Posted in Uncategorized, tagged art galleries, brt, duncan allen, mass transit, rapid transit, salon, silver line, sowa, sustainability, train, transportation, will doig on May 30, 2012 |
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A concept called Rapid Bus Transit is getting increased attention, I hear, even though so far in the United States, having a designated lane doesn’t seem to make much difference. When I take Boston’s Silver Line to go to the SoWa art galleries, it acts like an ordinary bus — stuck in traffic and arriving in clumps. (In NY City, in the old days, we used to say, Why are buses like bananas? Answer: Because they are green and yellow and come in bunches.)
I do like taking the Silver Line to the airport, though.
Will Doig at Salon.com writes: “When it comes to improving mass transit, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit on the humble city bus. The vital connective tissue of multi-modal transit systems, the bus could be an efficient — nay, elegant — solution to cities’ mobility woes if only we made it so. …
“Making people like the bus when not liking the bus is practically an American pastime essentially means making the bus act and feel more like a train. Trains show up roughly when they’re supposed to. Buses take forever, then arrive two at a time. Trains boast better design, speed, shelters, schedules and easier-to-follow routes. When people say they don’t like the bus but they do like the train, what they really mean is they like those perks the train offers. But there’s no reason bus systems can’t simply incorporate most of them. That’s the goal of bus rapid transit.” Doig has more at Salon.
Photograph: Duncan Allen at world.nycsubway.org
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged boston under after hours, commuter, documentary, mass transit, mbta, public transit, rail, subway, t, train on March 16, 2012 |
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Those of us who go to work on the commuter rail or on the subway (the T) have a love-hate relationship with our public transportation system. Probably more love than hate since we forgive everything, always reminding ourselves how much more we would hate sitting in road traffic listening to the same news headlines repeated multiple times. We just make sure to carry a book and snacks in case of train breakdowns.
Take tonight. When I got down to the platform, the numbers of commuters seemed ominous. Even more ominous was the recorded message that kept telling us our train was “arriving” even though we know it never says “arriving” more than once for any train.
My boss said, “Don’t you have the option of taking the commuter rail from North Station?” Good point. I set off on foot, caught a number 4 bus, and landed at North Station in reasonable time, but for a later train.
The country badly needs good mass transit, and I think focusing on cars, gas, and roads is misguided. We riders get mad at the T and often complain about how it spends its money, but man, it sure is old and beat up! It’s held together with string — and the efforts of people who work all night on repairs to try to get the system functioning by 5:30 a.m. every day.
Now the T has made a 45-minute documentary on its night-time moles. If you don’t have time for the whole documentary, here’s a taste.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged boston, concord, environment, environmental, fitchburg, living on earth, loe, naturalist, nature, radio, railroad, thoreau, tom montgomery fate, train, walden pond on June 18, 2011 |
Heard this interview today on the great environmental radio show Living on Earth. Tom Montgomery Fate talks about trying to “live deliberately” like H.D. Thoreau and connecting to nature and memories of his father in the woodland cabin he often escapes to. His book is Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild.
In the elementary school Suzanne attended, all second-graders learn about Thoreau, and as a parent volounteer, I went with her class to the cabin site at Walden Pond. The children had a quiz sheet with questions like, “What sounds would Thoreau have heard in his cabin?” The teacher asks, ”An airplane?” (All the kids say, “No-o-o!”) When the Living on Earth interviewer asked the author about his own retreat being near a noisy highway and a short walk to a pub, I was surprised that he didn’t point out that a Boston-Fitchburg train ran right along the edge of Walden Pond in Thoreau’s day, and that the famous naturalist had an easy walk back home to Concord for a Sunday dinner with his mother. Fate did explain that the Walden mystique was all about a mindset and keeping a balance between what’s important and the often numbing dailiness of modern life.
Asakiyume comments: Living deliberately. Something that’s very important to me about that concept is the notion that you can do it anywhere, in any circumstances. I’ll grant that some circumstances make it really hard: if you’re in a job you hate, or a relationship you hate–basically, if there’s some part of your life that’s putting a huge negative drain on you–I think it’s very hard. But I do think that living deliberately can be done in a suburb, in the country, in a city… not just in the wilderness. I think Thoreau wanted to mark, in actual space, his separation from mundane daily life, and I understand that. But I think it’s the mindset, not the location, that’s important.
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