Downtown Crossing: End the failed experiment
Few ideas in urban planning have been tried as widely and failed as spectacularly as the pedestrian mall. When the intersection of Summer, Winter, and Washington streets in Boston was converted into one 30 years ago, planners believed that city streets had to emulate suburban shopping centers to remain vital. But Downtown Crossing has stagnated. In the evening, the lack of passing vehicles - and eyeballs - makes the area seem creepy and deserted. The Boston Redevelopment Authority insists that the pedestrian zone is there to stay - and even wants to raise the existing roadway to sidewalk level to reinforce the pedestrian-only look. Reopening the area to cars is a better option. It's telling that when Mayor Menino took a walking tour Wednesday to showcase the neighborhood's vitality, he visited streets that are open to traffic.
Yoon: Bury this bad idea
City Councilor Sam Yoon, a candidate for mayor, has characterized the Menino administration's reform efforts at City Hall as worthy of the "Dark Ages." But now Yoon is trying to revive a body also better left to the dustbin of history: the elected School Committee. City officials disbanded the 13-member elected School Committee in 1992, putting a welcome end to the chronic name-calling, patronage, and deficit spending of its members. Since then, the seven-member school board appointed by the mayor has focused on education policies and practices. Voters wisely voted to retain the appointed school board model in 1996. It is now Yoon who wants to turn back the clock.