By Karen Glover
Melissa Dullea, Senior Director of Service Planning at The Mbta, a/k/a The Bus Redesign Project, along with Brad Rawson, Director of the Somerville Mobility Division of Strategic Planning& Community Development, are determined to attempt to brainwash us into thinking that eliminating # 89 buses arriving and departing from Clarendon Hill Towers is an acceptable idea. This idea is absolutely unacceptable!
To the contrary, the termination of the #89 Bus Route from Clarendon Hill/Mbta bus terminal is simply illogical, hazardous to the safety and wellbeing of all bus riders, and will inflict unnecessary hardship upon everybody, even if the #89 bus out of Davis Square is a High-Frequency Bus and the new bus transporting us to Davis Sq. via Holland St. is High-Frequency as well. The new, High-Frequency buses are, of course, ideal, but don’t override certain predictable pitfalls concerning Davis Sq.
The elimination of the #89 bus departing from Clarendon Hill/Mbta bus terminal which travels directly along Broadway will automatically cancel approximately at least ten or more bus stops lined up on Broadway before the Powder House Sq. intersection. Yes, the Davis Sq. #89 bus will travel along College Ave. and intersect as well at Powder House Sq. and bear right toward Sullivan Station, but the Davis Sq. #89 bus does nothing to retrieve the automatically cancelled bus stops along Broadway starting at Clarendon Hill Towers!
Additional logical reasons why eliminating the #89 bus route along Broadway will actually increase the time travel of bus riders and other important considerations are as follows: The #89 replacement bus which will travel along Holland Ave. will stop in front at the RedLine Train Station before a crosswalk.This crosswalk does not have a traffic light and this could be considered a busy intersection. We always hope that drivers in cars will stop at the crosswalk, but also where the bus is situated creates a blind corner for bus riders to hesitantly navigate, many who are already at an additional disadvantage being vision impaired, and we all know accidents do happen…so here is yet another example of why transferring to the #89 bus at Davis Sq. is an ill-conceived transit plan. Because the #89 bus out of Davis Sq.is actually a distance away from this crosswalk, here are even more challenges as follows: Before tackling the crosswalk dilemma, bus riders have to actually tackle exiting the bus and navigating thru the long and wide crowd of bus riders anxious to get on this bus. This adds more time wasted trying to get to any destination which could have been pleasant and safe with the #89 direct route from Clarendon Hill down Broadway.
Visualize a snowy, slushy, freezing and wet early morning ride. The bus rider steps off into puddles and most often than not, is weighed down by knapsacks, walkers, canes, and the responsibility of maintaining their service animals correctly. The animals will be wet and their paws will take the wear and tear of the condition of the uneven brick sidewalks which do at present require much needed repair in Davis Sq., and once in Davis Sq., everybody knows to walk extremely slowly and cautiously because even on a warm spring day, tripping and falling is a common occurrence in Davis Sq. due to the uneven bricks and cracks in the bricks, etc. Many tenants at Clarendon Hill Towers hear of some of the neighbors falling in Davis Sq. so they actually avoid Davis Sq. and, instead, take the #87 or #88 buses directly to Union Sq. or Twin City Plaza.
After tackling the aforementioned first crosswalk, now it’s time to navigate the one block leading to the College Ave. crosswalk, with the brick sidewalks, again, in disrepair, and again, if it’s snowy, icy, black ice, wet, etc. this one block can be treacherous, and take anywhere from ten minutes to twenty minutes if the bus rider has a walker, etc., is frail, and has any sort of disability, and, again, everybody obviously has to be extra cautious in bad weather conditions, but Davis Sq. necessitates extreme caution year round.
Now the bus rider is at the crosswalk waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Oops, the #89 bus has the green light advantage so you’ve missed it as it travels up College Ave right before your eyes! Now your light is green, but still be careful. There may be ice on the street, the street may be wet, it may be snowing or raining hard, and this entire unnecessary transfer business is certainly emotionally and physically draining…not to mention possible a pending illness from unnecessarily traipsing around in nasty weather
Okay, the bus riders have now reached the entrance to the Red Line Station and nervously await the arrival of the next #89 bus. In the meantime, hopefully there’s a smidge of space on the indoor bench crowded with people, some coughing and sneezing, etc. just to be away from the elements. If the bench is taken, maybe the bus rider can drag all his/her self and belongins outside and maybe there’s a seat on the outside bench…doubtful
Somebody says the #89 is approaching, and the bus rider better be quick to get outside because sometimes various bus drivers wait only a few seconds and don’t give even young fast -moving people a chance to board…hopefully, the bus rider won’t be unlucky yet again. One could question are bus riders being used as guinea pigs in an Mbta experiment on the Clarendon Hill Towers population and all the other #89 bus riders?
Let’s now calculate how much increased time does all the above interruptions, cautious walking, missing the #89 High Frequency Davis Sq. bus connection add to the bus riders travel time?! …and, oh my goodness, many bus riders will have to endure this Mbta “transfer” Nightmare Experiment on a daily basis?! …maybe at least ¾ hr. or more just to get on the bus!…that’s Mbta travel ease and efficiency conjured up just for YOU! Don’t YOU just love it?…what a solidly well thought out redesign plan. HA!