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‘Conversation’ on Public Transportation's Future Draws Array of Thoughts

At a meeting held Tuesday in Medford, some offered complaints, kudos and ideas.

Fares recently went up on the MBTA, but so did ridership across public transportation modes, according to Jonathan Davis, acting general manager of the transit authority.

Davis spoke Tuesday at a public meeting about the future of public transportation in Massachusetts. 

The meeting, organized by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, was part of a statewide series designed to get opinions and thoughts from residents about what they want in their transportation system statewide. Tuesday's meeting was held at the McGlynn Middle School in Medford.

MassDOT is also soliciting support for public transportation, Davis told Patch after the meeting.

The state, currently, cannot afford the transportation network is has, Davis told the audience of about 60 people in his brief opening remarks.

Yet MassDOT has heard people need more public transportation, Davis said.

More than 20 people presented opinions, complaints and suggestions at the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

Keeping the Commonwealth economically competitive depends on its transportation system, several speakers, including Davis, said. 

As the population ages, more people will turn from driving to public transportation, several others said.

Many people wanted more timely distribution of Chapter 90 funds from the state legislature for road repair and construction.

Speakers had a variety of individual interests. They asked for better Ride service for seniors with disabilities, expanded bus service between East Boston and Chelsea, electronic bus schedule signs at the Wonderland T station, and more emphasis on biking. One woman proposed expanding a local no-car day effort statewide.

Where to get money? An Internet sales tax and gas tax, several speakers suggested.

Several state legislators attended the meeting: Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Reps. Paul Donato and Carl Sciortino (Medford); Rep. Paul Brodeur (Melrose); Sean Garballey (Arlington); and Jay Kaufman (Lexington), along with Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine.

The next MassDOT meeting in this series will be held Thursday, Nov. 29, in Boston, at the Mass. Transportation Building at 10 Park Plaza, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Joe Beckmann November 30, 2012 at 02:41 PM
While Somerville plans a "Walkable City," the MBTA ignores its primary mission: to move people away from their remarkable dependence on cars. Building a $1.1 BILLION series of stations on a trolley line which, in Brookline, has no stations at all, is a prime example of mis-management, mis-direction, waste, and an insidious and downright evil "vehicle of delay," isolating Somerville just as it might show the region, state, and nation how less really is more when there is at least a right to transit. Build simple stations, and then improve them. The system did that in the beginning of the last century and it worked remarkably well. The Green Line has a worldwide reputation of beginning small, producing more than almost any other kind of mass transit, and maximum impact for minimal cost. Rather than pretend it's a Red Line, recognize its strengths while extending its reach. Or, perhaps, the MBTA and the Governor are still enthralled with the same Ford lobbyists who tore the trolleys from Somerville the first time!
AHM December 01, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Good one. First decent thing I have heard anyone say on this. I was only thinking about where they thought all this money was going to come from when we have all thsi debt. Simple would be better. Makes too much sense so we know they won't do that.

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