Eight passenger train lines pass through Somerville. Only one of them stops.
We carry many burdens of the region’s transportation and deserve a greater share of the benefits.
Studies show that the 12 miles from Swampscott to North Station can be covered in 26 minutes by commuter rail, while it can take 30 minutes to make the 2.5-mile commute by bus and subway from Union Square to North Station. Somerville’s residents are the second most reliant on public transit to get to and from work, but we have only one T stop. And yet, we pay about as much to the MBTA as Newton does, which is well served by the Green Line, a commuter rail line with three stops, and an express bus service to downtown Boston.
Somerville is the densest city in New England, and the sixth densest city in the U.S.
Tens of thousands of us live within walking distance of potential T stops.
Over one quarter of Somerville households have no cars. We have nearly 6,000 immigrants per square mile (second highest after Chelsea). Environmental justice policies require that transportation benefits and burdens be shared fairly, with special protection extended to neighborhoods like East Somerville that have high concentrations of immigrants and of moderate and low-income residents. But instead we are poorly served by public transit.
Somerville has the most excess lung cancer and heart attack deaths per square mile of any of Massachusetts’ 350 cities and towns.
Our health is in danger because of the pollution brought by excess traffic.
As a whole, our city has the second greatest exposure to pollution and the least open space in Massachusetts. And the Route 28 Corridor is facing a doubling of traffic, if nothing is done, from today’s 50,000 vehicle trips per day. Bringing transit to Somerville is the largest unfunded Clean Air Act obligation for our state when it comes to transportation dollars. (Read more about health issues.)
Massachusetts is legally obligated to extend the Green Line by 2014.
We must work together to hold the state to its commitments.
To offset the environmental impacts of the Big Dig, the state agreed to extend the Green Line. This obligation falls under the Clean Air Act and appears in two places: The Ozone State Implementation Plan between the state and the EPA, and the Administrative Consent Order overseen by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.
The T stop revitalized Davis Square and can revitalize other parts of Somerville.
Better transportation means stronger businesses, more jobs, and faster commutes.
Train service can help businesses grow and bring critical tax dollars to the city to pay for needed services. Davis Square thrived after the Red Line extension provided access to good public transportation. The same thing can happen in Union Square and other locations in Somerville. Expanded T service is a crucial component of the city’s future economic viability.