Tuesday, February 13, 2007

E - ARBORWAY The fight continues

photo NETransit
The last train to Arborway

The last train to Arborway left Park St on December 28, 1985. The City of Boston and the MBTA wanted to do construction on Huntington Avenue which would require the line to be closed for up to 2 years. In an essay published in 1996 Scott Moore details what happened and why the trolley service didn't return in 1987 as promised.

In 1990 the Commonwealth promised to restore the E line to Arborway as part of the 'Big Dig' to to offset the air pollution and other environmental impact of the downtown project. The project was stalled for 16 years and was finally killed in December by the Romney administration. On Tuesday (Feb 13, 2007) The Arborway Committee sued the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to restore the E-branch of the Green Line to Forest Hills-Arborway.

Click here to view press release below as .pdf
Click here to view text of complaint as .pdf

Ridership figures cited by The Arborway Commitee indicate that residents of Jamaica Plain have rejected the bus service the T has provided as a replacement.
From a transit perspective, the current #39 bus service, which was substituted for the Green Line in 1986, has experienced significant erosion in ridership. Latest MBTA statistics indicate that since 1997, daily ridership has fallen by 5000, from approximately 19,000 a day to 14,000. Since the inception of the substitute service in 1986, the #39 bus has lost 50% of its ridership.

John Kyper, Transportation Chair of the Massachusetts Sierra Club, said, "The remarkable fact is that while #39 ridership has fallen precipitously, during the same period combined Orange Line daily ridership at Jamaica Plain's four stations has remained flat at approximately 23,000.

The residents of Jamaica Plain have been fighting the T and the Commonwealth now for over 20 years to restore service. Promises were made 17 years ago and contracts signed. I wish The Arborway Committee the best in this court fight. Of course if they should be victorious in the courts the project will cost the state far more than $58 million that was originally estimated. I would love to know who approved the paving over of the tracks on Centre Street that will make it that much harder to restore service.

How do you feel about the restoration of service to Arborway-Forest Hills? Please leave a comment or send an email to charlieonthembta@gmail.com


Redliner said...

Although I miss the Arborway line and would like to see trolleys restored, one reason that they have not been restored, and why the tracks have since been paved over, is vociferous opposition from the merchants on Centre Street to restoration of service. The merchants have complained for ever about the traffic on Centre Street caused by the trolleys and would much prefer to see more vehicle traffic. I think this is short sighted and a bad policy for the City as a whole, but it's worth noting that this isn't just an MBTA vs. JP residents issue. There are many players involved.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a merchant on Centre St myswlf, I have to point out that those merchants who complain are the ones who are desperately afraid that restored e-line will bring about more traffic and parking enforcement. Actual enforcement will bring to light their habit of double parking their delivery trucks and ilegal use of the street parking for their employees and even sometimes customer (i.e. statying over two hours).