Nearly 100 people filled the Tynan School cafeteria on Wednesday night to discuss the bus service and stops in Southie. About a year ago, the same exact meeting happened so it was like de ja vu all over again except this time with a slight twist. CIS was there too live tweeting all the action. You can find our tweets here! If you’re not on twitter – come on! Get with the times and get on twitter!
Representative Nick Collins – who is leading the charge to remedy the broken bus situation in South Boston – was on hand to lead off the meeting. He acknowledge the dire situation in our neighborhood and said the problems with transportation need to be resolved quickly. Rick Malone was introduced from MassDOT who informed us there were many “T experts” in attendance and would be listening to questions and concerns. A presentation by Ralph De Nisco – from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting – of a proposed plan of a new and improved bus route began.
Here are some highlights from presentation:
Over 15,000 riders get on and off buses in South Boston each week day.
South Boston’s older bus stops do not meet MBTA accessibility guidelines. 29% of route 9 and 11 are equal to or less than 40ft. They need to be at a minimum of 60ft.
The MBTA will eliminate some bus stops in City Point including the one at M and Broadway
Beginning in January, during peak hours the #7 will run every 3 minutes (currently running 3.5 minutes. Really?) and the #9 will increase to every 4 minutes.
An express #7 has been proposed. A quick loop from City Point to right before South Station and back again.
Possibility of moving #11 from 8th Street to Day Blvd.
The plan calls for improving the bus stops with repaired sidewalks and luxurious heated shelters with coffee in the morning and wine in the evening. Just kidding – just regular old bus shelters.
The new plan will be implemented in 2017
After the presentation, the meeting was opened to questions and answer segment. If you wanted to speak – you had to sign in and get a number. This is always the best part of the Southie meeting but here’s the bizarre twist. After question #4, it became clear to the audience, that they were going unanswered. When someone finally asked, “Are you guys going to be answering these questions,” we were informed. “No.” They added they didn’t have time to respond to all the questions and that the meeting was being recorded and they would eventually try and address all questions and concerns. Needless to say the crowd did not like this response.
So the question/concern portion went on with issues ranging from Southie needs more buses, to the buses should go back to 4th street (yes, I’m totally serious), to Day Boulevard is way too dangerous to be letting people on and off buses. People with the mic were warned that they only have 2 minutes to speak. There was a woman who would hold up a card that read “Time” when people went over the limit. I’m totally serious. Needless to say it was ignored. They should have had music to play off the person like at the Oscars.
Standouts from the question/concerns portion of the meeting:
One woman brought up the dreaded Winter of 2015 and the nightmare of un-shoveled bus stops and public safety concerns with the snow at overcrowded bus stops. Winter is coming!
One guy was pissed about buses moving to Day Blvd. He said commuters cutting through Southie fly down Day Blvd. to cut down First Street and “the a-holes bomb down the street and nearly clipped me in front of the yacht club.”
Joanne McDevitt from the City Point Neighborhood Association (who introduced herself as that title) thinks that buses should not be on Broadway. Broadway is constantly congested during peak hours. It’s a public safety issue. She also suggested that there be a bus from Broadway Station to the Financial District or Seaport District. Joanne got the “Time” card.
There was a gentleman that pulled out copious notes taken in a teeny tiny notebook with all of the bus service observations. One of them being that buses never pull into the bus stops.
Friend of CIS and Corey Dinopoulos took the mic and stated that the MBTA needs to listen to the neighborhood. He worked on Boston 2024 and it failed because they didn’t listen to the community.
One woman pulled a Bill Belichick and told the MBTA to do their job. There is so much development going on with new people moving in and relying on the T. It’s the MBTA’s job to transport residents and provide reliable service.
One man couldn’t make the meeting on time. “I couldn’t catch the #7 bus to get to the meeting on the #7 bus…had to take a cab.”
Southie Community Meeting All-Star Bill “Touchie” McDonough took the mic and there was a hush over the crowd. He addressed topics such as his decade long quest to have angled parking . He also suggested maybe getting bigger buses like double decker buses. He also recommended having the Silver line come up to First Street and then express downtown. Bing, bang, boom. “Time” card went up and Touchie basically told her to screw and keeps talking. When he’s done, the crowd breaks out in applause and cheers.
One woman has become a year round bike rider because of who terrible the bus service is. She suggested to the MBTA that instead of investing money in bus shelters, they should just have more buses and reliable service.
After the questions, the MBTA thanked everyone for coming and the meeting was over. Nothing was remedied. Not questions were answered and they showed us basically the same proposal from last year. The MBTA is like a bad boyfriend and we think it’s time we break up.