Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Needs More Trolley Bell

Wishful thinking? A "green" Silver Line map installed at Mattapan Station

Tonight a community meeting will be held at the Mattapan Branch Library to discuss improvements for the Route 28 corridor. The conversion of the heavily traveled route into an extension of the Silver Line will be on the table for public review. Nice to let the public get involved.

Route 28 riders in the not-to-distant future will see their service upgraded to Bus Rapid Transit standards, certainly a step up from the current service provided. The boost promises to bring a better and faster commute to Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury residents. It shall feature priority signaling, HOV lanes, improved bus stop amenities, sixty-foot vehicles, among other delightful BRT elements. It even has a cool name: The "28X"! What more could a transit-dependent community ask for!?

Perhaps real rapid transit, you know, the kind with tracks and a grade separated right-of-way?

For a community that has not seen a trolley since the days of the Type 5's (that would be circa 1955), would replacing a bus with a shinier and larger bus actually provide adequate transit? South End and Roxbury residents still have the sour tastes in their mouths from the Route 49 conversion to the Silver Line. Or as they call it, the "Silver Lie". Will the "28X" really be immune to the problems that the Silver Line Washington Street faces almost daily? Like the Route 49 and ex-Washington Street Elevated riders, are these residents going to be given the short end of the straw when it comes to "real" rapid transit?

It is great to see the MBTA and the Executive Office of Transportation investing so much money in public transit (take that, automobile lobby!). Any improvement to the Route 28 corridor is a great one, but I still have my doubts and some questions. Namely, what happened to that proposed Orange Line branch to Mattapan?

More to come later...

1 comment:

arcady said...

The Route 28 corridor seems like the next logical place for a rapid transit expansion, but any rapid transit expansion at all seems rather unlikely. It's slightly more plausible to imagine an expansion of the light rail network. I would suggest a modestly ambitious plan: Boylston to Dudley, Heath to Forest Hills, Ruggles to Mattapan, Forest Hills to Mattapan, as well as maybe Dudley to Harvard, Watertown to Packards Corner, and possibly the undergrounding of Kenmore-Packards Corner. Unfortunately, none of even that is likely to happen, given the MBTA's crushing debt load and general dislike for rail. Although who knows, there's finally an end in sight for station reconstructions for accessibility, and maybe they'll get back to rail expansion after that. I'm curious, though, as to what you would propose for rapid transit in the Route 28 corridor.