The most recent proposal for the Green Line extension through Cambridge and Somerville to Medford will reportedly run $2.3 billion. $75 million of that will reportedly be contributed by the cities of Cambridge and Somerville themselves.
Hey, guys? Don’t do that. It’s dumber than all those times Sting trusted Ric Flair not to turn on him. Giving the MBTA $75 million is like handing me a bottle of whiskey: it’ll be gone before you know it and the ensuing behavior will be irresponsible at best.
I’ve been thinking the problem through for the last few days, mostly in terms of Somerville and what it could do to improve its transportation infrastructure with the $50 million it wants to contribute to the Green Line extension. I’d argue that the biggest problem facing the city isn’t connecting to Cambridge and downtown Boston but rather traveling within Somerville itself. On Sunday, I kind of wanted to go shopping at Assembly Row. I live in Davis Square, and I don’t have a car or a bicycle. I’ve got three choices for getting to Assembly Row: I can ride a bus all the way to Sullivan Station and catch the Orange Line, I can ride the Red Line all the way to Downtown Crossing and catch the Orange Line, or I can waste money on an Uber. That’s absurd, and I decided to stay home. I bought the sneakers and workout gloves I originally wanted to buy in one of Somerville’s fine businesses on Amazon instead. Why isn’t there a direct shuttle of some sort connecting Somerville’s two biggest “it” neighborhoods? Why is getting from Davis to Union, or Union to Magoun, or anywhere to Assembly Row such an annoying pain in my ass?
Rather than throw away $50 million by giving it to the most useless, irresponsible agency in the Commonwealth for use on a project said agency has repeatedly royally fucked up, Somerville should take that dough and create its own public transportation system. Start with an express bus that loops regularly through the major squares without making a bazillion stops in between. This will remove at least a little pressure from the MBTA’s infrastructure while simultaneously getting my ass and asses like mine around town a hell of a lot easier. If it’s a success, expand into Medford or Arlington or maybe add some express buses to downtown Boston from areas like Winter Hill or whatever the heck you call that neighborhood on the other side of Teele Square. This plan will add a bunch of local jobs while vastly improving the transportation infrastructure to underserved neighborhoods without involving the stupid old T. Fuck the T.
The best part? It’ll mean we won’t be stuck riding the suck ass Green Line. That shit ain’t going to suck less all of a sudden just because it goes to Medford.