Regrettably, due to the many troubles at the MBTA, our station is looking like, "Crap". The City has tried to promote an increase of eco and heritage tourism over the years but they have received nothing but trouble. First, the city has tried repeatedly to get occupants to fill the Station building itself with ever diminishng success and then the final blow came when a pizza restaurant tried to open up and they found out that MBTA was running unfiltered electricity into the building blowing out anything that was installed. It was tough enough to have a place there, only finding that operating was impossible. The business failed and the City to resolve any lawsuits had to dish out thousands in compensation. Then as 2009 blossomed, the MBTA raised parking rates and the huge lots are now practically empty. The City with some funding was able to establish a shuttle service this summer but the condition of the depot is depressing. Trash is strewn everywhere, weeds are higher in some places than the people and the concrete is pilling into ball-bearing size rocks and pigeon droppings decorate any shelter from the wind and rain. On top of this, there is no clear directions on how to get downtown. No maps, no directional signs and if a passenger can make it across Route 1, they can get lost in the Backbay unsure of where to head off to since the train signs are few.
But things are starting to shape up. The Mayor has signed over the station back to the MBTA to lease out further relieving the City of obligations and worse, liability. The Trolley service is sure to return for next year and the best part, the Clipper City Rail Trail will be open – which is a pleasant and rapid way to get downtown whether bicycling or walking. Taxi service has been reliable and there is even talk of the taxi companies moving into the station building.
Jerry Mullins of Citizens for Environmental Balance is looking into seeking funding for diarama’s and a map showing how to get downtown. Apparently, diarama’s were installed in Ispwich and Rowley and many spots around Metropolitan Boston but one hot tourist spot never received them! He is trying to at least find out the cost of having them done so grant money can be pursued. The MBTA usually has it done at the same time as the station is built but due to a snafu, our station was left untouched. Alas, the Curse lives on! He has appealed to the Planning Office, the Historical Society of Old Newbury and the Newburyport Preservation Trust for assistance!