Letter to the Editor

April 29, 2017
By

Article on mobility and  transportatiion was right on

Dear Editor:

I want to thank Karen for writing the recent column in The Beacon Hill Times on mobility and transportation in Boston. This, as are the strategies for urban development, is an issue shared between Newton, where I live, and Boston.

The building of Storrow Drive in 1950 and the later construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension, in the 1960s, reflected the automobile as the primary form of transport from Newton into Boston. The result is Boston’s streets have been chronically congested with automobiles, even as such streets as Boylston and Beacon Streets are converted into three lane one way highways. (Who really drives on them at twenty-five miles per hour?)

I rely on the T, specifically, the Riverside Line. A year ago, I traveled in Copenhagen. There the Metro runs on time, there are no turnstiles in the stations, and hundreds of bicycles are parked by the entrances. On my first day back in Newton, I waited on the platform of Eliot T Station adjusting to hearing English. I stood a long time because further up the tracks the Green Line Trolley had broken down. I knew I was home again.

The T really is embedded in the history of this city. My mother and her family used the Forest Hills or Arborway Line from West Roxbury; my father and his family used the Boston College Line from Lake Street in Newton. My family and I rely upon the Riverside Line from Newton Upper Falls. Unlike the Copenhagen Metro, the T is not new. It runs with a patina of history.  It is quaint. Its symbol of the T almost suggests a religion with four Gospels, Red, Orange, Green, and Blue, catacombs where people meet, and a teaching of patience in adversity as its adherents await deliverance.

Our history, though, really should be valued. As plans are made to move the city and its region forward, we should remember how it was here that one of the first transit systems went into operation, and it is here that we might be able to move beyond the hegemony of the automobile. (I know Michelle Wu, President of the Boston City Council, hopes this might occur.)

If you have the opportunity to stand upon the platform of the Science Park T Station, you can see the wrought iron arches that are above the tracks. They are perfectly preserved artifacts from the time the station was built in 1910. It really means something that we have this in our city.

I hope we can create an environment that recognizes the essential qualities of being human.

Maurice “Rick” Laurence

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