Letter: Failed logic in T’s rejection of bus yard move

February 28, 2014
By

As a 1,000-hour survivor of the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard process, plus a year of Facility Design Review meetings, I believe Ms. Oliveira’s latest article allowed a glimpse at the biggest reason for our frustrations and disappointments of the past 15 years. (“Support grows for new T bus yard,” Feb. 14.) To understand the special logic the T has used in every phase of the CPCAY process, we only need to consider two topics in their latest rejection of a great idea.

The time delay floated by the T of an additional four years, plus land transfer time, assumes that all these processes must be done sequentially. (The “Impossible to Design a Bus Facility and Chew Gum at the Same Time” rule.) Three years to re-configure a design now at 90 percent? In the T’s case, possibly so.

This agency is tasked with very long-range planning of public transit. If only they could figure some way they wouldn’t have to wait five (and counting) empty years to start.

And the money they are saving us! Lemme see now: an heirloom design begun in the last century; bus barn energy efficiency based on, “We don’t have to worry about energy costs; the T generates its own power”; equipment specs that will be well over a decade old; a small, crowded facility at a time when the T cries for more garage and maintenance space; permanent blight on the new Emerald Necklace and in the heart of the now-dynamic Forest Hills development area; a bizarre configuration gerrymandered around the faded memory of a demolished building on a yet unremediated site.

This to save $15 million (!) already spent for a set of still-incomplete plans for a quarter to a third of a billion dollars facility?

At each fare increase and service cut, and with every billion dollars added to the T’s debt, we can only marvel at the survival of an institution that remains befuddled as to the basic connection between cause and effect.

At a deeper level, this is the failure of the vision thing or the could-give-a-damn thing at the highest levels of state government. I called Beacon Hill last week to ask them to give it a look, but they were all off doing job interviews.

Bill Mitchell

Jamaica Plain

  • Clark Johnsen

    Mr. Mitchell proves himself a witty writer about this serious (big money) topic. He is to be applauded for not losing his sense of humor dealing with the labyrinthine T.

Best of JP 2014