“Over the river and through the woods, to the Chestnut Hill Mall we go”
That was my own little take on the classic holiday song, the refrain playing in my head as my girlfriend and I were walking down Hammond Street to the Chestnut Hill Mall on a windy night sometime last November. It’s not a long trek to get there, but not a short one either. Consequently, she had to coax me out of the warm confines of Voute and convinced me to go with her.
Although it was good to get some fresh air, I have often wondered why Boston College doesn’t offer a bus to the mall, at least on weekends, similar to the grocery shuttle. I think students, the college and the surrounding community could benefit from such a service.
The mall is arguably one of the best kept secrets on campus. Only some know it exists, let alone know how to get there. While those who live on Upper are right off the main road that leads to the mall, only the adventurous few will venture out and be able to find it. Living on Newton as a freshman made me unaware of the mall’s existence until the middle of my sophomore year.
For students, there would be many benefits of having a shuttle to the mall. It provides something to do and is close by. Even though the mall itself is a bit upscale, next to it is a retail development called “The Street”, with Star Market, shops like David’s Tea and City Sports, and restaurants like Comella's and Shake Shack. There is something for everyone, even for those who don’t like to shop. With increased access to the mall, there would also be more employment opportunities for students looking for jobs.
Furthermore, Hammond Street is dark and narrow, with blind spots a plenty for pedestrians and cars alike. Providing students with a safe, fast way to get to the mall, even if the service is only offered on weekends, would be wise.
As for the surrounding community, Boston College would surely improve its often strained relationship with the neighbors with a shuttle service by having less students traveling through residential areas. And the mall and The Street can surely benefit from more patrons.
If this modest proposal can become a reality, maybe BC would also establish a new bus line that would not only stop at the mall, but also in Newton Centre. But that may be asking a bit much, at least right now. Even so, this is something that would be beneficial to all parties.