Report: Blacks in Boston have worse transit options than whites

The Globe reports on the turtle-like transit options available to people in the inner city - many of whom were promised a speedy alternative to the Orange Line when it was moved but who instead got a silver bus.

Staying on Track - Slides from a presentation on which the Globe story is based.



Free tagging: 



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    Move - Last time I checked we don't have South African style pass laws. If anyone feels like they need better means of public transport, there are housing options available located near major transit lines all throughout our fair metropolitan area.

    There is an old joke. What would the headline in the Globe be the day after an atomic war? - Billions killed in nuclear holocaust, Women and Minorities adversely affected.


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    I'm thinking you don't know what it's like to deal with racism all day every day, if you're suggesting that most Black Bostonians would be delighted to move to areas where no one looks like them.

    Isn't that racist of them to

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    Isn't that racist of them to not want to live with people that don't look like themselves?

    What ever happened to the melting pot? All multiculturalism seems to be doing is creating ethnic enclaves and balkanized tribalism.

    Content of character need not apply? MLK is rolling over in his grave.

    My commute to Chinatown is

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    My commute to Chinatown is nearly 1 hour each day and I'm white. Meanwhile, I see all these Asian people rolling out of bed and skipping across the street to work. I hope the next study uncovers the obvious racial bias Chinatown's Asian residents have in their commute to Chinatown!

    So move

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    I hear the units in Archstone are quite nice.

    Oh, what, you just wanted to get in a gratuitous dig at Asians? Oh, well, carry on then.

    What dig at Asians? You're

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    What dig at Asians? You're seeing things that aren't there.

    Chinese restaurants big on van pooling

    US Census figures show carpooling is far more popular than bicycling with an example being Chinese restaurants all around run a van to and from Chinese neighborhoods to transport workers who can't afford cars.

    so do HOV lanes in every city

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    so do HOV lanes in every city in this country blow apart your liberal conspiracy theory.... OR IS THE CONSPIRACY BIGGER THAN WE EVEN IMAGINED??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    Was the transit situation racist in 1955

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    The area in Boston least served by public transportation in Boston is supposedly Mattapan. The transit routes in the city haven't changed much since the 1920's. Up until the 1960's Mattapan was Jewish and served by buses. Was that racist then or just the way things were?

    I grew up in an area of Boston where plenty of African Americans had and have excellent access to public transportation. I'm sick to death of the Globe chalking nearly every problem in this area to white patriarchy.

    I hated slow T service on trains and buses while I worked in the urban core while living in areas of the city with good (Dot) and fair (South Boston) public transportation. I solved my problem by working extra jobs on nights and weekends and bought a car. Problem solved and no racial blame involved.

    Stop blaming racism for problems. My ancestors lived in the third world until 1964, 5 years after the Riverside line opened. I dealt with it on my own accord and moved on.

    um, one big change would be

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    um, one big change would be the removal of the elevated orange line that is at the center of this article.....

    Although the sample trip

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    Although the sample trip noted in the article from Ruggles to Mattapan would still be as slow even if the Orange Line still stopped at Dudley.
    If you are at Mattapan and want to go to downtown the fastest way is actually to take the 31 bus to Forest Hills and then catch the Orange Line there. Anybody riding the 28 all the way from Mattapan to catch the Orange Line at Ruggles is really wasting their time compared to taking the 31.

    Good call

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    I thought there would be a faster route than the 28 straight through. You're right - the MBTA Trip Planner site recommends this route also.

    Coolidge Corner is served by

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    Coolidge Corner is served by a trolley line that runs in its own reservation and operates directly into the subway to downtown. The majority of trolley lines converted to bus or tackless trolley in the Boston area between 1922 and 1958 ran directly in the street (with a few exceptions like the reseration on parts of Blue Hill Ave.) and ran as feeders to the high-platform rapid transit system (Red, Orange, and Blue Lines), requiring a transfer to reach downtown. Just because a street in the 1920s had a trolley line does not mean it had service comparable to the segments that remain today as the Green Line. Those unique characteristics (reservations and direct subway routing) are in fact the reasons why the segments of the original network that we now call the Green Line did survive as streetcar lines and weren't converted to bus or trackless trolley. Another historical reminder: Until new light rail systems began to show up in U.S. cities lik San Diego and Portland in the 1980s, the only U.S. cities were any part of the orignal streetcar network survived to 1980 were Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New Orleans, and San Francisco. With the exception of a few lins in northern Philly, all of the surviving lines either operated for a signficant portion of their route on their own reservation or in a subway.

    Dealing with racism?

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    Eeka - You don't look to black to me, then again who am I to judge. Still, how do you know how to deal with racism everyday? Are you walking around in the Al Jolson make up looking for racist reactions to your appearance? I think your statement concenring my "thoughts" on racism is as insipid as the Globe's attitude towards the problems of this area when it comes to minorities being subjected to everyday problems that whites, blacks, purples, oranges, and any other color of people are subjected to by society.

    We have laws which insure fair housing practices and and attorney general's office which is supposed to ferret out racist practices in the sale and leasing of real estate. That was the point of my comment. You, as a person, regardless of the hue of your skin, may live anywhere you want in this area, providing you have the means to do it. If you want to live near better rather than poor public transportation, then you can do it, provding you make the effort to earn the currency to do so.


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    No, I'm not Black. My child is. We deal with racism every day.

    You know what?

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    I'm tired of hearing this excuse from black people. I don't care what color you are. If you present yourself as a good person and a good neighbor then I don't see the issue. It seems that many black people are the one's who are propagating the modern day myth of widespread racism. It's a self fulfilling and self propagating prophesy of limits. And I think the majority of white people would agree with me.


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    is an extremely racist attitude.

    What makes you automatically think you have something that people of color want?

    Perhaps He Has Easier Access To Transit?

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    That is, after all, what we're talking about here.

    (By the way, I have a nephew of mixed parentage - that is to say, he goes down as "African-American" or "Black" on any government forms - and I do understand the certain degree of prejudice with which he is sometimes met, but I'd say that near as much of the problem lies with folks who think they are doing their bit to eliminate racism as it does with those determinedly trying to perpetuate it. I certainly can't speak to your exact circumstances, Eeka, but I am positive my nephew would be better off if more people would just start ignoring people's skin color rather than trying to accommodate different skins in different ways.)


    My attitude is racist?!

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    Au contraire, I think my attitude is the very opposite of racist because I try to see each person as an individual.

    Yeah, when some government

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    Yeah, when some government bureaucrats decide to make your lives worse by demolishing transportation options in your community, just suck it up and move. Even if it might cost more or break up existing family and social ties. It's not like these community's need any more empowerment or anything.

    No affordable housing options

    Perhaps you have heard the word community? Some people actually have friends and relatives and want to live near them. Should the whole community including local business be resettled?

    Housing simply costs too much at places with better transit options. The Green Line Extension would briefly improve transit for some lower income people, then prices will increase as more whites with more money want to move where the transportation improved, especially when its rail instead of bus.


    You actually sound like a reasonable commentator with a good point.


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    I bet the reporter that wrote this doesn't use the T on a regular basis. Leave it to The Globe to come up with this.
    I ride the T five days a week. Since the fare increase, I have noticed a decline in the bus service.
    I take the #11 (Downtown/Bayview). On any given weekday afternoon, two and at times three #7 City Point buses will arrive at South Station heading into So. Boston. Those of us waiting for the #11 can wait as much as 40 minutes.
    I'm white and I think I'm getting less service than I should. We are all stuck with this situation. Not everything has to have a racial factor to it.

    Some thoughts on the matter

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    Random anecdote: on Friday, I happened to connect through Dudley to the SL5 and the line to board was very long because every other person had to fill up their CharlieCard on board. They clearly need more Charlie ticket machines in working order around the bus platforms.

    The bus was completely full and got through the South End in about 20 minutes, which is about twice the expected time, but not surprising given the crowding. When the bus is overloaded, it takes longer to dwell at each station stop. However, all that was positively speedy compared to the crawl through Chinatown, which has long been a problem with the Silver Line.

    The whole idea of "Bus Rapid Transit" is a bit twisted. Especially here. The improvements such as dedicated bus lanes, signal priority, all-door boarding, off-board payment, and level boarding should be part of the standard practice on all heavily used bus lines where feasible. It shouldn't require special branding, just common sense. The MBTA and BTD need to work together. The mission of BTD should be to help move people -- instead of their current mission to help move cars, which values inanimate objects over human beings.

    The T needs to dump this obsession with shiny terms like "BRT"[*] and start improving all of its heavily used bus lines. They need to communicate with BTD. This is where the Mayor's office, MassDOT, and the State legislature all have a place: to find a way to get the agencies to cooperate. And if they want the Fairmount line to be used, they need to honor CharlieCards and subway passes on-board, as well as increase frequencies.

    As for housing affordability near good transit, that's always going to be a challenge as long as suburban-style zoning laws are allowed to reign supreme. The fact is that good transit will make nearby homes more valuable -- it's no accident that cheaper homes are further from good transit.

    Land use decisions have to be made with transportation in mind. The only reasonable way to keep housing affordable near transit is to build more housing units. That means zoning regulations based on the needs of the automobile have to be repealed. The car-based community requires a large investment in land-intensive infrastructure to make it all work out smoothly. This is in direct opposition to a walking-based layout, which prefers everything to be closer together.

    There's room for both kinds of communities, even within the same city. But, given an investment in transit made to a particular corridor, that corridor needs to be developed as a walking-based community, or else the investment is wasted and people get pushed out as housing becomes unaffordable.

    One of the biggest tragedies of Boston's sordid history of "urban renewal" was the destruction of communities simply because they were deemed "unfit" by faraway city planners. Next time you ride the Silver Line, look at the land surrounding Melnea Cass Blvd. It's mostly empty land now. At one time, it was a thriving urban community, but that was all destroyed for the highways and parking lots. Just look at the historic aerial pictures and compare to more recent years. Same location, different years:


    [*] "Bus Rapid Transit" success stories such as TransMilenio are really a completely different creature. They look and feel almost like subway systems. TransMilenio had to go from zero to bigger than the T in just a few years, and their labor costs are relatively cheap, so "BRT" makes a lot of sense for them. They also have politicians willing to fight for road space, dedicated lanes, signal priority, and the real investment needed to make it work.

    Remember what happened when

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    Remember what happened when improvements were proposed to the 28 & 23 bus? The right politicians didn't have their egos stroked and the community lost out on once in a lifetime transit improvements.

    the 28x project was cancelled because the community members didn

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    the 28x bus project was cancelled because the people who lived in Mattapan and Roxbury didn't want it.....I went to all those meetings at the time since I rode the 28 bus....atleast they got double lenght busses...made the 28 less crowded.

    Hopefully the Fairmount Line will come on line for nights and weekends with appropriate fairs after the four new stops are added and folks will actually start using it.

    How did the last Utopian plan work out?

    Last generation's urban planning dream for the future Utopia was building big, dense, housing complexes much like "smart growth". The reality did not turn out like according to the vision with rampant crime, drugs, and desolation. The urban planners across the US who argued passionately for their vision of dense, affordable housing are little different from planners today with a new vision of Utopia.

    The price Europeans have paid include less upward mobility than the US, less economic growth, higher taxes, and now bankrupt governments. Who is to say that today's urban planners won't be also considered misguided by the next generation.

    Whoa there

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    Uhhhhh, I'm not sure how much more vehemently I can attack "urban renewal" and Corbusian idealism from the 50s and 60s. But let me state this extremely clearly and extremely slowly for you:

    I utterly and completely oppose the kind of housing complexes that were pursued by the last couple generations of planners.

    Secondly, "smart growth" is also opposed to such housing projects. You might want to actually read about what you're attacking some day. The Corbusian-style housing projects of the bad old days were pretty much the opposite of the recommendations of "smart growth." Those projects were mostly empty space. They were single use. They were parking lots, big highways, and tons of vague undefined "greenspace". All of this is anathema to "smart growth."

    The Corbusian and Robert Moses-style projects were the end-state of the suburban style of thinking applied to "big cities." Grass and an automobile for everyone. You might even call it the Markk02474 approach to city planning.

    MBTA Coverage

    I'll write to both.

    First to Jon. Moving is not as simple as you put it. It is well known that one of the things bringing transit in is that it trend to raise property values (emphasis to the word trend, here are many ways to mitigate that benefit by negating its benefits of ease to commute people for commercial business - Malden is a good example of how it took every cost but negated almost every benefit to the city center and city as a whole by surronding it with brick walls, parking lots, a highway, Route 128 office buildings, and a retail-less condo).

    Secondly to Eeka. While we're on the same page on the thinking that moving is not as simple. I do not like the word of "all day, every day." I'm assuming you're white, to say you understand more than him is presumptuous. Even more important is that such wording paint a picture of extreme victimhood with by sound like every moment of life is oppressed. It's overly pessimistic and bleak to say "all day, every day." It also sounds very patronistic to saying every moment is like that. Race relations is far more complicate than that.

    Finally (and it also kinda relates to Jon statement to move), is transit service should be geographical and populated transit users. Currently, the hub (and spoke) system of the MBTA have huge gaps even in the inner city.

    That links shows a map (there are bigger one too, if someone can help me find it, I would appreciate that) of coverage. As you can see, the current big holes are Chelsea/Everett, Somerville, Watertown... and the gigantic gap between the Orange Line and Red Line (expanding the map out, there's also more like the area west of the Orange line).

    Ideally, action should be taken to plug those giant geographical holes with real transit. The Fairmount Line should not be an incremental upgrade but a full-on upgrade to heavy rail. The Green Line extension to Somervile should stop being delayed ad infinity. Something needs to be done with the gap of Everett and Chelsea. Perhaps Watertown should get the A-line back. Finally, if all lines gets extended to Route 128, then even better.

    Combined together, most of the big holes of population-wise and geographical-wise of Boston metro will be covered (quality running trains is another matter). If all of that is done. Probably one of the biggest geophysical and population holes left will be probably Belmont... but I'll think they'll be okay.

    Heavy Rail Not Needed on the Fairmount Line

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    Ideally, action should be taken to plug those giant geographical holes with real transit. The Fairmount Line should not be an incremental upgrade but a full-on upgrade to heavy rail.

    Actually, far from a strict 'upgrade,' converting the Fairmount Line to the Indigo Line would probably hurt us more than it helps for several reasons:

    1. The Northeast Corridor, which is already over capacity and at its spacial limits inside of 128. There's not much more we can squeeze out of that ROW in terms of track space without drastic measures. In this case, drastic measures means axing commuter rail lines - Needham Line, gone. Franklin Line, gone. Stoughton Line, gone. Needless to say, Forest Hills and Hyde Park Stations are both gone, too. Now, the Needham Line can be converted into a branch of the Orange Line, and the Franklin and Stoughton Lines can both be rerouted onto the Fairmount Line. (Fairmount Station, in fact, is far more useful than Hyde Park Station.) If, however, the Fairmount Line becomes the Indigo Line, there's nowhere else to route those two lines - and with Amtrak controlling dispatching, that means slashing headways left and right to make room for increased Regional frequencies when the time comes.
    2. Electrification. Stringing catenary is probably going to be a lot easier than installing a third rail would be - on the Fairmount Line, and on every other Line that would benefit from electrification. You had better believe that wide-spread electrification is not getting rolled out before the MBTA/MBCR has adequately verified that they know what they're doing with it - and the alternative place for testing, the Providence Line / NEC, is just too important to be used as a test bed. Furthermore, EMU technology would have comparable speeds and headways to an Indigo Line using Blue Line rolling stock.
    3. The North-South Rail Link. Whether it's the Fairmount Line or the Indigo Line, odds are it won't dead-end in South Station forever. If and when the NS Rail Link is completed, it will likely carry four tracks through between the stations. As the Fairmount Line, all four of these tracks can be used for Commuter Rail or Amtrak - but as the Indigo Line, two of these tracks are permanently lost to rapid transit, drastically limiting capacity for both modes.
    4. Adding Rapid Transit later is far easier than putting the Commuter Rail back later. You might be thinking, "well, all these reasons to not convert it are banking on a very uncertain future." And, well, you're right. However, the ground beneath the Fairmount Line is well-documented, free of hidden surprises, and easy to tunnel through. If it turns out we need both Rapid Transit and Commuter Rail on that corridor, it'll be easy to go back later and dig an Indigo Line underneath the Fairmount Line. On the other hand, once we convert the Fairmount Line to the Indigo Line, it'll be extremely difficult - if not impossible - to restore the Commuter Rail ROW when it turns out that we need it.

    Why not get some electric

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    Why not get some electric buses/trolleys that carry that have batteries or fuel cells and don't need overhead wires or 3rd rails?

    Mr F Line, the MBTA owns the

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    Mr F Line, the MBTA owns the Northeast Corridor in Mass. Amtrak offered to continue to dispatch it for free when they lost the commuter rail operating contract and the MBTA accepted the offer. But the MBTA still has the final call to determine how much service is offered. Amtrak is in no postion to ever force the MBTA to discontinue its own service. If it ever came down to Needham and Franklin line vs. more Amtrak service, Needham and Franklin win.

    That said, it makes no sense for the Fairmount Line to ever be run with non-FRA complient equipment. It has to share tracks with standard commuter rail and Amtrak equipment at both ends of the line. The FRA would never grant a waiver. There is also no additional capacity in the Red Line subway to accomodate a new branch, so it would never be practical to convert the Fairmount Line to a Red Line branch.

    So, instead of replacing the

    So, instead of replacing the commuter rail with rapid transit, we'll keep the commuter rail and put the Indigo Line underneath. Assuming that need to have both is warranted and everything you said is right (though I should mention the Blue Line uses centenary for half of it)... I'm okay with that.

    More service on the 111, 116/117 buses

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    would quite satisfy the requirements for Chelsea. The 104/109 down Broadway in Everett should be upgraded to key bus routes, they are packed every time of day. I live about 2 miles from the closest T station to my house, and I walk there almost every day. And I am far from being in perfect shape. Though a subway to Chelsea via the Rockport line with a stop in Everett (near where the old Orange Line terminal was) would be a fantastic option.


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    How about if you debate the content of what I wrote, rather than (wrongly) assuming what daily experiences I have with racism?

    What you wrote was: I'm

    What you wrote was:

    I'm thinking you don't know what it's like to deal with racism all day every day, if you're suggesting that most Black Bostonians would be delighted to move to areas where no one looks like them.

    The line "I'm thinking you don't know what it's like" implies you know more than Jon. Else, you wouldn't have the position to imply you truly know more than Jon. Despite that I recall you are in the field of a social worker. I still question if you can truly say you "know" more than Jon. Secondly, even with that experience to witness, I find that statement presumptuous and even condescending.

    Again, enough with the personal attacks

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    I'm not a social worker actually, but I don't know why you need to bring my profession into something rather than debating what we're actually talking about.

    Read the statement again. I said that if he's suggesting this, it's pretty likely that he doesn't know what it's like to deal with racism. Both of you might want to read some books about white privilege and then see why it's ignorant and condescending to tell people that if their communities are underserved, they should just move, and that by staying in their communities, they're idiots or something.

    Eeka - You poor girl

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    How do you keep those M&M's from falling through your hands after being nailed to the cross for so long?

    I dealt with racism every single day growing up. I went through busing and its affects as a kid with the social engineering imposed on the blacks and whites in this city by suburbanites.

    Were you ever a 14 year old terrified for your life by hoping the kids at the Grover Cleveland weren't waiting to kick the stuffing at Fields Corner station because of the color of your skin? Were you?

    Did you get told to go back to the suburbs on a basketball court in your own neighborhood becuase of the color of your skin and the assumption that somehow I was from Wakefield because I was white?

    Were you ever told that the Irish were only good for holding doors and doing laundry while trying do a third job as a doorman on Beacon Hill while trying to put yourself through college?

    Were you ever stopped by the Boston Police while you were part of a group and blacks and whites because you were chasing a robber with black skin who stole your earnings for the evening, but the call to the police came in as a gang of whites chasing a black guy?

    Were you ever cold cocked by a group of teenagers in Central Square while sitting in your car and being called a white motherf**er?

    I guess you weren't and I haven't had the fortitude everyday to deal with the racism of early 20th century transit planning and its affects on black people who live in what was then white neighborhoods.

    Your pity pity me coupled with your everyone else is wrong on these posts is getting stale.


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    You aren't describing being on the receiving end of racism. You're describing the handful of times in your life that white privilege hasn't given you a free pass when you expected it to.

    Not on the receiving end of

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    Not on the receiving end of racism, eh? Well then, please do tell us what it feels like, enlighten us poor ignorant bigoted fools.

    That's The Crap

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    Eeka, I think you know I like you, but this is the crap.

    What he is describing are not moments when he expected to be treated in an exemplary manner because he is white. He is describing moments when he expected to be treated in a fair or normal manner because he is human.



    He can remember all of them, count them, and describe them.

    So What?

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    He has a good memory. That makes him a bad person?

    Anyway, nowhere did he say that his experiences were LIMITED to what he described here. That's an assumption on your part.


    Which is what you don't get

    No matter how good a memory you have, it becomes impossible to catalog all of it when you are a person who is marginalized.

    Doesn't Apply To What I Stated

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    He did not say those were ALL of his experiences. You are INFERRING that is the case.

    Anyway, are you actually saying that every black person's life is such a living hell that it becomes impossible for any of them to remember specific horrific instances with enough clarity to then describe same in a public forum? By stating that a person of another race would be the only type able to catalog such things, that's what seems to be IMPLIED.



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    Let's see now - a recent college grad lucky enough to find a job in this economy would get around $35K a year and lose close to $10K to taxes, deductions and medical insurance, which leaves them with $25K to live on. That won't go too far in a city where a closet-sized room in a rat-infested apartment with multiple roommates would set one back at least $700 a month, not to mention student loans and other expenses.

    Now, let's take a look at a typical unmarried mother of three with no income:

    TANF: $650/mo
    SNAP: $668/mo
    Section 8: $1500/mo

    That's $33,816, an equivalent of approximately $47,000 pre-tax income, and I'm not even counting all the other benefits that are available. Not too shabby, eh? Who's being marginalized again?

    How dare you

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    be so arrogant and presumptuous. I grew up poor and in big inner city neighborhoods, dear. I had ZERO 'white privilege'. What you're referring to I think is SOCIOECONOMIC privileges, and privileges some people have due to family connections and influence. Such people come in all skin tones, ethnicities. I was not one of them. And I certainly received no extras for being an oppressed minority in either the workplace or school.

    And I most certainly have been discriminated against because of my skin tone, my gender, and my socioeconomic status,by people of both dark, medium and light skin tone, and including people of my own ancestral background. And I am still quite angry and bitter about it. I have every right to be, just the same as you obviously have a chip on your shoulder. So do I. Maybe one day we'll bump into each other. I don't think it would be a pretty sight.

    No offense, that was a

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    No offense, that was a CONDESCENDING article IMHO.

    A person's SOCIOECONOMIC background plays a far bigger role than 'race' or 'ethnicity', although I would say gender also plays a big role; females in our society have been officially heavily courted by business and politicians for the past 40 plus years, to the point where females don't just have equal status under the law, they have more than equal status, and this includes females of every socioeconomic background.

    That said, a 'poor' or so-called working class white male [straight, bi, gay, religious, agnostic, atheist, etc.,] is not 'privileged', ma'am.

    And I never said what my sexual orientation was; why would you assume I was 'straight'?


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    That will also hold you back in life.

    So will a highly rationalized lack of empathy.

    Again, I'm not making a

    Again, I'm not making a personal attack. I'm trying to attack your argument that Jon does not know racism and the image you point of "all day, everyday". To be in the capacity say he doesn't know and to make a statement that you really know, it requires some kind of actually being in such shoes. I question that. That's not a personal attack.

    The mistaken point of you as a social worker (I do apologize for mistaking your profession) because if you were one, that might mean you personally witness events that leads to credibility to make such a judgement. So I preemptively pointed out that even witness is not the same as being.

    It is condescending because you're not the person to make the argument. It sounds like "Oh you poor thing... you suffer so much oppression! I feel so bad for you and your community." I don't agree with Jon's statement to moving as such a simple solution either. However, you backed your argument in a way that both implies you know more than Jon and you know racism - look races as a bunch of victims suffering "all day, everyday".

    Btw, if you accuse me of white privilege. I'm not white.

    Agreed. Eeka's statement was condescending and presumptuous.

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    And wrong. I have an ex-step brother who is black. Long shitty story. I grew up with him in four white washed towns in the '80's and '90's: Quincy, then Hanover, then Cohasset and finally Hingham. So, many people would consider me an upper middle class privileged white male (which I am) without getting to know my entire story. The loony liberals and reverse racists always have a fit when I tell them my experience because it totally blows their talking points, rants and threats out of the water. And I usually don't tell that story unless it's pertinent, like now.


    Ideally, action should be taken to plug those giant geographical holes with real transit. The Fairmount Line should not be an incremental upgrade but a full-on upgrade to heavy rail. The Green Line extension to Somervile should stop being delayed ad infinity. Something needs to be done with the gap of Everett and Chelsea. Perhaps Watertown should get the A-line back. Finally, if all lines gets extended to Route 128, then even better.

    Exactly - instead of the ridiculous strawman that putting transit one place raises property values (and shouldn't, therefore, be put anywhere), put it in more places serving more people and the income gradients that push people to pay more to be near transit won't matter.

    New funding model needed

    Its absolutely true that putting in rail transit raises property values. What's needed so we can afford to put rail more places is to have beneficiaries all help fund rail projects, not just taxpayers. Given the large debt plus operating loss of the MBTA, more of the same is the insane approach. Property owners given a windfall at taxpayer expense need to help fund projects. Look at it the other way: if a property owner/condo developer want to make more money, they will want to fund a rail project. Already developers fund road enhancements for projects, so let them do the same for rail.

    Okay then

    What we should also have is people who drive pay for all roadway related items in the budget on a per-mile-driven basis. Assessments to be based on mileage at inspection each year.

    Got big bucks? Because that's what it will cost you to end the roadway subsidy that drivers benefit from.

    Why don't we start with 93fast14 ... I don't mind having paid some for that - where's your share?

    Otherwise, you sound JUST like that idiot lawmaker in Western Mass who whines about subsidizing cities, yet doesn't exactly notice when WE paid for roads we never use or maintain roads that don't benefit us at three-times the cost.

    This is not a road you want to drive down. We can go there - but car driving is extremely subsidized and I'd be happy to pay for the green line - as would my neighbors who don't have a car and never see even city sidewalks plowed - if we didn't have to pay for your car travel.

    Say hello to Pandora and watch out, Markk02474!

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    In view of your comment, I am confident that some UHubber is compiling statistics on how much the Minuteman Bikeway has increased the property values in the towns along it, and how much more those owners/taxpayers ought to be paying as a result of it. After all, few have received a windfall as fabulous as those who live along the Minuteman.

    Forewarned is forearmed, brother.

    (For the record, I am not the one compiling said statistics, as my dislike of the insistence upon supplying them in a forum such as this is well documented.)

    Confounding variables

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    "The Dukakis Center did not look directly at income"

    Seems to make the whole report kinda silly. If you're going to put out a report on something as sensitive as race, you should put at least some effort into controlling for other obvious variables.


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    Poor people in Boston have worse transit options than more well off people. Reliable mass transit access is in demand, and therefore raises rents and housing prices, thus pricing out the poor (who are often minorities.)

    The T doesn't move train lines around willy nilly to disadvantage people.

    Same speed for everybody

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    There are a lot of good questions about how the MBTA could better serve Boston, but race isn't one of them. Every trip I take averages about 7 mph as the story reported, whether I'm going to a neighborhood full of black people or white people. Yes, Roxbury doesn't have the Orange Line, but neither does Roslindale, West Roxbury, or Hyde Park. White people in these neighborhoods have to take buses to get the the subway, too. And our buses stop a lot, get stuck in traffic, and always seem to leave the station right before the subway gets there on the way home, too.

    The MBTA could coordinate schedules a whole lot better for the vast number of people who transfer from bus to subway. Maybe they could put transponders in buses that turned red lights to green. They could quit having delayed buses follow each other around back-to-back, wasting everyone's money. They could figure out how to get school kids home more efficiently.

    None of this is helped by sidetracking the whole issue into an irrelevant argument about race.

    Slow travel speed is the problem

    One afternoon I drove on Mass Ave from Arlington to Roxbury to get some 100 year old door knobs at the Building Materials Resource Center that matched the ones in my house. Six miles, one hour to get there. The 7 mph sounds correct for many bus trips, and for Cambridge Planners taking a travel lane out of Western Ave, "acceptable". They want bicycling, not stopping for red lights to be faster and attractive.

    What has worsened bus service so much is the slowing down of roads with many new, expensive changes: lanes too narrow to go around vehicles stopped to turn, too many No Turn on Red intersections, lane removals, pedestrians and cyclists who don't wait their turn for their green light, removed parking (legal and temporary now blocked by curb extensions) resulting in motorists circling in search of parking or double parking. Temporary stops near a corner are far less dangerous and disruptive than resulting double parking.

    Mathew demonstrates typical planner elitism and dogma. Privileged travel lanes only for ("progressive") party members: bike only lanes, bus only lanes, HOV only lanes, and eventually probably electric and hybrid only lanes. A Berkeley California study found that (poorly utilized) bus lanes result in 9 fold suffering for each bus rider reduced travel time. Only if there were a constant flow of buses on a bus lane does having one produce overall benefit. Otherwise, the bus lane is empty most of the time, worsening transportation on average. The greatest good is reducing travel times for everyone.

    Elitist thinking that pedestrians and cyclists should always have priority over motor vehicles increases pollution compared to each respecting all others and waiting their turn. When a pedestrian or cyclist waits their turn instead of forcing a motorist to slow and resume speed, there is no greenhouse gas production. An idling vehicle as well as those constantly having to stop and start again wastes fuel, thus producing more pollution. The policy of favoring right of way for pedestrians and cyclists results in more overall pollution.

    And then I should I read the second comment

    And then I should I read the second comment before I respond to the first to the first one.

    Matthew is not trying to practice elitism. You're over-reading the idea. Your statement holds true if the pain outweighs the benefits. Obviously if a bus lane is underutilized, then the amount of lost opportunity and capacity for other modes will outweigh the benefit to bus riders. The important point of that premise is if the bus lane is underutilized. So we practice such practice for bus that will get used and used a lot - and there are many, many routes that are highly utilized where the gains for the bus riders far outweighs the loss of capacity and convenience to the fewer drivers.

    The rule of thumb to follow is the needs of the many over the needs of the few (to prevent miscommunication - I did not say rights of the few - major thing to discern). In a dense city like Boston, better transit to all modes is better for everyone. Transit riders outnumber other modes in many areas and that means better bus practices will help a larger number of people.

    No planner or enthusiast advocates disregards of rules as welcoming. Bike lanes does not mean right to ignore traffic rules. Lane removals I examined in the past are justified on reasoning of under-usage and better re-appropriation for other modes. Right of way to pedestrians is simply for the matter of safety, but no one is advocating or using that to justify reckless endangerment.

    Basically, again, I have to call you out that you are making another argument not on your views as a transit buff with a lens to best design of serving the best, but as a driver who is only motivated by your own gains. I can give that if I cut out your true motivation, I can see a possible point on no-turn-on-red signs, lanes that are too small to allow a car to turn left without blocking all the cars behind. But everything is tainted by your bias and hidden agenda.

    Somewhat true

    I agree with maximizing benefit, which is why I advocate fixing the mistakes that have increased transit times for buses, car/van pools, and individual motorists. That is my agenda. Nothing seems to slow cyclists. Motorbikes, and allowing them the same freedom to pass stationary vehicles like bicycles, along with making them less costly to put on the road than cars will help improve roadway efficiency too. I advocate efficiency not for wanting more SUVs, but more efficient transportation options that are solutions outside North America.

    I don't think there is anywhere in Boston with enough bus traffic to justify a dedicated bus lane. Funneling multiple bus routes over a common bus lane makes bus service less efficient - bus routes should spread out to maximize coverage, not put them all on the same street. Even if riders were given much choice of destination on the various bus lines, stacking at bus stops clogs everything up.

    So, back to the problem: lack of road capacity, not excess, combined with a constant stop and go along what are classified as arterial roads. The safety cost is traffic migrating from roads designed for high volume to collector and residential streets because fewer impediments have been inflicted on them, thus more efficient to travel on. Slowing arterials is bad policy.

    Surpluses have not generally been the case. Central Square in Cambridge did not have excess capacity on Mass Ave. Its over capacity now, so let's restore 4 lanes then! Yeah, I don't see that reallocation happening. Western Ave can only be considered over capacity like most examples because intersections are inefficient and over capacity bottlenecks. So, the claim that various roads having surplus capacity to be reallocated to bike lanes is purely artificially produced by making intersections worse.

    There have not been parking surpluses where it was removed to make bike lanes, or planned for future projects. Again, a parking shortage leads to more congestion from drivers seeking parking and slowing all traffic.

    Studies are clear: slowing traffic speeds results in more J-walking... leading to more slowing and more J-walking... and more disrespected drivers (including those of MBTA buses), producing more driving aggression and running of yellow and early red lights. It the same outcome produced by speed bumps where traffic goes faster than before after them to make up time. All the frustration put on drivers thus results in added dangers and worse public health for the majority from the inflicted stress.

    The mistake has been to slow and frustrate traffic flow, including those bus and carpool riders who vastly outnumber bicyclists. Pedestrians are their own worst enemies when it comes to safety and being at fault in most accidents. Pedestrians and cyclists can empower themselves to have more safety by wearing high visibility clothing, especially at night and overcast days. They have no one to blame for their actions and clothing choices.

    Slow travel speed? Restricted Traffic Flow

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    You ain't lived around here too long, have ya?

    And if you have, you suffer from long-term memory deficits that nobody here can help you with. What you want would require bulldozing half the buildings in the area for wider roads. Traffic never moved well or smoothly once demand hit modern levels. That's why traffic planners are going to plan B - increase capacity for other than car travel.

    Lost Opportunity

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    Once again the Globe, and a team of "advocates" at one of our colleges, have wasted a fantastic opportunity to lead a productive discussion about a critical issue in this state, our deficient mass transit system, by focusing exclusively on the issue of race. Reading the Globe headline could easily lead one to conclude that we have some sort of apartheid system when we board the train. This is preposterous of course. For example, if a white man and a black female each get on the T at Malden Center to go to Downtown Crossing, it takes them exactly the same amount of time to get there. The problem is not race, it is filling in longstanding gaps in our transit system, many of which exist in neighborhoods currently populated by minority groups, but previously populated by white people with the same problems. As others have noted, plenty of other city neighborhoods, white, non-white or both, such as Westie, Hyde Park and Rozzie, have the same problems. in some cases, some of these deficiencies, like the woefully inadequate Silver Line to replace the old El were created when neighborhoods were heavily minority, while others, like the failure to ever meaningfully provide Chelsea with anything other than a bus, have existed throughout changes in demographics over decades (they've always been shafted by T service over there). Moreover some of these problems, such as the poor quality of the Silver Line have continued despite the fact that the neighborhoods along that line have been gentrified and the population has become "whiter". As for the hub and spoke configuration of the T, it is clearly the result of the T failing to adapt to the new economy in which jobs aren't all found downtown. Simply put, there are many factors at play and race is not the clear and single "cause" of this omplex problem. Everyone in this state who relies on mass transit deserves a better system but consensus will be hard to achieve if a bunch of Globe editors (who likely don't take the T to Morrissey Blvd) spend their time and resources dividing all of us, one again, by race.

    When the Boston Globe is

    When the Boston Globe is telling you about the Dukakis Center, you know what kind of knuckle-headedness you're in for. Roxbury had rapid transit - it was called the Elevated line. Sorry - the El was hurting property values, so it had to go. Tough luck, Roxbury.

    so it was the el that was

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    so it was the el that was holding down Roxbury property values in the 70s and 80s?

    once again the history guy shows a complete lack of historical understanding....

    Out of control violent crime,

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    Out of control violent crime, high inflation and mortgages with high interest rates were the main causes.

    The out of control crime, violent and otherwise, were the #1 causes of middle class and even working class flight, sometimes erroneously referred to as 'white flight'.

    Hows the crime and safety issues around housing projects in the city today? I grew up a few blocks from Bromley Heath and lost count the number of times I got jumped. Seriously, no sarcasm.

    Yes, of course, there was

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    Yes, of course, there was what was called 'block-busting', BUT it really only worked because there was in fact a BIG crime problem, and it was a new phenomena among the many long time residents, from about the late 60s-early 70s onwards. AND the economy was very bad, high inflation, mortgages hard to get with high interest rates, etc.

    I understand a lot of new housing and shopping malls were built in the suburbs, and business and real estate interests needed to get middle class folks in the city to move to them. AND I understand the old Jewish neighborhoods along Blue Hill Ave and Mattapan....but again, there really was a terrible explosion of violent street crime and this was what was the final nail in the coffin.

    Who knew Rozzie had it so good!

    I'm assuming since the article talks about Roxbury and Dorchester, only, that the other Boston neighborhoods have it easy.

    I guess the buses from Rozzie Square and from the Mayor's house in Hyde Park are express?

    Enough of the Roslindale nonsense

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    No, Roslindale Square doesn't have a subway. It does, however, have commuter rail, as do West Roxbury (which has three stops, two of which you could walk between in roughly two minutes), Hyde Park and Readville (where you have your choice of commuter lines). That's not an option available to the areas of Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury we're talking about, at least not until the Fairmount Line is upgraded.

    But even without that, Roslindale Square's close enough to Forest Hills that the bus is actually a viable option (especially given the roughly 1,500 routes that go up and down Washington Street between the square and the T stop).

    When I went to Girls' Latin

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    When I went to Girls' Latin in Codman Square from the Beech St. projects in Rozzie in the 1960's, it took me at least an hr. each way. The course was a bus down Washington St. to Forest Hills, Orange Line to Dudley, another bus to Codman Square. All while carrying a mountain of books. There were no dedicated charter buses to BLS or GLS like there are today from all over the city.

    I'm not saying that public transportation couldn't or shouldn't improve, just that this is a long-standing problem and has affected people of lesser means in Boston, regardless of color, for a long time.

    complaints about public trans from 02132 and 02131?

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    The T serves Roslindale and West Roxbury with Commuter Rail and Bus. A 15 minute bus ride from Center and La Grange in 02123 yields a third option, the Orange Line. Anyone who complains about public transportation options from 02131 and 02132 is a bitch.

    Roslindale ripoff

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    When I moved to Boston, the commuter rail was a reasonable luxury with passes costing about 25% more than a bus/subway pass. Now it costs 247% more to ride 5 minutes to Forest Hills on the train.

    And if you don't work near Ruggles, Back Bay, or South Station, it saves you zero minutes.

    Adam you are incorrect, and Globe article misreferences study

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    Globe article claims (and you seem to accept):

    One of the poorest and most densely populated stretches of Boston lies in a void between the Orange and Red subway lines, where about 126,000 people — mostly in Dorchester and Roxbury — live more than a half-mile from the nearest rapid-transit station.

    But a map in the referenced study presentation seems to contradict this (cf page 41, and to a lesser extent page 78). I also drilled a bit deeper and looked at the data/work out at the Dukakis Center's Transport Rich Neighborhood Equity website.

    After all that, it's unclear to me where the Glob writer found support for his statement, unless he was not familiar enough with Boston to realize that those two large grey "transit distant" areas in the vicinity of Mattapan and Dorchester were in fact Franklin Park and Forest Hills Cemetary! Squirrels and dead people don't have much need for T access.

    In fact, several of the most notably populated areas more than 1/4 mile from public transit occur in upper JP and Rosi, WRox and HP - one of them is your Grew Hill neighborhood!

    I think this may be an example of someone at the Globe having an axe to grind, and/or not having writers who are sufficiently familiar with the metro area or capable of critical analysis of technical material.

    Hoping the Globe reporter didn't include Franklin Park

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    He seems smart enough not to do so, but worst case and he did, that still doesn't rule out the study's conclusions.

    Take a look at

    which, when it loads (it takes a couple moments) will show you the location of train stops atop a map of population density in greater Boston. Look just to the north and east of Franklin Park/Forest Hills Cemetery. You'll see some fairly densely populated areas with no train stops (and some of the ones you will see will be for the Fairmount Line, which is barely a train line in its present form and fare structure). The area just south of Forest Hills, in Mattapan, isn't quite as densely populated, but is equally train-sparse.

    This, I think, is what the report talks about - a relatively large area (yes, between the Orange and Red lines) that is served mainly by slow buses.

    As for my neck of the woods, you're absolutely right. We're a three-block walk from the Northeast Corridor and yet we have no train service.

    A couple of differences. We're pretty low density out here in the boonies, about as close to suburban as you can get in Boston - we probably couldn't support high-volume transit (evidence: The 50 bus, which even at peak hours only runs once every 25 minutes). And while we may not be in the same economic class as our equally suburban neighbors in West Roxbury - this is not generally an area where people have to rely on public transportation because it's the only way they can afford to get to work - or who can afford the $6 fee to park at Forest Hills (me? When I need to get downtown, I'll drive to Washington Street and take a bus to Forest Hills).