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Old 05-04-2012, 05:26 PM   #1
cozzyd
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Reasonable Transit Pitches

Here is the non-crazy thread some (Matthew, Riverside) were requesting!

And, one idea to start:

Bus Route 1 Improvements

Justification:

The 1 is always overcrowded and often backed up because of people getting on. Often times, several will come in a row because the first one is so slow boarding people.

Proposition:

1) Use articulated buses for more room. Is there any reason that won't work? I suppose the bus stops will need to be bigger (less parking, maybe harder for bikes to get around), but I think it would be worth it.

2) Add an automatic fare gate in the back, similar to what one needs to get in the subway. That way people with tickets and passes can get on without having to pay in the front. The front area could somehow be expanded so more people who pay with cash could wait while the bus is already moving.

3) Some parking can be removed (even if rush hour only) to make for a bus only lane in spots where traffic backs up a lot? From Central Square to Hynes might be a good place to start.

4) Add some relief routes so that the 1 isn't the only choice to go across the T lines. Here's one example that can connect the Orange + E + Kenmore + Harvard: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...57844,0.132093 Perhaps it would be better to route via Beacon + Park/Mountfort instead of Commonwealth between Kenmore and the BU bridge.
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Old 05-04-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
Matthew
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

As for (2) I would love for the T to implement rear-door boarding on all its buses and light rail vehicles, as San Francisco is doing. From my experience when I visited there, boarding is a lot quicker that way.

It seems to me that the 1 gets stuck on the bridge a lot, and I'm not sure if it's politically possible to wrestle a bus lane away from drivers. Maybe an option is to take 1 lane and make it a bus flow/contra-flow lane depending on the time of day.

As for (4) what about the 47 and the CT2 buses?
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:00 PM   #3
HenryAlan
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

The 1 should become a branch of the Silver Line, and yes, that includes dedicating lanes on much of the route. Both Silver and Green Lines should switch to proof of payment, which would eliminate boarding delays.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:56 PM   #4
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I think a good case can be made for a building a stand-alone trolley running in the HV electric transmission line ROW which will link the Waltham, Lexington and Burlington High Tech Clusters along Rt-128

especially as these clusters redevelop into the new downtowns for Rt-128:
1) Former Polaroid at Rt-20 in Waltham
2) Prospect Hill / Winter St. in Waltham
3) Hanscom in Lexington
4) Hartwell Ave in Lexington
5) NW Park in Burlington
6) Netwok Drive in Burlington / Bedford

Ultimately (Crazy excursion) this Mattapan -type line should be connected to the Red Line and Kendall
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Now I'm confused, whigh. Extending rail from Boston to the suburbs is crazy, but an intra-suburban trolley servicing auto-centric office parks connected by low-density residential is reasonable? If people commuting to the high tech clusters are already using car to arrive at work, what is the value proposition in using a trolley between any of these locales?
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:21 PM   #6
whighlander
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by omaja View Post
Now I'm confused, whigh. Extending rail from Boston to the suburbs is crazy, but an intra-suburban trolley servicing auto-centric office parks connected by low-density residential is reasonable? If people commuting to the high tech clusters are already using car to arrive at work, what is the value proposition in using a trolley between any of these locales?
omaja -- there is a bit of a schism as the money cotrolling T expansion is in the suburbs and while there are some needs in the core such as the Red/Blue connect and the DTX to State pedestrian tunnel; Kendall services -- costs of any inner city expansion are very very high and hence the CBA comes out marginal

Meanwhile in the NW Rt-128 burbs which can be argured are the core region of High Tech
the original Parks are evolving into "downtowns" or at least what the developers envision as such. The conjestion on Rt-128 is getting worse and after the lane additions south of Rt-9 and east of Rt-93 and the 93/128 Woburn flyover -- there is very little than can be done to enhane the capacity of Rt-128.

So a good case can be made for investment in transit where its costs are lower and the benefits are comparable. Note that the plans for these new "downtowns" include more office space than at present combined with residences, hotel and retail with pedestrian friendly streets. Note also that the ROW already exists for the electric power lines

Thus while none of these are immenant -- I'd certainly not put them in the same Crazy slot as extending the Orange Line to Needham or building the N/S rail link -- hence these kind of ideas can be placed in the new thread of Reasonable Transit Pitches
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:43 AM   #7
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
I think a good case can be made for a building a stand-alone trolley running in the HV electric transmission line ROW which will link the Waltham, Lexington and Burlington High Tech Clusters along Rt-128

especially as these clusters redevelop into the new downtowns for Rt-128:
1) Former Polaroid at Rt-20 in Waltham
2) Prospect Hill / Winter St. in Waltham
3) Hanscom in Lexington
4) Hartwell Ave in Lexington
5) NW Park in Burlington
6) Netwok Drive in Burlington / Bedford

Ultimately (Crazy excursion) this Mattapan -type line should be connected to the Red Line and Kendall
But why?

You link Lexington, Burlington, and Waltham with a trolley, and so now these three locales with minimal to zero demand for being linked to each other are now connected. Meanwhile, all three locales which want better access to and from downtown are still boarding a bus somewhere if they aren't at the mercy of the Fitchburg Line at Waltham Station.

I don't see this working without one of those destinations getting rapid transit into Boston first.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:57 AM   #8
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

^ Right. Without a flow of reverse commuters from the city via a Red Line extension or some sort of Fitchburg EMU/DMU line to Rte 128 where's the demand for travel between office parks along the highway? Unless you happen to work for a company in Burlington and live off of 128 in Waltham, who's traveling between them on a day to day basis? Park and Riders?

Seeing as we won't get rapid transit reaching 128 via Fitchburg EMU/DMU (Belmont NIMBY) nor Red Line under Minuteman (Arlington NIMBY) any time in the foreseeable future, a standalone LRV line would be of little utility on the 128 corridor.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:17 AM   #9
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I like this thread. Thank you, cozzyd, for making it!

One thing I'm wondering about is what counts as "reasonable"? Clearly improved Fairmount Line service is happening, so that's reasonable, but how about running DMUs on it? That is the sort of thing that could happen rather suddenly and rapidly, if, for example, the feds gave the money as part of a stimulus package.

But does that count as a reasonable pitch?

Well, assuming that it does, , I would run DMUs on the Fairmount and Worcester Lines (out to Auburndale on the Worcester Line), and build in-fill stations at Allston and Brighton.

Hmm, but it occurs to me that I know absolutely nothing about the signalling along that corridor... does CSX (still) dispatch on that stretch along the MassPike? How hard would it be to add 15-20 headways during peak hours?
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:45 AM   #10
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
^ Right. Without a flow of reverse commuters from the city via a Red Line extension or some sort of Fitchburg EMU/DMU line to Rte 128 where's the demand for travel between office parks along the highway? Unless you happen to work for a company in Burlington and live off of 128 in Waltham, who's traveling between them on a day to day basis? Park and Riders?

Seeing as we won't get rapid transit reaching 128 via Fitchburg EMU/DMU (Belmont NIMBY) nor Red Line under Minuteman (Arlington NIMBY) any time in the foreseeable future, a standalone LRV line would be of little utility on the 128 corridor.
Buses-Aint--- the point of the Electric Transmission ROW Line is that each of these research complexes wants to develop some mix of retail, residential, hotel, and office/R&D -- just like there is a demand for connections between the Back Bay, the FID, Longwood, Kendall and the SPID cores in Boston/Cambridge -- so too will there be a demand for longitudinal commuting between Polaroid and Network, Hanscom and Prospect Hill/Winter St.

In the current plan -- that demand for longitudinal travel can only be met by getting on and off Rt-128

Of course the reverse commute from Cambridge and even Boston would add some additional value to the Electric Transmission ROW Light Rail Line -- But there is the issue of how to connect it -- in the mean time after the Line is built people on the reverse commute could take a highly effecient reverse commute shuttle Bus from Alewife up Rt-2 to the Hanscom Terminal Station
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #11
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
omaja -- there is a bit of a schism as the money cotrolling T expansion is in the suburbs and while there are some needs in the core such as the Red/Blue connect and the DTX to State pedestrian tunnel; Kendall services -- costs of any inner city expansion are very very high and hence the CBA comes out marginal

Meanwhile in the NW Rt-128 burbs which can be argured are the core region of High Tech
the original Parks are evolving into "downtowns" or at least what the developers envision as such. The conjestion on Rt-128 is getting worse and after the lane additions south of Rt-9 and east of Rt-93 and the 93/128 Woburn flyover -- there is very little than can be done to enhane the capacity of Rt-128.

So a good case can be made for investment in transit where its costs are lower and the benefits are comparable. Note that the plans for these new "downtowns" include more office space than at present combined with residences, hotel and retail with pedestrian friendly streets. Note also that the ROW already exists for the electric power lines

Thus while none of these are immenant -- I'd certainly not put them in the same Crazy slot as extending the Orange Line to Needham or building the N/S rail link -- hence these kind of ideas can be placed in the new thread of Reasonable Transit Pitches
Oh, it makes perfect sense now. A brand new suburban rail right-of-way along a power line corridor is 'reasonable' but electrifying and upgrading a current rail right-of-way is 'crazy'. Got it.

With densities like 4,000ppsm (Waltham), 1,900ppsm (Lexington) or 2,100ppsm (Burlington), none of these towns has anywhere near the demand to support intra-suburban rail. Even considering the 'downtown' developments you reference, each town would need to at least double (if not triple) its density before there would be enough critical mass for intra-suburban rail.

I'll echo the sentiments of BussesAin'Trains and Boston Commuting Student: the value of rail to the region's core cannot be understated. It would be a domino effect that would eventually lead to town centers along Route 128 asking for better transit connections. You cannot, however, start down the line and expect all of the preceding dominoes to fall as well.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:24 AM   #12
HenryAlan
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverside View Post
I like this thread. Thank you, cozzyd, for making it!

One thing I'm wondering about is what counts as "reasonable"? Clearly improved Fairmount Line service is happening, so that's reasonable, but how about running DMUs on it? That is the sort of thing that could happen rather suddenly and rapidly, if, for example, the feds gave the money as part of a stimulus package.

But does that count as a reasonable pitch?

Well, assuming that it does, , I would run DMUs on the Fairmount and Worcester Lines (out to Auburndale on the Worcester Line), and build in-fill stations at Allston and Brighton.
?
I'd like to see DMU service (if we see EMU as crazy) on most of the lines as far as Rt. 128. Some lines would also require infill stations, while other lines (EG Needham) already have rapid transit style station spacing. Frequent DMU service on the inner/urbanized sections of the commuter rail network would be a major expansion without a huge cost factor.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:31 AM   #13
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
Buses-Aint--- the point of the Electric Transmission ROW Line is that each of these research complexes wants to develop some mix of retail, residential, hotel, and office/R&D -- just like there is a demand for connections between the Back Bay, the FID, Longwood, Kendall and the SPID cores in Boston/Cambridge -- so too will there be a demand for longitudinal commuting between Polaroid and Network, Hanscom and Prospect Hill/Winter St.

In the current plan -- that demand for longitudinal travel can only be met by getting on and off Rt-128

Of course the reverse commute from Cambridge and even Boston would add some additional value to the Electric Transmission ROW Light Rail Line -- But there is the issue of how to connect it -- in the mean time after the Line is built people on the reverse commute could take a highly effecient reverse commute shuttle Bus from Alewife up Rt-2 to the Hanscom Terminal Station
Would you think that it would require building housing around these business hubs to really take off? I see your point, but I still don't think that demand along the line will be very high with just workers going back and forth, unless you nab day errand-runners who don't want to sit on Rte 128 by adding Park & Ride lots. Demand for travel through the urban cores of Boston is constant because of all the people living along those routes, as well as the daily commuters. Without residents to drive up demand, will it really take off?
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

How about this for reasonable: consolidating Green Line stops along the B, C and E branches. This would reduce the B and C branches by 5 stations each to 13 and 8, respectively. It would also consolidate the E branch to 8 stations from its current 11.

Consolidating stations would bring most interstation distances on each line to around 1200-1800 feet or 4-6 minutes walking. Much more manageable than the 500-700 feet that some stations are apart right now.

Oh, and finally switch on the damn signal prioritization along the C and E branches.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:55 AM   #15
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

^ This. Signal priority plus consolidated stops and Proof-of-Purchase/Open-Fare would drastically improve travel times to the urban core. Honestly, street cars aren't busses and shouldn't stop as frequently. The density of stops, especially on the B line, is excessive.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:05 AM   #16
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Yeah, omaja, station consolidation and signal prioritization could be done cheaply and would be very helpful.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #17
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I think getting rid of Back of the Hill and Fenwood Rd is the easiest, most reasonable transit pitch you could imagine. Talk about useless stops.

Omaja, I don't think Riverway should be dropped. It's a pretty useful connection to get from the Huntington corridor to Brookline Village. It supports the spacing scheme you've left intact.
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Old 05-05-2012, 11:56 AM   #18
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Maybe it would be better to consolidate Riverway and Mission Park at a new stop west of Colburn Street? As it stands the two stops are ~800 feet from one another. Wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to leave both, but they are somewhat redundant together.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #19
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I just think Riverway's location on that corner is perfect. It's a natural spot for a stop- a major crossroads.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:40 PM   #20
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I think at least half the T's charm is invested in having a station named "Back of the Hill". You'll pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
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