Mulhern concedes: Automobile has won at last

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Mulhern concedes: Automobile has won at last

Postby Pete » Thu Feb 03, 2005 11:14 am

From ... ormat=text

"We are spending an awful lot of money on something that might be better spent on other projects,'' said MBTA General Manager Michael H. Mulhern. "This is exactly the reason why streetcars no longer exist. They are very scarce today because they lost the competition with the automobile.''
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Postby ST214 » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:34 pm

To tell you the truth, i'd rather see Watertown restored, but this will never happen.
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Postby FatNoah » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:13 pm

I had to laugh out loud at Mr. Mulhern's comments. Perhaps the best next step would be to convert all subway lines into limited-access automobile routes too.

Streetcars did lose out to automobiles...however there were a lot fewer automobiles back then. As congestion worsens and the cost of living and owning cars increases, there will be an increased need for better transit. Just because something was true back in the 1920's doesn't mean it's still true today.
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Postby ithjames » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:28 pm

This Mulhern has got to go. "We are spending an awful lot of money on something that might be better spent on other projects.'' What's his idea of better projects? More bus rapid transit line which most people didn't want anyway.

Postby FatNoah » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:32 pm

So far, the only "Bus Rapid Transit" line in Boston is the Silver Line from South Station to the World Trade Center. The rest of the Silver Line is a bus that goes at the same speed as traffic...not exactly what I call "rapid" transit.
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Postby atlantis » Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:06 pm

The reason that Mr. Mulhern made that "concession" to the automobile is because Mr. Mulhern and those like him want the automobile to win out.
Instead of making the conscious policy choices that this state once did, and that "Car King" California is making today. Massachusetts is making the conscious choice to cut funding for transit and build more roads. the glaring example is here on Cape Cod where Governor Romney and his auto, oil, and highway lobby buddies are building the Sagamore flyover in order to encourage more cars to the Cape, while at the same time, they claim no money for the restoration of passenger rail service to the Cape that would cost a fraction of the Flyover. the rail infrastructure is already in place, so no homes or businesses would need be taken, unlike the case of the Flyover, where homes were taken to build this abomination.
Rail service was popular here in the eighties, but was removed because of the state budget crisis at the time, not ridership.
The tracks and stations, improved by our taxes, sit unused today.
The state refuses to support a low-cost "feeder rail" service to the Cape which would be run by three rail operators and would be a public-private sector partnership.
By preventing alternatives to the auto, the state has succeeded in manipulating figures at the behest of their auto buddies.
The main stream news media, thus far, has never questioned the need for this highway project as well as not questioning why our rail infrastructure here has gone unused. Remember when the media used to question? Today, It's all about image, which is why we're having a difficult time today.
The sick transportation politics in this state could easily be changed by instituting common sense, not market politics in our transportation policy.
If Boston to Cape Cod rail service occurs in 2012 I will eat a jelly doughnut dipped in tomato sauce.
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Postby ithjames » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:19 am

Mayor Menino has also been against restoring Arborway service. It's because of safety issues. However, San Fransisco, Philadelphia and lots of European cities still use street running trollies effectively. Was Menino against building light rail on Washington St (where the Orange Line used to go to, South End and Roxbury) as well, which it turn gave us the god awful silver line? I'd be curious about that.

Postby CSX Conductor » Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:19 am

Menino hates everything on rail.

He would love to see trains out of Readville for good. (Both the MBTA facility and CSXT).

Although I would love to see the trolleys in JP again, I don't see it happening. The Arborway yard has shrunk significantly thanks to the dam CNG busses. :(
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Postby Charliemta » Fri Feb 04, 2005 5:39 pm

It is so weird that so many other American cities are building new light rail lines, and Boston isn't. In fact, Portland, Oregon was originally planning to build two BRT lines along two expressways, and decided instead to build light rail lines. Why is the MBTA so out of touch with the rest of America in regards to light rail?
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Postby efin98 » Fri Feb 04, 2005 7:27 pm

Why is the T so out of touch? It's the politicians getting greased during the right times by people who are opposed. Menino is using the BFD's bogus excuse as a reasoning but knows that if challenged directly the BFD's excuse won't hold water. Same with the arguments of the JP people and anyone else against trains...

Postby Charliemta » Fri Feb 04, 2005 8:45 pm

Apparently, the dozens of cities with proposed light rail systems don't agree with the Mulhern and Menino belief that the automobile is king.

The following link lists all the cities in North America with light rail existing or proposed. The "Stat" (fifth) column shows proposed routes as "Prop". The only proposed route shown for Boston is the Arborway, and even just that one is at risk. A sorry situation for Beantown.
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Postby SnoozerZ49 » Sat Feb 05, 2005 10:28 pm

I hate to be the one to come to the defense of Mulhern but after I read a bit into the original article it seems that Mulhern is simply restating the MBTA's stance towards the renewal of the Arborway line. I am somewhat familiar with the neighborhood in question and think that while the reopened line would have great economic advantages the fact remains that a trolley system operating on tracks running down the middle of a street will have an impact on the performance of the central subway line. The Green line is hard enough to operate smoothly as it is, street running delays would wreak even more havoc in the central subway tunnel during disruptions. I don't know of any cities that want to build light rail or trolley lines using street running unless it is a historic or tourist line. I believe most proposals are for operations on reserved rights of way.

In defense of the T, I wouldn't want my streetcars operating on the same streets with Boston drivers any more than is absolutely required. I can see it now, one trolley with ten people on it gets clipped by a truck and three hundred people show up at the emergency room!

I would agree that the current T seems to have little imagination and no sense of innovation but Boston must also be a very hard system to operate. There are so many special interest groups tugging at them arguing about every thing that they do try and do. They can't seem to please any one. Oh well, just my opinion.
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Postby mharter » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:35 pm

I think Boston is doing what most other american cities have done, it is looking at the automobile as the nest phase of transportation technology. Trolleys and other rail transportation has been a major part of the city's transportation system for years, but the city planners know that shiny new autos rolling out of Detroit will give citizens a remarkable level of mobility in the coming decades. The only thing that separates Boston from other U.S. cities is that we are doing it fifety years later than the rest of the country. By the time the central artery tunnel is patched and the last of the large parking structures are built above, oil prices should be hitting about a two hundred dollars a barrel, and Boston will be traffic free!

Postby flyermike » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:34 pm

Let's be fair to Mayor Menino.. he doesn't just hate anything on rail.. .he hates anything electric that might beneift the environment and the neighboods because he is against Trackless trolleys also! He has stated that he doesn't want any wires over Boston city streets. It's time for Boston to have a new mayor; a new governor and a new general manager of the MBTA.

Postby BigRock » Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:05 pm

In a perfect world, parts of the restored E line should be in a tunnel.
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