Local business owners say extension of the Green Line to Hyde Square would be a catalyst for continued growth — put the T doesn't have any plans to make it happen.
Saul Adriel Cifuentes, owner of Beauty Masters Salon & Supply, which is right on the Hyde Square rotary where a hypothetical trolley might turn around, expressed support for the idea at June's meeting of the JP Neighborhood Council.
"We've seen a lot of progress," Cifuentes said. Apologizing in advance for anyone who might take offense, he continued, "there's a lot of white people coming back."
The Neighborhood Council, an elected advisory board, voted 12-2 in favor of the idea of bringing the Green Line up from Heath Street, where it currently ends, up to Hyde Square.
But enthusiasm in JP for the project isn't enough. The T isn't planning extending the Green Line right now, a T spokesperson told the Gazette, citing other priorities.
Even within the neighborhood, not everyone is onboard with the idea. One concern, voiced by some members of the Neighborhood Council, is that while transit has obvious benefits, it also raises rents wherever it goes.
Franklyn Salimbene of the Arborway Committee for Public Transit, who presented an analysis of the benefits of the extension at the June 24 meeting, said that with the underwhelming transit Hyde Square now has, rents are already going up.
Neighborhood Council member Michael Reiskind, a Green Line extension supporter, said he has studied the issue a long time and concluded that the MBTA has a problem in that it runs two levels of service — with bus service far inferior to rail service.
"The 39 Bus cannot adequately support the needs of the corridor," he said.
Salimbene, in his presentation, said convincing all the players that a Green Line extension should be done won't happen overnight.
"This is an iterative process," he said. "We know this takes a series of steps."
Three South Huntington institutions are already on record as being in favor of the extension: The Mount Pleasant Home, AstraZeneca Hope Lodge and Sherrill House.
Local real estate agent Constance Cervone, pointed out that JP started as a "street car suburb" and no longer has street cars.
"I'm amazed we're not on the list of cities that have taken light rail as far as it can go," she said.
Whether to bring trolleys back even further, down Centre Street to Forest Hills, has long been a controversy in JP. Some, like the Arborway Committee, still hold out for trolleys on Centre Street.
For the entire "white paper" on extending the Green Line to Hyde Square, please visit the Arborway Committee's web site.