Transportation & Infrastructure

Tell Us How You'd Fix the 'T'

By WGBH News   |   Friday, April 13, 2012
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BOSTON — If you've taken even one trip on a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus, train or ferry, you have an opinion. As part of our April news focus on the MBTA, we want to hear your ideas to improve the system. From the small irritations of everyday commutes to the big $100-plus million budget gap anticipated for next year ... if you ran the T, what would you change first?

Call us at 617-903-0840 and leave a message with your idea. (Please leave your name, because we may play your response on the air this week during Morning Edition or All Things Considered.) Or you can add your voice here:


From the WGBH Vault: MBTA Improvements

By WGBH News   |   Friday, April 13, 2012
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April 13, 2012

mbta 1989

The more things change ....

In this Feb. 7, 1989 segment from WGBH-2's Ten O'Clock News, reporter Hope Kelly talks to MBTA riders about changes under general manager James O'Leary's tenure. Both ridership and budget increased, and some stations were renovated — but not everyone was happy. Their complaints are a lot like ones riders have today. Their eyeglasses? Maybe not so much.

Check back for a week of WGBH News Focus coverage of the MBTA starting April 23.

Thanks to producer Gary Mott for archival help.

June 2011 Report: Youth Way on the MBTA

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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June 28, 2011

Thousands of youths in the Boston area use the MBTA every weekday to get to school and after-school extracurricular activities. For some, the cost of riding the T is a heavy burden- even preventing students from being able to attend school. On Tuesday's Callie Crossley Show, we meet two teens working on a youth campaign to get the MBTA to create an improved Youth Pass- one that would cost $10/month, be available to anyone aged 12 to 21, and have no time restrictions.

Youth Way on the MBTA leaders Amatullah Mervin, 18, and Davonte Jordan, 17, join us. They are co-authors of the June 2011 Report: Opportuni(T): Youth Riders, the Affordability Crisis, and the Youth Pass Solution.

You can read the report below.

Opportuni(T): Youth Riders, the Affordability Crisis, and the Youth Pass Solution

Boston Cyclists Have Big Hopes For Bike Share

By Jess Bidgood and Ben Taylor   |   Friday, April 22, 2011
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April 22, 2011

A biker relaxes on the Charles River esplanade. (mcbrideh/Flickr)

BOSTON — This summer, a new fleet of sharable bikes is coming to Boston. On Thursday, Mayor Menino signed a $6 million contract with Alta Bike Share, declaring, "The car is no longer king in Boston."

The new bike-share program, officially named Hubway, will put over 600 bikes on 61 bike racks around the city. It's a bit like car-sharing service Zipcar, except members of the share can pick up a bike, take it where they need to go, and leave it in any rack they want. "People riding a bike from Dudley Square to Faneuil Hall, they can drop the bike off there, they can walk along the waterfront, to pick up another bike to return to their neighborhoods,” Menino said.
Menino's announcement touched off something of a celebration for dozens of cycling enthusiasts gathered on City Hall Plaza to watch (admittedly, their presence may have also been aided by free burritos). Ranging from young to old, this group of bike devotees might actually be the people least likely to use the share themselves, since many of the bikers already had their own bikes by their sides. But there was broad agreement in the crowd that the presence of a bike share can help Boston become a more two-wheeled city.
Samantha Wexler is the executive director of Bikes Not Bombs, a Jamaica Plain non-profit organization (recently rated the city's best non-profit by the Boston Phoenix) that uses bikes for community development. She said bike-share programs tend to encourage new or uncommitted bikers to look more closely at bikes as a viable transit option.
"People who maybe aren't used to biking in Boston will have an opportunity to try it,” Wexler said. "And the more people that we get on bikes, obviously, the more we begin to change what the city looks like."

Jed Jeng, a regular cyclist from Cambridge, came to the announcement because he's used a similar system already implemented in Montreal. He said a bike share won't just change the look of city transport — but what Bostonians can use it to see. "Hopfully, it'll allow people to take advantage of 'hidden gems' like (Somerville's) Union Square, which aren't really accessible on public transportation,"  Jeng said.
Nearby, 70-year-old Lois Levin talked about how difficult it's been for her to try and make her hometown of Newton more bike-friendly, mostly due to resistance from residents who complain that bike lanes narrow the roadways. She's wondering if the accessibility and utility of a bike-share in Boston won't change minds outside of the city.

And she pointed out that it might be people from outside of Boston who have the most to gain from the bike share, should they be unable to bring bikes into the city with them, but need to make short trips while there. “I would come into town on the T and use the bike share. I’m dying to use the bike share,” Levin said.

For 56-year-old Michael Blythe, news of a bike share couldn't have come at a better time. He lives in Savin Hill with no car, and used to bike around everywhere -— until his bike was ruined by the winter.

"I was going to have to buy one. So this is almost great timing for me,” Blythe said.

The program begins in July. Members can pay $85 to use the share for the year, or $5 per day. Rides under 30 minutes will be free.

The Big Dig: $23 Billion and Counting

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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July 11, 2012

big dig tunnel

The Tip O'Neill Tunnel, part of the Big Dig. (Wikimedia)

STATE HOUSE, Boston — At a Beacon Hill oversight hearing on July 10, Massachusetts transportation officials said the Big Dig debt is starving other road and bridge projects statewide.
At the hearing, state transportation officials said the total cost of the Big Dig, including interest on borrowing, has grown to more than $23 billion. It is the costliest highway project in the nation’s history.

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From the Archives: The Sumner Tunnel

Monday, July 9, 2012
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July 5, 2012

sumner tunnel

Greater Boston has partnered with the Boston Globe to bring you a weekly feature called "From the Archives." Each Wednesday on Greater Boston, we will show one to two photos from the newspaper's archives. This weekly feature offers a glimpse into Boston's past.
This week, we look at … a key transportation artery.

In 1934, the Sumner Tunnel opened beneath the harbor, connecting East Boston and eventually Logan International Airport to the rest of the city. In this photo, automobiles enter the Sumner on April 24, 1958. Almost exactly a year after this picture was taken, on April 30, 1959, more than 1,000 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a second tunnel to run parallel to the then–25-year-old Sumner. The Lieutenant William F. Callahan Tunnel opened on Nov. 11, 1961. And finally the third harbor tunnel, the Ted Williams Tunnel, opened in 2003, a substantial outcome of Boston’s Big Dig. 

About the Authors
The WGBH News team comprises the WGBH radio newsroom, The Callie Crossley Show, The Emily Rooney Show and WGBH Channel 2 reporters and producers from Greater Boston and Basic Black. 
Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.


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