Take the Red Line to….Chinatown?

Harvard economist Ed Glaeser offers a thought-provoking argument in today's Globe that rational planning should dictate that we focus transit spending in densely populated urban areas and not get taken in by the idea of a vast inter-city, high-speed rail network (sorry Mike Dukakis). But I had a hard time focusing on Glaeser's argument and not on the Globe's creative remapping of the MBTA subway system in the accompanying graphic. (The illustration does not appear to be online, so you'll have to check a dead-tree copy of the paper to follow along.)

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Rather than just reproduce the T's standard rendering of subway lines that criss-cross in the downtown area, the Globe graphic shows each of the four lines stretched out next to each other, with a few twists and embellishments made to have them spell out the word "help." The fact that many stops are left out for the sake of simplicity is fine (though one could quibble with the choice of omissions). But a closer look at the Red Line map makes you wonder what they're drinking on Morrissey Boulevard to take their minds off the paper's teetering fiscal condition. For the first time, the Red Line now includes a Chinatown stop. What's more, it is south of the JFK/UMass stop in Dorchester after which the Ashmont and Braintree lines split. And one stop farther south (now only accessible only on the Ashmont branch) is Downtown. The map also has this branch of the Red Line end at Mattapan, rather than Ashmont. (Yes, a tiny fraction of passengers do connect at Ashmont to a trolley to Mattapan, but no one calls this the Mattapan branch of the Red Line; that's why southbound Red Line trains heading here are marked "Ashmont.")

If he were relying on this map, Charlie really would never return.