Assorted By-Products of Red Line Extension Noise, Agitation, Vibration and Congestion
IN THE STREET
Expanding plywood pathways, grating bulldozers, groaning cranes and legions of construction workers are part of Harvard Square's ambiance these days--but it's a change some can do without.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is expanding the Red Line, and has uprooted plenty of negative feelings along with the Cambridge mud.
Robert M. Godinho, a driver for the K.S. taxi service, said yesterday construction in the Square has cut his daily fares in half.
"We're all working longer hours, and a lot of guys don't even want to come into Harvard Square anymore," he said, adding "The MBTA is going to hurt us for the next two years."
Construction officials set up temporary taxi stands in several different locations, but when the drivers objected, they finally settled on a 15-cab stand outside Lehman Hall on Mass Ave.
"We were going to pull a strike if they hadn't given us this stand. I'd like to find out if we could get a lawyer and sue them," Godinho said.
Juri R. Prince, a taxi driver for Ambassador Brattle Cabs, echoed Godinho's feelings, saying the finished product may not be worth the trouble.
But Larry Hurley, a union laborer for the MBTA, said yesterday while it's noisy, dirty and "a little hard to take, when it's finished the new station will attract more people and business to the Square."
But the sweep of construction inconveniences more people than only those who work in the Square.
Theresa D. Hord '82 said yesterday simple things like not being able to cross the street and having to catch the shuttle at Quincy Square annoy her most. "My gripe is that it has made things inconvenient for students. Things could have been done better," she said.
A freshman from Lesley College, Linda J. Maleros, said yesterday she spends about half an hour a week walking around construction. "I won't come into the city unless I have to. It's one big rush and you're always being pushed around."
Ricardo H. Coca, who moved to Brighton two months ago and commutes through the Square, said yesterday he's looking forward to a more convenient and comfortable transit system.
"If they don't go through all this construction now they'll have a problem anyway--they need more space," Coca said.
Charles P. Galatis, a Cambridge resident who works in Boston, said yesterday the benefits of the construction outweigh its disadvantages.
"The extension of the subway system is a positive thing for the community--there can be no doubt about that," he said. "On that basis we can tolerate it for a couple of years."
Galatis added, though that the MBTA could have handled traffic and noise problems more efficiently. 'My impression is that they're not doing everything they can," he said.