Thursday, November 20, 2008

Worcester Bloggers and More Debate About Parking

I would like to give a big shout-out to Neil of the 4-Rilla is Real blog and Linnea of Real Worcester for last night's meet-up at the Worcester Shark's game. Commute-a-holic and I both participated. It was nice to meet other Worcester-area bloggers and blog readers and it was great to get out and support the Worcester Sharks. The Sharks beat the Norfolk Admirals 4 to 3.

This was a fun and an inexpensive event. What more can you ask for in such trying days? In case you're either a hockey fan or you're looking to do something fun and inexpensive, the Sharks have a program where you can purchase tickets to Wednesday night games for $5.00 a ticket for groups of 10 or more. You can't even go out and see a movie for that. So if you're looking for something to do, consider checking out a Sharks game on a Wednesday night this winter. The DCU Center is a safe and welcoming environment which has been renovated to remove any sign of the old "Centrum" orange seats.

I even took the P527 train all the way to Worcester and walked to the DCU. Commute-a-holic was kind enough to return me to the Grafton station after the game.

Now on to commuting news!

The P508 was on time. We arrived into South Station at 8:21 a.m. The parking lots still look like they're only 1/2 way filled in Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, and Ashland.

Though I haven't seen published MBCR/MBTA on-time performance stats in months, I did notice a sign in the far corners of South Station. For the month of October 2008, the Worcester-Framingham line had an on-time performance of 90.55% and a year-to-date performance of 87.67%. I, for one, think these stats are suspicious. But there doesn't seem to be any accountability for publishing the stats by an outside authority, so I guess we have to go with what they are telling us.

People are still fired up about the parking rates. We appreciate all comments made to the blog - even if we don't agree with them. Commute-a-holic and I love how the blogsphere generates dialogue, which is what we are trying to do.

If you're a commuter rail rider and you're looking to connect with other riders, feel free to use Train Stopping to make those connections. A comment by Raghu Saranathan for West Natick commuters yesterday made me realize that others may be looking to connect. Let's all try to work together.

I will say, I do get annoyed when I see references to people "cutting out lattes to pay for parking." I've actually made a lot of reductions in my life over the past 2 years. I'm single and I work in financial services, so there is a very strong probability I could lose my job if the market continues its downward slant (spiral). I'm glad I started to become a lot more environmentally aware over the past few years, because it has helped me cut down on my consumption. That being said, I'm still irritated when I see utter mismanagement of public funds and I am still incredibly upset about this parking increase. But we will work through this.

On to the news. Yesterday's contained a scathing commentary on what happens when we don't pay to ride buses or trains. It is really well written and I agree with the sentiments. It may not solve all the debt issues, but I have got to believe that these funds help the bottom line. If not, then why even bother with fares?

Today's The Boston Globe focuses on how Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi is now pushing for the gas tax to offset transportation costs. Also, there is an op-ed by Senate President Therese Murray and Senator Steven Baddour. The focus is about reforming the transportation system in the state. The state is certainly in for a long haul, so to speak.

Finally, the MBCR and MBTA have entered into a partnership with the Samaritans to increase awareness about suicide prevention and support services. The partnership will also provide support to transportation workers who may have been impacted by a suicide. The partnership includes:
  • Creation and implementation of a public awareness campaign about suicide prevention services, including advertisement for the Samaritans’ Statewide Toll Free Helpline 877-870-HOPE (4673) that will be promoted in posters placed in T and Commuter Rail stations.
  • Creation of a Samaritans education and information program that will be available to provide emotional support services to transportation employees who witness or handle suicides.
  • Creation and implementation of an awareness campaign regarding Samaritans’ need for volunteers to increase their capacity to assist persons in need and families of those who have died by suicide.


4rilla said...

Thanks for coming out to the game!

I was happy to throw something like that together and was pleased with the turnout!

Linnea said...

I can't take any of the credit for this, it was all Neil. What a great night!

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a suggestion on how to prove that you paid for the correct parking spot. I double and triple check myself, but am now receiving MBTA violations. I started paying with 4 one dollar coins since the parking fee increase, and I think they don't like handling coins. Has anyone else experienced this?