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letters | car-free in Boston?

Public transit needs a boost to steer us away from our cars

A proposed apartment building in Allston that skipped required parking spaces was met with resistance.Sebastian Mariscal Studio

Paul McMorrow is on the right track when he suggests a future for Boston that includes fewer cars (“Can Boston be car-free?” Op-ed, Oct. 1). A reduction in vehicular traffic not only makes sense from a quality-of-life viewpoint, but it is what we must do to help curb the threat of global warming. At peak hours, the region’s roads are filled past capacity with drivers whose patience is being taxed. If one imagines increased traffic load in the future, the picture quickly becomes bleak and inhumane.

But McMorrow does not address the entire issue. It is not enough to allow developers to build with fewer parking spaces. If we expect future Bostonians to live without cars, then both the capacity and reach of the MBTA system must be increased.

People will use public transit if it is reliable, convenient, comfortable, and affordable. Currently the T system is loaded to the breaking point. Trains and buses are often too crowded to pick up passengers. The T’s hub-and-spoke arrangement frequently forces riders to take an inefficient in-and-out route between two outer-lying points.

If we envision a future that is less dependent on the automobile, then we must build the infrastructure that will make that better future possible. We must envision and build an MBTA that can meet 21st century needs.


Joseph Levendusky