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April 09, 2007

Comments

Born Here

looks like the recent MBTA crime wave will have to wait a few years to get into Somerville. This also doesn't help the Police, now they are stuck in the toxic building even longer. We all know that the Union Sq. area is waiting for the Green Line to get ANYTHING done down there. Hey Mole, hows the morale up at City Hall. Better yet, where is City Hall Nose and Sabot?

No Green Line

This is very likely the best news I've heard in a long time!
By the way, great quote from Sen. Pat. Did someone give her Provost's quote to work from? Lucky for her, because it made her sound like she knew what she was talking about!

Grog29

I like the web of bus choices for Union Sq. anyway. Screw the Green Line. No more money for it. The state is all tapped out and so are the taxpayers. Keep the buses running. Union Sq. is much better off without a greenline extention. It brings filth and trash and noise. I like my quiet Union Sq. and Prospect Hill.

solh zendeh

Grog, I'm not sure where you are coming from. Buses are way more filthy, trashy and noisy than a fixed rail system. They also require a road network that is massively subsidised by us the tax payers. They also run on oil and/or natural gas which is, again, massively subsidised by us the tax payer.

No Green Line

Guess what? The road system is already in place and must be maintained regardless of the buses. By the way, much of it is actually subsidized by drivers through fees, etc. And I think the reference to the T bringing 'filth and trash and noise' didn't necessarily refer to the T itself, but what the T 'brings'!

Solh Zendeh

Grog, say what you mean. What does it "bring" that the buses don't?

Part of the road system is maintained by fees, but much of the infrastructure that is required to maintain our motor vehicle system is subsidized via state and federal taxes. Also, just because we have misallocated enormous sums of money building up our road system does not mean we should spend even more in the vain wish that everything will continue with no interruptions. Our supply of oil supply has plateaued, and if there was ever a time that another oil shock would occur, it is now. Let's plan for the future, instead of looking wistfully back at the past. We need a way of transporting large numbers of people efficiently around our city. Electrified fix rail systems are a time proven way to do that, and will allow us to easily use nuclear, coal, oil, gas, wind, solar, whatever to power it.

Solh Zendeh

Dang it, I completely missed that it was not Grog that responded to my post. My apologies. My responses stand though.

Go Back to Sleep!

I think you're living in a dream. First, if you think people will give up driving, you're wrong. I won't even get into the reasons. Second, if you think an extension of the T will 'transport large amounts of people efficiently' I have only one question....have you been on the T? Ridership is disappearing simply because it is too expensive, too unreliable, too dirty, etc. And many of the taxes used to maintain the roads are car/driver related (such as gas tax). And the point is the roads already are there and must be maintained. Taking away buses would make no difference. Go back to sleep!

SomervilleReader

I'm personally quite excited about the Green Line. I ride the Red Line regularly to get to work, but the Green Line would come closer to my office. It honestly might be enough to get me to sell my car permanently and switch to a ZipCar/T model of transportation.

The extension of light rail into the most densely populated community in Massachusetts seems like a no brainer to me. One of the reasons people choose to live in Somerville versus the outer suburbs is proximity to Boston. It makes sense to make it easier to get downtown from here.
As an aside, I realize that this thread is really about anxiety about how the Green Line will affect the gentrification of the city and people's longing for the Somerville-that-was and concern about the Somerville-that-will-be. But, as someone who's come out before as a fan of what our city is becoming, I have to clearly fall on the pro-Green Line side.

Derek

So just to make sure I've got this right... They're planning to plan, right? If there's a better model for the ridiculousness of public officials, I haven't seen it.

As a potential homeowner in the Union Square area, I want the green line. Gentrification, my ass. if gentrification means we get rid of all the "Check Cashing" businesses and replace them with Diesel II and Starbucks, I'm all for it.

Solh Zendeh

Go back to sleep. I'm sorry to see you just dismiss my statements out of hand. I think you are absolutely correct, people will not simply give up driving. Due to the combination of huge previous investments in roads and other driving infrastructure, plus a relatively cheap and reliable source of fuel, our lives have been shaped by the car. Where we live, go to work, how we eat etc. This is not something that will be easy to change - or that I particularly want to change. I *like* having the freedom to get in my car and go where I want for relatively little money. What I hope you understand is that this ability is inefficient energy wise. It's orders of magnitude more efficient *energy wise* to move people and goods around using rail than using cars and trucks. That is a physical reality. The reason this isn't how we do things is that fuel was so cheap and available, efficiency simply did not matter.

The world oil supply (that is, the amount that is extracted out of the ground per year), appears to have plateaued. That means something. It's unclear to me if we will come up with a replacment for oil to fill the gap between the now fixed or (maybe) reduced supply and the ever growing demand, but your argument that "you won't even get into the reasons" is sigularly unconvincing. People make do with what is available and what is affordable. They will stop driving when oil prices and avaiability force them to stop, and when that happens, we will need some way for them to get to work, go shopping, etc.

JR

I'm all for the green line extension. If you follow the track of the ABOVE GROUND green line you'll see that crime and "filth" on this line has not increased. The trolley is not much different than the buses in this respect. Difference is, it gives us all more access to Boston and is more efficient than a bus stuck in traffic. If the buses could stay on a fixed schedule and were more frequent, then it would be ok. And if you want a quite neighborhood move out to the burbs. I was born and raised not far from somerville, I moved here after college 5 years ago and am now buying a home here. I love Somerville for it's cultural diversity and character as well as easy access to Boston. If you want to stop gentrification then go after the real estate tycoons who flip houses and put insane pricetags on them. It think it's only fair to share this town with others who like it. If that's gentrification I'm 100% for it.

Green Line

My problem is not with the Green Line per se, but with the fact that they are proposing to 'bury' us in stations. They are proposing 4-5 stops in Somerville (need I remind you that Somerville is no more than 4 miles long?). Coupled with the proposed orange line stop in Assembly Square, I feel that it's just more than a city like Somerville can handle. There is not enough space for this (think of the homes and businesses which will be lost), and the infrastructure is certainly not there. I can't support this over-abundance, which is completely unnecessary.

Derek

I agree with the comment about the plethora of stops suggested. I really think two stops could serve the city very well -- Union Square and something in the Broadway/Cedar area. Those, in addition to a stop in Medford, are the most obvious places, I think.

I think it's crucial to remember that the green line is, in general, a slow train that only becomes slower with increased stops. Ask folks who live along the B line what they think of the number of stops!

Ron Newman

The Green Line is useful only if most people in the city can walk to a station. Think of the D Line through Brookline, not the B Line on Comm. Ave. The stations are little more than platforms and stairs or ramps.

No Multiple Stations

Those stations, stairs, ramps, waiting platforms, tracks, etc. all require a large amount of space. I'd like to see a study done on the amount of space somerville would give up to gain these stops. My feeling is that we simply don't have the space to give. I disagree with you - although many people who use the T would like to walk to a station, it's simply not possible or practical.

Derek

Ron, the stations are *most* useful to those that can walk to them, but anecdotal evidence surrounding Porter and Davis square suggests that T stops are still useful to Somervillians who drive to them. Drive around the permit parking neighborhoods surrounding Davis and Porter at 10AM and then come back at 7:00. It's an entirely different population of cars. Walking distance is what -- 1 mile? With stops at Union Square, Broadway, and Medford you'd cover a lot of folks.

My concern with the stations isn't necessarily the cost (though it's a factor). My concern is the decrease in quality of service and diminishing return on overall ridership that extra stops would provide.

Convenience?

More stops are also more convenient to people in Arlington, Medford, Belmont, etc.

Ron Newman

I consider walking distance to be 1/2 mile (10 minute walk). The proposed station locations on the Medford branch are roughly the same as the discontinued commuter rail stops -- Washington Street, Gilman Square, Somerville Junction (Central or Lowell Street), and Ball Square. These seem to me reasonably spaced stops. If you draw a half-mile circle around each of these, and around Union Square, that covers much of the city.

Since this Green Line branch will be fully separated from automobile traffic, it will not suffer the delays that you see on the B line in Brighton.

Solh Zendeh

I definitely agree that too many stops would be lame, but the 4 stops I've seen don't seem like too many to me - 1 stop per mile? If there were only 2 stops you would be talking about a commuter train only. I would like to be able to hop on to get from one neighborhood to the next - say to get groceries, but maybe that's just too much to ask.

www.somervillestep.org

For more info check out http://www.somervillestep.org/ or http://www.brickbottomartists.com/site/gallery_shows_2007/gallery_greenline.html

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