More trolley compromise ideas

March 16, 2007
By

I’m so glad that Cornelius Hastie wrote a letter in the last edition [JP Gazette, March 2] suggesting alternative compromises to the trolley issue! It opens the dialogue a little wider in a way that has a chance of breaking the logjam. In the same spirit, here are a few more ideas:

1. Continue the trolley line from its present terminus at Heath to the intersection of S. Huntington and Centre streets. That stretch of S. Huntington is plenty wide enough for trolleys and cars (and bikes!) to coexist. In fact, perhaps the trolley could even extend to the Curley School. But let’s stop talking about extending the trolley all the way through JP’s downtown and down South Street; that one is a non-starter. There are just too many rational arguments against it.

Or 2. Scrap the trolley and the tracks, but preserve the electric idea. There are quiet, nonpolluting electric buses running in Cambridge and Watertown. They pull to the side (usually) to prevent the congestion that trolleys would cause, and yet they’re quiet and don’t add to the particulate and asthma problems that the buses do… at least not locally.

And 3. (related) Provide bus drivers some easy way to alert the Boston Transportation Department about cars blocking bus pull-outs (a button attached to a GPS?) so offending cars could be towed within minutes of parking there. Painting bus pull-outs adequately would also help. (It’s a little harder to rationalize parking on zebra stripes than it is to rationalize parking between two teensy signs.)

Other ideas? Let’s keep ideas moving; maybe a storm of new ideas can drown out the tired old debates. And yes, let’s pave over the tracks. Add me to the tally of bike accidents caused by them: two. Let’s not forget driving spinouts on South Street near the Arborway overpass, either. Those tracks are like ice when they’re wet.

Steve Runge
Jamaica Plain