The MBTA shut down in all of its modes at 3:30 this afternoon and with mass transit vs. roads being a topic of discussion here recently I could not help but wonder if in this of all situations a higher priority should be placed on keeping the MBTA open so people who still need to get around can without driving. I can see suspending boat and possibly bus service out of safety concerns or maybe converting to a weekend or otherwise limited schedule, but it seems that trains and tracks, both commuter and subway, could be kept clear and servicible. In Washington, DC I believe the portions of the subway underground are usually kept open. They are far enough north to get snow most winters, but far enough south to not know how to handle major storms. I found when I was down there that on days like this the most powerful person in the city is the person who makes the call to shut down Metro because the city and federal governments usually follow its lead. Back in Boston I can think of no reason to not likewise keep the underground subway open unless they are trying to keep staff away or they are so adamant that nobody be out at all that they are trying to give people no way of getting around.