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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've been workin' on the railroad...

Dan "I Don't Ride the T Because It's Not Convenient" Grabauskas is at again with promises of better, faster Green Line service on easier-to-board cars.

Of course, this will come after a nightmarish summer without Riverside D Line service during which buses will run along Route 9 -- which is undergoing a major repaving project -- and during 27 Red Sox home games.

Ever try to commute home on the Green Line during a Red Sox game? Ever try to walk through Kenmore Square when a game gets out? No Dan, I didn't think so.

But we should believe Smilin' Dan, because his face is up there on posters, framed by an American flag, telling MBTA riders that newer, faster and better is just around the corner.

Where have I heard this before?

Kenmore Station is now in its third century of renovations -- adding to traffic congestion as buses that used to slide into the middle of the square now have to circle around and through the tangle of cars, trucks and pedestrians. Adding more buses will certainly make things easier for a project that is at least a year or more behind schedule.

Copley Station, which has been under construction for at least six months (installation of the new turnstiles) now proudly boasts signs about what the new station will look like -- in 2009!

Arlington Street Station began its serious renovation in November (and was torn up earlier for CharlieCard changes). My best guess would be 2009 and 2010 here too.

But Smilin' Dan tells us that when the Riverside line re-opens in September, Longwood and Brookline Village stations will be rebuilt (along with an overpass in Newton); new tracks and ties will speed the Newton ride -- and all this will be done without keeping the neighbors up with overnight banging.

I'm still waiting for the three-car trains on the Green Line -- using cars with aisles wide enough to get through when you need to push your way to the front during rush hour to pay your outbound fare.

I'm still waiting for the faster service on Commonwealth Avenue thanks to the closing of three stations (none of which were among the seven that serve Boston University).

No one is disputing that a 100-year-old system needs improvements and upgrades to make it accessible to people with disabilities.

What is in dispute is the wide gap between promises and reality. The MBTA has shown itself incapable of meeting deadlines and already has three major (and behind schedule projects) -- on the Green Line alone.

Taking on yet another major nightmarish project, when they've shown themselves incapable of completing things on time and on budget, doesn't really seem wise. On the other hand, it certainly feels like the MBTA.

Doesn't it strike you as long overdue for Smilin' Dan to submit his resignation as part of the changing of the guard of the Patrick administration?

It's probably coming right along, behind that next three-car Green Line train.



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