MBTA What If: North Shore instead of South Shore?

Earlier this week, I was in and around Quincy Center and found a nice neighborhood with a mixture of residences and businesses (and vibrant businesses at that), tree lined streets, and a very pleasant vibe to the area which stretches up Hancock Street (and to a lesser degree Newport Avenue) towards Wollaston and North Quincy. This growth is in no part thanks to the Red Line having been extended through Quincy in the 1970s even as Quincy Center itself is showing its age.

In contrast, a similar distance away on the opposite shore is Lynn, a city sans rapid transit which is far more threadbare and worn and lacks the vibrancy and charm Quincy Center has curated. Though some of this is from classic reputation, it makes me wonder something.

What if the MBTA in its earliest years put its energies towards the former BRB&L mainline and extended the Blue Line to Lynn in the 1970s while letting the old Old Colony mainline through Quincy lay fallow. Would Quincy have turned out as good as it has with ferries and express buses up I-93 instead of the Red Line? Do Lynn’s fortunes change with the Blue Line instead of overpriced-for-the-distance commuter rail and express buses?

It’s something to seriously think about.

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