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Boston officials want T to extend Orange Line alterna-bus service to Chinatown

With the clock ticking on the end of the Orange Line, the news that many people trying to get into or out of Chinatown will have to hoof it to the nearest alternative is not sitting well with Mayor Wu, City Councilor Ed Flynn and three state legislators, who today asked the T to extend its bus-shuttle service to at least the Chinatown or Tufts Medical Center stops, in particular for seniors, the disabled and students.

At a press conference yesterday, T officials said Chinatown was out of luck because the roads are just too narrow and heavily used to allow bulky shuttle buses to get there, so they acknowledged people trying to get anywhere between Back Bay and State Street/Government Center will have to find another way to do so for a month. Take the Silver Line, they suggested, or walk to the Green Line.

Wrong answer, Wu, Flynn, state Senators Lydia Edwards and Nick Collins and state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz say in a letter to the T today.

As you know, Chinatown is the neighborhood that is particularly reliant on the MBTA for transportation, especially our immigrant neighbors and residents of color who use the MBTA to get to and from Chinatown. Many use the Orange Line to go Tufts Medical Center for healthcare and work, and students at the Josiah Quincy School are also reliant on the Tufts Medical Center stop to head to their school. While the MBTA asks its riders to utilize the Silver Line or the Green Line when trying to access Tufts Medical Center, that is not an easy option for those coming from the north. The Chinatown T stop is always widely used, particularly for seniors andworkers in Chinatown, and the lack of shuttle bus stops at either Tufts Medical Center or Chinatown will make travel extremely difficult for residents and workers in the area.

Tufts Medical Center itself is not particularly happy about the month-long demise of the station that literally sits right under its campus:

While the MBTA had said those that ride the Orange Line could use a replacement bus service during the month-long shutdown, those who rely on Chinatown, Tufts Medical Center, Downtown Crossing and State Street stops will have to seek further alternatives.

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Comments

They waited until today??

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Voting closed 18

NO

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Voting closed 3

Extend the SL5 up Washington to Court St, left on Court, Stop on Court, left on
Tremont to resume regular route. Requires few/no extra buses and serves both
Chinatown and Tufts. One Change from the north.

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Voting closed 22

Chinatown to Boylston is 500 feet. That's less than the walk to transfer within stations in many subway systems.

Tufts to Boylston is a little further at 0.3 miles. But the Silver Line stops directly in front of both stations and can serve as the shuttle bus.

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Voting closed 19

Boylston Street does not have an elevator and therefor is not accessible to people with disabilities, older adults or families with strollers. Nearest elevator is Park Street or Arlington with are significantly further and on routes with narrow sidewalks.

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Voting closed 42

Boylston station is not handicap accessible. Not even an escalator, so if you can't do stairs it's a problem.

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Voting closed 39

Where are the Chinatown Orange Line riders either coming from or going to?

If it is the southern end of the line, extending the shuttle wouldn't be hard (though given the finite number of buses, not as easy as one would think.) If it is the northern end/North Station, that would be a very difficult task.

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Voting closed 6

For the Quincy school in particular vastly more from the southern end of the orange line.

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Agree to run shuttle buses through downtown, but only if the City agrees to a dedicated lane on the entire shuttle route along with aggressive police enforcement to keep the lanes clear for the buses.

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If mayor wu really cares about the elderly, the poor, the cyclists, the T riders, and having fewer cars in the city, I’d think she’d be all over that!

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But do you think she'd actually be able to push the City bureaucracy to get that done?

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Perhaps the mayors hands are tied because the police are incredibly corrupt and useless and won’t enforce bus lanes. We only have years of evidence of cops being awful and drivers being criminals after all.

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a dedicated lane ... with aggressive police enforcement

Might as well ask for winged unicorns to fly passengers to their destination.

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If you had paid attention at reading hour, you would have remembered that winged unicorns move well between different Whens, but moving between different Wheres is much more difficult for them.

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God bless you three dear people who upvoted - may your planet not tilt too swiftly!

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Boston could just close the streets the buses use to cars. That's what they should be doing for most of the shuttle bus routes.

It would cause gridlock elsewhere but the actual shuttle buses would be able to move about as quickly as a reduced speed train.

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Voting closed 14

Wu controls the streets

Kidding, right? Do you honestly think she could unilaterally "just close the streets the buses use to cars"?

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Unless they are state roads. This is an emergency situation and she has emergency powers. My comment about busses was about the Orange Line shuttle busses.

Anyway, the city closes roads all the time. Some for construction reasons (Haymarket area) and some for civic reasons (Newbury St weekends). City decisions like this are made by departments and committees but the Mayor ultimately oversees these groups and can make the decision unilaterally.

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Let's get real. If the cops get a case of the "blue flu" when they're called on to enforce it, how is the mayor supposed to make it happen?

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Anyway, the city would put up temporary barricades like they do for all other closed streets. And it's BTD that puts up the barricades, not the police themselves.

Perhaps you weren't in Boston at the time but they closed 1/2 the roads downtown during the weeklong DNC back in 2004 and beyond some griping and jokes everyone did what they were told.

I haven't heard of any police resigning in protest over temporary street closures in the past.

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I remember it vividly, including the "protest zones". That was a few days, though. Generously assuming this happens on time, it'll be a month. Color me skeptical, but I just don't see the cops OR BTD doing the job for a solid month.

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Your color is defeatist.

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"At a press conference yesterday, T officials said Chinatown was out of luck because the roads are just too narrow and heavily used to allow bulky shuttle buses to get there, so they acknowledged people trying to get anywhere between Back Bay and State Street/Government Center will have to find another way to do so for a month. Take the Silver Line, they suggested, or walk to the Green Line."

Because clearly the Silver Line that stops directly at Chinatown Station is a very small bus, and not longer and larger than the T's shuttle buses :-)

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Voting closed 10

the roads are just too narrow and heavily used to allow bulky shuttle buses to get there

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there motor coaches picking up and dropping off in Chinatown every single day (e.g. Fung Wah and whatever's replaced them)?

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Voting closed 14

Fung Wah and the other "Chinatown" buses are forced to use the South Station Bus Terminal now. But it's also a question of volume: The Orange Line shuttle would require many more buses per hour.

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It’s a shorter bus because it has to navigate not only Chinatown but narrow streets in South Boston.
But it’s a straight line up Washington. Turn around at City Hall or continuation on Congress is doable.
The T isn’t doing enough. There are lots of elders and disabled and people with strollers, luggage and shopping carts who can’t get from the Chinatown T stop to Arlington or Park because the Silver Line doesn’t get close enough to either.
Forgot about Boylston with its lack of escalator and elevator.
I know of one elderly person in Chinatown who will have to cancel a summer vacation on a harbor island because pulling camping supplies up Washington to State is too risky for old bones and the added cost of a taxi is not affordable. The lack of direct ferry service this year and no SNAP fare on the Hingham too Peddocks ferry add to the cost and exhaustion factor. So remaining in a hot apartment is their lot. The lack of accommodation for Orange Line riders was the final straw.

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