Aldermen Want MBTA to Run 'Shop in Somerville' Ad Campaign
Seeking mitigation for weekend Red Line closures, the Somerville Board of Aldermen will ask the MBTA to help promote shopping in Davis Square.
Saying weekend closures on the Red Line, which started this month and continue into March, "will inevitably hinder the businesses in Davis Square," Alderman At-Large Bruce Desmond wants the MBTA to help promote the Somerville commercial district with an ad campaign.
The Board of Aldermen agreed, passing a resolution Tuesday night that asks the MBTA to meet with Somerville's mayor and the Somerville Chamber of Commerce to discuss the matter.
Essentially, the aldermen hope the MBTA will offer an advertising discount to the Chamber of Commerce so the group can run a "shop in Somerville" ad campaign on trains and buses.
The MBTA has instituted weekend shutdowns of Red Line train service between Harvard and Alewife stations in order to conduct needed repairs to the tunnel. It has replaced weekend train service with bus shuttle service.
Alderman At-Large William White expressed frustration that the MBTA scheduled its weekend Red Line closures to coincide with the holiday shopping season.
"You always have to shake your head and wonder" who makes those scheduling decisions, he said.
Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz, who represents the Davis Square neighborhood, said "the T needs to inform communities more in advance" when they institute major scheduling changes like the one affecting the Red Line.
However, Gewirtz said she hasn't received any complaints, to date, from people in her ward about the weekend shutdowns. She chalked that up to the efficiency of the shuttle-bus service that is replacing train service.
"The shuttle is extremely good," she said. "It is not like taking the [normal] bus" because the shuttles are "constant."