Is Driving Really Necessary in Boston?

During this state of unseasonable weather we’ve been having lately in Boston I made an interesting discovery. Having a car serves absolutely no purpose in this city. Sure, I know some people just can’t live without their cars and leaving the city is important to people, but on a day to day basis it’s not needed. There are obvious reasons why this is so. The roads are terrible. The traffic is atrocious. Sometimes the street you’ll be on will suddenly turn into a one way in the opposite direction. Despite all this there’s an obvious reason that I’m not sure people realize is true. It doesn’t save any time.

Last week, I had to make three trips from the Back Bay Fens to a bank downtown near South Station. The first day I drove. I didn’t know exactly where the bank was so I went on Yahoo! Maps and got directions. The map said it was three miles and would take me about six minutes. I was suspicious of that time so I left about ten minutes earlier than I might have otherwise. It was near the end of the business day so I was going to cut it close before the bank closed. To my dismay it took me thirty minutes to get from point A to point B. How is this so? Yahoo said six minutes. Even if they were way off how could they be off by five times? Three reasons: traffic, lights, and parking. Between the idiots clogging the roads, hitting ever red light, and driving around to find a parking space, the bank had closed and the whole trip had been a waste.

The next day I decided to try taking the train. That had to be quicker. No traffic. Sure, it has to make stops but I’m not going to get stuck behind a guy who’s spacing out at a green light for an eternity. I left at the same time, but again it took thirty minutes to get to South Station. How could that be? One answer: the green line sucks. The green line branches off five times so it seems like each line comes five times less frequently than the red line comes. Not to mention that the red line train I needed to catch for the two stops between Park Street and South Station was just pulling away as I got to the platform. By the time I got to the bank, once again, it was closed. Another wasted trip.

The third day, to my surprise, was fifty-two degrees. For February in Boston, that’s almost shorts weather. I had the afternoon free so I said, “The hell with it, I’ll walk.” It was a nice day. I had plenty of time. The exercise would do me good. I left my apartment at 2:30 and arrived at the bank at 3:10. That’s right. It took thirty minutes to drive, thirty minutes to take the train, and forty minutes to walk. That’s staggering.

So why not walk everywhere? Laziness. Who wants to walk when they could sit, or on the train, more than likely, stand? Not me. Not anymore. I’m converted. There is nothing but benefit for me to walk everywhere in Boston. I don’t get enough exercise like, I assume, most people. The extra time isn’t very much and I’d probably waste it anyway. The stress level of driving in this city certainly won’t be missed. So to any of you who don’t particularly like your cars, leave them at home. You don’t need them. Join me on the streets of Boston

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