Letter to the Editor – March 27

On March 27, 2013, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)

I can strongly relate to the poll and Editorial piece on road closures in Somerville in the current issue of the Somerville News as a resident of Medford who relies on the MBTA buses to get me to Somerville or Cambridge or Boston.

Far too many times we are diverted because of the closure of Davis Square because of a road race (5 or 6 a year?), an arts festival, the Honk festival, and the like, from being able to get to Harvard Square on the Route #96 bus, or even to Davis Square on the Route #94, to get to the Red Line and continue our trip.

And most often this is because the City of Somerville has failed to notify the MBTA of the road closures in advance of the events, certainly something the City should be able to do since it must be aware of the closures in order to provide police and other services to the events taking place there.

Too many times the MBTA has told us that they were not aware of the closures far enough in advance to be able to post notices at the Davis Square station, or even on their web site, to notify bus passengers that they might be late in arriving for their appointments, jobs, meetings because of an extensive round-about trip to Route 16 and then back to Massachusetts Avenue to get to Harvard (which, by the way, by-passes all those unknowing passengers waiting at the bus stops that the buses will never get to because of the closures and detours.

Is there any reason that the buses cannot be allowed to travel towards Davis Square and take a left turn onto Morrison Avenue to bypass Davis Square, only about a block or so from the Red Line, and let passengers off there who need to get to the Red Line?  This used to be the procedure, until the Square was closed further up and we were told to get off about ten blocks from the Square and walk to the Red Line from the Powderhouse Rotary.

And now, as mentioned, this past closure had the #96 bus turn right from Winthrop Street in Medford onto Boston Avenue [about TWENTY blocks from Davis Square!] – from where the bus driver told us that we could walk those TWENTY blocks to Davis Square for the red line if we chose to do so — or go roundabout to Route 16 and then back to Mass. Ave. on the bus, where people were told to get off at Porter Square (!) and take a train back to Davis Square if that is where they needed to go, or a train from Porter if they needed the Red Line going towards Braintree or Ashmont.

Surely the City of Somerville has more kindness to bestow on its neighbors from Medford than such ridiculous schemes when we once were able to get as close to Davis Square as Morrison Avenue.  Please notify the MBTA well in advance, and also allow buses to turn left at Morrison to avoid events blocking Davis Square for the sake of the elderly and infirm who are simply unable to deal with such foolish thoughts as walking ten, let alone twenty, blocks to get to where they must go for weekend work and meetings.

Thank you.

Kenneth J. Westhassel


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