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The Red Line Stops in Arlington and Lexington

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With all the sturm und drang re: the effects of the Green Line extension through Somerville into Medford, let's pause to remember another would-be T shoot: the Red Line through Arlington into Lexington. It all started with the simple premise of pushing the benefits of (relatively) rapid public transit farther out from the region's core.

Into the 1980s, it was assumed by the powers that be, including local Congressman Tip O'Neill, who controlled a sizable bunch of federal purse strings as U.S. House speaker, that the Red Line would eventually end at or near Route 128. Stations we know today, such as Davis (a particular pet of O'Neill's), Porter and Alewife, were merely to be stops on the way.

Then community opposition in Arlington rose up like a penny on the track. We'll let Future MBTA take it from here: "Enough money was available to build the line to Arlington Heights with new stations at Porter Sq, Alewife, Arlington Center, and Arlington Heights. ... Arlington residents didn't like the idea of increased traffic and certain urban elements entering their quiet suburban town. The plan was eventually voted down and the line only got as far as Alewife, although the tunnels for the subway do actually extend into Arlington for storage."

Of course, in these days of transit-oriented development and the economic stimulus it can bring, we imagine the children of these Arlington opponents would love themselves some Red Line right about now. As it is, the rights of way for the Red Line route that never was is now used for the Minute Man Commuter Bikeway. Progress.
· The Red Line [Future MBTA]
· Somerville Is Doomed to Be a More Desirable Place to Live [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville's Downward-Facing Doghouse and Hub's Apt. Future [Curbed Boston]
· Transit and Real Estate: Together Forever in the Hub [Curbed Boston]

Porter Square

1899 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140