The MBTA just spent $900,000 in federal stimulus money to buy 25 new buses for use along Route 28 (Mattapan Square to Ruggles Station). These longer, articulated buses don’t fit in the current bus stops, so the stops going to have to be enlarged, eliminating between 60 and 92 parking spaces along a stretch of road that has a heavy concentration of local merchants who rely on car traffic for their business.
Needless to say, the merchants are livid. According to the Boston Herald, here’s what Richard Davey, the General Manager of the T, had to say to justify the removal of parking spaces:
“… he said a survey of 500 Route 28 bus passengers found that 91 percent approved of it rolling out the state-of-the-art 60-foot articulated buses, even if it means losing between 60 to 92 parking spaces along its five-mile route…”
Yes, that’s right, the T asked people who don’t use the parking spaces whether it’s OK to get rid of them.
What’s next? Are they going to ask people who don’t ride the buses whether it’s OK run fewer of them?
The T is holding a public hearing at 6:00pm tomorrow at the Mattapan Public Library. They’ve publicized this hearing where? On the buses, of course. This calls to mind Arthur Dent’s experience in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when his house is slated for demolition to make room for a bypass road:
“But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”
“Oh, yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.”
“But the plans were on display…”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur. “yes, I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked file cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.’”
Also, wouldn’t want normally want to hold one’s public hearings before buying the new buses? What exactly is the T going to do with $900,000 worth of buses if it turns out they can’t use them because the public outcry is too loud for them to enlarge the bus stops?
Unless, of course, the public hearing is a sham and the removal of the parking spaces is a foregone conclusion…