The majority of my life I’ve lived in Boston, Massachusetts and used the MBTA for commuting to school and work daily. When I was 13, I began commuting to Boston Latin School from Dorchester via the red and green lines. I’m now 34 and am constantly shocked and appalled that if anything the MBTA has gotten worse. How is it possible for a state so rich in brain capital to have a public transit system so illogically run?
I’m not sure, but am very sure that we can do better. Much better. The MBTA is the lifeblood of the City of Boston and beyond. A core problem is that we have leaders who commute by car and can only guess at the facts on the ground of the T. That is not me. I’ve logged thousands of hours riding the MBTA.
I’ve stood crunched in on rush hour trains, thankful that a train finally arrived that actually had a smidge of space for me to jam into.
I’ve walked home because the T has been decimated by one event or another making walking the only feasible commuting method.
I’ve sat on too many buses and green line trains witnessing pedestrians skyrocketing past us. And I’ve made way too many trips into the center of Boston just to go back out when all I really wanted to do is go across the city.
That is why I’m running for governor of Massachusetts with only one singular campaign platform:
FIX THE MBTA!
The problems with the T are numerous but none of them are unsolvable. All that is required is some hard work and political courage to fix, maintain and improve the system so many of us rely on. I view fixing the MBTA and expanding it as two sides of the same coin. For too long we haven’t extended the T and haven’t invested the funds and resources into ensuring the limited system we already have is run at its peak capacity.
I often hear that non-Bostonians don’t want to fund maintaining the T when they don’t benefit. While I think this argument is short-sighted, in order to truly combat it we must expand the MBTA. Everyone should have access to reliable, cheap and fast public transit. More importantly though, we need to maintain what we already have. We should never have a maintenance backlog and we should clean MBTA stations and trains constantly so that the system doesn’t reach it’s current crumbling state. We have reached an embarrassing state of affairs, with a system on the verge of going up in flames, yet our leaders continue to claim everything is fine. It is not!
The MBTA is broken and we must #FixTheMBTA.
Bus only lanes everywhere
Walk the streets of Boston and you’ll see constant lines of single occupant cars creating parking lots on our streets. It is time we face facts and admit that our streets are not designed to handle the number of cars that make their way into our city every day. We can’t create yet more driving lanes but we can easily, quickly and cheaply make our streets handle more people quicker and more efficiently than they do now.
We’ve had a few pilot programs of bus only lanes and every single one has been a massive success. It is time we stop experimenting and instead implement permanent bus only lanes all across Greater Boston. Bus only lanes can make the commutes of large swaths of residents better instantly. Not only do bus only lanes make existing commutes better they also encourage more people to use public transit and save the city and state massive amounts of money by decreasing congestion and idle time.
Two of these bus only lanes will run in a circle around the city and around Greater Boston to finally bring urban rings to Boston. Eventually my hope would be to have two new subway lines serving the two urban rings but to start true Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated bus lanes would help move people around and across Greater Boston without a trip to downtown first.
Expand the blue, red and orange lines
The blue line should run to Salem, the red line to Brockton and Concord and the orange line to Dedham. There are no reasons these extensions should not already be in place. Day 1 of a Pieniazek administration we will devote resources to implementing a plan to construct these extensions ASAP. We will also have a conference to brainstorm ideas for doubling the number of tracks on all three lines from two tracks to four tracks. A four track blue, red and orange line system would be able to run express trains and have service 24/7, 365 days a year while also allowing for continual maintenance of the system. If we want Boston to be a world class city we need to have a truly world class subway that is extensive, reliable and always running.
Regional rail now
Day 1 of a Pieniazek administration we will begin implementing TransitMatters’ Regional Rail plan. We are lucky to have TransitMatters and even more lucky they’ve come up with a feasible, logical and impressive plan to improve our commuter rail system. We should take advantage of this free research and act on it ASAP.
North South Rail Link
The biggest mistake of the Big Dig was not constructing the north south rail link. Day one in office I would instruct construction to begin as soon as possible on finally linking North and South Stations. The NSRL would expand service capacity and allow for a single seat ride from Washington D.C. to Brunswick, Maine. We can’t fix the mistakes of past governments but we can make sure future Bay Staters have a modern rail system that does not terminate in Boston.
One fare to rule them all
The current MBTA fare schedule is confusing and discourages people from riding the T. We will replace the current convoluted fare schedule with one daily/weekly/monthly fare that will allow for unlimited rides for one day/week/month. Reducing the cost of riding the T will encourage more people to commute by T which we need to do in order to reduce the impact of our state on the climate. Reducing the cost of traveling our state will also increase commerce to all parts of our state. A rising tide lifts all boats and a connected Massachusetts improves quality of life for every Bay Stater.
Abolish front door only loading on the green line
Anyone who thinks the front door only policy is successful has clearly never ridden the green line during rush hour. Limiting boarding to one door makes the green line even slower and makes green line trains expend energy sitting and waiting instead of transporting people. Any loss in fares will be made up for in efficiency and rider sanity. The last day of the current administration will be the last day we punish commuters with the front door only policy.
Close every other station on the B green line
I can and routinely do walk to Kenmore Square from St. Paul Street faster than the green line. There are simply too many stops too close together. Closing every other stop on the B line still leaves a station within a five-ten minute walk from any other station! We should not have a train with stops that are less than a five minute walk apart. It’s simply not efficient for anyone. Halving the number of B green line stations will save costs and improve service for the entire population.
High-speed rail between Boston, Worcester and Springfield
In order to fix the T we not only need to fix and maintain it, we need to make the system clearly the best option for traveling around our state. In 2018, the technology exists to connect Western Mass with Eastern Mass and allow Bay Staters to travel from Boston to Springfield in less than 45 minutes and from Boston to Worcester in under half an hour. Sounds preposterous? Maybe, but we must dream big and try to achieve as much as possible or else our state will fall behind the rest of the modern world. As Kevin Garnett told us, “anything is possible” and a sub 45 minute rail ride between Springfield and Boston is not only possible but absolutely necessary to our state thriving into the future.
There are many more ideas to research and implement. And there are many more issues to attack ( the silver line not being a four track subway for one ) but the above list is a starting point for fixing and improving the T. I welcome any and all suggestions that would either fix, improve or expand the MBTA. We absolutely need to work to make the MBTA the best public transit system in the world.
Typically, this is where a candidate would brag about how they are uniquely qualified to do the job. I, however, do not desire being governor of Massachusetts in and of itself. I would love to continue living as a private citizen but, someone has to speak up for us and someone has to lead the way to fixing, maintaining and improving the MBTA. I simply want to live in a Boston where commuting by the T is not only bearable but the fastest and best way to travel. I would gladly support a candidate who ran promising to implement every one of these measures and more but that candidate does not seem to exist. If you do not think I am qualified for the job, please run and I will support you! The more choices we have the better for all of us! Until then I will run and if elected will work as hard as possible to fix the MBTA so that Massachusetts and all of New England can prosper. Please consider supporting me or running for governor yourself! Thank you!