Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Double Feature: "Excuses, Excuses" and "Menino, Menino"

(Originally Posted December 14, 2006)

Welcome to the long-awaited (and greatly belated) first entry in the CharlieBlog. I'll take a moment to thank our mention in the Bedford Minuteman for forcing me to take a few moments away from writing a paper and being sick to make this site look somewhat presentable. For those who read the Minuteman article and have bravely clicked on from the home page, I'd like to welcome you, and apologize for the mess! I'm planning on rolling out the Podcast and some other big features over the next month or so, after finals. Please drop me a line with any comments or suggestions, as well, or you can post in the forums. For those interested in the artistic portion of my mention, I also have a "fetus" of an artists' website up at There's not much there now, but go ahead and bookmark it so you'll be pleasantly surprised a year from now when you stumble across the link. Now on to the topic at hand...
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced this week his plans to sell the current urban tundra known as City Hall Plaza and create a new, stylish, and undoubtedly expensive City Hall on the current site of the Bank of America Pavilion. This is all nice and good, but one aspect I have yet to see addressed is the proposed move's effect on public transit in both areas, specifically the soon-to-be-renovated Government Center station, and the just-completed Silver Line Waterfront.

For Government Center, the changes could be as simple as a name change to whatever the new complex is named (The Mayor Thomas M. Menino Center?), but it could affect the entire design of the upcoming renovations. Interestingly, the renovations have been delayed, perhaps in response to a possible change in design of City Hall Plaza. As of right now, the official plans call for a new glass headhouse, completing a "ship" themed light, glass, and metal structure that currently exists as "masts", benches, and an overhang on the Northwest side of the plaza. Were the new development to encompass the entire brick-covered area of the property, this design could be altered or alltogether scrapped, and I would hope the resulting changes and redesigns would be paid for by Menino and/or the developer, rather than the taxpayers.

As for the Silver Line, the current station nearest the proposed City Hall site, Silver Line Way, would almost certainly have to be expanded, as right now the site is hardly handicap accessible via public transit. A more possible alternative is a new "branch" of the Silver Line to serve the new City Hall complex (The Mayor Thomas M. Menino City Hall Building?), or an alteration of the existing Boston Marine Industrial Park routing, but because the line is essentially a bus route, these changes should be relatively easy to initiate, save for constructing a new station at the City Hall complex and updating the system maps to reflect the change.

We'll be tracking the developments in this interesting project, and maybe even dig for some answers on our own. Given past government-initiated construction projects, I expect we'll have plenty of time to scrounge together all the details.

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