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Old 12-09-2015, 09:31 PM   #1941
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
Not in Somerville, Medford, and Cambridge if GLX gets canceled.
Don't forget Everett and Malden voters. Like Cambridge they also derive almost no benefit from the project, but if voters will be motivated by somewhat close-by transit investments being canceled we should add them into the electoral mix as well.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:34 PM   #1942
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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I walk with purpose, about a 15 minute mile. Those distance are about 2/3 mile.
That sounds about right for me as well.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:34 PM   #1943
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

Hmm well currently Inman Square isn't served by a rail line and is in Cambridge and with the Union Square station the center of the neighborhood would be a 9 minute walk.

That seems like a reasonable walk to me.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:37 PM   #1944
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Wouldn't it be more logical to cut the College Ave branch and keep Union? Union is by far the biggest commercial district in the GLX project corridors and it also represents the best place for dense TOD development. When I look at Gilman through College, I just see a lot of moderately dense development with few infill opportunities, one smallish commercial district in Ball Square, only moderately patronized bus routes, and two stations (washington and ball) already within a 10 minute walk of rapid transit.
How many times does this have to be explained before this stops getting pitched as a viable retreat?

1) You have already spent $⅓B in expensive culvert work on the Lowell ROW and bought 51 properties in support of the full-build that are essentially worthless to try to recoup for redev if it isn't built out to Gilman and points beyond. The Medford branch and the carhouse-dependent Phase II segments are where bulk of the pre- sunk cost is concentrated. You salvage nothing out of what was lost by cutting that branch but not the other.

2) The Lechmere viaduct relocation and flyover ramps over the Fitchburg ROW are two of the most expensive pieces of steel and concrete yet to be paid out. So you WILL spend >$1B on the project just building Union, then have to explain to the public why you dug deeper for a "solution" that does absolutely nothing to salvage any value out of the sunk costs that are everywhere BUT the Union Branch. If you think people are outraged now, the pretzel logic required to frame that argument is going to be impossible to sell.

3) The nukes come out in Somerville with the voters, the pols (and electoral threats therein), and the lawsuits all the same...with no blunted edges...if the retreat is just Union. Medford branch is the far bigger corridor with far more acute transportation need. And also the corridor where property values that have risen to-date in advance of GLX are going to contract with it taken away. Union's rising values are from the tag team of GLX + tearing down McGrath, and spillover down Somerville Ave. from Cambridge. Immediate Union environs can feasibly survive a cancellation, but the entire city of Somerville is going to get a short/mid-term revenue shock with the market correction that would happen out to Tufts with a cancellation. And that puts enough stress on town finances to make everyone's lives miserable with cut services and plans deferred for the few years until things even out and values start to--more slowly--rise again.



Union is not a viable fallback position. That's why there was zero mention of it in today's presentation. They either try to refinance the whole shebang with a new bidding process or cancel ALL of it and take their beating on closeout sunk costs. Half-and-halfs make the end-result bloodletting worse, not better, in the real world.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:38 PM   #1945
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

Inman proximity is another reason the Union branch should probably be preserved before the College Ave one.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:38 PM   #1946
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Hmm well currently Inman Square isn't served by a rail line and is in Cambridge and with the Union Square station the center of the neighborhood would be a 9 minute walk.
It's a ten minute walk to Central too. I don't know the busses all that well but aren't there at least two that stop near Inman too?
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:46 PM   #1947
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Originally Posted by belmont square View Post
Baker got crushed in Somerville in '14 (lost to Coakley by 11,000 votes with 22,000 cast in total). Somerville had 50% turnout in '14.
Cx the GLX and watch turnout rise with an additional 5,000 anti Baker voters. Similar surge in Area IV/Inman Sq Cambridge)

(And side note: any Democrats who lose, lose in their primary.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:46 PM   #1948
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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It's a ten minute walk to Central too. I don't know the busses all that well but aren't there at least two that stop near Inman too?
You're totally missing the point. The political issue will be primarily about $$, not transit access. Yes, transit advocates will scream about transit loss along the corridor and politicians will do their part there; but yes, most average people, even Somerville people, won't turn out to vote in increased numbers because of that. But a smart politician - which Joe Curtatone is - will focus on the very real economic effects for property owners. Threats to personal finance, even if it's just perceived, gets people to vote.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:48 PM   #1949
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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How many times does this have to be explained before this stops getting pitched as a viable retreat?

3) The nukes come out in Somerville with the voters, the pols (and electoral threats therein), and the lawsuits all the same...with no blunted edges...if the retreat is just Union. Medford branch is the far bigger corridor with far more acute transportation need. And also the corridor where property values that have risen to-date in advance of GLX are going to contract with it taken away. Union's rising values are from the tag team of GLX + tearing down McGrath, and spillover down Somerville Ave. from Cambridge. Immediate Union environs can feasibly survive a cancellation, but the entire city of Somerville is going to get a short/mid-term revenue shock with the market correction that would happen out to Tufts with a cancellation. And that puts enough stress on town finances to make everyone's lives miserable with cut services and plans deferred for the few years until things even out and values start to--more slowly--rise again.
I apologize for being obtuse, but let me make sure I've got this straight:

- decision is made to require a major transit capital investment in a corridor where current bus volumes are well below what they are in other underserved parts of the system (because the ROW happens to be there)

- one of the core arguments for the extension (EJ community) gets slowly erased as Cambridge and Davis spillover leads to gentrification in corridor (a decade before the actual service is expected)

- the end of the corridor that can support the greatest amount of new density and already supports the highest levels of bus ridership in the project (Union) is less critical than areas with scant opportunities for new density and demonstrably lower bus demand

- taxpayers statewide should pick up the tab because people who made home buying decisions in an area currently lacking rail transit (presumably because they were attracted to all the other things this part of Somerville already offers) instead of in the many other more affordable areas that already have rail rapid transit.

- even though this irrational choice by someone who values living near transit but chooses to buy property in an area not currently near transit can be explained by all the other amenities in the area, the continued absence of the transit project will make them regret their decision to buy near all of these other amenities that clearly drove their decision.

I'm trying to get it, I really am.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:48 PM   #1950
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Baker got crushed in Somerville in '14 (lost to Coakley by 11,000 votes with 22,000 cast in total). Somerville had 50% turnout in '14.
I did that math here: http://www.archboston.org/community/...postcount=1860

Taking the exact same 2014 margins of victory but upping Somerville's turnout from 47% to 60%, Medford's turnout from 54% to 60%, Cambridge's turnout from 51% to 60%, and Boston's turnout from 41% to 50% narrows Baker's margin of victory over Coakley from 40,000 votes to less than 7000 and a recount. And that's with a laboratory vacuum of same margins and absolutely zero change of margins or turnout in any other municipality statewide, with no spillover elsewhere to a change in turnout in those 4 places.

You better believe the GLX host municipalities wield that big a stick. 60% isn't exactly eye-popping turnout, and 50% in Boston-proper is still dregs-of-earth low. And yet that's all it takes...in real math, not conjecture and assumptions about suburbanites not giving sharts.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:51 PM   #1951
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Originally Posted by meddlepal View Post
It's a ten minute walk to Central too. I don't know the busses all that well but aren't there at least two that stop near Inman too?
There are buses that run in all directions from Inman, the most frequent (91) runs to Central. It's not super viable for the evening commute given Centrals lack of shelter for terminating buses and Prospect's propensity to back up to high heavens. There's also the 69 which runs between Harvard and Lechmere, but it's slow as molasses.

During the morning commute, the 91 works, but dealing with Central during morning rush is never fun. I think my worst morning was 4 trains rolling by packed without being able to get on.

If the GLX keeps Red Line trains from filling up at Davis during rush hour, that'd be reason enough for any Cantabrigian to throw support behind the project.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:51 PM   #1952
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

The MBTA is required to build the GLX, according to the CLF lawsuit and whatnot, to "Medford Hillside." There is some disagreement between MassDOT and CLF as to what "Medford Hillside" means as CLF says that the extension needs to be built to the Route 16 location while MassDOT maintains that College Ave fulfils that requirement. This is why the Medford Branch is not getting stations trimmed out or outright canceled.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:52 PM   #1953
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Originally Posted by citylover94 View Post
Hmm well currently Inman Square isn't served by a rail line and is in Cambridge and with the Union Square station the center of the neighborhood would be a 9 minute walk.

That seems like a reasonable walk to me.
RE: That's a curious route. There's a current alternative. Right at corner of Prospect Street/Western Avenue with Mass. Ave is a station entrance to the Red Line. Plus Red Line runs FAR more frequent than Commuter Rail.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:02 PM   #1954
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Taking the exact same 2014 margins of victory but upping Somerville's turnout from 47% to 60%, Medford's turnout from 54% to 60%, Cambridge's turnout from 51% to 60%, and Boston's turnout from 41% to 50% narrows Baker's margin of victory over Coakley from 40,000 votes to less than 7000 and a recount. And that's with a laboratory vacuum of same margins and absolutely zero change of margins or turnout in any other municipality statewide, with no spillover elsewhere to a change in turnout in those 4 places.

You better believe the GLX host municipalities wield that big a stick. 60% isn't exactly eye-popping turnout, and 50% in Boston-proper is still dregs-of-earth low. And yet that's all it takes...in real math, not conjecture and assumptions about suburbanites not giving sharts.
That's eye popping turnout in non presidential election years. I don't have time to go look through all the cities but Boston consistently hovered low to mid-40's except for 2008 and 2012. Unless I completely mis-read the numbers on the Boston Elections website, which is possible since I am tired.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:06 PM   #1955
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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A lot of this assumes the people who even vote even think about transportation as the defining issue. There's a lot of other crap that captures peoples attention.
Such as..."$750M in sunk cost, and I stopped listening to everything you said after that."

You're relying on voter short attention theatre to explain why none of this is politically damaging, but you have yet to explain how the ^above^ short attention-span theatre can be placated. They don't give a shit about other issues, but they'll listen to your nuanced "at least it's not worse" explanation and come away satisfied? Huh? In what universe does that actually happen? The daily media rabble Joe Blow feeds and on-the-street gripes Joe Blow shares provide reams of evidence to the contrary. This IS the primary source of taxpayer outrage at their gov't, and the reaction is so instantaneous it's nearly unconscious. Money for nothing is money for nothing is money for nothing.

You have to explain why nuanced explanation matters here for upselling "money for nothing, but at least it's not worse" to short attention spans...but doesn't matter at all for anything else.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:26 PM   #1956
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

$750m in sunk cost is a big number, but I do think a lot of voters would gladly say 750m lost is better than overrun of $1bn.

Regardless, why are trying to console ourselves that "Baker won't do this because Somervillian votes"? Baker may well be willing to conduct "political suicide" - Remember that there's a governor in New Jersey and yet he was willing to cancel with all kinds of sunk costs and everything? Just because eventually there will be political pain, we can't just assume he will do as we "hoped".

And I quoted hope that I do not hope we just accept the bloated cost plan. That we don't just merely "refinance" - if it implies accepting the hugely marked up price made in bad faith and go pay for it by bonds, fees, and taxes. I'm pretty sure that will very politically bad too if the end result is we get GLX but we accept getting ripped off too. I'm sure a narrative of "Baker accepts paying $1bn more than planned and will fix it by bonds" would also drive up anti-Baker votes in areas outside of Somerville (and I suspect Somerville will only marginally more for Baker a little more).

Thus where this is going better be some kind of what Arlington said that we will approach WSK saying "Between cancellation and re-bidding there's near-zero chance you (White Skanska Kiewit) are going to get this work as it stands, since we will cancel at current costs.... But we may build it if competitive bidding lowers our cost..."
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:41 PM   #1957
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Rest of the state is going to see $750M in sunk cost for nothing other than drainage improvements for the hipsters of Somerville and say "Great deal! Such fiscal responsibility!"?

Explain.
Mass. is full of false starts. Silver Line has been done in pieces. The tunnel to connect the Dudley Branch to South Station still hasn't been done. North-South Rail Link wasn't done even though a large part of the cost of the Big Dig was the idea of having walls that extend from the Central Artery's tunnel and extends down to bedrock so that the soil below could be hollowed out later for the North-South rail link tunnel to be dug out below the current road tunnel.

The monorail at Logan Airport was never done as part of the original Logan2000 plan.

Also keep in mind Worcester has a larger population than Somerville and Medford combined. Worcester is the second most populous city in all of New England. It doesn't even have one single subway station. Only bus transit, and a commuter rail station. If voters really agitated for transit Worcester would probably have at least one subway line by now considering that Somerville would be in line to obtain several on top of the current Davis Sq. + Assembly Sq. stations it already has.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:45 PM   #1958
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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That's eye popping turnout in non presidential election years. I don't have time to go look through all the cities but Boston consistently hovered low to mid-40's except for 2008 and 2012. Unless I completely mis-read the numbers on the Boston Elections website, which is possible since I am tired.
For state elections? Nope. The only mid-40's were for Patrick vs. Baker '10, the January special election for Ted Kennedy's seat in '10, and Baker vs. Coakley '14.

2004: 55.7%
2006: 56.5%
2008: 62.1%
2010: 44.3%
Jan. 2010 Senate special election: 42.9%
2012: 65.9%
2014: 42.0%

I don't have '02 and '00 numbers, other than an old Globe article saying '04 topped '02 by modest margin. So I'm going to guess that was a >50%, and '00 being a super-competitive Presidential year also being >50%.

Again...if Boston had cracked 50 last year at the same margin of victory, we would've had an automatic recount of the Governor's race. 50 has been topped more often than not in even-numbered years throughout the low-engagement 21st century. Write off at one's own peril.
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:54 PM   #1959
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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Originally Posted by Digital_Islandboy View Post
If voters really agitated for transit Worcester would probably have at least one subway line by now
Voters get much angrier at stuff you take away (like Cx'ing the GLX) than stuff you never propose (like Worcester rail transit).

cx=cancel, an abbreviation I think I got from the airlines.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:40 PM   #1960
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Re: Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

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$750m in sunk cost is a big number, but I do think a lot of voters would gladly say 750m lost is better than overrun of $1bn.
You guys don't get it.

NOBODY IS LISTENING to the "Well, it could've been worse" half of that message. By the time you have said that Joe Taxpayer is already mid-rant about how the government has pissed more of their tax dollars away and tuned out the second half of your statement. "Well, it could've been worse" isn't a comfort, it's a reinforcing dose of negativity.

Again: can somebody cite an ACTUAL EXAMPLE of a taxpayer money-for-nothing situation where the outrage has been placated that way? With no token tangible thing salvaged from it like an "oh, but at least 93 is a little better with the tunnel", just an abstract quote of how high the waste could've theoretically run...and that successfully nipping the outrage? Any citations from the last 30 years of Herald and talk radio archives to back that up? Anyone?

If you can't back up this supposition about voter psychology re: gov't waste with some real examples, it's sticking head in sand with some dangerous wishful thinking.

Quote:
Regardless, why are trying to console ourselves that "Baker won't do this because Somervillian votes"? Baker may well be willing to conduct "political suicide" - Remember that there's a governor in New Jersey and yet he was willing to cancel with all kinds of sunk costs and everything? Just because eventually there will be political pain, we can't just assume he will do as we "hoped".
The Governor of New Jersey was not mathematically in any sort of electoral harm for any actions regarding cancellation of ARC. He won reelection 60-38 in 2013. The cancellation also wasn't a cancellation, but an immediate re-pivot to Gateway with NJ's own Congressional delegation leaping into action rustling the feds. And now 3 years of constant back-and-forth later we've got Christie, Cuomo, the Feds, and the Congressional delegations from 2 states setting up the formal authority that advances the project. No relation whatsoever to walking away for good, because while Christie played hard-to-get he eventually came around and signed on to a better reboot of the project.

Second, a voter participation swing of ~9.3% in the GLX host municipalities accounts for the entirety of Baker's margin of victory. In actual math, not suppositions. Those big-population places can't go off-scale high on participation and deliver him a reelection in 2018. You can posit all sorts of scenarios where he can or will prevail using real math estimates. But you cannot claim with anything other wishful thinking that this simply doesn't matter or is nothing more than an adorable figment of the Somervillean imagination. Somebody cite some reality-based evidence that it doesn't matter. Because actual electoral math paints a sphincter-clenching picture that it does.

Quote:
And I quoted hope that I do not hope we just accept the bloated cost plan. That we don't just merely "refinance" - if it implies accepting the hugely marked up price made in bad faith and go pay for it by bonds, fees, and taxes. I'm pretty sure that will very politically bad too if the end result is we get GLX but we accept getting ripped off too. I'm sure a narrative of "Baker accepts paying $1bn more than planned and will fix it by bonds" would also drive up anti-Baker votes in areas outside of Somerville (and I suspect Somerville will only marginally more for Baker a little more).

Thus where this is going better be some kind of what Arlington said that we will approach WSK saying "Between cancellation and re-bidding there's near-zero chance you (White Skanska Kiewit) are going to get this work as it stands, since we will cancel at current costs.... But we may build it if competitive bidding lowers our cost..."
Agreed. But that kind of action would actually impress some voters by 1) trying to salvage something real instead of doing the "It could've been worse" negative reinforcement that never ever works; and 2) going after the bad guys to make them feel pain for screwing us. Both of them. WSK's sins aren't punished if the project is just removed and everyone loses...especially if there's no mechanism to blackball them on future bids like the Big Dig contractor grifters weren't blackballed. You actually have to use the free market as a weapon to punish them by getting a re-bid that steals the job away or makes them forfeit the insanest over-padding of their profit margins and explain that to their shareholders. That's playing the short attention-span voter psychology to good effect. If people are mad that we got screwed and mad that there's three-quarters of a billion in sunk cost...they want to see vengeance against those who wronged them if they're not going to get anything tangible salvaged from the fleecing. If that doesn't mean definitive comeuppance for the contractors on their own turf of profit-and-loss, the only other alternative is comeuppance through counting of votes on the pols own turf.

This is why I have to keep hammering against the oversimplistic fantasy that a cut-and-run is so neat, tidy, and consequence-free. Nobody's going to be placated by "it could've been worse" when they're out for blood before those words are even uttered. They're out for blood. Either salvage something net-gain in the real world out of it so they're not out for as much blood, serve up some bad guys on a platter...or they'll take your "it could've been worse" negative reinforcement and find their own bad guys to serve up on a platter. With only mechanism for that being in a voting booth at the precise time when a cancellation decision is freshest. Either way somebody's hands are going to get dirty.

A whole lot of math and a whole lot of Voter Outrage Psych 101 presents evidence in triplicate of that being the way it usually goes down. Got a counterargument? Present your evidence, not wishful thinking repeated.
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