Editorial: Arborway Yard detour

May 23, 2014
By

We’ve said before that the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard should focus on shedding light on the existing bus yard plan and mysterious work underway regarding it. That goes double as its recent public meeting found it distracted by an interesting, but largely abstract, alternative location plan.

The MBTA already said it will not adopt an alternative plan. Public response at the meeting indicates many non-JP residents view the alternative as, in essence, an already wealthy neighborhood seeking to dump an ugly facility on Mattapan so that JP can gentrify further to the benefit of a select few homeowners.

Those objections might be overcome by comparative merits. But it makes little sense to focus on an alternative when so little is known about the status of the current option.

Having such conversations without expert advisors in the room is also unproductive. The merit of having a bus garage catty-corner to a bus terminus is obvious. Moving it over a mile away must have impacts on fuel cost, air pollution, traffic and route timing. Those are measurables that cannot simply be imagined or assumed as an abstract political stance.

JP needs someone to bring the MBTA and the City to the table to fully explain the current state of affairs. Then we could have a meaningful discussion on how to advance, and possibly improve or even move, the long-delayed permanent bus yard. If the CPCAY cannot do that, or doesn’t want to, then its position on an alternative plan is probably not going to matter much to the T anyway.

JP’s state elected officials are in ideal positions to convene such a forum, and their leadership in doing so would be welcome.

Best of JP 2014