Track work in Roslindale

Tracks in Roslindale on South Street

At least in Roslindale, old trolley tracks never died - they just got covered over with asphalt. Tim Murphy noticed the tracks exposed on South Street for some utility work in front of Wallpaper City today.

In 1948, the tracks were still exposed all the time, as you can see in this Boston City Archives photo of South Street (taken from what is now the entrance to the commuter-rail station towards Washington Street).

South Street in Roslindale in 1948



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It always makes me sad to see that we had far better transportation options ~70 years ago and we just covered it up. To lay down tracks and/or reactivate these trolly lines in the same places would cost hundreds of millions if not billions. But yet we used to (and largely still do) have it.

As people moved to the suburbs they had the great idea to put interstates downtown, tear down neighborhoods, and figure in the future everyone worth caring about would have a car. With the exception of one frequent UHub poster, we now see how poor of a decision that was.

National City Lines wasn't

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National City Lines wasn't involved with the Boston transit system.

In fact, the Wikipedia article you link to mentions Boston as an exception, since we still have some trolleys.


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but we had far more trolley lines prior to 1945 here in Boston.

I never said they were connected to Boston. I should have been more clear. Just saying generally, this is what happened. DC, Atlanta, and LA are good examples.

Regardless, it is connected because many of the old trolley lines became diesel bus routes in the 1950s here in Boston. So it COULD have happened that way.

Actually it was standard oil

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Actually it was standard oil subsidizing production of buses. Cheap buses=transportation companies/authorities abandon rail to write off the infrastructure maintenance.

The route that used these

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The route that used these tracks (the 36 Charles River-Arborway) was converted to trackless trolley in 1951. The trackless were converted to diesel bus in 1958, but Standard Oil would not have have benefited much from the original 1951 conversion from streetcar to trackless. Must have been some other factors in play like increasing costs, dropping ridership, and increasing deficits.

Only problem

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Is it would be managed by the mbta.

Street-running trolleys have

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Street-running trolleys have benefits and drawbacks compared to buses.

While they could provide a one-seat ride into the Green Line tunnel, they also are unable to get around double-parked vehicles, or take a detour if a street is totally blocked.

The most important measure of a good transit system isn't if the wheels are steel or rubber. It's the frequency of service.

trolleys can also hold more

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trolleys can also hold more passengers in the same space than a bus can (because of the engine, etc.), which is easy to see when you compare a green line train and a silver bus. Trolleys can also make tighter turns (see how slow the silver bus is even in the really wide tunnels). Not to mention, try riding a newish rail line (like the D line) and compare the smoothness to the silver bus, which while a good prep for the high noise of the airplane you may be about to take, the ride is really uncomfortable.

That'd be great - or how about the old bowling alley?

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A movie theater like the Capitol in Arlington. And next door - something like Ron's - or even the old Milky Way (since I'm pipe-dreaming).

Yeah yeah, I know neither one is likely to happen, but I think it'd be great if there were more places in this neighborhood for teens/adults/families to hang out and have fun.


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Always has been and always will be the red head stepchild of Boston, we don't get shit!

On another note, they ever decide on what to do with the old substation? Or is it still going to be over price condos for yuppie; who will bitch about gentrification!

substation is going to be a restaurant with entertainment

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run by ashmont grill peeople - and RMVS is still trying to figure out what to do with the lower level - I've been hearing community kitchen, but I'm not holding my breath. funeral home is being torn down for condos (some affordable) - they started doing some site prep this past week.

Good thing everyone will be

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Good thing everyone will be riding the magical streetcar because there will be nowhere to park in Roslindale. No neighborhood was more poorly served by the density driven Menino BRA and his developer pal Vinnie Merino than Roslindale.

Take a look at the giant eyesore apartments that Pelikan built in Jackson Square to see the congested future is in store.


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So, Roslindale will be turning into a dystopian nightmare because we no longer have access to a PRIVATE parking lot that has been roped off (off and on) for the past 7 months?

Are you the same person who showed up at the IPOD meeting griping that the parking lot that was once the Rialto was closed to make way for the health center? I don't drive to the square (no need to), but it would seem that parking is not that much of an issue. If it is, it would only be because the time limits are not enforced.

Construction is beginning!

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After 40 some odd years of using the Higgins parking lot as a shortcut, dating back to when I was learning to walk, the lot is now surrounded by the fencing used by construction companies. It's coming!

I'd like a place like flatbreads in Davis Square

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candlepin bowling and good contemporary pizza. oh - and maybe $1 movie night where they show second-run movies... if I ever win the lottery I'd build this place.

plus - I don't think anyone besides redds or shanti understands just how many vegetarians/vegans there are around here.

There was a bowling alley in

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There was a bowling alley in the cellar of what is called the Parkway building, the one on Poplar @ Washington streets..think someone got shot there.....

Trolley lines went well into NH their peak.

It was like a patchwork of little companies that you could ride from Boston to Nashua.

They are the most mysterious bits of ghost rail infrastructure and a number became utility power lines.

Here's a page of an interesting system in the Amesbury area that started with horses and then went electric.

Ed Logue?

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I mean, there's only one Robert Moses, and in a democracy, the likes of Moses is rare, but Ed Logue did do a lot in his time with the BRA.

Surprisingly, with all the bad things people say about the BRA, they never came close to what Moses did. And before some says the West End, that was the Boston Housing Authority. Logue and the BRA just finished up what they started.

Unlike Moses, Logue eventually ran for mayor.

Nothing like him in Mass.

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Maybe the closest we got was William Callahan, but he only built roads, not parks (we already had the MDC) or other stuff.