site...

    but a map in a prominent place would be a really big help for those of us who support T expansion but don't live in the place where the expansion would take place.

  8. Arborway Green Line vs. Current #39 Bus-- there's no comparison....

    I'm amazed that the MBTA under the Romney administration moved to kill the Arborway Green Line project while at the same time crying that the MBTA had a huge budget deficit. Want to solve the budget problem?-- start offering service that people will use. Look at the MBTA's own stats on #39 bus ridership, which substitutes for the Arborway Green Line. After Arborway Green Line suspension, from 1988 to 2001, daily #39 bus ridership fell from 28,000 to 17,400. Then from 2001 to 2005, the #39 lost an additional 4,000 daily riders. In comparison to this stunning 50% total loss in ridership, Arborway Green Line restoration would result in an increase of about 6,000 daily riders. Such an increase would be consistent with experiences in other cities where streetcars and light rail have been built-- e.g., Baltimore, Denver, Dallas, Portland, Houston, San diego, Boulder, Sacramento, and others. The Romney adminstration touted smart growth and environmental justice (Jamaica Plain has the ninth highest asthma hospitalization rate in the entire state), but when it came to doing something about it in an overburdened urban neighborhood like Jamaica Plain-- it caved in and did nothing. 

  9. Cripes - Better bang for the buck or what?

    All the Givernor's planners need to do is look at the math:

    If the cost of Arborway restoration is $70 million, and it brings the number of riders back to where it was when they stopped running the Green Line all the way out to Forest Hills, they will conservatively increase ridership from the current 14,000 a day back to 28,000 a day.  Forget the fact that it will probably be even twice that again.  That's $5,000 to attract each new rider.

    It's hoped that the completion of the Green Bush extension will day 6,000 new riders a day when completed, at a projected total capital cost of $638 million.  That's just about $106,000 per new rider.

    Arborway: 14,000 new riders for $5,000 per rider Greenbush: 6,000 new riders for $106,000 per rider

    Is it really the Mayor of Boston that was holding this up or did folks on Beacon Hill just miss this?  I really MUST be missing something.

    Vincent J. Bono


  10. Transit Oriented Development

    The problem with smart growth is that you can't build transit-oriented development until we start building development-oriented transit. 

    The Arborway line is a start, and the combination of the green and orange lines to the Forest Hills area may be enough to focus some energy on that HUGE bus repair area that the T could turn into a wonderful mixed-use transit-oriented smart-growth project site.

    But we also should continue to focus on bringing the green line to Medford and upgrading the Fairmont Line. 

    I think the Patrick administration should focus transit infrastructure in places that a) will seriously improve mobility, and b) will spur new housing development around that transit line. 

    As I've said in the past, I don't think any town should get a stop on a new commuter rail line unless they change their land use regulations to ecourage smart growth development around that stop.

    So now's the big change to actually DO some major smart growth intiatives in Massachusetts.

  11. Arborway and the city

    It is less than a mile from the VA stop to South Huntington/Centre street. The extension could be built in three months (but you have to add in a decade of design time). There is no need for to loop the tracks because all LRV's are double ended, but having a stop right at the Hyde Square circle would be great for the Latin community. The advantage to a loop would be continuous service back into town without the operator moving his seat and switching tracks like they do at Northeastern during rush hour. Just DO it and see all the suggestions that come in.This CAN be done in very short time and money.

  12. Centre Street transit, bikes, and peds only

    I remember reading someone's idea of closing Centre Street to personal automobiles, making it a transit (trolley/bus), bicycle, and pedestrian-only street.  If the fear with running trolleys is automobile congestion, then making motorists use a different route could certainly solve that problem.  Trolleys, buses, bikes, and walking, are far more space-efficient than cars, and in a congested area, prioritizing those modes can have great benefits.

    • Close off Centre Street to personal vehicles ??

      You had better have the backing of the JP merchants and property owners before such a radical idea is seriously considered.  And I doubt they would support it.  It's a fact of life that in 2007, automobiles and trucks are essential transportation appliances and "convenience" is a big factor.  To unilaterally upset the economic engine inherent in the JP business district would be disastrous. 

      Like it or not, any light rail proposal put forth will have to include the coexistence of rail and rubber-tired vehicles.  This is one of the reasons I have suggested a gantlet, or single track, running down the middle of Centre Street. 

      Many of JPs business customers arrive by private vehicle.  You cannot force people to walk or use bikes, especially given the wide swings in New England weather conditions.  And for many seniors, a private vehicle is the only way to go.  If you deprive people of their convenient access to JP merchants, they will surely take their business elsewhere, and then what have you accomplished in the end?  Cleaner air and a barely existing Centre Street.

  13. It's not just for Jamaica Plain

    I know we've all been focusing on the benefits of the Green Line restoration for the residents and merchants of JP, but let's not forget the regional impact.  For example: Forest hills was clearly designed with a larger purpose in mind than just a bus - orange line connector, not with the already reserved space for more rail platforms, taxi stand for 20 taxis, and the air rights to build a parking garage over the already large lot.

    While I would not recommend stopping the Acela there, stopping the regional AMTRAK and Providence Commuter Rail runs at Forest hills, coupled with a green line connection, would take significant pressure off of Back Bay Station and the roads heading into downtown.

    It would be extremely convenient for commuting passengers heading to say the Brigham to get off the Providence Commuter trains at Forest hills and hope the green line to the Brigham.  Not to mention all the students that can't get on the LMA shuttles from Ruggles.

    Further, Green Line and Amtrak connections at Forest hills would stimulate OUTBOUND ridership to get access to Amtrak southbound trains from the green line, which is not possible today.

    Finally, attracting any commuters at all away from the cars on the Jamaica Way and Centre St will have an enormous traffic and air quality impact.

    Let's be very conservative and do some math (something the Romney Administration had problems with):

    A Neoplan #39 bus is 60.5 feet long and carries 88 passengers without "crushing". 

    A Breda Type-8 Green line care (single not double) is 72 feet long and carries 166 passengers without "crushing", almost double that of a bus. 

    Now I ride the 39 a lot and it's always crammed during rush hour.  But lets say that only, hmmm, 39 more people ride a Green Line car than each bus (even though 78 would fit), that means that for each bus replaced, THRITY NINE CARS would be taken off of the road. 

    How much would that affect the commutes of the people in Roslindale, Hyde Park, Newton, Dedham, and so on.

    While it's only natural to think of all the benefits that better public transportation has on our own neighborhoods, we shouldn't forget that our neighbors benefit just as much if not as directly.

    Vincent J. Bono

  14. nationnwide and worldwide streetcars are back

    Add Paris to the world-wide return to light rail urban transit.  Since last July, it has been a huge success, and more lines are being installed.  The reason:  cleaner (friendlier to our beleaguered environment), more ridership, better service. That is why our 39 bus replacement caused a dramatic flight of riders: riders prefer street cars. In fact, nationwide, street car service has resulted in upward trends in ridership. Let's do the right thing in Boston, and join forward looking city planners nation- and world-wide.

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