I write to voice strong disagreement with a statement in a Gazette article about the Arborway Committee’s suit to restore Green Line streetcar service to Jamaica Plain. The article, published in the July 20 issue of the Gazette, incorrectly concluded that Green Line restoration “looks unlikely at this point, both legally and in terms of community controversy.”
Regarding the legal outlook, public transit users, environmental and health advocates and everyone interested in improving the quality of life in JP should know that the suit filed by the Arborway Committee, Inc. just a few months ago against the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) is alive and well. We have retained the downtown firm of Burns & Levinson and are now in the discovery phase of the case. There should be no doubt that the suit is firmly grounded in the law and will succeed in restoring Green Line service to Jamaica Plain.
Regarding community controversy, we all know that the issue of Green Line restoration has long been the focus of community discussion. So what can we conclude from that discussion? We can conclude that the community favors increasing public transit ridership and decreasing automobile congestion, improving air quality and decreasing asthma hospitalization rates, increasing commerce and decreasing global warming. Yet in the 20 years since streetcar service was “suspended” Jamaica Plain has experienced staggering losses in route 39 bus ridership, increases in auto congestion, deterioration of air quality and increases in asthma hospitalization rates, particularly for children under five.
The mantra of the uniformed that bus service will make things better not only flies in the face of the factual record, but also disserves the real needs of urban life in Boston in 2007.
Green Line streetcar restoration is both necessary and likely, anything in the Gazette to the contrary notwithstanding.
Franklyn P. Salimbene, Chair
Kevin F. Moloney, Esq.
Arborway Committee, Inc.