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Green Line extension now pushed out to 2018

State Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville) posted on her Facebook page:

Early today, I was extremely disheartened to learn from MassDOT that the expected completion of the Green Line Extension has been delayed again – this time until at least 2018. While I appreciate MassDOT’s efforts in appropriate mitigation and community input, I am extremely disappointed that this vital project is, yet again, being postponed. ...

MassDOT's annual status report to DEP on its SIP commitments - which was due July 1 - was submitted today, estimating a 2018-2020 completion date for the Green Line Extension.

In a statement, MassDOT says:

Over the past four months, the Green Line Extension project team performed a cost and schedule analysis that thoroughly examined all aspects of the project and the actions required to move it forward expeditiously.  As a result of this analysis, the projections for the Green Line Extension project have been refined.  Under the revised timeframe, passenger service would begin no earlier than the fall of 2018 and no later than the summer of 2020.  The schedule is contingent on the MBTA taking full ownership of property required for construction.  Benefitting from lessons learned on the Greenbush Commuter Rail project, in which the MBTA did not take ownership of needed properties until after the Design/Build process began, the Green Line project team aims to prevent the issues that cost the MBTA both time and money. 

Seeking to accelerate the timeline where possible, MassDOT and the MBTA are actively considering strategies that could mitigate schedule impacts and improve upon the dates for passenger service on the Green Line Extension.  The strategies under consideration include the development of a 'phasing' scenario that would allow for some stations to open for public use while others are still being constructed.  

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Comments

Wasnt 2016 set in stone by the court?

Will Massdot be sending all taxpayers monthly cheques for the inconvenience created by this delay?

I think $200 a month (per taxpayer) would cover my emotional suffering, shock and loss of wages.

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And this free money will be coming from?

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From the pocket of the person(s) responsible for breaking the court mandated timeline.

Someone made the call. They should pay the consequences.

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You know what else was court ordered?

E-line restoration. Instead we get bus shelters. I would take a far-off date over appeasement.

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If you want that extension, then you and your cohorts on Beacon Hill are going to have to fundamentally fix how the MBTA is financed. Unburden it from its state-generated debt, stop the insanity of "forward funding" for a public service, and up the gas tax so that the state can afford the public transportation system it so desperately needs in 2012, not 2018...or later.

Hemming and hawing while you ring your hands or wag your fingers in disgust isn't going to get the job done. The MBTA and its sub-contractors could provide the state jobs while also providing Somerville with Green Line access (then again, I have Green Line access in Brighton...are you really sure this is what you want?). Step up and proactively help the MBTA meet better goals by undoing the stupidity of the 2000 MA Legislature. Their logic wasn't even sound in 2000, but these days it's had 10+ years and proven to be a complete boondoggle of an experiment with the MBTA coffers.

Or, let the problem linger. Don't let Bostonians into Somerville to spend money...don't enable families to move to Somerville while keeping their jobs in Boston and Cambridge...don't support the potential for a new combination soccer stadium/public transportation terminal in Somerville and all of the potential revenue that will bring...I'm sure whomever is representing your area in 2018 will appreciate the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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because you can't ever have a mea culpa moment when you're an elected official, can you?

Roger all of what Kaz said and...

are we all still SO opposed to a fare hike and do we stil want more, more, more without paying anything additional for it, or are we ready to realize that an expansion of service is going to require an expansion of fare revenue?

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Or, let the problem linger. Don't let Bostonians into Somerville to spend money...don't enable families to move to Somerville while keeping their jobs in Boston and Cambridge...don't support the potential for a new combination soccer stadium/public transportation terminal in Somerville and all of the potential revenue that will bring...I'm sure whomever is representing your area in 2018 will appreciate the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ha ha ha! It's not the least bit surprising that the Green Line Extension was once again delayed. That being said, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it.

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I'm curious; as someone who was in the process of moving out of the area in 2000, and only recently have come back, I'm not familiar with what mistake the legislature made in 2000. Can you provide some more details? How did they screw up the funding situation?

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The canonical report on the subject:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/Documents/Financ...

"BORN BROKE: How the MBTA found itself with too much debt, the corrosive effects of this debt, and a comparison of the T’s deficit to its peers "

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Kaz, do you think Rep Provost would hesitate to do all of what you say? The problem is getting people to understand what you and I and Rep Provost and many others already know, our transportation infrastructure has been WAY underfunded for years and the chickens are coming home to roost now. As long as people think that firing all the union "fat cat" train operators and "fat cat" DOT executives would result in enough savings to solve all of life's problems, we will be stuck where we are. The problems of not only the MBTA but all of our transportation system lies in a lack of sensible investment. Boondoggles of biblical proportions (Big Dig) do not help move the public's perception. But at the end of the day someone like Rep. Provost has to deal with Reps from the burbs who are deluged with Tea Party/Howie Carr nonsense and will not support ANY of the solutions you are glibly proposing. They want extra lanes on 128 and 495. It's stupid and frustrating but that's politics.
(I do not work for Rep Provost, live in her district nor donate time/money to her -- I just don't see the point to picking on her for saying that shit stinks.)

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Because we all know shit stinks. It's the fundamental nature of shit. It takes a leader to decide to clean the shit up instead of just announcing that shit stinks and there's a lot of it. We know commercial media is lazy, so why aren't they being spoon fed solutions so that the dialogue even begins in those Carr Party areas until it's impossible to avoid the only solution in the room? I'd rather see a hundred failed attempts to address the problem clogging the legislature so that reps have to constantly justify their opposition to improving life in Somerville or wherever than another official sea bird naming bill.

One of the problems in our legislature (on all levels) is not forcing the opposition to defend their convictions. You're telling me some state rep is going to oppose our state's moral and legal obligation to the poor defenseless handicapped who just want to use the MBTA? Let's see them stand up and deliver that speech right after official testimony from a veteran who gave up his legs in service to this country but needs 2 hours to get to his job downtown because someone west of 495 doesn't want to pay $0.02 more per gallon.

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"Poor defenseless handicap" folks have a state-subsidized option - it's called The Ride. Whiny Slumaville folks who are bent out of shape that the MBTA does not personally cater to them have another option - it's called called a car/cab/bike/motorcycle/feet.

News flash: hundreds of thousands of people west of 495, and even those inside 128 that commute, are spending way more than $1.70 to get to and from work. Teachers, firefighters, and other public employees are at risk of losing their jobs. The roads and bridges are crumbling beneath our feet, and our brethern out in the 413 have been hit with a major natural disaster. Yet we're expected to suck it up and pay more taxes so we can make sure that guys like Kaz can continue to live in Somerville without the inconveniences of living in a major city.

Really??

With everything that this state and country has to deal with, I'm pretty sure that extending the Green Line out to Somerville is not priority numero uno. In fact, I doubt it would even make the top 10.

Perspective, people.

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I think you need to get some perspective: cities are vastly more compact and efficient for transportation than rural or surburban roadway sprawl.

In other words, it is much cheaper to build transit to serve a large number of taxpaying people in concentrated areas (like 5th most dense in the nation areas) than building a whole bunch of miles long rural and suburban roads and maintaining them for the sake of a handful of people. This is true whether or not those same highly subsidized people in outlying areas whine about taxes going to cities and the cost of commuting, as the taxes paid by the multitude of urban dwellers and urban industry actually SUBSIDIZE their lifestyle.

The current cost of commuting in outlying areas relative to the cost of the T is totally and completey moot. Transit users in urban areas are not anywhere NEAR as subsidized as those people living in sprawled out areas and rural areas simply because the cost of the infrastructure per person is vastly higher in low density regions. Go do the research and the math yourself - each little road serving a few hundred or thousand people is vastly more expensive per person than transit serving one of the most densely populated corrridors in the country! So, if your commute is costly because gas and cars cost a lot, consider yourself lucky that you aren't tolled by the mile for the full cost of your choices!

Simple facts, dear. Simple facts. If you want a "no subsidy" situation, well, BRING IT ON! I'm tired of subsidizing your inefficient lifestyle.

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Subsidies are a natural part of living in a society...that's why it's called "society" - everyone gets to participate. Some country mouse out on Route 2 is subsidizing your T ride (20% of state sales tax goes directly to the T) while you're subsidizing their mail delivery. Give yourself a pat on the back - you're a great person.

The issue here is that Somerville has a variety of public transit options already and while the Green Line would be NICE it's not a NECESSITY, especially given the dire financial situation we're currently mired in.

The people of Somerville are behaving like whiny children. ("But Dad, you PROMISED me!") The economy is terrible, the state has NO money, and the T is on the verge of bankruptcy. No lawsuit, protest, UHub flame, or entitlement attitude is going to change the fact that the Green Line to Somerville isn't happening this decade. It's. Not. Gonna. Happen.

To insist on slapping a gas tax on commuters to build your precious subway will still not change the fact that the Green Line to Somerville is not gonna happen (this is Massachusetts...they will raise the gas tax and use it for something completely different than it was earmarked for). Not saying that it's not gonna happen ever, but I can all but guarantee you that you will not wake up one morning in 2018 and take the Green Line from Somerville to Government Center. In the meantime I will live my heavily subsidized (thanks, Big Important City Folk!) and relatively stress free suburban life.

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Lets cut the subsidies for roadways, forget about Storrow Drive rehab, and make all the towns pay their own way.

Then the state will have the money.

Fair is fair. Gas tax goes up because the cost of the big dig should be paid by drivers, not the T. Sounds fair.

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The MBTA got stuck with the the bond costs for Big Dig transit commitments required by the CLF agreement (like the Green Line was supposed to be) but did not actually use any of its bond money to pay for Big Dig roadway construction.

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So where is the transit this paid for? Hmmmmm?

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Greenbush, the Silver Line, the new Orange Line signal system, and the new bus fleet. Plus a bunch of multimillion dollar studies sitting around in the State Transportation Library.

Plenty of money has been spent. But the value of these completed projects is questionable.

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The other projecs which were required by the CLF agreement which were completed were:

-Extension of commuter rail to Newburyport
-Extension of commuter rail to Worcester
-Old Colony commuter rail (Greenbush, Middleborough, and Kingston lines)
-Extending Blue Line platforms to operate six-car trains
-Imprving Orange Line signal capacity
-The Silverline trackless trolley tunnel from South Station to World TradeCenter
-Constructing a ferry facility at Lovejoy Wharf (which is there, but no longer used)
-Building a new commuter rail station in Lynn (built in the 1990s)
-Adding a track to South Station (long since added)
-Adding 20,000 new parking spaces (all since added)

The unfinished projects from the original agreement were
-reopening the Arborway Line
-Green Line to Medford Hillside
-Red/Blue connector

The agreement was later modfied to remove the Arborway Line; change the Red/Blue connector requirment to only design but not build the line; expand the Green Line Medford Hillside extension to include a branch to Union Sq; add 1000 more parking spaces;add new stops to the Fairmount Line (which are under construction).

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The reason you have a relatively stress free suburban life is because the state seems to give subsidies to roads over rails. The suburban life is no more "necessitous" than the Green Line extension. Suburbanites would just have to either pay out of their own pocket or live closer to the city.

Also ever heard of the idea of the serving the many over the few? The Green Line Extension can serve more people to better their lives than building another road to your suburban town. This means, per person, that Somerville should get more amenities. Currently, the South Coast rail project is marked for billions for a mere 2,000 people. That just makes all rail looks bad and give credence to the people who keep talking that rail is just a boondoggle. It seems the only projects that get built are boondoggles.

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And do they really want the green line anyway? Its horrible.

I think we forget that the transportation managers treat parts of Boston like the suburbs as well. You have to draw the line somewhere.

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But after West Roxbury and Roslindale get the Orange Line, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park get the Indigo Line, and something happens with crosstown options.

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And probably a dumb one to those who know about this stuff, but can't the MBTA treat the commuter rail lines/trains like regular trains? Could you have the Commuter rail go from Lowell to West Medford and change West Medford to North Station to an orange line type train and add more stops from West Medford to North Station?

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They could do exactly as you describe, but it would require re-doing the track, station upgrades, and electrification for the section from West Medford to North Station. It would also make for a less convenient commute for the folks coming from further out, since they would not only have to change lines, but would also have to ride the slower, more frequently stopping Orange Line rather than the Purple Line for a larger share of their commute.

Option 2 would be a tweak on your suggestion. Make commuter rail trains express from West Medford to North Station, leaving an extended Orange Line to cover local traffic. This would require adding tracks, and some eminent domain takings. It would be far more expensive, but would probably be the best option for all involved.

Option3, the middle way, would start like Option 2, with expressing trains from West Medford, but then would add (on the same track) an alternative service using short trains that run more frequently, and stop more often. These would either be Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) or, with an investment in overhead wires, Electric Multiple Unit (EMU). DMU/EMU trains can function in a way not unlike the Green Line, but without needing a separate right of way from the regular commuter rail. I think this solution would work well on most of the commuter rail lines between downtown and Rt. 128, leaving the longer, less frequently scheduled trains for suburban only service. This would also cost money, but less than the other two options.

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If we weren't hindered by the federal rules which prohibit mixing railroad and transit trains, we could do what they do in Europe:

Run Green Line trolleys on the same tracks as the Lowell commuter rail. For the cost of a few platforms, the overhead wire, and a short connector track at Lechmere, we could have frequent rapid transit across Somerville and Medford.

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If you look at the map of high density areas without rapid transit, Somerville is at the top and the Indigo corridor second.

I live 6 crow-fly miles from the central city and have to travel 2.5 miles to the nearest station. Unheard of just about anywhere in the world where density of population is so very high.

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Look at Brookline, Brighton, Allston and even parts of Roxbury.

The Green line isn't really rapid transit is it?

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it would be true rapid transit.

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from a cost/benefit analysis. Yes, Somerville is a greater density, but it's also more expensive to build a line there than it is to build one in Rozzy/Westy. But if we stick with your deserve argument instead of my cost/benefit idea, Dot comes out ahead anyway. Density is similar and distance to rail stations are greater on average for the folks in the Blue Hill corridor.

At any rate, I'm not arguing against the Green Line extension per se, I'm arguing for bigger thinking, that brings rail transit to all under served core urban neighborhoods. This can be done more easily in the Southern neighborhoods of Boston, but should also be done where appropriate on the other side of the river.

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If Boston were like most other cities of similar age, we wouldn't be making this silly distinction.

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You have a huge bias filter, we all know that, but you are reading words not committed to the page, here. But to be clear, since you will likely miss it, when I say "all core urban neighborhoods," I'm talking about all neighborhoods mentioned in our discussion of transit extensions. That is to say, Dorchester, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and even Somerville. Got it?

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But I don't think it is my bias filter - what you wrote was kind of ambiguous.

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I'll grant that it was ambiguous if you'll admit that you carry a chip. No where did I say that Somerville was not a core urban area. You created that thought all on your own. I realize that I didn't put gold stars around Somerville and make glowing claims about it, so I can see how it might have appeared ambiguous to you.

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Not mine, shines through the thread.

The analyses have been done - this is why the green line was court ordered, and not the others you mention. Ditto for the Indigo line, which is a no brainer The other areas have better access on other lines.

I would think you would know that.

The real problem is that they all should be built, and more. Boston is falling behind and is more congested than other areas due to the medieval city design. It will cost a lot of jobs and sustainable growth to pretend otherwise.

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with the additional point that Somerville isn't special. Other places deserve better rail transit just as much. So yes, I'm biased against signaling one deserving project out over two others, especially when all three need to be done. Again, you'll see me saying this again and again throughout this discussion. But all you come up with is that I'm criticizing poor Somerville. Maybe your bike helmet is on a bit too tight.

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I didn't say they had no access to the city, but The Ride should be considered a necessary evil, not an every-day option...and that's to the benefit of the handicapped AND the taxpayer AND the MBTA! The Ride currently costs about $90 million annually and only goes up each year as gas prices rise and ridership has increased. Taking The Ride also requires a lot more planning and travel time than being able to just get on the T. While the low-floor Breda cars suck on the Green Line for about every other possible reason, they are still much better for the handicapped than the old cars.

Also, news flash: If the MBTA could finish with its current projects in 2 years instead of 10, then maybe it could do something about improving commutes for those in under-served areas inside 128 and even those outside of it quicker! Imagine that!

The tornado victims are getting federal support and state emergency funds. The roads and bridges are currently being supported by federal money and smartly designed replacement/reconstruction projects like the "Fast 14" on I-93. And based on 2009's data (Excel file) our public employees are the 9th best paid overall in the country.

Finally, yes, suck it up and pay a few cents extra at the pump so that other people can live convenient lives inside major cities. You already suck it up so that you can pay a few cents extra at the pump for some oil company CEO and his cronies to live a life of luxury or some Wall Street oil futures trader can buy another Tesla electric roadster. A few thousand people per year are getting rich off of your dependence on gasoline and you're okay with that. So, start learning to live with being okay with a few thousand people PER HOUR just getting around town off of our dependence on gasoline.

The Green Line extension means jobs (not just public ones either! Imagine all of the commercial AND residential space that would open up around all of the new stations!), revenue (direct from fares and also tax revenue from all the new businesses), improved environmental impact, and even improved traffic for those who have sucky commutes (less cars driving from Somerville every day!)...and it would already be done and out of your myopic view if the MBTA had been funded properly for the past 12 years. You'd already be blissfully naive and reaping the benefits if it weren't for a total lack of funding.

Perspective. I has it.

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...The Ride (close enough).

Agreed. Although one quibble, you give any paratransit user the option between navigating buckled sidewalks and dodgy T elevators versus a car pulling up to their house to take them to their doctor's appointment or grocery shopping and chances are the "travel time" considerations of the Ride are pretty minimal. This is really going to be an issue with a certain generation starting to get into the age range where driving starts to be problematic and so many are living out of the reach of the MBTA.

But substantially speaking you are correct. Of course that fact and $3.50 will get a double decaf cappuccino. Being right is not enough. If the Tea Party (bowel) movement doesn't prove that, then I don't know what does.

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This is really going to be an issue with a certain generation starting to get into the age range where driving starts to be problematic and so many are living out of the reach of the MBTA.

Fortunately, there is another option for the aging baby boomer who is not disabled, simply no longer able to drive.

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So this is basically The Ride run by a non-profit? Who's paying for it?

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but it comes with a driver. Funding will be a combination of user fees, philanthropic support, and corporate sponsorship. In Boston, it is just getting off the ground, but the program is national, with about 20 different sites in operation.

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I hadn't known about ITN, thanks for the link.

It's obviously just getting off the ground, since "membership application and rates will be available soon." Volunteer drivers -- not clear if they use their own cars or there's a fleet.

Merchants such as super markets and shopping malls help to pay for rides... Health providers help to pay for rides.

And based on the front page footer, Liberty Mutual helps pay for rides.

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Part of the difference will be a one-time trip (e.g., going to the doctor's office) versus an everyday trip (e.g., going to work). Currently, their everyday needs in Somerville are fulfilled by The Ride...or some kind of multi-bus extravaganza that may end up on a subway car too at some point. A Green Line station nearby would solve the problem for daily paratransit needs instead of the much more costly The Ride option they have now.

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A far more complicated project is set to be built, finished, and opened soon, enhancing the value of my late father's house. This project is going through densly built neighborhoods of similar age to much of the green line extension corridor, but it involves building a bridge over a river that is wider than the Charles and doesn't follow a completly existing corridor, either.

Since Tri-Met tends to finish ahead of schedule, people are already moving into the neighborhood and using the buses for a a few years. I haven't even put the house on the market, and I might actually sell it to a friend through Facebook.

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I'e been to Portland, it is very public transit friendly. There also isn't alot of tech or medical or financial industry. Now that I think of it, there isn't much of anything in Oregon. Maybe there are less special interest groups, entitled minorities, etc so that big projects don't get help up due to court / red tape, etc. Sure, they have nice co-ops and farmers markets, but...well what sort of culture is there? Not much. Not like there is alot of culture in Slumerville, but still.

I predicted more than once (as did others) that the Green line extension would not see the light of day befoe 2016. I blame the pissants of Camrbidge and Somerville who cried for constant input, etc. Next time, they should just build it without months of input, proposals, counter proposals, etc.

Some day we'll learn our lesson - until then, I'll stay here in my high rise overlooking the water and pity those who decided a triple decker with a backyard was the American dream.

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I'm seriously wondering which house near a planned transit extension I should be selling.

As for "isn't much of anything", well, you're full of it. There is enough commerce that Portland's population has increased by 40% in twenty years without sprawl. Portland was about 380,000 people when I was in high school - its as big as Boston now. Haven't seen that kind of job growth in these parts in a long time. No tech? Um, why don't you print that out on something - oh, you can't because there's no tech in Oregon so techtronix never existed. Right. Now put your shoes on ...

The fail of the green line extension has little or nothing to do with money, and everything to do with MA inability to plan/design/build anything. These are the same "accountability" and "can't get 'er done" reasons that the feds won't fund anything here anymore unless it is a very "short leash" project like 93Fast14. That's because all the patronage hires and appoinments add up to fail when it comes to meeting the most basic requirements for fed money.

For the record, there are plenty of the neighborhood groups in Portland, too. They participate at the front end and have no right to delay or stall at the back end. Simple. They have a say in zoning and can petition to change zoning. They aren't allowed to stall with lawsuits and demand trinkets and funded salaried positions.

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I lived in Eugene for a little over a year. I loved it and can say it is one of the best places I have ever lived in. But I did always get that sense that everyone was the same (white, middle class)

I mean, I still loved it, but Oregon is simply different than pretty much everywhere else in the country except for maybe Utah and Idaho.

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Utah and Idaho? Seriously? Wrong planet, dude.

Oregon has probably more than doubled in population since you spent a year in Eugene - and Eugene is where people send their college students and freaks.

White? Well, it used to be more white, but that has been changing pretty steadily. I grew up with kids whose parents were born in internment camps, and there were always large Japanese communities. Now there are sizable southeast Asian, Chinese and hispanic populations in the area.

Then there is the revitalization of North Portland by a huge influx of post-Katrina refugees who decided to stay and make it home.

As for everyone being middle class - well, no problems. People should have a decent standard of living (but I grew up in trailer courts, so I'm not buying the white=middle class bit...).

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And even with all the freaks Eugene was a pretty white place, but like I said, I loved it.

Only been to Portland twice, and both cities reminded me a lot of Ogden and Provo, two other cities where I lived in my youth. Ogden had a lot of Idaho people there, and even though Eugene didn't give me that mormon feel that Utah did, people reminded me of each other. Very friendly, outgoing and fun.

Portland is one of the whitest cities in America. Nothing wrong with that I guess, but it is what it is. And like anon mentioned nd how I feel, I always got that feeling that everyone in these places (Eugene, Ogden, Provo) were the same. If the high school wanted to put up a 15,000 seat stadium with lights in a residential neighborhood, they did it because everyone seemed to be on board. In Boston, (and probably many east coast cities), schools have to have 10 different meetings with politicians, boards, and departments before anything gets done, and in the end, they usually don't get done.

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If the high school wanted to put up a 15,000 seat stadium with lights in a residential neighborhood, they did it because everyone seemed to be on board. In Boston, (and probably many east coast cities), schools have to have 10 different meetings with politicians, boards, and departments before anything gets done, and in the end, they usually don't get done.

The system out there is different in that there is extremely tight management of contractors, timelines, and spending by professional career construction managers who work for the various government entities (they aren't appointed hacks). It is also different in that community groups have a clear and limited place in the process, and it isn't an adversarial back-end one.

My dad was involved in a zoning change in his neighborhood. He was also involved in the planning for this transit extension. The citizen input comes at the front end of the process and is constrained to substantive issues. The reason "everyone seems on board" is because the project would not get far if there were overriding citizen concerns. Community concerns about traffic and ped/bike mix issues are why the transit extension above ended up with its own transit/bike/pedestrian bridge.

Zoning and planning are where citizens get involved, and it pays off in projects zooming through in their later stages without extortion attempts. The house my brother and will own by Friday was zoned for 10-12 units due to the lot size, as were a number of other old Portland Victorians in the neighborhood of one to four family houses and small apartment blocks. As the neighborhood turned over to younger folk, the locals decided that they didn't want all the houses torn down for more apartment blocks, and got the zoning changed (rather than fighting and extorting each individual development for trinkets). Anyone I sell the house to will be able to build what the zoning allows (up to 3 units) without having to deal with nimbyciles running up costs through tantrums.

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According to the U.S. census 2009 American communities report, public transit usage among U.S. workers
http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-5.pdf

from page 4 of the report:
12.2% of workers in the Boston Metropolitan statistical area commuted to work via transit, while only 6.1% in Portland use transit. You are twice as likly to commute via transit in the Boston area vs. Portland.

The only U.S. metropolitan areas with a higher % usage of transit than Boston are New York (30%), San Francisco (14.6%) and Washington (14.1 %). The only other U.S. metro area with more than 10% of commuters using tansit is Chicago (11%). Philly comes close with 9.3%.

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This is happening right now.

Boston couldn't successfully reprogram a street light. (Seriously, the Silver Line Way / D St. Intersection has been a mess for half a decade thanks to incompetence)

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The LA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) contains about 12.8 million people. The Boston MSA contains about 4.5 million. Their land size is within 100-200 sq miles in size of each other too. LA also gets to draw on California's budget (bigger than most countries) and bonds to fund projects.

However, one thing that stands out as a striking difference between there and here is that they chose to up their sales tax in LA county by 0.5% purely to pay for transit expansion.

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The fact remains that LA can do all of that in ten years. Boston can pull off absolutely nothing.

A complete failure of leadership is to blame.

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It's amazing what L.A. is accomplishing with their public transportation system. I was so pleasantly surprised last time I was there how efficient it is, and how much better it will be in a decade. It doesn't go everywhere right now, but they have the right attitude towards it.

Meanwhile, here, the trains just suck. I just got back from Munich and their public transport slaughters anything in the US, so I've been walking to work because I can't bear to get on our crappy trains anymore.

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I remember when NYC was so horrific, we rode the train once just to see how bad it really was. Track fires! Aggressive panhandlers! people running back and forth between cars. 10mph limits due to track conditions. It didn't disappoint! (1986)

We ran around all last weekend taking cabs for short rides (under $6 jumps) and the subway for longer jaunts. 25 years later, the stations are newly renovated and restored - and clean, trains are clean, travel is quick and smooth, disruptions clearly announced, etc. I can't believe it is the same system as 25 years ago.

Boston hasn't sunk as low as NYC in 1986 ... but that just means that it won't be so hard to turn it all around.

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I don't know what NYC you were in, but the trains still smelled like piss and the panhandlers were aplenty. Let me guess, you stuck to the nice areas like midtown, right? Oh laws yes, that sure is fine for the white folks!

For those of us going further up or downtown - it is a little more gritty. Not awful, but it isn't paradise. That's the Japan subway - the worst you get is groped at rush hour.

Konnichi wa, bitches!

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How could a train smell like piss only when it's outside Midtown? It's the same train.

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If I only stayed in Midtown, we would have taken taxis. You have to get to over $5 with two people to make short runs worth it in NYC.

We went to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Chinatown.

The only thing that smelled like urine was when we walked under shady scaffoldings where homeless people had been living through the heat waves. The stations and trains were all clean, well lit, and in good shape.

Seeing that you probably weren't alive yet in 1986, you likely wouldn't understand the "before" situation.

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but it's not as though Boston has done nothing over the past 10 years. The station accessibility project has been a substantial undertaking. The following stations have all been completely re-built over the past ten years:

Charles/MGH
Arlington
Copley
Kenmore
Airport
Shawmut
Ashmont
Fields Corner
and probably a few others (all off the top of my head)

The entirety of the Blue Line was re-built to allow for six car trains, which is a huge capacity increase for that line

The Blue Line car fleet was completely replaced

These are all pretty big capital projects that the MBTA has undertaken in the 21st century, but they are sexy in the way that a new subway line might be. While I agree that we need more and longer lines, it's not accurate to simply state that the 'T hasn't done anything because we aren't visually aware of it on the maps.

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side question:

How do you think that honor fare system would work in Boston?

I just do not understand how we can have (yes, still) the world's biggest economy and the (rich) world's worst public transport. I would submit that soon we won't have one in part because of the other.

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On the Silver Lie issue, we ought to determine how it is that Zurich is able to run its street tramway system so well and just copy it, Straight up, and include the Green Line street cars in the implementation.

Of course, the smartest thing to do would have been to have kept the Silver Line underground and under D St., but the omnipresent pennywise and pound foolish mindset was at work on that one.

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Speak out if you think transportation planning in this state is a joke. Demand the green line be built on schedule.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/greenline/

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It comes as no surprise what . so. ever that the Green Line Extension completion time was extended to 2018. I knew they were going to do that!

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Perhaps, though I doubt, the time delay will be used by Bostonians to take a closer look at this project. It is FIVE times over priced!!! Not a single person in Boston cares that the government (mostly federal) will be forking over a massive amount of money to lay down four simple miles of railroad track. The same exact tracks laid down for well over a century, at $250Billion per mile.

Contractors LOVE government projects, and it's no wonder!

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