Let’s move on to flattening commute into Boston
Once in a lifetime opportunity to make big changes
THE COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts and the city of Boston have come together in impressive fashion to address the COVID-19 crisis and flatten the curve. As a lifelong resident of the state, I am reassured that the governor and mayor have prioritized our health and created an environment in which many residents are doing the same. We have a unique opportunity to build on this leadership and collective action to fix the nightmare of commuting into and out of Boston.
I’ve commuted into the city from various neighborhoods in and around Boston for my entire career. My first job was at 100 Federal Street, and I now work across the street at 75 Federal. Along the way I’ve commuted to the Hurley Building in Government Center, Kendall Square, 60 State Street, 253 Summer Street, 101 Tremont Street, and several other downtown locations. I love the energy of the city, the beauty of the Public Garden, the Boston Public Library, and the ocean breezes along the harbor walk.
But I definitely don’t love the commute to get there and get home again. I alternate between driving and taking public transportation. After years of experimentation with routes, schedules, driving, and taking the T, I’ve concluded that all the options are dreadful, just in different ways.
Once people start returning to their offices, people who have a choice and worry about crowds may choose to drive instead of taking the T. It’s hard to imagine that driving into Boston could get worse than it was, but it could happen. The three-hour commutes we experienced during the snowy winter of 2015 suggest that people will drive to work under extremely trying circumstances.
Alexandra Schweitzer grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Lexington. She started commuting into Boston as a high school student and has worked in the city for most of her career. She’s a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and a consultant in integrated social and medical care management.