Imagine if we hadn't ditched most of our trolley lines

Just a part of the Boston Elevated Railway system map. See the whole thing.

The Boston City Archives has posted a 1930 map showing all of the Boston area's subway and streetcar lines.

In 1930, almost 75% of the people traveling in and out of downtown Boston either used this public transit system or walked.

A streetcar on Blue Hill Avenue at Waverley Street in Roxbury in 1926.

Blue Hill Avenue trolley

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the end of streetcar service to Forest Hills between Mattapan Square and Cleary Square in Hyde Park.

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Comments

probaby not ...

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...adorable?

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Did you bother to watch?

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The first video is a very good episode of 60 minutes from the late 80’s. Nothing “probably “ about it.

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I think...

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...he means "probably not adorable," not "probably not" regarding the topic of the videos. (This is a response to Elmer of the "adorable" comments in response to photos of local critters.

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Bit of Boston History featured in Taken For A Ride

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@32:21, news clip showing the only portion of the I-695 inner belt (now the I-93 upper and lower decks) that was built - but wasn't opened to traffic until September 11, 1973 - the day after George's Tonka Toy took out a support pier on the Mystic River Bridge in Charlestown, causing the upper deck to collapse onto the lower deck - https://www.bostonglobe.com/specials/insiders/2013/01/30/the-mystic-tobi...

Although the news clip was shot only nine months before the Mystic River Bridge collapse, this section of I-695 was actually completed in late 1969. The roadway, complete with markings and light fixtures, appears quite prominently in an aerial sequence from an early 1971 Banacek episode "Project Phoenix."

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Imagine if the MBTA

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Fix or dumped it pension scheme. World class city!

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Ah yes

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Let's totally fuck over workers who paid into the system and DO NOT GET SOCIAL SECURITY as a result in order to make you feel happy and ignore the legislature's evil stupidity in gutting the system and then blaming a governor that they could override.

HINT: IT WILL NOT FIX THE MBTA TO DO THIS

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Truthfully

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Truthfully, we didn't ditch them. They just became bus routes. Almost all the routes above still exist in some variant today, but just as a bus. And even in some places, the number still matches the trolley route number.

This is the initiative of the "better bus' project to re-formulate many of the old trolley lines for modern day commuter patterns.

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That's true, but ...

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A number of those lines weren't just streetcars, they had their own reservations that could be used for the larger post-1980s LRVs, which can carry a lot more people than buses. Basically, any road in Boston wide enough for a median today had one - Blue Hill Avenue, Columbia Road, etc.

But, yeah, let's see if BRT can work - the longer bus/bike lane experiment on Washington Street between Forest HIlls and Roslindale Square (which starts May 7) should be interesting.

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But Remember

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Let's remember that a BRT was proposed for Blue Hill ave and Geneva Streets for a BRT version of the Rt 28 but but the impacted neighborhoods -- via public process, and a hard fought one -- resoundingly stopped it because they didn't want it. They did not allow MassDOT and the T and anti-auto people push them around.

Better public transit is important but not at the cost of what negatively impacts the people directly on the route as the people of Mattapan and Roxbury made very clear via their attending meetings and garnering support of their elected officials at all levels.

You may also want to remember that while the MBTA will be testing a dedicated bus lane in Roslindale that is NOT a BRT, nor is that planned, and there has yet to be any public process for the people who will be impacted the most along that route and the associated side streets. While there will be many voices to be heard, the abutters will have the voice that is considered the most.

The SL3 is a BRT. Words have meaning, please.

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The neighborhoods around Blue

The neighborhoods around Blue Hill Ave and "Geneva Street?" (I'm sure you mean Warren St, being 'in the know' and all) were against the 28x because of the LACK of public process.

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I believe that all trolleys

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I believe that all trolleys with reservations were kept, with a couple of minor exceptions (one connecting to the Mattapan line, I think). As E line riders can tell, mixed traffic streetcars are worse than busses.

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Agreed

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I hate to come off as anti-public tranportation, but trolleys sharing the roads with cars is probably a thing that works best when everybody and their brother doesn't own a car. Buses, for better or worse, can at least go around any stupidity that's ensuing in front of them.

Also, it strikes me that even when we had a good streetcar network, a trip from e.g. Fresh Pond to Brighton still required a trip into Boston.

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You can take the 86 bus at

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You can take the 86 bus at Harvard and avoid going all the way into Boston to do Fersh Pond to Brighton Center. However in 1930, what eventually morphed into the 86 bus, was still a streetcar only operating between Brighton Center and Central Sq. Cambridge.

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OK then

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but trolleys sharing the roads with cars is probably a thing that works best when everybody and their brother doesn't own a car.

Then don't allow single occupancy private vehicles, or heavily toll them, on roads with trolleys. After all, they by far take up the most space and other resources related to roadway use.

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On road street cars don't mix well with bikes

Recall the person killed by a train on the E line when his wheel got stuck.

Before they tore up the tracks in JP, bicyclist were complaining about falling on them on a regular basis.

I've been on the roads in Philly, were a lot more tracks are (or were any way) preserved. Kind of sucked for bicyclists.

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and sometimes

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Driving too fast on slippery surfaces kills people too, but they still do it.

If you know the tracks are slippery, or will trap your wheel, then you operate to avoid the tracks much as you do for any similar road hazard encountered by bike.

Parked car doors opening and diverting you into moving car traffic are a hazard.
Do you suggest we eliminate subsidized and free street parking for automobile owners?

Think of all the killing!

Yes, that handy electricity and those lovely ponds in parks are killers, too.

I'm waiting until we ban private automobiles for most large commercial areas. I mean I expect to die well before that happens, but for safety reasons alone, it kind of makes more sense than eliminating streetcar tracks.

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Big fat red herring.

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Recall the person killed by a train on the E line when his wheel got stuck.

No, I do not. Care to provide a source? I couldn't find one.

As a cyclist who has ridden down Huntington Ave, South Huntington Ave, and Centre St (when the tracks were still there) thousands of times over the years, I can not recall ever falling or having any issues whatsoever with the tracks. They can be an obstacle, but so can curbs, ruts, potholes, and other road users, and of those tracks are probably the easiest thing for a cyclist to avoid because they're always in the same space on the roadway. Streetcar tracks exist all over Amsterdam as well as many other major and minor European cities that have much higher number of cyclists on the roadways, and they seem to coexist without too much trouble.

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It definitely happened and it's not hard to find.

It was eight years ago, and it was the 39 bus not the E-line. I don't remember if anyone figured out with 100% certainty how exactly it happened but according to multiple eye witnesses he got stuck in the tracks and hit by a bus.

source

Good for you that you never had issues. I never fell on them either when I used to ride down there regularly but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous.

Also, a lot of cities in Europe and elsewhere that have street-level tracks and lots of cyclists use a rubber filler that the trains compress when they drive over, but make it more even and safer for everyone else.

source is I have personally seen them in multiple European cities.

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I used to ride a "racing bike" along that line

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I mean, it was a regular 10 speed then, before mountain bikes and hybrids became the rage. Still, you learned how to deal with the tracks. If you had to go over them, you made sure you did it at an angle.

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Tracks aren't a problem at

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Tracks aren't a problem at all if you just make sure to cross them at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible.

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Nope

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As an E Line rider, I’ll take the streetcar over the 39 every time.

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The lines in blue on the 1930

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The lines in blue on the 1930 map were already bus routes, conversion to bus routes began in 1922.

And most streetcar lines operated direct in mixed traffic like the existing segment from Brigham Circle to Heath St. . The lines with reservations (Commonwealth, Beacon, Huntington east of Brigham Circle, Blue Hill Ave, Columbia Rd, the Fellsway, etc) were the exception, not the norm.

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Imagine There's No Track Fires

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No Hell below us.
Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people
getting there in time . .

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Byford inherited a shitstorm

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Which means doing anything would look like kicking butt.

Perhaps if the Commonwealth invests less on the T, it will get to the state the MTA was in when Byford showed up. Me, I like that they are investing in the upgrades they are investing in. They should keep doing that instead.

Bring back Rich Davies (or even Dan Grabauskas) and give him a decent maintenance budget and see how things would improve.

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The future is not BRT

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The future is smart trains or trackless trains already in use in China.

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The 31 and 32 buses

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always seem the most consistently packed routes from Forest Hills even though they both run pretty often—they probably should’ve kept the trolleys.

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31 was never a trolley

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Though looking at the masses getting on and off that bus at Forest Hills, perhaps it should be a candidate for an upgrade.

The 32 was, and there is video of the trolleys on the line out there on the internet.

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I like the longer distance

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I like the longer distance connecting routes. Many of those towns have no transit service today.

And the Boston, Worcester, and New York Street Railway was quite the ambitious idea.

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Don't let that map fool you...

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Not every single trolley route in those days goes into the Tremont Street Subway (aka The Green Line). For instance, in 1930 if you boarded a trolley in Melrose or in Roslindale, you will NOT get a one-seat ride into Park Street Station. The Green Line, at best, had 10 branches during the early decades. And today it only has four.

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Yes, but transferring wasn't

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Yes, but transferring wasn't that big a deal because everything ran frequently.

Compare that with, say, transferring from the E to a bus at Lechmere today. I don't know how people do it every day. You stand there looking at your watch while more and more trains get turned back at Park Street or Government Center.

Finally you get a Lechmere train, and it creeps along. Maybe you catch the bus, or maybe you're stuck waiting 20 minutes for the next one. Or more if the next bus is late.

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The worst for me is the long

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The worst for me is the long walk to transfer inbound from a bus to the E.

It's maddening to see a whole crowd of people pouring out of a bus at Lechmere and sprinting for the underpass, only to have the E train then pull away before they can make it.

I really wish the T would actually consider timed transfers.

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The Ⓣ Deliberately Causes Passengers To Miss Their Transfers

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On their final approach to Wonderland, outbound trains always pause a short distance from the station. Sometimes, there's a legitimate reason for a train to wait there, for example, if another train is switching across the tail tracks ahead of it.

Other times— particularly on weekends when connecting busses run only once an hour— trains will wait until the next bus departs before pulling into the station. This happens far too often for it not to be a deliberate act by the to inconvenience passengers.

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