🚃 Brace for a year of T shutdowns
Plus: 🏡 Rent control? Keep dreaming.
It’s Monday, Boston.
🥧 Here’s a Friendsgiving hack that tastes and feels good. If you buy a $35 pie from Community Servings’ bake sale, each donation will support a week’s worth of healthy meals for locals experiencing chronic illness. You can order your pie here through Nov. 18!
👀 What’s on tap today:
New City Council prez
Rent control takes an L
Adopt a … sugar glider?
The year of the shutdown
Image by Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff. Illustration by Gia Orsino.
We’re calling it: 2024 will NOT be the T’s year. And no, we’re not psychic.
The MBTA announced a CVS receipt-long list of shutdowns over the next 14 months as part of an ambitious plan to eliminate all slow zones across the Red, Orange, Green, and Blue Lines.
Here’s what to know:
😬 As you probably know, the current slow zone situation is bad bad. As of Sunday, there were 190 slow zones across the entire subway system, impacting over 20% of track. Some have been left unrepaired for over a year. Speed restrictions range from 3 to 25 mph, meaning that on some stretches of the T, you can likely walk, run, or bike faster than the trains.
🚇 So the MBTA said it’s time to get rid of them for good. A big statement coming from an agency that’s struggled to deliver the basics like safe and reliable service. But GM Phillip Eng said last week that “people will start to feel a much more consistent, smoother, reliable trip, giving people time back in their day.” And while a healthy dose of skepticism seems fair, don’t forget: The T’s recent shutdowns on the Ashmont and Mattapan branches ultimately eliminated all slow zones and made trips faster.
🏆 Starting now, the motto is “short-term pain for long-term wins.” At least that’s according to Eng. Through 2024, there will be roughly 20 diversions across chunks of all four T lines (you can see the tentative shutdown calendar here). Luckily, the only two diversions this year are on the Green Line, with shutdowns tentatively between North Station and Kenmore from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5 and between Riverside and Kenmore from Dec. 11 to 20. Alternative transit options, including shuttle buses, are still being finalized.
👍 And you know who’s loving this plan? Transit advocates. While typically known for holding the T’s feet to the fire, several offered statements of support of the news. Director of TransitMatters Jarred Johnson praised the agency for sharing its aggressive long-term plan with plenty of notice. And A Better City President and CEO Kate Dineen said if this plan works, it “has the potential to restore rider trust, bolster our region’s economic competitiveness, and promote more climate-friendly commuting options.”
🔮 The proof will ultimately be in the pudding. If all goes as planned, 2025 might just be the T’s year.
💪 We’re doing some research: What’s your favorite kind of workout?
Let us know below!
Quick & dirty headlines
Image by Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff.
🧑⚖️ A new City Council president could take charge. At-large councilor Ruthzee Louijeune said she has enough support from her colleagues to take on the position in January when she begins her second term. The current president is Ed Flynn, who’s seen as more moderate. The council president is the ceremonial head of the squad, leading their meetings and holding power over its committees. Louijeune would also step in as mayor if Mayor Wu were unable to serve or if the position became vacant.
💔 There’s officially no room at the inn. Mass.’ emergency shelter system hit its 7,500 family capacity limit on Thursday, and many fear those on the waitlist will be forced onto the streets in the cold as plans for a large-scale overflow shelter are fuzzy. Although Gov. Healey pledged $5 million to fund overnight shelters, many sites are still waiting to see if they’re eligible. And while the House passed a spending bill with $250 million just for managing the crisis, its future in the Senate this week is unclear.
🏠 Dreaming of rent control in Boston? Keep dreaming. State Rep. Mike Connolly’s quest to get rent control on the ballot next November came to an end Friday when he shared he’d be suspending his campaign to get the 75,000 necessary signatures (he only got around 10,000). This news isn’t entirely surprising given the campaign had no support from prominent progressive housing orgs since there was worry an L on a ballot question could close the rent control door for good.
🎥 Local Gen Zers share what it’s really like living in Boston. The Globe just launched a new, Gen-Z centered video series: BoZton. Hosted by Globe reporter Diti Kohli, BoZton aims to showcase the stories (and struggles) of young Bostonians in their own words, and they start off strong with one of the most notorious struggles of all: housing. Chapter one of the series, “Living,” will tackle it all, from apartment hunting, to paying rent, being priced out, and the dream of homeownership. The first episode is out now. Check it out here.
— Written by Gia Orsino
THINGS TO DO
🍫 Add some truffle to the shuffle. Boston Public Library’s Honan-Allston branch is hosting a truffle-making workshop with master chocolatier Beth Kirsch on Wednesday.
🧠 Test your Taylor IQ. Think you know everything there is to know about Taylor Swift? The true test is at Distraction Brewing in Roslindale, where Trivia (Taylor’s Version) is happening on Wednesday.
🥣 Make your pottery debut. Beginners are welcome at this pottery with a purpose pinch pot and coil pot workshop at Lamplighter Brewing on Thursday. You even get to take your extra materials home!
🍷 Get to know some wines … and other Boston professionals. If you’re a professional looking to expand your network and a wine lover looking to expand your palette, 100 High Street is your place on Friday.
😂 Catch some funnies in Faneuil Hall. For a weeknight vibe, head to Bell in Hand on Tuesday for a free comedy show. White Bull Tavern also has a Friday show featuring comics from Comedy Central and Netflix!
— Written by Claire Nicholas
🎉 Want more things to do recommendations? Refer five friends to unlock three bonus items. For those who already have, enjoy below.
🏋️ Learn to deadlift. Want to pencil in your Saturday morning workout early? Starting Strength in Newton is helping beginners learn proper deadlifting form at their free open house event at 11:45 a.m.
🌱 Discover the power of hemp. Hemp is all the rage for those looking for better sleep, workout recovery, and lower anxiety. Learn all about it (over a drink!) at Untold Brewing on Thursday.
🏞️ Learn about Native American topics on the big screen. North Shore dwellers, head to Newburyport’s The Screening Room to see two documentaries on Native American themes for Native American Heritage Month.
ONE LAST THING
Adopt a … sugar glider?
Illustration by Gia Orsino.
Tired: Adopting a dog. Wired. Adopting a sugar glider.
MSPCA-Angell in Jamaica Plain got “an adorable surprise” last week when 33 sugar gliders were surrendered to the adoption center.
Sugar gliders, along with being extremely cute, require special care and attention, according to the MSPCA. They are nocturnal, need to live in groups, and have special dietary requirements. But that hasn’t stopped them from finding new homes.
As of Sunday, all of the immediately available gliders had been adopted, but a few more that require continued observation will be available in waves through early December, so if you’re interested, check back for details!
— Written by Gia Orsino
🐿️ Thanks for reading! Is it just me, or are the special care and attention needs of sugar gliders extremely relatable?