Simple adjustments would make trolleys possible

March 2, 2007
By

Of course it is feasible to restore trolley service from Heath Street to Forest Hills, despite the fact that Centre Street and South Street are not wide enough to accommodate two-way trolley passengers trying to walk between the sidewalk and the middle of these streets without becoming casualties. I suggest three simple 21st century adjustments:

1. Allow absolutely no parking at any time along the trolley stretch of Centre and the entire length of South. Remove the sidewalks on one side of each side street for motorist polluters’ parking. (I have noticed that these side street sidewalks are not usually so congested that pedestrians cannot easily all walk on the same side of the street.)

2. Run the Centre-South trolley tracks right next to the sidewalk rather than in the middle of the street, thereby allowing passengers a totally safe sidewalk-trolley connection. This is the only safe option other than completely closing Centre-South to all non-trolley vehicles, making it a pedestrian-trolley mall—a utopian vision.

3. Make Centre-South automobile traffic one-way, preferably southbound with left turns only, so drivers will see approaching northbound trolleys before running into them.

I am personally almost unbiased in the matter; I have only a healthful four-block walk along S. Huntington Avenue to Heath Street when I want to take the trolley to Copley Square or Park Street. But I hope my simple, obvious, reasonable suggestions might help my friends on both side of this fraught issue come together!

Cornelius Hastie
Jamaica Plain

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