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Wu calls for 'large-scale' safety upgrades to the T35:03
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Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks on air during an interview on WBUR's Radio Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks on air during an interview on WBUR's Radio Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Saying "we can no longer tolerate tinkering around the edges," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called for major upgrades to the MBTA system, even if that means shutting down large portions of the system to do so.

Wu made the comments on WBUR's Radio Boston during the "Mondays with the mayor" segment.

"Rather than just trying to do a little bit of track here or there every weekend or late at night ... actually doing it all in one sweep," Wu said. "Getting it done would then free up resources at the T to focus on improving other parts of it."

While new train cars are slowly brought into service, Wu said they won't improve the situation if the tracks they're rolling on are broken or not working properly.

"I know that's painful because it will it would be tremendously disruptive," Wu said, addressing the closures that track work usually requires. "But we are at that point where prolonging this will make it worse and continue to bring about safety issues.

The city would be ready to help provide alternatives and alleviate congestion related to any planned track work, according to Wu.

"We could give over street space for shuttle buses as alternatives to go as quickly as possible, and we will do everything we can to work hand-in-hand with the T," she said. "It's time to think at that scale, of large scale, disruptive but necessary intervention."

Wu also touched on several other issues during the interview, including recent marches by white supremacists through Boston.

Over the weekend, a couple dozen masked people protested outside a drag queen story hour for children in Jamaica Plain. Mayor Wu said Boston is target for such groups because of its progressive support for diverse communities.

Wu said many members of the group were from out of state, and addressing issues surrounding these marches requires coordination between federal agencies and Boston police.

"We need more from them, as well," said Wu. "We need to have a greater focus nationally on how these groups can be tracked and monitored and categorized as verging on domestic terrorism."

Wu also weighed in on the lengthy fight over rebuilding the Long Island Bridge. On Monday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that state approval for the project overrules a Quincy commission that denied a permit for the bridge.

While describing the decision as a step in a direction that will help take some pressure off Boston in treating those in need of help, Wu said there's still some steps before bridge construction can and should begin.

"We need to first decide and set what the plan is for services that will be offered on the island before rushing into the best mechanisms of formalizing the transportation to the island," she said.

Sticking in Boston, Wu, a big sports fan herself, also addressed recent comments made by Lebron James. On the HBO show, "The Shop" James said he hates playing in Boston, calling the city racist. Mayor Wu said she didn't want to downplay any experiences of racism, and that Boston has a national reputation that it must face and address.

"I have not heard specific racist chants, but we do get a little edgy in Boston, right?" said Wu. "We do use words that I would not use, that I would not want my kids to use in chanting games. ... We are hardcore fans here in Boston. I would be happy to take LeBron around and show him the Boston that I know that I love and that we are building here to really make sure that everyone is included in our city. "

Wu also talked about honoring Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. She was set to meet Ortiz later Monday afternoon.

"I came to Boston for college," said Wu. "I didn't know anyone here at all. And that was the season that Big Papi and others broke the curse. And so it was a very, very auspicious and welcoming start to my time here and have been proud to see him a little bit over the years and can't wait to welcome him home."

This article was originally published on July 25, 2022.

This segment aired on July 25, 2022.

Amanda Beland Twitter Producer/Director
Amanda Beland is a producer and director for Radio Boston. She also reports for the WBUR newsroom.

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Tiziana Dearing Twitter Host, Radio Boston
Tiziana Dearing is the host of Radio Boston.

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