- May 26, 2006
- Reaction score
It's hard to believe that the Silver Line has been part of the Boston landscape now for over 20 years and is now of legal drinking age, debuting in 2002. Not only that, but the service continues to expand. There are now five Silver Line 'lines' - more than there are heavy rail rapid transit lines in Boston. The Silver Line is going to Everett soon, there's talk of it going to Somerville and Cambridge. The expansion of the Silver Line is probably the largest expansion of the MBTA system in the last 20+ years and the only part of the system that the T seems to have any appetite for expanding.
I don't like the Silver Line. I'm old enough to remember when it debuted, some of the initial backlash, and T's general gaslighting of the population -- "It's bus rapid transit!" and "It's just like the other rapid transit lines!" and "It runs in its own dedicated lane" -- statements so easily refuted that it can be infuriating. There are a lot of reasons to question the Silver Line -- the lack of pay stations to re-up your Charliecard, the 'dedicated' bus lanes which mostly serve as convenient double-parking lanes, that it runs in Boston traffic, the fact that it is so crappy and serves diverse socioeconomically challenged communities, and of course the T's general insistence that it is rapid transit. I always held out hope that portions of it might be converted to light rail service. I feel like the Silver Line is kind of like the urban renewal projects from the 50s. The T proposes it, everybody says they don't want it, and then the T says, "Great, we're building you a Silver Line."
So clearly I am biased against it, but the reality on the ground seems different. At over 20 years old, the Silver Line isn't going anywhere. If anything, it keeps expanding and becoming more ingrained in the system. And there's no real movement to convert parts of it to rail service. Is the Silver Line the future? Have people learned to love it or at least like it? Should people like me stop complaining about it and start advocating for minor improvements to improve the livability of the region?