Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Fever

Okay, so it's been two gorgeous spring days in a row! Sunny, 60 degrees, birds singing, and daffodils blooming. What's not to love? Anyone who lives in New England (or any other four-season geographic region) knows that we appreciate temperate weather in a way that say, San Diegans cannot. To paraphrase that old Smith Barney commerical, "We enjoy our spring the old-fashioned way, we earn it."

Sadly, the joys of spring in New England are tempered by the you know what (okay, okay, I'll say it: Global Economic Crisis). The T and the Globe face cuts that may shred them both into either nonexistence or a may-as-well-be-nonexistant form. And, speaking of nonexistence, can we just pause and discuss how, the mother ship has been a bit lacking, as it were, in its coverage of the potential Globe cuts? I think you had to dig to page B6, below the fold, of the Monday print edition to find anything. They haven't put anything on the interwebs about it.

Now, onto another favorite subject: Public transit. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, and now it looks like unless the Commonwealth steps in, the T will make seriously drastic cuts. Cuts to the point that no one will want to ride the T, despite reaching an all-time ridership high during the past year. Now, whether you love the T or hate T, use it or don't, this impacts everyone. First, it's a disincentive to those "on the edge" commuters (folks who'd otherwise drive) to throw in the towel altogether. Second, it encourages business to stay out of the Boston area (higher rents, no parking for your employees, no reasonable transit alternatives, etc.) Third, and perhaps most important, it disproportionately affects those of a lower socioeconomic status who rely on buses and trains as their primary mode of transportation. Granted, the T has had a host of issues from patronage to corruption to service, and while perhaps it's time for a major restructuring and house-cleaning, don't do it at the expense of those who can least afford it.

I close with annual spring rant about the Carmine Hose. This is related to the above: For the love of all that's holy, why, oh why cannot the many non-urban dwelling fans take public transit? I live 5 miles from my office. When a Sox game lets loose 30,000 fans at 5:15PM, it takes me at least 1 hour to crawl five miles. I can (and perhaps should) walk to work at that rate! What bothers me most about this is, as I pointed out: The majority of fans don't live in Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville. They have no idea what it's like getting to and from work on a normal day (by T or by car), yet when they invade, every spring, like some sort of squinty, sun-deprived giant red migratory bird drunk on Budweiser, they act as if this town owes them something just for showing up. You'd think after all these years, they'd A) know how to navigate the Green Line, B) know how to navigate the BU bridge, and C) know how to navigate the streets. But no. Although, what do you want from a group of people who collectively forget the idea of loss and pain year after year and keep going back for more?

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