Robert F. Kennedy often was quoted as saying, “Some men see things as they are, and say why. I dream of things that never were, and say why not.”
Bobby Kennedy’s words came to mind this past week with the announcement by our Congresswoman, Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, of a $4 million federal grant for the design of a commuter rail station at the site of the old Wonderland dog racing track.
Although Congresswoman Clark’s announcement is the “headline” news, the real story is the decade-long effort by Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, who almost single-handedly has been the driving force behind advocating for a commuter rail station at this site.
Throughout the process, Councillor Powers has pointed out the benefits of a reduction in traffic on Routes 1A and 107, as well as the much-lower price tag of this project when compared to some other ideas that have been floated by Lynn officials.
In addition, John has outlined the specific benefits to local residents, who will be able to take a commuter train as far north as Rockport and Newburyport or directly into the city to North Station, offering an excellent alternative to the Blue Line for many Boston-bound commuters.
The design unveiled by Clark calls not only for a commuter rail station, but also for an easy-walking bridge connecting it to Wonderland Station on the Blue Line, thus providing Rapid Transit access to southbound commuters from the North Shore, for whom a ride all the way into North Station is not as convenient. The Wonderland commuter rail stop thereby effectively serves as an indirect connection for the so-called missing link in Boston’s rapid transit system, especially for a trip to Logan Airport for commuters from the north.
As Councillor Powers often has pointed out, there currently are 18 stops on the commuter line branch from its northern terminuses in Rockport and Newburyport en route to North Station. After making stops in nearby Swampscott and Lynn, the train just zips through Revere, totally bypassing our community before making another stop in Chelsea.
Councillor Powers often has asked, “Why shouldn’t Revere have a commuter station as many of the neighboring cities and towns have?”
That always has been a good question — and now it looks as though we finally might have a great answer — thanks to the foresight, persistence, and determination of Councillor John Powers.