Saturday, January 23, 2010

True Tales of the MBTA

Brother is on 86, trying to transfer onto 66. Upon the 86's arrival at Dawes Island, 66 immediately pulls away, stranding all transfer passengers.

I board 66 at next stop. 86 pulls up behind. I ask driver if he minds waiting for passengers from the 86. NO, he says. DIS EEZ NOT A CAB. He speeds off, leaving the 86 behind.

Brother tells 86 driver he is trying to get on 66. 86 driver cuts off 66 in Brighton, allowing brother to transfer at Western Ave.

Fuck you, 66 driver! I see you every Saturday, and you NEVER say good morning back to me. Now I know for sure that you're an actual piece of human garbage.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

The DJ on WERS just said:

"Silver Line airport service is experiencing 10-15 minute delays due to traffic."

So, we have a transit line from downtown to the airport that takes 30+ to go two miles. Add another 10+ minutes if you're going to Terminal C or E, because the bus takes that long to board clueless tourists at the first two terminals, and you could have a 40-minute trip to the airport from downtown.

Massport executives, who must surely commute to work using the Silver Line, continue to assure us that "it takes 10 minutes to go from South Station on the Silver Line to any terminal at Logan."

Not only is that a physical impossibility, but it's hopelessly out of touch. I use the Silver Line whenever I can, and I can testify that its most ironic attribute is that it works at any time except rush hour.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why Boston Sucks, According to a Intercity Bus Line Employee

"Here come the drones," he says, watching an endless throng of blank-faced workers streaming through the Back Bay turnstiles at 8am. "Look at them. They're miserable. Every day, they look the same."

"You know why people are so miserable here? The public transportation is about ten times worse than it needs to be. In New York, the system is probably 30 times bigger and works perfectly, like clockwork, 24 hours a day. Here, it takes people 45 minutes to go six miles, and they have that stress to deal with every day. By the time they get to work, they're miserable.

"The roads are just as bad. I used to drive in from ********. It took me two hours to go forty miles. The traffic adds to the stress, too. People have to save all their errands for the weekends because they have no time during the week.

"A day doesn't last a day here. You wake up on Saturday, you buy your groceries, go to a function or whatever, and by the time you get there it's dark out.

"I'm from the country, the farms. We don't live like this"

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Why are 60-85% of the comments on any Boston Globe article disgustingly racist?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Since I did not make my annual "dark, cloudy day in June" post,

I feel the need to point out for the record that Boston has now had three straight weeks of cloud and rain. The solstice was obscured by gray. Each night, the sun attempts to stay out later, but only a diffuse, light gray is mustered. It is presently June 24, 9:23 a.m., 58 degrees and pouring rain.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Boston Fire Department: Another Reason Why Boston is a Poorly Run City

The Globe publishes a very interesting article claiming that Boston spends $452 per resident per year for fire suppression, ranking it first in per capital spending among U.S. cities. Mechanics in the department make an average of $134,000. There are all sorts of interesting undertones here; most interesting is that the unions own city hall and raid its coffers for their own benefit.

Take a good look at that link above. It is 10:00 a.m. on the dot, and there are 104 comments posted on the article. Let's see how that number increases when more union members respond. It'll be just like the ongoing police detail battle: members of the police union using the Globe website to publicly threaten citizens' safety. Remember, you're either with them or against them, no matter what the cost.

I look forward to wayward union yahoos commenting here as well.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Next Round of Suburban Thought versus Boston

Downtown Crossing, Boston's once-vibrant central shopping district, is a resounding failure. Long-vacant storefronts line the sidewalks, and new stores seem to fail regularly. Lonely pushcart vendors never appear to sell anything. There is always a disturbingly high police presence. And by seven p.m., seven nights a week, twelve months a year, the heart of Downtown Boston is totally abandoned, a lonely and uninviting concrete tomb.

But the Globe has a solution: in the words of Universal Hub's Adam Gaffin, "turn Downtown Crossing into a parking lot."

That's right. Who needs a pedestrian mall to serve the shopping needs of city residents, when we can create a vehicular pipeline for suburbanites? We can safely assume that many city residents don't have cars--and the ones who do own cars are already using them to shop in the suburbs. The people who visit Downtown Crossing today are that strange breed of transit-using citizen, the uncanny mix of the working poor and the car-free by choice (the latter group includes me). The Globe seems to suggest that replacing these people with, yes, suburbanites, would make it all better. Never mind the tens of thousands of suburbanites who work blocks away but avoid the shops of Downtown Crossing at all costs, lured away by the malls of home.

Let's go ahead and reopen Downtown Crossing to vehicular traffic. We can then judge Downtown Crossing's success not by the tax revenue it generates or the quality of life offered there but by the number of suburbanites parking on the streets, dooring bikers, and standing in the middle of the sidewalks in large numbers. Or, once it's reopened to auto traffic, we can pretend that Washington Street is just another silent downtown street and put the failure of Downtown Crossing behind us.

I think the blight of Downtown Crossing is a real problem. After staying in the neighborhood during a conference, several of my colleagues vowed never to return to Boston again. Downtown Crossing has to do better, but the bottom line is that trying to compete with or emulate the suburbs is not going to make the city center work better. We need less suburban thought, and fewer bad ideas, from our elected officials and our newspapers.
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Now, here's a good idea. Back in 2005, I wrote about a Globe article comparing the number of Business Improvement Districts in Boston (zero) to the number in New York (over 50). In New York, these ideas really work, by helping local businesses invest in everything from neighborhood beautification to hiring the employees who beautify, maintain, and provide security on the streets. BIDs turn neighborhoods like Downtown Flushing in Queens and Fordham Road in the Bronx into tremendously successful shopping districts. Amazingly, Boston can't pull this off in the middle of downtown. But it's not like anyone's trying. It's all talk and millions of dollars spent on consultants.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blessed with another autumn day.

It's June 14--59° and cloudy. Just like the day before. Whenever I REALLY start to like it here in Boston, the weather strikes.

On another note, we are one week from the summer solstice. My plans to wake up and see the amazingly early sunrises--around or before 5am, which we never had in New York--have been repeatedly thwarted by my inability to get out of bed.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Complete Transit Insanity

The Mass. Convention Center Authority earlier this week announced its proposal to double the size of its parking lot under Boston Common. James Rooney, MCCA executive Director, claims that this could serve as the parking lot for the as-yet-unbuilt Silver Line bus rapid transit tunnel through Downtown Boston.

I guess they assumed that tons of people drive into downtown, only to get on the subway or bus there. Have they not noticed that none of the existing transit stations in the city have parking lots?

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Terror Envy and LNG Hysteria (but mostly just terror envy)

The week of the recent Mooninite disaster, a Joshua Glenn, writing on an "ideas blog" apparently hosted by the Boston Globe, made the audacious but mostly true claim that
Bostonians remain, in some sick, twisted way, jealous of New York because terrorists deemed a NY landmark world-famous enough to be targeted for attack. Anyone who followed local news coverage in the days after 9/11 knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Last week, in an unusual piece of schlock, the Phoenix ran as its cover story a piece of fiction about WHAT COULD HAPPEN if terrorists struck an LNG tanker in the harbor. Exhibiting severe symptoms of terror envy, author/douchebag Stephen Flynn suggested that terrorist "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (who just today claimed "responsibility" for 9/11 and the beheading of that WSJ guy) would
[like] the symbolism of striking so close to Logan airport, which had served as one of the stepping-off points of the 9/11 attacks.

Let's get something straight, particularly what Boston had to do with 9/11. Because dimwitted private security guards at Logan Airport let crazy Muslims with boxcutters on airplanes, 2,752 people in New York were killed. That's it. That's the significance of Boston to 9/11.

Since then, Lite Brites cause city-crippling bomb scares. I am detained and questioned for taking a picture of a tugboat, but Trusted Media Outlets like the Globe can regularly publish photos of real threats like this (also published today)...



As Boston tries to find its terror target significance, I have to wonder: is it envy or is it really just guilt? Perhaps a mix of both.

UPDATE: Now that I've sort of slept on this, I think the conclusion is too narrowly focused. I guess the average citizen has every right to be scared (combine "average" intelligence + "culture of fear" media...). And the scary things are: 1) Boston's hypocrisy (claiming to be a top terror target while allowing energy corporations to send 900-foot LNG tankers through downtown). 2. Standard-practice overreaction (again, check out Mooninitegate....what's to come?). 3. Fake, or mostly fake, empathy for New Yorkers. Well, maybe that just scares me.

UPDATE #2: PANG OF CONSCIENCE: I shouldn't have forgotten about the Bostonians on the planes that attacked New York. They were murdered, too. But it still seems to me that Boston is always seeking to have had a greater role or significance in 9/11. Is that something anyone but a first responder should want?

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Monday, February 05, 2007

"When a city is brought to its knees by a Lite-Brite, I fear for our culture"

Read Jeffrey Weiss's editorial on the instantly infamous national media/Boston City Hall Aqua Teen Campaign of Fear. From the Dallas Morning News

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