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LETTERS

Newburyport cemented its woes by banishing train station to outskirts

On an evening in July 2014, passengers left the train around 10:30 at the Newburyport station, which is located about a mile and a half from downtown.The Boston Globe

Every summer, Newburyport hosts a road race on a Tuesday evening. This year, with reduced fares because of the closure of the Sumner Tunnel, I took the train, ran the race, and met my wife for dinner and a beer, and we walked back together to take the late train home. Yet of more than 2,000 runners, we were apparently the only ones who had taken the train.

If Newburyport lacks parking (“Talk of the town: Park space or parking spaces?” Page A1, Sept. 19), then why is the train station a mile and a half from downtown? When train service was restored in 1998, the MBTA wanted to build a downtown station, but residents insisted it instead be placed on the outskirts. In 2014, the Globe reported on the dark, desolate walk from this station to downtown (I was glad I’d packed a headlamp). Now Newburyport has to choose between a park and a parking lot; visitors have little option but to drive.

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When we consider our regional housing crisis, it is shortsighted decisions such as the location of the station, coupled with antiquated, loud diesel trains some people don’t want in their backyard, that contribute to the lack of transit-accessible housing and, in the case of Newburyport, that limit regional economic development.

Ari Ofsevit

Cambridge