Saturday, December 20, 2003

Transportation Pioneer Ravi Jain: Boston Globe City & Region Article Today

My friend Ravi made it onto the front page of the Boston Globe's City and region page. There's a huge photo of him and Stefan Economou.
There was an unmistakable air of sadness in Stefan Economou's Somerville dining room as he and Ravi Jain contemplated their last Big Dig hurrah.

Boston's self-titled "Transportation Pioneers" have achieved a measure of fame
-- particularly among the nerdiest of the enthusiasts who follow the drama of the Big Dig the way others follow soap operas. They were the first to cross the Leverett Circle Connector and the first to exit the northbound Liberty Tunnel. They mounted a motorcycle and wormed their way into being the first to cross the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge.

With the southbound tunnel opening today, they're looking for a "last." They want to be the last to drive over the decaying elevated artery. Dubbing the stunt "Final Flight," a play on the centennial of the Wright brothers' first flight, the duo planned to don pilot's hats and goggles and, in a Cutlass station wagon, begin a long, slow loop of Somerville roads at dawn, hoping to maneuver into position to be the last car allowed onto the artery before it closes forever. "It's so strange to us how nobody else is excited about these milestones," Economou said. "You'd think people would be lined up for these events, but they're not. I suspect Big Dig fatigue."

Some poke fun at them. But they take their role in history seriously.

"It's not a joke; there's a legitimacy to all this," Jain said. "This whole project is coming to a close, and we have had this prior relationship with this project, so it's kind of our way of saying goodbye. It's a little sad."
Watch for them on the WB News at 10 tonight, and listen for them on Matty in the Morning on KISS 108 FM, Monday at 8:00 AM!

Best quote from the article:
The pair have raised a few eyebrows over the years. Jain's girlfriend thought he was insane when they met in 2000.

"We were riding the 39 bus together from MassArt to Jamaica Plain, and I asked him, `So, what do you do?' " Sonia Targontsidis recalled. "He said, `I'm a transportation pioneer,' and I thought, `Oh, I hope this guy doesn't follow me home.' "

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