#39 bus meetings begin privately

November 7, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

The state has resumed meetings about improving Route 39 bus service—but as an unadvertised “working session” unknown to the public.

The state Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) formed a Citizens’ Working Group to advise it on plans for improvements, which could include significant changes to Centre and South streets. That group met for the first time on Oct. 24 at the Agassiz Elementary School.

“It wasn’t a formal public meeting, so we did not advertise it,” said EOT spokesperson Adam Hurtubise in an e-mail to the Gazette.

It is unclear who is on the Working Group, though Jamaica Plain resident Michael Reiskind identified himself as a member to the Gazette. It is unclear what was discussed, though Hurtubise called the meeting “productive and positive.”

The Route 39 bus improvement process is required by a lawsuit settlement and is already a year past the deadline mandated in that agreement. The process began in controversy with a meeting that was originally planned to be invitation-only until local officials complained. State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez told the Gazette he received an e-mail about the Working Group session in advance.

The next Working Group meeting will be sometime next month. It is unclear whether it will be publicized.

In other Route 39 news, the loud screeching sound made by some buses on the route will be fixed soon, according to Michael Halle of the Jamaica Plain Traffic and Parking Committee. Halle said that faulty belts making the noise will be replaced by electronic parts. In the meantime, residents can take down the numbers of screeching buses and report them to the MBTA at 222-3200. The MBTA will “tighten the belts up,” Halle said.

David Taber contributed to this article.

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