Bitching out the Hub

Letters to the Boston editor
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  January 31, 2007

Thank you for your “Bad Boston” cover. Reading this article makes me feel a bit better. Having lived here 14 months, I have made many of the same observations. Boston only makes sense to those who are from here. The rest of us are looking at you, going, “What is their problem?” I never experienced that anywhere else I have lived. And the lack of street signs is maddening!

Ken Columbia

You covered the backpackers and the pole on the T, how about two more?

1) It never occurs to folks standing in front of doors to move when arriving at a stop. They just scrunch over so exiting folks can pile out single file, wasting time. And god forbid an elderly person might need to use the handrail to exit the Green Line. I’ll bet these guys also play in traffic. Step off, let everybody pass and then get back on! How hard is that?

2) Stand right, walk left on the escalators. Ever see the clueless dummy standing on the left side of an escalator, yakking away whilst a vast open space evaporates above him/her and persons unfortunate enough to be behind this clod are trapped? The T should put signs on the escalator to indicate standing/walking sides. This is especially true for stations that have critical connections such as Ruggles, and North and South Stations, where seconds count in making that train.

John Jay Alves

I don’t understand why Boston traffic lights and pedestrian crossings work so badly. Why doesn’t the light on Tremont Street next to the Park Street subway station change more often? And at other intersections, pedestrians are supposed to wait for one light to get to a pedestrian island and a second light to cross to the other side. The signals should give pedestrians enough time to cross the whole street without waiting. Otherwise they jaywalk in front of traffic.

Michael Noga

I agree with many of the points that you made. However, one of the things you mentioned in your article is the terrible state of race relations. There is still some racism in Boston, but many of the points you made could be applied to other cities, such as New York. For example, there are some areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn where you would see very few white people.

There are taxi drivers that won’t pick up blacks or drive to mostly black areas of New York. A black person shopping on Fifth Avenue or Broadway would have to deal with clerks ignoring them or security guards following them around the store.

Dan D. Philips

As an urban planner, I find your argument fallacious that the various planning-related boards and departments in the City of Boston favor chain stores over mom-and-pops. Market forces drive the locating of a business, be it local or chain, to a particular storefront. A city typically grants zoning relief for a proposed business based on the magnitude of its anticipated impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, such as parking demand or noise. Ownership is not taken into account. If the business believes it can maintain a customer base at a given location, it will seek to open there. We, as citizens of the city, are those customers, and have the power to choose where to shop. If you truly want to halt the growth of chain stores, simply stop patronizing them.

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