In the relatively short time I’ve been here, I feel I’ve learned pretty well how to get around town. I know the difference between County Road and County Street. In case of a late-night brush with the law, I can get to the homes of three out of five selectmen. I know the shortcut from the Masonic Lodge to Bialek Park. (Of course this is not all that valuable, since very few Masons play on the swings.)
However, I’m having a problem finding the new subway.
From the moment I heard the great news — “Ipswich is getting a subway!” — I was thrilled. I haven’t yet been able to find the ticket office, or any of the stations, but I’m sure a subway is going to make this an even more livable place. I imagine the subterranean tracks extending from Crane all the way to my house on Planet Outer Linebrook, with stops at Family Dollar, Rite-Aid, the Clambox, and Marini Farm. There might also be a stop at Little Neck where you’re not allowed to get off.
Train travel totally beats driving. It’s exhilarating to think that soon, I might never again need to play chicken with a vehicle that’s turning left when the light turns green at Route 1, or squeal my brakes behind someone at Lord’s Square who thinks you have to stop at High Street. Ipswich’s overall productivity will soar as residents save a cumulative 147,282 hours a month which they now spend doing hand signals to negotiate their vehicle across Five Corners.
It’s remarkable to me that they were able to put in a subway, with our water table so high. I suppose it was hardly a challenge, though, if they hired former Big Dig engineers.
I’ve also heard that a number of folks in Ipswich were against us getting a subway. I must say, I’m glad that the sensible view prevailed. And really, when you think about it, an Ipswich subway is the ideal way to preserve our official “open spaces.” You could be on Greens Point Road, looking out across the magnificent marsh, and never know that the 3:04 is rumbling along under it all, with a payload of nuns heading to the Sisters of Notre Dame stop after a long, lazy day at the beach.
But figuring out how to actually get on the new Ipswich subway has proven to be problematic for me.
My friend John Baran, an otherwise intelligent and erudite professional who works in the education field, is as confused, and as eager, as I am. We were on adjacent stationary bicycles in the fitness room at the Y this past weekend when he told me about a puzzling conversation with another local. “Where do you work?” John asked him. “The new subway,” the guy replied. “Taking tickets?” John asked. “No,” the guy replied, “chopping lettuce.”
“Chopping lettuce!” I exclaimed, pumping my bicycle even faster. “John! Maybe the Ipswich subway station has a Taco Bell! I love Taco Bell! We gotta find this place!”
Alas, this takes us back — as always — to the issue of the Ipswich town budget. At the last minute, the $30,000 line item for signage was cut. No new signs for Ipswich. Which means, sadly, nobody can find the new Ipswich subway.
Nor the Taco Bell.