Saturday, December 1, 2012

Your Vision, Our Future: A Transportation Conversation

A couple months ago, MassDOT began promoting a series of statewide public meetings called: Your Vision, Our Future: A Transportation Conversation. I attended the Boston meeting on Thursday. Secretary Davey stated at the beginning that they are listening to people from around the state in anticipation of January's finance plan. He said that we are "destined for a renaissance or a rollback." Then he turned the floor over to public comments.

I didn't have time to stay for the whole session, but here's the notes for what I said in my 3 minutes:
  • Agencies must work together: BTD, BRA, MBTA, etc
  • Transportation policy and land use are inseparable, is anyone from the BRA or city planning here? [no, it turns out]
  • The T must work together with the city to eliminate minimum parking requirements particularly near MBTA stations
  • Minimum parking requirements are a direct subsidy to automobile usage
  • They create traffic congestion, hurt walkability through sprawl
  • Every dollar of parking subsidy causes T ridership and revenue to drop
  • If people don't pay true cost of driving, then the rest of us pay for it
  • Turning to BTD, buses and trains carry more people than cars, but BTD treats buses as worth less than cars in road design.
  • The T must work with BTD to change this attitude, get bus lanes and signal priority.
  • For example, the Silver Line should have dedicated lanes all the way through Chinatown. It's not BRT if you don't do the important parts where it's "hard" to get done.
  • Finally, improvements in service can save operational costs.
  • Faster trip times mean fewer vehicles needed to operate the same service.
  • The "front door only" policy on the Green Line must be ended
  • It costs more money by slowing down trips than it saves in stopping fare evasion
  • Sometimes trains easily sit for 5 minutes at a single station because of the bottleneck, people pushing in and out of the small front door
  • It's not helping the T, it's just a form of collective punishment of the riders
  • The T should treat customers as people, and have some pride in their work

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