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Believing that the Harvard Square subway station is "an illegal obstruction to the highway, a cause of accidents, and a menace to both pedestrians and automobilists." Mayor Quinn, H. L. Mason, president of the Charles River Trust Co., City Engineer M. L. Hastings, and a number of other prominent citizens have testified before the State Department of Public Utilities for its removal. Senator Carrick who is conducting the case for the petitioners alleged that it had been the cause of a number of accidents.
Various obstructions have been removed from the Square at different times by order of the court after a protest from the people. The hay scales and the town pump were removed in 1830. But does this prove that the present edifice is illegal, especially since the Elevated must have received a legal permit to put it there in the first place?
Although it is challenged as a menace to pedestrians and automobilists, it provides a safety zone on which pedestrians can stand in order to board surface cars. If it were removed and a safety zone marked out, the automobilist would still be forced to go around the area as they do now. It acts as "tin-policeman" of a rather unusually heavy avoirdupois. Its removal, then, would not eliminate an obstruction to traffic unless the surface cars were diverted to other streets outside the Square.
The expense involved in removing the structure, building now entrances on the sidewalk which would hardly be large enough to handle heavy traffic, and the diversion of surface car lines to other streets would be so heavy and the conditions so little improved, that the change seems hardly worth while, especially in these days when economy is so vital.
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