Bad Boston

By PHOENIX STAFF  |  January 17, 2007

As for how to make this happen in Boston? “There’s got to be a process,” says Mary Kelley, executive director of the Mass Cultural Council. “It means pulling a lot of different people together and making a commitment. And I think there are a probably a lot of people who want to do that. And it’s just a matter of someone pulling it all together.” Artists? Organizers? Are you listening? It’s time to step up.

T times
The T doesn’t need to run all night — we’re not New York, after all — but goddamn, would it kill the MBTA to run until 2:30 in the morning — after last call — on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights? LATE-NIGHT T SERVICE ON WEEKEND EVENINGS would reduce drunk driving, allow people to get home for $2 instead of $25 for a taxi ride across town, and, perhaps most important, do a little bit to undo the reputation we have as being a city that goes to bed at 9:30 pm.

Not going to happen, according to MBTA press secretary Joe Pesatauro. Late-night subway service would never be an option, he says. Unlike New York, Boston doesn’t have double tracks, and the only time maintenance can be done is from 1 to 5 am. “With a 109-year-old system,” Pesatauro says, “you have to be out there every night.”

Pesatauro calls the Night Owl late-night bus system, which ran from 2001 to 2005, “a tremendous failure.” It didn’t attract customers and was too expensive to maintain. “We just had to raise fares to continue at existing levels,” he points out.

That may be true, but with the high price of cabs in this city, you’d be surprised by how much above the usual T fare we’d pay to get around after 12-friggin-30 am on a weekend night.

Fire those hydrants
You’ve done it a thousand times. You’ve been circling around forever, looking for a parking space, when suddenly — aha! — you see one. But on closer inspection you realize there’s a smug little fire hydrant sitting there. Grrr!

Boston’s FIRE HYDRANTS were among the very first in the country, and it shows. Hydrants seem needlessly close together on certain blocks; on others, they are spaced poorly: just a few feet closer to the loading zone or the curb, and one or two more spots would open up.

Making things even more annoying, it’s likely that many hydrants are no longer in use. It costs a few thousand bucks to remove a hydrant, so cities tend to leave them in place long after they’ve been disconnected for whatever reason. About 10 years ago, New York City conceded that point, and removed roughly 3500 dead hydrants, 2400 in Manhattan alone. Surely an audit of the Boston Fire Department’s inventory of functioning hydrants would reveal dozens, if not hundreds, of the things.

Now, nobody is against fire hydrants. Somebody would have nailed that spot before you anyway. But in a city where on-street parking is so very rare (1625 on-street spots in the North End, for instance, and 378 in the Financial District), good mapping of hydrant placement — especially during street resurfacing — and removal of non-functioning ones seems like a no-brainer.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Deval Patrick, Politics, Boston Redevelopment Authority,  More more >
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