Boston to host global climate-change summit next year

WBUR reports the focus will be on what cities can do to battle the problem even in the face of coal-slurping governments.



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      Maybe this can be the impetus to build a world-class public transit system like we were supposed to pretend to believe the Olympics would have done.

      One could hope, but our

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      One could hope, but our governor despises public transit.

      When people from Japan, China, South Korea, or almost anywhere in Europe come to Boston for this summit(or any other reason) and see our old ass, slow ass trains they will have a hard time taking us seriously. America is the joke of the world right now and our embarrassing public transit is one of the reasons(along with the aforementioned coal loving president being the #1 reason). People in those countries get around safely and quickly on high speed trains while most Americans sit in traffic for hours per week because one of our two political parties has been bought by the oil and coal companies.

      You're whacked

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      Baker is doing more to improve the T than any governor in recent history. Among other operational improvements, debt service has skyrocketed by I believe about $100 million a year because they are finally investing in new equipment, stations, tracks etc. The T even told the state to slow down because they didn't have the internal capacity to take on new capital projects that now total about half a billion dollars a year.

      It'll take a decade to fix it all - but we are 2-3 years into what looks to be a pretty substantial improvement cycle across the system.

      Stevil is right...sort of.

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      Your overarching contention might be true, and certainly, I have heard with my own ears Joe Aiello (Chairman of the FCMB) say that they do not have the internal capability (i.e., qualified people) to prudently spend the allocated capital funds. (This is what happens when the carefully cultivated 35+ year campaign that "government can't do anything right" goes uncontradicted - all the good people leave and go to work for the consultants, on the same projects, for 3x more money).

      The problem is that virtually no one who rides the T is seeing any significant benefits of any investment yet. This has been something that I have said in public meetings - they have to erase the trust/buy-in deficit at least contemporaneously with reducing the good repair backlog. In my opinion, that would have meant doing the high-impact, short(ish) timeframe stuff first. I do not think that those projects were prioritized - hence a general feeling that "nothing has changed". It also does not help that the T does a terrible job of selling the improvements it's making. When something breaks, no one has any idea as to what is being done to fix it and how long it will take. Even for those of us who understand that improvements will take time, patience is fraying, particularly in the face of many, many unforced errors and capital projects that have not improved service in a noticeable way.

      By way of comparison, look at how MassDOT is crowing about how it is going to replace three bridges on Route 3 in 55 hours during some upcoming weekend. When we start to see major improvements happening on timeframes like that on the transit system, maybe people will react a little bit better.

      I agree

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      And it'll probably get a bit worse before it gets better - but you can't put that on Baker (but you can put it on Deval, and Swift and Romney to be an equal opportunity blamer).

      One bright note - saw a piece on TV that the green line was having like 7-8 derailments per year in 2015 and 2016. They did a study on the cause, addressed the issues and apparently zero derailments in the past 12 months. Progress - but virtually unnoticeable as you note. Let's just hope the state continues to have the means to throw $100 million a year plus in supplemental subsidies at the T.

      It won't ultimately matter

      Baker is caught up in his legacy desire to meet all the carbon targets under the Paris Accord. He will have absolutely zero choice but to completely improve, modernize and upgrade the MBTA and commuter rail if he even wants to get to 2030 targets, let alone 2050. DOT Secretary has been saying this to his face: it is mathematically impossible to reduce emissions to those levels even with entirely electric autonomous cars.

      There is a need to encourage short trips on foot or bike and longer trips by reliable transit.

      Ego issue, economic growth issue, and carbon and pollution issue.

      Thank you for posting this.

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      Thank you for posting this. It allowed me to sit in my cubicle and laugh to myself uncontrollably at the texts I STILL receive from my brother in North Carolina about Cadillac Deval and The MBTA Curse of Bev Scott.

      What do you call placing a

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      What do you call placing a huge amount of Big Dig debt on the MBTA? Or ending late night service? Or cutting janitorial service? Or raising T fares even after he campaigned on not raising taxes and fees? Or hiring a crook with no transit experience to run the MBTA? Or giving Keolis millions in bonus money for no reason?

      The T Fairy isn't coming to sprinkle money on the system

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      1) We've settled this already. The T had to take on about $50 million in additional debt servicing in the first year of forward funding. In return, they got an additional $75 million in sales tax revenue. After that, debt servicing flat-lined for over a decade while revenues almost doubled. I.e. - they spent it on salaries and benefits - not on much needed capital improvements. They are finally getting resources where needed. the assumption that the state somehow should have funded the T and also paid down the big dig debt is fantasyland. Those resources didn't exist.

      2) The T is still hand to mouth and reliant on the state to balance its books at the end of the year, despite an extra billion dollars in funding over the past 15 or so years. They had to cut expenses or increase revenue to make ends meet without overly taxing the state budget (or more accurately - us the taxpayers). What would you have cut? Or what revenue streams would you have increased? there's no Magic T Fairy to make money appear - and every dollar the state spends on the T has to come from the state budget 75% of which is education or human services - so more for the T means less for that.

      As for the new GM - a) you don't need relevant industry experience if you are a good C-level exec. That we don't know - only time will tell. b) As for crook - irregularities at his past firm could be his fault, also maybe not. I'm not pro or con - just saying I know too little about the man to pass judgement.

      And Keolis - probably some very technical negotiations - but for sure it's not like they are walking away with huge profits. They are reportedly losing money on the operation. My understanding is that there were payments to make them whole on things that weren't their fault and take on maintenance of an expanded fleet - not a "bonus" for good performance. Again - bottom line - we don't have the information to really judge this one way or the other.

      The Libertarian Fairy

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      Has gone Galt and won't be sprinkling any free market juice on anything with his invisible red right hand, making it MAGICALLY DELICIOUS and perfect, like schools taught by dropout drunks, either.

      Three things

      1) Two political parties? We have several. It's not my fault that my intellectually lazy and complacent countrymen keep voting Republican and Democrat.

      2) I'm pretty sure that coal and oil have purchased more than one political party.

      3) Many oil companies are public. Buy their stock and get some of that money for yourself.

      Go vegan

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      Want to make an immediate substantial impact? Go vegan. It blows my mind that a supposedly progressive city has such a pathetic amount of vegan food options.

      It's economics. Vegetarians of one sort or another account for

      maybe 10-15% of the dining populace, true vegans are in the low-to-mid single digits.

      I think Boston restaurants are doing a much better job of accommodating vegetarian and vegan diners than ten and certainly 20 years ago. Clover has demonstrated that you can do quality vegan in a fast-casual setting. We have a lot more vegan and vegetarian traditional cuisines than we used to: regional Indian fare springs to mind. It's much easier to take my vegetarian and vegan friends out to dinner where they can feel well-treated than it used to be.

      But restaurateurs are businesspeople. When the demand is there, they generally rise to meet it. If you're confident that you can build a profitable business plan and attract the necessary investment to bootstrap it, I encourage you to start a vegan restaurant.

      I've been impressed

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      Having had a reason recently to look for more vegetarian options, even at the meatiest of restaurants, I've been impressed.

      Boston area restaurants, as a whole, are well beyond the "well, we serve a garden salad?" and "we can serve the steak and potato without the steak" options of years past. There are a lot of places I've been to in the south and midwest where they're still stuck in that mode.

      Its not a "mode." There are

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      Its not a "mode." There are a lot of people all over the country to still eat meat and dairy, so clearly there is still a market for those restaurants.

      Talk about misreading the response. The point is not

      that there's little demand for meat and dairy restaurants, but that some restaurants are still pretty meager in how they address vegetarian and vegan requirements. In the dark old days in Boston, the best you could hope for was a salad or some sides: very token efforts.

      I recall a meal at the very swanky Julien Room in the old Le Meridien. My vegetarian-leaning date could only get a plate of steamed vegetables. But that was 15 years ago. Most upmarket restaurants here do much, much better nowadays.

      As in many areas of life, the South is still kinda backward on this score.

      What requirements? Are there

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      What requirements? Are there laws requiring vegan/vegetarian options at restaurants? Honest question... Restaurants can serve whatever it is they like the customers like. Again, its called the free market. Maybe southern restaurants had vegan options but no one orders them, so they take them off the menu... not sure how this is backwards. Cuisine varies from state to state, city to city.

      Again with the intellectually dishonest response

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      The word requirements was on the vegan/vegetarian, not the restaurant. The patron requires certain items to be on the menu in order to eat there.

      There's no law that says you have to cater to everyone, but you'd be both a shitheel and an ignoramous to ignore the 10-15% of the public AND the other 85-90% of the public that want to dine with them by refusing to modify your menu to accommodate people who have voluntary (and sometimes medically mandatory) dietary requirements.

      Cuisine also varies from decade to decade. Your advocacy for a "fuck the vegans" approach to running a restaurant will eventually lose. Because the guy next door who puts in a bit of effort to support those eaters will figuratively eat your lunch. It's only a matter of time in the south and midwest.


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      Can you just to go eat at places with a salad bar? Often the soup du jour is clam chowder so you can get by.

      Do you even dictionary, bro?

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      A vegan isn't going to eat clams. And if you're talking about a cream-based chowder, they're not going to eat that either.

      Spectrum of possibilities

      Vegan? That would be very difficult for some people and undesirable for others. It is also a very tough place to start.

      I used to have these discussions with my niece, who ran a vegan food spot in Ann Arbor many years ago. The question being, "Which has greater net benefit: convincing a small number of people to go vegan OR convincing a larger number of people to become vegetarians OR a very large number of people enjoying meat free days?"

      I would argue that options 2) and 3) would not only have a lot more impact, they might ultimately produce more vegans than making that jump directly.

      In the meantime, I'm happily omnivorous, but that means that I enjoy vegetarian options fairly often and know how to prepare veg/vegan food. I often bring such dishes to potluck dinners as it increases everyone's options. On a population level, the best way to increase vegetarian eating is to normalize it.

      I think one reason that Clover has done so well is that is

      neatly underplays its vegetarianism. Try to find the words "vegetarian" or "vegan" in its signage, marketing, menus. They promote it as simple, fast, healthy, and delicious, but don't rub the other virtues of vegetarian fare in their customers' faces. Smart, in my book.

      Some vegans have figured out that you don't win friends with sanctimony. A few more would help the cause by getting less preachy, too. Deliciousness is a more convincing argument to most omnivores.

      But the good vegan options in

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      But the good vegan options in Boston are usually loaded with fat and sodium and sugar by adding heavy sauces and an overload of seasonings to give it some flavor. I'd rather have a nice roasted salmon filet with fresh squeezed lemon juice and capers.

      Go dogless.

      Want to make an immediate substantial impact? Stop owning a dog. 30% of the impact from meat production is for pets, most of it for dogs (the energy and animal-derived product consumption of dogs is about four times that of cats). It blows my mind that people who own dogs like to toot their own horns about being vegetarians or environmentalists when their dogs eat more meat than the average human does.

      Great point.

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      Great point.
      I read the "go vegan" post and kind of chuckle. Is this going to be the new "shame"?. Please, humans are meant to eat meat - nothing to feel guilty about. Meatless days are a great idea, but please don't go overboard.

      What's the study I just saw that named about a third of "vegetarians" eat meat when drunk. They are not vegetarians.

      Signed a 27 yr vegetarian.

      When will the last king tide

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      When will the last king tide be before the summit starts and how many newscasts will have someone on location out behind the Chart House to stand with the water washing over the wharf?