by intrepid in Accessibility, Arts and Culture, Assembly Square, City Finances, Economy & Poverty, Environment and Open Space, MBTA, Pedestrians, Politics, Public Health & Safety, Seniors, Traffic & Parking, Transportation
Posted on September 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm
The latest robocall announced the 4th Annual Riverfest, Saturday, 9/17, featuring “fireworks, entertainment, food and family activities” for Somerville residents. The familiar and friendly voice of Jackie Rossetti encouraged residents to participate. The latter part of the message was a traffic advisory- automobile traffic, I presume, as listeners were informed that the Somerville Police and some other law enforcement entity would be on hand in large numbers to control the heavy traffic expected, especially following the fireworks display, which will commence at 7:45.
Upon hearing the traffic advisory, I wondered just how far the Riverfest is from the commercial part of Assembly Square. More specifically, how far Riverfest will be from the nearest MBTA bus route, which I believe is route #90 (it travels through Assembly Square on its way to and from Wellington, Sullivan and Davis T stations). While neither scenic nor expedient, it gets the job done. I checked to see whether the bus runs Saturday evening, and it does. Then I wondered if the distance between the riverfront and K-Mart was too far for the average able-bodied family to travel, in order that they could utilize public transportation. If a quarter mile or so sounds like a hardship, consider the treks regularly made, on foot, by adults and kids, from cars and trains and buses to get to the Esplanade on July 4, the Topsfield Fairgrounds, Tanglewood, Kraft Stadium.
Then I recalled past robocalls announcing “street closures” during outdoor cultural events or road construction. Frequently, residents are advised that buses will be re-routed (what happens to people unable to find or reach the makeshift routes?).
Here is my conundrum: In a Green City, a hip city, a city that is dedicated to physical fitness, mass transit, the reduction of air pollution from vehicular traffic, and the overall decrease in our Carbon Footprint, why, when anticipating unusually heavy motor vehicle traffic, did not the City Fathers:
- Encourage carpooling;
- Arrange for special bus service for this event, perhaps making a loop of the major Squares in our modest-sized city;
- Re-assign some law enforcement personnel to direct pedestrians along an improvised path to the bus stops at K-Mart;
- Lastly, but by no means leastly, wouldn’t it be great if “family activities” events were accessible to all- and all kinds- of families? Senior and other families that may be dependent on other than private car transportation. Imagine if the Council on Aging, beset as they are by financial woes, sponsored a trip to a free, local and lively event, the only cost of which would be the use of a small fleet of vans for several hours! Whatever the cost, it pales in comparison to the thousands spent on elaborate trips out of state for only the most active and well-heeled seniors in our city.
Green is as green does. Same for inclusion.