State transportation officials are currently studying ways to improve public transit for people not living within a half-mile of a subway stop in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. For the most part, that means better, cleaner bus service (such as express buses along the 28 line) and the expansion of the Fairmount Line.
But ArchBoston points us to some documents that also talk about the possibility of replacing the Silver Line with "light rail" (i.e., a trolley) from Government Center to Dudley and then maybe even extending that to Mattapan. And trolleys running down streets! You know, like the sorts of trolley lines the T has spent all of its existence trying to eliminate. From the minutes of one meeting:
Renee Perry asked what the challenges were in providing light rail service on narrow portions of Warren Street and thru Grove Hall. Mr. Hamwey responded that the roadway width necks down to about 45 feet in these areas, so they would likely need to eliminate on-street parking to accommodate light rail.
The documents put the trolley idea under "long term," so given how long the Somerville extension at the other end of the Green Line is taking, and given the T's current financial problems, one could probably define that as "not in my lifetime." But at least they give transit geeks something to add to their maps.