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Old 05-03-2016, 11:31 AM   #201
Scipio
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

The FMCB is considering whether to increase the scope of what looks to be routine service planning into a total bus network redesign:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/Ab...on05022016.pdf
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:46 AM   #202
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by Scipio View Post
The FMCB is considering whether to increase the scope of what looks to be routine service planning into a total bus network redesign:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/Ab...on05022016.pdf
Yes, please.

Too much of the system:
- runs where the trolleys ran
- is about scoring points with lines on a map
- does not make usable transit along those "coverage" lines
- avoids parkways for legacy reasons
- never got its CT / Urban Ring routes
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:53 AM   #203
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

I guess one nice thing about having very little bus infrastructure (bus lanes, signal priority, real bus shelters, ect) is that the routes can be more easily changed. I think the best thing that they are doing is talking to Houston and other cities that have successfully restructured the bus network. We are not the only city in the world that is looking to restructure. There are tons of lessons to be learned from seattle/houston/chicago.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:18 PM   #204
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by Scipio View Post
The FMCB is considering whether to increase the scope of what looks to be routine service planning into a total bus network redesign:

http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/Ab...on05022016.pdf
In theory it's a great idea, but this is a stalling tactic.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:30 PM   #205
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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In theory it's a great idea, but this is a stalling tactic.
Explain please. Who is stalling? What are they hoping to delay? How do they benefit from delaying it?

The contrary interpretation is well-documented: recent major network redesigns have delivered a better-functioning (better connections, higher frequency) bus system in several peer cities. Given this data, any rational manager would look into applying these lessions for Boston, expecting similar wins.

What's the alternative plot line that you see that we don't?
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:41 PM   #206
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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FIX THE GODAMN TRAFFIC SIGNAL AT D STREET YOU INCOMPETENT IDIOTS
Step 1) Download the app "Commonwealth Connect" -- http://www.cityofboston.gov/DoIT/app...lthconnect.asp

iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comm...5702?ls=1&mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...nwealthconnect

2) Report it. You can report ANYTHING out of order, or not where it should be in Massachusetts.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:42 PM   #207
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
Explain please. Who is stalling? What are they hoping to delay? How do they benefit from delaying it?

The contrary interpretation is well-documented: recent major network redesigns have delivered a better-functioning (better connections, higher frequency) bus system in several peer cities. Given this data, any rational manager would look into applying these lessions for Boston, expecting similar wins.

What's the alternative plot line that you see that we don't?
The overnight bus service.

I know they announced the bus network redesign a few months ago and it is a great idea, but yesterday the FCMB is saying they want hold off on the overnight service because of it.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:48 PM   #208
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

The longer the FMCB can make service planning take - and this makes it look like the total network redesign would take several years - the longer they can put off smaller improvement projects by claiming "it's being studied". I'm sure the board would love to put off buying new buses (the current orders don't have enough to fully replace old buses, much less expand service), adding bus lanes, adding TSP, overnight service - anything that requires upfront money or political will for long-term benefit.

Arlington, you keep bus routes following old streetcar lines as a negative. That's neither entirely true, nor a bad thing. Those routes, in most areas, follow the square-to-square desire lines along major boulevards where there is the highest residential and commercial density. Mass Ave and Broadway and Washington Street are always going to have high demand, and any network design will reflect that. There has been a high degree of change and experimentation with the bus network over the years; the NETransit history has literally hundreds of pages of this. Routes have been added and modified to serve newly developed areas, and to respond to changes in the rail network. Other than the need for substantially enhanced crosstown service, a wholesale network redesign isn't going to come up with anything that faster corridor studies (like the ongoing Everett study with its recommendations) won't. In fact, one of the Everett recommendations is to shift routes from Wellington back to Sullivan Square - making it much more like the original streetcar network!
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:07 PM   #209
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

The chances that anything of substance gets changed is very low. Everyone is for changing bus routes/stops except their own. One just has to look at how long and how little the Key Routes project changed anything to see where this is headed.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:21 PM   #210
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by The EGE View Post
The longer the FMCB can make service planning take - and this makes it look like the total network redesign would take several years - the longer they can put off smaller improvement projects by claiming "it's being studied". I'm sure the board would love to put off buying new buses (the current orders don't have enough to fully replace old buses, much less expand service), adding bus lanes, adding TSP - anything that requires upfront money or political will for long-term benefit.
Another concern with spending the time and money on a full network review is that the final proposed system might not be much different than what you would get from just resuming the MBTA's bi-annual service plan process (last real one was in 2008, although the 2012 service reductions were items that probably would have been in a service plan). Per 2014 National Transit Database numbers, the number of unlinked passengers trips per vehicle revenue mile for MBTA buses was 4.93. As a comparison, Houston Metro was only 1.86, while King County Seattle was 3.14. The "peers" that have had major redesigns were bus systems that were much more ineffective than the MBTA in allocating their revenue miles. The only large bus systems with an unlinked trip/rev veh mile ratio significantly higher that the MBTA are MUNI and NYCT, two systems that don't cross the city line to provide service in the suburbs. When looking at peers that service both an urban core and nearby suburbs, the MBTA is near the top of the list using the UPT/RVM metric of network effectiveness.

I'm not quite sure why is such a bad thing that many (but certainly not all) MBTA bus routes service corridors that once had streetcars. Many streetcar streets like Mass Ave from Arlington Heights to Harvard or Hyde Park Ave from Cleary Sq. to Forest Hills still have population densities and activity centers that support a transit route along them. Most of the streetcar routes also eventually lead to a connection with the rapid transit network, and that is still the case today with the bus network. Any "blank slate" redrawing of the map of the bus network is still going to result in a system that primarily feeds the rapid transit system.

EDIT: I realize EGE also said about the same as the above paragraph, but I didn't see that when I quoted him
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:38 PM   #211
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

We have a lot of heavy rail in places that did not have it in the Streetcar era (Orange line, incl Assembly) and peripheral commuting is also less supported. The Everett bus study has proposed a great mix of changes and it's be good to take a similarly fresh look elsewhere.

Somerville has become a tech bedroom community and also a destination for low wage service workers who have been priced out.

And in the trolley era the rules mostly excluded transit from parkways.

Is this just stalling to stop night service? WBUR made it sound like Aloisi's Copley bus Hub was going to happen independently given its no-rail and cheap money. Is that wrong? And is it right to say that system work is a plot to stall it?
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:28 PM   #212
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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We have a lot of heavy rail in places that did not have it in the Streetcar era (Orange line, incl Assembly) and peripheral commuting is also less supported. The Everett bus study has proposed a great mix of changes and it's be good to take a similarly fresh look elsewhere
The first bridge (the "Great Bridge") across the Charles River was constructed in 1662 at the present site of the Anderson Bridge, where it connected northern and northwestern towns to the Highway to Roxbury - present day Harvard St - which ran through the site of modern-day Dudley Sq and through the narrow neck into the Shawmut along modern-day Washington St. Prior to the Revolution, the General Court only made basic inroads into the provisioning of infrastructure, which was the responsibility of the towns themselves and large-scale projects were discouraged by British authorities, in fact the "Great Bridge" was the first case of a substantial public investment in infrastructure in the State. With greater flexibility and economic expansion after the Rev. War, private corporations sought to tap into the need for improved infrastructure and birthed a complex system of tolled turnpikes and bridges to access the growing market in Boston. The Charlestown Bridge was the first, built in 1786, followed by the West Boston Bridge (the site of the current Longfellow) in 1797, the Canal/Craigie Bridge in 1809 (the site the current Dam), the South Boston Bridge (connecting to Dover St) in the early 1800s later followed by a bridge connecting to Federal St in Boston by the 1830s. Those are the historical access points to Boston.

Along which corridors does the core of our rapid transit network lie? The Red Line follows the West Boston Bridge and South Boston Bridge, the initial Orange Line follows the Charlestown and Washington St/Norfolk Turnpike access points, the Lechmere Viaduct lies along the old Canal Bridge access, even the Boylston Subway parallels (which wasn't really rapid transit) the Mill Dam Turnpike, built prior to the street-railway and connected Boston to the west and the southern Tremont St soaked up streetcar traffic running along streets that were designed to funnel Dorchester and South Boston traffic to narrow access points to Boston proper. The first time BERy deviated from this strategy was in the construction of Dorchester Extension, where the re-utilized the Shawmut Branch ROW, a decision made in part to avoid the costs of tunneling under the alignment they wanted (and served the greatest amount of neighborhood nodes) that runs/ran under the old Dorchester Turnpike (now Dot Ave) one of the earliest turnpikes.

Since then it's been re-utilizing old railroad ROWs either in spirit or as a literal replacement for Haymarket-North and the SWC, the Fitchburg/Central Mass for the RL-Northwest, the Old Colony for the South Shore, and the BRB&L for the Wonderland Ext. The the loss of nodal connections in Roxbury for the SWC realignment should bear testament to the extreme caution with which planners tinker with travel patterns that are, in many case, nigh-on 400 years old.


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Somerville has become a tech bedroom community and also a destination for low wage service workers who have been priced out.
True and how are those people getting to where they need to go? Through the same process I described above. Davis-Kendall is major, major cohort (the largest origin-destination pairing that doesn't have a downtown station as the destination), but one that gloms off both a 17th century pattern (Mass Ave to Harvard Sq) and an 18th century one (Middlesex Turnpike, now Hampshire/Beacon) to West Boston Bridge. The major bus routes in Somerville, the ones that are hold-overs from the street-railway era, also travel along routes that predate even the street-car. Elm St, College Ave (note, the "College" in College Ave initially referred to "Harvard", not Tufts), Broadway, Milk St/Somerville Ave all predate street-railways. Hell, Washington St-Kirkland St-Mason-Brattle-Mt. Auburn to Watertown Sq not only predates the street-railway, it predates European settlement of Massachusetts - if you trace it's course on a contour map, it's age is clear in that skirts all major rises and formerly marshy depressions, connecting a seasonal aboriginal encampment at Charlestown to an important fishing weir and ford at Watertown Sq.

The development in the densest parts of Greater Boston followed these contours, while street-railway certainly did instigate development in streetcar suburbs, they traveled along well-established route through the more urban areas of Cambridge, Charlestown (when Somerville was part of Charlestown), and Boston. If anything, the increasing dominances of Boston and Cambridge as the "workshop of New England" is the historical pattern which was only substantially disrupted starting around 1930-1940, so more and more our current travel patterns reflect our former travel patterns.

What does a major redesign offer? I'm with insofar at improving ops, on-street infra to make bus service more reliable, but in terms of changing alignments, that's complete folly in my book in urban areas. It'd be nice to combine some alignments - for example, it's annoying to me personally that every bus west of Harvard Sq stops there without continuing east, making a trip to Inman or Union easier to stomach by foot, but that's more on an ops/streamlining question than anything. I'll yield you the parkways, though I'd say any busses running along the old MPC routes are more likely to be commuter/expresses linking distant major nodes than providing constant, neighborhood service. That was, after all, the impact of the parkways - they improved intra-town circulation, particularly for autos, but served more as circumferential routes and not last-mile connectors. Something, I'd argue is still their primary purpose in conducting traffic flow, with some exceptions for Longwood on the Riverway/Jamaicaway - if we're going to put busses on them, it's more likely to be an expansion of express/commuter service rather than a replacement for node-to-node routes.
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Old 05-03-2016, 02:57 PM   #213
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
We have a lot of heavy rail in places that did not have it in the Streetcar era (Orange line, incl Assembly) and peripheral commuting is also less supported. The Everett bus study has proposed a great mix of changes and it's be good to take a similarly fresh look elsewhere.

Somerville has become a tech bedroom community and also a destination for low wage service workers who have been priced out.

And in the trolley era the rules mostly excluded transit from parkways.

Is this just stalling to stop night service? WBUR made it sound like Aloisi's Copley bus Hub was going to happen independently given its no-rail and cheap money. Is that wrong? And is it right to say that system work is a plot to stall it?
Arlington -- Most significantly since the trolley-era there are many many private, municipal or organizational minibuses running routes both parallel and crossing the T's bus routes

An appropriately scoped study would review how Lexpress, MASCO Shuttle [Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization], Charles River Transportation Management Association [EZ-Ride] and the Rt-128 Business Council Buses, etc., can best be integrated into the overall system



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Old 05-03-2016, 04:12 PM   #214
Digital_Islandboy
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
You continue to come up with unworkable solutions to solvable problems.
The MBTA was sued by privacy groups over retaining too much customer data. I don't think anybody in that dept. would want to go through that headache all over again.

http://archive.boston.com/news/local...on_of_privacy/

Last edited by Digital_Islandboy; 05-03-2016 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:13 AM   #215
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by Digital_Islandboy View Post
Step 1) Download the app "Commonwealth Connect" -- http://www.cityofboston.gov/DoIT/app...lthconnect.asp

iPhone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comm...5702?ls=1&mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...nwealthconnect

2) Report it. You can report ANYTHING out of order, or not where it should be in Massachusetts.
I've done this through 311. The response back is that BTD would have to do a traffic study because all of the signals along D street are coordinated. The bigger issue is that the traffic engineers at BTD in charge of all the signals have a car-first mentality. They give lip service to "complete streets" and a "balanced transportation system," but when it comes to taking any signal time away from cars, they won't do it.
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Old 05-04-2016, 02:11 PM   #216
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by CantabAmager View Post

The development in the densest parts of Greater Boston followed these contours, while street-railway certainly did instigate development in streetcar suburbs, they traveled along well-established route through the more urban areas of Cambridge, Charlestown (when Somerville was part of Charlestown), and Boston. If anything, the increasing dominances of Boston and Cambridge as the "workshop of New England" is the historical pattern which was only substantially disrupted starting around 1930-1940, so more and more our current travel patterns reflect our former travel patterns.
Cantab-- There is a fine thesis on the role of the geology and topography on the development of Greater Boston in general and the Charles River Basin in particular -- it predates most of the modern developments since it dates from about 100 years ago -- yet it seem somewhat prescient

The work “The Development of the Charles River Basin” in New Boston, November 1911 is by Arthur Shurcliff [aka Arthur A. Shurtleff] the well-known local landscape architect and planner who is actually the person responsible for a lot of what we call Olmstead's Emerald Necklace as it exists today

Arthur A. Shurcliff, Map of the Existing and Proposed Circumferential Thoroughfares of the District and Their Connections (Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Metropolitan Improvements Commission, 1909) an additional work with an accompanying "highway map"


Note Shurcliffs written text is unavailable except in page image form -- so I apologize in advance for the difficulty of reading it here -- the accompanying url is the references section will let you enlarge as well as page through the text







[img]https://ia800309.us.archive.org/BookReader/BookReaderImages.php?zip=/24/items/publicimprovemen00mass/publicimprovemen00mass_jp2.zip&file=publicimprovem en00mass_jp2/publicimprovemen00mass_0241.jp2&scale=4&rotate=0[/img



Ref: [sourced from articles in the Wikipedia, and https://www.masshist.org/calendar/event?event=1513,
http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~des00001,
https://tclf.org/pioneer/arthur-asahel-shurcliff,
https://landscapenotes.com/2015/03/0...n-urban-jewel/,
http://www.esplanadeassociation.org/...8.14.12-sm.pdf,
http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dcr/pro...176history.pdf, and
https://archive.org/stream/publicimp...e/228/mode/2up

Quote:
Arthur Asahel Shurcliff [aka Arthur Asahel Shurtleff ] was born in Boston, Massachusetts, received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT 1894 and upon the advice of Charles Eliot and Frederick Law Olmsted, enrolled at Harvard University for studies in art history, surveying, horticulture and design. After his graduation in 1896, he joined Olmsted's Brookline landscape architecture firm as well as helping Charles Eliot formalize Harvard’s course of landscape studies.

He served as a consultant to the Boston Park Dept. for several decades and as chief landscape architect for the Metropolitan District Commission. An accomplished essayist, inventor and painter, Shurcliff’s interests in American history, traditional landscape and horticulture richly informed his professional practice. Additional Boston works include the Paul Revere Mall (also called The Prado) in the North End, and the John Harvard Mall in Charlestown, both located along the Freedom Trail.

Arthur A. Shurcliff was a founding member of the American City Planning Institute and was elected a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1905; he served as ASLA’s president, 1928-1932.

Damming of the river in 1908 created a broad river basin with a constant water level of fresh water and a 100’ wide strip of land was created along the southern edge of the Charles River from the Longfellow Bridge west to Charlesgate and the outflow of the Muddy River. Shurcliff created this park. All of the plantings designed for brackish water of the Tidal Charles in the Fens needed to be replaced by plantings designed for constant level fresh water. Shurcliff was the principal architect responsible for this transformation, as well as the construction of the Rose Garden and athletic facilities in the Fens, the Zoo and Golf Course in Franklin Park.

In the 1930’s after Storrow Drive was constructed there was new land created along the boundary of the river to compensate for the land taken for the Parkway – Shurcliff was its architect, designing almost everything including the benches [Shurcliff Benches a style still in use today]
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Old 05-04-2016, 02:55 PM   #217
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

Whigh - I have actually come across an online text version of the Shurcliff Report or a variation thereof. I need to dig around my bookmarks, but it was a slightly condensed version of his metropolitan travel thesis for some urban planning academic journal (I can't remember the name) a few years after the release of the 1909 Report and I'm 80% sure it was hosted by website with a Cornell.edu address. It reproduces the same diagrams from the report - some of which can also be found (sans text) on WardMaps. I've read both, fascinating reads; the whole 1909 report is worth a look-over for sure.

If you're interested, the report itself birthed a few prodigal sons (both of which are hosted at archive.org). The first was a 1915 Report by the City Planning Board that further developed some of the points in the Shurcliff report with a narrower focus on the central business areas; it included some specifications of potential through- and cross-town routes (including a spec report of proto-NSRL) and shows a clear intention on the part of city planners to unwind the warren of old streets. The next is the 1930 "Report on a Thoroughfare Plan for Boston" which further develops Shurcliff's ideas for the "modern auto age" (where autos were expected to travel not more than 30mph) and proposes a host of changes to better conduct travel through Boston (this report analyzes both the CBD and the city as a whole).

It's interesting for a few reasons: A) it's one the first, true data-driven traffic analyses conducted by any American planning agency and in that, it's a nationally-important work, B) it establishes a scientific methodology for systemic analyses of the City's roads based on "travel time" as a metric for future road project design and construction rather than distance, rural coverage, and condition/material make-up of roads which had previously driven most roadway plans at both state and Federal levels , and C) it's the seminal transitionary work between the pre-Auto and Interstate eras, you can really see the progression over-time.

Shurcliff's notion about the inadequacy of circumferential transit has driven some MBTA bus/streetcar designations. The 66, 86, and 1 are all elongated/combined versions of formerly node-to-node routes stretched out to cover more ground. However, the node-to-node routes have also proven useful over time particularly in BERy's successful (and at the time, revolutionary) construction of transfer stations. Harvard, Dudley, Forest Hills, Broadway, and Sullivan all featured innovative transfer systems, of which only the newish Harvard bus tunnel really retains the quality of construction and function (and possibly the new Forest Hills and the Red-Silver loop at SS). That's a former strategy or emphasis that I think should be pursued vigorously in the future, more so that tinkering in any major way with the alignments.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:33 AM   #218
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Originally Posted by CantabAmager View Post
Whigh - I have actually come across:

an online text version of the Shurcliff Report or a variation thereof... a slightly condensed version of his metropolitan travel thesis for some urban planning academic journal....It reproduces the same diagrams from the report - some of which can also be found (sans text) on WardMaps.....

If you're interested, the report itself birthed a few prodigal sons (both of which are hosted at archive.org):
....a 1915 Report by the City Planning Board that further developed some of the points in the Shurcliff report with a narrower focus on the central business areas; it included some specifications of potential through- and cross-town routes (including a spec report of proto-NSRL) and shows a clear intention on the part of city planners to unwind the warren of old streets.
....The next is the 1930 "Report on a Thoroughfare Plan for Boston" which further develops Shurcliff's ideas for the "modern auto age" (where autos were expected to travel not more than 30mph) and proposes a host of changes to better conduct travel through Boston (this report analyzes both the CBD and the city as a whole).....

Shurcliff's notion about the inadequacy of circumferential transit has driven some MBTA bus/streetcar designations. The 66, 86, and 1 are all elongated/combined versions of formerly node-to-node routes stretched out to cover more ground. However, the node-to-node routes have also proven useful over time particularly in BERy's successful (and at the time, revolutionary) construction of transfer stations. Harvard, Dudley, Forest Hills, Broadway, and Sullivan all featured innovative transfer systems,
.
Cantab -- Shurcliff was one of the visionaries in the late 19th and early 20th C who gave us the Greater Boston that is today's rapidly developing "Knowledge Age Global City-State"

Today, we have a whole lot of people who are always ready and willing to promote themselves through the media -- but there is very very little substance to back-up their headlines and sound bites.

Please provide the links to the documents that you have unearthed -- this is the kind of seriously researched and carefully authored material [quite rare these days] that can derail long-winded but vacuous exchanges before they even start to happen
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:51 AM   #219
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

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Please provide the links to the documents that you have unearthed -- this is the kind of seriously researched and carefully authored material [quite rare these days] that can derail long-winded but vacuous exchanges before they even start to happen
Here are the links:
Online text of Shurcliff' (he was still "Shurtleff" in 1911 apparently) addendum to the 1909 Report reproduced as an article in a 1911 edition Landscape Architecture

A Boston City Planning Board Report from 1914 developing themes from the 1909 Report titled "Larger aspects of passenger transportation in metropolitan Boston"

The "Report on a thoroughfare plan for Boston" that I mentioned above. It also contains an addendum covering the historical development of Boston's streets by Elizabeth Herlihy; the Herlihy report is cited extensively in latter histories, particularly the "Planning the City Upon the Hill" by Lawrence Kennedy, so well worth read.

Here's the 1948 "Master Highway Plan for the Boston Metropolitan Era for good measure.

Bonus: A 1936 Works Progress Administration report about metropolitan traffic, I've used this one before because it's a) actually a decent, well-rounded history and b) is not endorsing improvements, but has a stricter focus on presenting traffic and financial date concerning the Metropolitan street network.

There's a lot more where these come from.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:00 PM   #220
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Re: MBTA Bus & BRT

The the improvements to route 39 (bus bulb outs) ever happen?

That was a 2006 confirmed project
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