Wednesday, June 23, 2004

DNC Woes 

Oh, the continuing joys of the upcoming Democratic National Convention here in Boston. First there was the announcement that the commuter rail trains would not be allowed to enter North Station (the terminus for the North Shore lines). They will stop at outlying stations and the passengers will have to transfer to the Orange or Blue Lines, or buses (or a combination in some cases). Never mind that the Blue Line is the smallest capacity line and the commuters being shifted onto it are coming from the highest volume commuter line. Or that the buses will be travelling on roads that are already jammed at rush hours.

Then they announced that I-93 would be closed during the evening rush hour each day, so people were encouraged to take public transportation (see above) or seek alternate routes. Some of the areas traffic is being fed into, such as Medford Square, aren't large enough to handle the traffic they get under normal conditions. The mayors of Medford and Somerville have announced that they are keeping open the option of closing their streets completely if the traffic is overwhelming safety concerns.

Then came the announcement that traffic reporting helicopters will not be allowed in the airspace over much of the Boston area. So much for trying to keep track of the alternate routes.

The MBTA then announced that their largest-in-the-nation random search program will be in place in time for the DNC. Yes, all the passengers that are being jammed into the T and buses will also be subject to random searches.

But the latest kicker is today. Boston.com reports that:

"Subway and commuter rail riders will be discouraged from bringing briefcases or backpacks on board during the week of the Democratic National Convention, and any passenger who does have a bag or parcel may be subject to having it searched, MBTA officials said yesterday."

The Boston.com article concluded in a rather understated fashion that:

"The policy could complicate the commute for residents that week, especially with the city and the T encouraging people to ride the trains, rather than drive into Boston."

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:15 AM