First, to acknowledge Doug Rubin’s objection to my use of “Coakley moment” to describe Marty Walsh’s out-of-touch statement on the T. Martha’s obviously paid a high price for the last few years, and I don’t do this website to be cruel to people. We’re all human. The mention got some attention — which is of course what I wanted — but I should be more careful. Duly noted.
It also requires modification, because Walsh’s gaffe was frankly worse. If there’s one thing I can’t take from an elected official, it’s a statement that what you’ve seen with your own eyes, and lived the effects of every day, is somehow a media creation. Again, Walsh’s quote:
“And you know, most days, the MBTA’s reliable here. It’s just that when something happens, it gets spotlighted by the press so bad, that it’s like, it makes it sound like it’s crumbling. It definitely needs infrastructure upgrades and I said that yesterday at the Chamber,” Walsh added, referring to his speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. [Google cached – link broken at Boston.gov?]
Well, enterprising YouTube user drband36 has documented the decay for the “car guy” mayor:
… and we’ve all seen this — absolutely nothing surprising for anyone who takes the T, ever. It is literally crumbling, and it makes us late for work, play, planes, job interviews, appointments, meetings, etc. It is an extra stressor in life, on a near-daily basis, much of which could have been avoided with sufficient care over the years. It wasn’t always this bad.
Now, again, Marty Walsh is not in charge of the T. But as mayor — and a former state rep — he is surely its chief advocate. He ran for mayor on extending T service into the night, touting his experience and relationships in the State House:
As a 16-year veteran of the House, I am uniquely qualified to negotiate transportation plans with the legislature … As State Representative for Dorchester I’ve worked to open or renovate four of the red line stations and believe we can find a cooperative way to increase and improve service to neighborhoods throughout the City.
And, to be fair, he did indeed tell the Chamber that we need more funding, and sooner than 2040. That’s good!
But you have to wonder about the tone, and urgency, coming from the mayor’s office on these things. Maybe a reason why Bob DeLeo or Charlie Baker don’t particularly care to plan or fund the T, is that they’re not really getting an earful — borne from painful, personal experience — from the Mayor of Boston himself. Is it personal for Walsh? Does his tone reflect the experience and feelings of his constituents? Sure doesn’t sound like it. He’s telling them, “Who are you gonna believe — me or your lyin’ eyes?”
My only quibble here is that I used to say this about Menino, but there wasn’t an audience for it (this was before he was sick).
As things have evolved, the T exists because of Boston. The leader of the Hub HAS to share some accountability if it doesn’t work, just like he’ll hear about it if 93 offramps are crumbling.
Trickle up says
Not a very reassuring thing to hear from leadership, if you are Jeff Bezos looking for a world-class city in which to set up shop.
Among many other things wrong with the statement and the ‘tude.
Today, 25-Sep-2017, my wife and I made the mistake of trying to use the MBTA to get to and from and appointment at Tufts NE Medical Center.
The Red Line has “signal delays” both going and coming. On our trip home, at 11:15a, we had to get off the train at Central because it stopped at each station (Charles, Kendall, and Central) for five minutes citing “signal delays”.
The Red Line has ONE track in each direction from through the city and northward to Alewife. There is no excuse for any Alewife train to be delayed after Park Street. Whatever was going on was NOT “signal delays”.
Mr. Walsh is lying. The Red Line issues are not a media fabrication. A transit system must work ALL THE TIME. I won’t again depend on the MBTA until it is significantly improved. I am fortunate enough to have choices. Too many people in Boston are not so fortunate.
Mr. Walsh, Mr. Baker, Mr. DeLeo, and the rest of our corrupt leadership are lying to us about the MBTA. It is unsafe, unreliable, and — given its unreliability — unaffordable.
One thing I notice riding the T (and I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating). The public’s basic trust in the T is broken.
It used to be that, during delays, everyone would sigh a little, but exchange looks and maybe even laugh. Now, the slightest delay puts everyone on edge, like “What th F is it NOW?”
This is one of the reasons I think state officials (and city officials) should be required to ride the T as much as possible. They’d see this, and feel it. The thing they need to realize is that, if people can’t trust their ride to work, what can they trust?
I love trains, I love riding trains. I’m the kind of guy who just last weekend took the Red Line to Ashmont in order to ride the vintage PCC trolley to Mattapan (I believe one of the last places in the US and perhaps the world where these famous cars are still in commercial service).
As JimC said so effectively, my trust in the T is broken. I don’t believe it will get me where I want to go. I don’t believe what they say when it breaks. Too many times, I have stood for 10 or 15 minutes in front of signs with red letters scrolling by that says my train is arriving in 3 minutes.
I no longer trust the T because it demonstrates in countless ways large and small that it cannot be trusted.
I’ve also gone out of me way to ride the ACC trains on the Mattapan Line and loved the experience-but it’s also important to remember these lack AC and are not ADA compliant. They can’t go above 15 miles an hour at parts and can hardly be described as a “high speed” line. One wonders if a white community would be forced to ride antique cars on wobbly tracks so woefully out of date and not up to code.
People might want to take another look at Weekly Dig’s photo feature (and community discussion) on CondeMBTA: https://digboston.com/special-photo-feature-condembta/
Might want to send it to Walsh, De Leo, Baker, and other pursestring politicians.