The councilor takes the T

Ed. note: Because this is a long series of tweets, weird things seem to happen with comments - they're there, but you might have to scroll a bit to get to them.

Even with a guaranteed - and free - parking space in the City Hall garage, at-large City Councilor Michelle Wu usually takes the T to work from her home in Roslindale. This week, she decided to experiment and up her game - and try to get around Boston only on the T and Hubway. She chronicled her experience:

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The insane part is commuting

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The insane part is commuting with two kids. Most people in her position would hire a nanny.

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why?

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She's mimicking what her constituents would be doing.

Ever ride the 111? I can't tell you how many strollers with babies and a toddler in tow @ 5am in the morning. Mom's taking kids to daycare somewhere else. People do it every single day.

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Women can't ever meet expectations

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Here we go again:

If she had a nanny, she would be "out of touch" or "spoiled" or whatever.

No nanny? Uses the MBTA to get to daycare like thousands of other parents? "OMG - she DOESN'T have a nanny? What is WRONG with her!"

Next up: how she is DAMAGING HER KIDS by making them walk or wait for buses.

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Lie

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The elevator to the Back bay platform does not take several minutes. I take it 2-3 times a week, it takes a minute.

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What time to you take it?

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Note that she was clearly tracking these things.

Maybe you are lying?

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Take it

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around 5:30pm

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This is great

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This is great! I wish more elected officials would do this, especially Governor Baker, who says he's fixing the T, but doesn't take the T because it "doesn't fit his schedule." Oh really? And it fits all of ours so perfectly? He lives in Swampscott and works in Downtown Boston. That's exactly the kind of commute the commuter rail was designed for.

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Walsh and Baker Should Too

Michelle Wu is my all-time favorite City Councilor.

Marty Walsh and Charlie Baker should also take the pledge.

From Marty's home he has a 5 minute walk to the Butler Station on the Mattapan Line, a transfer to the red line at Ashmont, and then a 9 minute walk from Park Street station or a transfer to Orange and a 1 minute walk from Haymarket.

From Charlie's home he has a 4 minute walk to the Swampscott commuter rail station, a transfer to the Green Line at North station, and a 4 minute walk from Park Street station to the State House.

These hypothetical commutes for our Governor and Mayor are way simpler than I'd wager for many people who already ride the T daily. They have no excuse.

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And take the pledge

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is only for a week. And they would get a lot of political points out of doing it. It's baffling that they won't.

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So refreshing

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All public officials should strive to experience life as a regular citizen. Stop driving in chauffeured black SUVs and see what the rest of us deal with every day. Same for schools. I look forward to Michelle Wu's advocacy once her son enters BPS.

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Kudos to Michelle Wu

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Very good stuff. Great use of her elected position to increase awareness of the state of commuting in this city.

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Wu does all of this with two kids

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Secretary Pollack needs three full time PR assistants to take one shot of her on the Green Line

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Wow

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She uses the MBTA, yawn! What a hero!

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Wow

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You are so far up in yourself that you entirely missed the point!

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Its refreshing to see a

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Its refreshing to see a politician who represents all her constituents, not just drivers. Marty "I'm a car guy" Walsh and Charlie "just put the big dig debt on the MBTA" Baker should educate themselves and take the T for a week as well.

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She gets it

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Nice to see that she "walks the walk" and understands what's good and bad about taking the T. She could just Uber everywhere, but I give her credit for getting around like many of her constituents.

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Excellent run through

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It shows the strengths and weaknesses of the T.

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Crowded platforms and stops

Crowded platforms and stops have always been a problem in many parts of the system but I have noticed an uptick as some stations get more and more crowded. The MBTA turns a blind eye to the fact that some stops on their system quite frankly encourage ugly and awful behavior by otherwise wonderful people who are afraid of never being able to get on the next train because there is no fair equitable way at some stops to ensure you get on without pushing your way in.

Ground zero in my opinion is the 111 from Haymarket to Chelsea, especially during the 3pm to 7pm time zone but almost all the time these days. During the busy times there seem to be three times as many people who can fit on a bus waiting to get on the next bus at any given time. The real issue is that the bus stops at a different spot every single time and there is no single recognized line to gain access. So when the bus pulls forward you are gambling with your location in the mob as to wheter or not you are even in play to gain entry to the bus in this cycle. Even if it pulls in front of you the push is so great there is no guarantee that you will not be overun by people coming in from the sides. I have seen it get really nasty over getting onto that bus, especially after people have missed a few chances to jump on.

IF the MBTA were to create a line system where the bus stops at the same spot every time and you have to line up for the bus it would alleviate so many issues. It would also allow people who need space to sit or people with strollers who need more space have the piece of mind to choose to jump on the next bus rather than try to force themselves into a bus that is already over crowded (currently if you have the chance you jump for it because you never know when it will happen again.)

With that same over crowding spreading to other trains and buses now seems like a good time for the MBTA to start looking into the very basic procedure of creating lines in the most crowded stops and platforms.

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I face that with the 71 all the time

Between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning on weekdays, the lower busway for Route 71 and 73 can get crowded if buses are off schedule, so what happens is when the first 71/73 rolls up, there's a swarm of people trying to get (and cram) themselves onto that trackless trolley for fear another won't show for 10-15 minutes (or longer).

I usually wait for the next one, and often it comes right behind the other, or two to three minutes after the over-crowded trolley.

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A gentle reminder ..

This is great and I'm glad to see the effort she put in (and had to put in!) to do this.

But I want to point out the obviousness of her travels: bicycles can't be used by everyone - not by parents carting two kids around (where do you put the carriages) and not by pregnant women (and please don't send me photos of anyone who has).

Michele was quoted as saying something about how many things could be done before building a gondola through the Seaport.

Sure, but bike lanes aren't going to help you and buses are going to be stuck in traffic, just like every other car and commuter.

Time to think outside the box!

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Buses

Buses don't get stuck in traffic when they have exclusive lanes and signal preemption.

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On the other hand I am

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On the other hand I am someone who has to drive to work because I need to drive for my job on occasion. I still push for more bikes, more mass transit and more people off the roads because it makes it easier for me to get around.

I do get annoyed when people talk about removing cars entirely from the streets because that would make it impossible for anyone who isnt 32 and fit.

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Removing lanes of cars from the streets is good for everybody

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I don't know any disabled people who own cars, we all take the t, walk, user wheelchairs, or ride bikes. We just don't want to have to share the street with people driving faster than 20mph. And as so many people including Councilor Wu have pointed out, dedicated bus lanes are an equity issue. Imagine if all of us packed into a bus were driving cars instead. There'd be an extra mile of traffic in front of you.

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A huge issue with Wu's commute

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It's her kids.

Don't get me wrong. From my rare experiences with them, they are great kids, and kinds in general are great, but without kids her commute would have been a lot more easier. I don't know if she wants to look at things from that angle, but it is true. Theoretically, she could have had the kids in one of the daycare centers around her home, but having them nearby work has a lot of advantages (say the center has to close early, or a kid gets sick, or she just wants to have lunch with them.) I don't know the deal with her husband's work, but if he worked close to City Hall, he could have helped out on those days when Wu started in with meetings in the neighborhoods. Just pointing out that a lot of parents do split the pick up/drop off duties.

I commute from the same basic area as she does, and I see some of the issues she sees (though leaving for work after 8 means that the buses and Orange Line are much more crowded than earlier.) I salute her for doing this, and for by and large using the T every day.

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?

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Thousands of her constituents either can't afford to leave the kids at daycare or can't afford to Uber their kids to daycare or don't own a car or can't afford a nanny, etc. And thousands more of us use wheelchairs or cart belongings (or bicycles if we're off-peak commuting). Councilor Wu is pointing out the difficulties in the system not only for herself, but because all of us with similar struggles and needs are allies with common interests in improving the user experience of the T. The T is not only for people walking around on two legs with a briefcase.

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