An Open Letter To The MBTA

Concerning the Assembly Square project and inconveniencing Boston commuters posted on

I moved to Malden in February of 2012. In the last 19 months I’ve moved to Malden Center and then moved by Wellington. By slowly creeping my residence down, stop by stop, I formed an intimate relationship with the Orange Line.

In that time I’ve gotten a job, a promotion, I’ve made new friends, I’ve ended an engagement, saw the Pacific, crossed the Atlantic, gotten pneumonia, thrown up in a cab, learned how to put on eyeliner, lowered my cholesterol, and capsized a boat in the middle of Narragansett Bay. This is just a sampling of what one person can accomplish in a year and a half. I write to ask why, why in the same amount of time can a team of paid, professional planners and constructors not build a functional subway station?

I remember talking to my then-fiancé when we were looking at our Oak Grove apartment nearly two years ago. We were discussing the con of the shuttles from Sullivan for the Assembly Square project to our subway stop. “No big deal” we said, “how long can it take?” The answer is both “longer than your relationship” and “forever”.

Seriously, MBTA, what the shit is taking so long? I don’t know when this nonsense started before I moved up - but 19 months? I could have made not one, but two babies in this time. I could have conceived, gestated, and bore out of my business a living being TWICE in the time it’s taking you to throw some steel, concrete, and electrodes together.

Maybe the issue is you feel the need to create an entire shopping center at the same time? Did someone in your planning committee not peep up and say “Maybe let’s build the station itself first? Get the trains running? So we don’t inconvenience thousands of people for two years?” Nonono, building the entire project piecemeal is definitely the way to go. I wouldn’t want to finish putting rail down until Ikea has at least two floors constructed. That’s only logical.

Seriously, even geese know to finish the nest before they lay the eggs.

But what really confuses me, is why construction on the orange line is even necessary during regular running hours? It’s the MBTA; the lines have terribly short hours to begin with. I’ve lived in Philadelphia, DC, and Beijing and all of their subways ran longer and had a better repair system then this. The system is top secret and genius, but I’m going to share it with you. Brace yourself…

They did the work when the subway wasn’t running.

Really, what’s the difference between having construction start at 9pm vs. 12pm? I don’t know. And there’s no opportunity for me to find out because the MBTA hasn’t released one truly informative piece of literature on the project.

What do we get instead of informational updates, explanations of seemingly illogical strategies, and a concrete timeline? You give us posters, you bastard. You give us posters detailing when we’ll have to sit drunk in North Station dizzily trying to determine whether it’s worth it to cab, or if we’ll be able to figure out where the shittles (I mean shuttles) pick up at Sullivan. Please, don’t insult me. I’ve been doing this long enough to know this mess isn’t going to end when the date on the poster does. “Shuttle Service after 9pm September 22, 24, 25, 26, 29 & 30” doesn’t mean I can breathe easy on October first. It means you’ll put another poster up that morning. Come on. At least put in a fine print that says “We’re going to keep yanking you around until May 2015”.

What the poster says is “The service change is in place while the MBTA crews perform track, power, and signal work as part of the Assembly Square Project”. To which I am endlessly baffled. It’s taking 19 months to do track, power, and signal work? I’m pretty sure with a manual I could do that work with a couple close friends in three months tops. You pay me and two friends half of what you’re paying the two dozen workers out there and I’ll build you the next one. I want a steam roller and I want it to be more than a dozen blocks from an existing station.

But lastly, and most absurdly, MBTA, is the subject of Cavalia. Cavalia, of course is a horse show. The show involves 63 horses, 47 performers, and the largest fucking tent in the world. No really, it’s billed as the “largest in the world” big top. It’s bigger than a football field and its sitting right on top of the Assembly Square project. You know how long it took to erect this beast, a carousel and three story dirt mountains under the tent? Less than 14 days.

Theatrical horses built a record breaking monument in 2.5% of the time its taking the MBTA to “perform track, power, and signal work”. MBTA, baby, I’m embarrassed for you. And then the insulting icing on the horse shit cake? They did it in your back yard! Where you’re trying to build! And the horses pooped back there!

And while we’re on this thread of thought - why are they in Assembly Square? Am I really waiting an additional three months to get night T service by my apartment so Bostonians can watch people prance around with ponies? If so, you give new meaning to the term horse’s ass, MBTA.

In conclusion, I love you, I need you, $70 monthly pass is a mothafucking steal. But get your shit together.

-H

#boston #orangeline #mbta #assemblysquare #publictransportation #T #metro #train #sullivansquare #medford #malden #rant

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