New MBTA Routes Proposed

To Join Harvard, Logan

BOSTON--Harvard students will eventually be able to travel directly from the Square to Logan Airport--if the artists, architects, transportation experts, students and community leaders who support Boston's New Urban Ring have their way.

The idea for the Ring, which would connect the spokes of different subway lines around their downtown Boston hub, originated in last weekend's second annual Design Charrette at Northeastern University.

The 50-plus designers who attended the conference displayed their various plans for the ring yesterday evening in a reception held on the 50th floor of Boston's Prudential Tower.

By creating a ring linking the areas outside Boston's downtown area, the Ring's supporters hope to break down the "tribalist" nature of Boston's neighborhoods, according to Bob Culver, a former T administrator who was one of the conference's organizers.

"Boston wasn't developed in spokes unconsciously," said Culver, calling the estranged communities "dysfunctional feifdoms."


The plans for the Ring could also address practical concerns. The current T system requires that commuters travel into downtown Boston in order to reach any point on another line.Traveling from Harvard Square to Logan Airport,for example, requires the use of three of the fourdifferent T lines.

This separation between the lines greatlyincreases the travel time necessary for Tusers--and is a strong argument in favor of thecreation of the Urban Ring.

"Anybody who sees it is persuaded," said GeorgeThrush, head of Northeastern's architectureconcentration. "How could you oppose it?"

Michael Tyrrell, who also attended thereception, said he favors the Ring because of itspolitical and moral implications. "It's a betterway to get the communities of Boston to coalesce,to unite the activities that take place in thespokes," Tyrrell said.

Inspired by the fountain in front of Harvard'sScience Center, artist Joan Brigham proposed a"Steam Ring," a system of several steam fountainsalong the route to attract the public's attention."We want to make what is invisible and theoreticalvisible to the public eye," Brigham said. "It'sreally important that the grassroots approve. Thepublic's voice is critical."

With Boston's mayoral campaign in full swing,members of Northeastern's Department of Art andArchitecture and the Boston Society of Architectshope to make infrastructure development a hotpolitical issue.

Though many of their plans are not yetconcrete, they believe that once the publiccatches wind of the plans to unite Boston, theywill themselves become united in support of thecause.

"We hope enough people see this that it becomesa political issue," Thrush said. "This is just thefirst step."

In order to sell the plan to the public,artists and architects are working on plans tobeautify the city through the demarcation of theRing's path.

Possibilities include lining its future routewith double rows of trees and marking busesfollowing the route with the rainbow logos thathave come to represent the project. The rainbowsignifies the uniting of the green, blue, red andorange lines of the T, as well as of Boston'sdifferent ethnic groups