in a nutshell
On Wednesday night, more than 100 people filled the cafeteria of the Tynan School to discuss one of Southie’s hot button topics – the MBTA buses. CIS was there too live tweeting all the action. You find our tweets at @maureencaught – if you’re not on twitter – come on! Get with the times and get on twitter!
The meeting began with a presentation by Ralph De Nisco – from Nelson\Nygaard Consulting – of a proposed plan of a new and improved bus route. So ladies and gentlemen of South Boston – looks like the buses will be staying on East Broadway due to wider streets and sidewalks. Needless to say there were lots of groans from the “buses back on Fourth Street” camp in the audience. Another highlight of the plan – P Street would be eliminated from the route and replaced with Farragut Road for inbound service. You can view the entire proposal by visiting: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/default.asp?id=6442454977
The plan would also call for eliminating every other bus stop and 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.
If the new bus route is accepted – we are not sure who has to do the accepting…. it would create new parking spots for the neighborhood, so there’s that. After the presentation, the meeting was opened to questions and concerns segment. If you wanted to speak – you had to sign in and get a number. Being it was the MBTA – the number system ended up getting screwed up with there being 2 #17’s and 2 #18 – but that was to be expected, we are dealing with the T. Anyway, the questions and comment section is always the heart and soul of Southie meeting and let me tell you, the good people of Southie did not disappoint. Complaints ranged from the fact people would have to walk up M Street to the bus and in the winter “it’s cold and windy” to one woman who lives on East Broadway saying that the buses on Broadway was making it hard to get out of her driveway. Needless to say that was met with jeers from the crowd.
The majority of the speakers were either from camp “Move the buses back to East Fourth because I live on E. Broadway” or camp “Keep the buses on East Broadway because I live on E. Fourth.” To sum it up as one resident at the meeting stated,”It’s tit for tat” and not very productive or for the greater good of the community.
Sound standouts from the meeting:
- One East Broadway resident kicked off a prepared speech with mention of Pope Francis’ visit and how we should all look after one another but then went on to say she wants the buses back on East Fourth for safety reasons.
- One resident stated we needed more buses heading outbound after work. “The buses are always filled. We need more buses.” The MBTA stated they just physically don’t have enough buses.
- Interesting fact learned, if an MBTA bus driver calls out sick, his route doesn’t get covered.
- One gentleman was upset that there is no rhyme or reason to the schedule. Sometimes the bus is early. Sometimes it’s late. Sometimes it doesn’t show up. He just wants to know “when I need to leave my house in the morning.” Is that to much to ask, MBTA? Isn’t that the point of a schedule?
- Residents took a trip down memory lane reliving the nightmare that was last winter and the one ways/alternate bus routes with some bus drivers just “driving down whatever the hell street they felt like.”
- Lots of complaints of buses not pulling all the way over. An MBTA rep disagreed and said they do pull over to which the crowd cried bullshit and started chanting, “Ride the bus! Ride the bus!”
- One resident suggested that the reason people don’t trust the MBTA is their poor track record of providing good services. The MBTA rep said they are thinking about hiring a consultant to figure out a way to improve service and monitor bus drivers. The next woman on the mic said to just look at the tweets at @MBTA in the morning and you’ll find out what the heck is going on.
- One #11 passenger said that there are too many delivery trucks out in the morning rush hour and suggested that the BPD should be out patrolling and moving them along. “They probably aren’t busy at that hour,” she said. Really? Yes, there is never any crime in the morning.
- Southie Community Meeting All-Star Bill “Touchie” McDonough took the mic and there was a hush over the crowd. He addressed topics such as the need for clean buses without toxic fumes. He also said that trash trucks should not be allowed to make pick ups during rush hour. Amen to that! He also mentioned that he was disappointed in the lack of snow removal. “If you have a snow emergency and I have to move my car for you to remove snow, when I return the snow should be gone, right?” Hell, yeah! He also mentioned the fact the bus stops were not shoveled. Don’t get us started on that one.
- Richie D. grabbed the mic and asked if a traffic study was done as part of the bus stop study to which the MBTA replied. No. Evidently, there are barrages of school/tour buses from out of town in the area of Farragut and Broadway. Not to mention the amount of suburbanites that use Farragut Road as a cut through to downtown. “They fly down Farragut Road.”
- One woman begged the City of Boston to stop approving new development when we don’t have a transportation system to support it.
- Pols spotted in the crowd: City Councilor Michael Flaherty, Jake Bombard from Senator Linda Dorena Forry’s office, an aide from City Councilor Bill Linehan’s office, David Biele from Rep. Nick Collin’s office and neighborhood coordinator for the mayor’s office of neighborhood services John Allison.
- Personal highlight when I met local Southie celebrity photographer Eileen Murphy aka @Chipsy231 on twitter.
The meeting concluded with the MBTA thanking everyone for coming out. A comment period about the proposed bus route is through October 7th. You can email comments to [email protected] or you can write a good old fashioned letter to:
45 High Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02110