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Old 12-18-2018, 09:32 PM   #3421
Wash
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

I was talking with TransitMatter's regional rail director earlier today, and asked him how he'd solve the Braintree chokepoint on the old colony lines.

He suggested ripping out red entirely and converting the whole thing to a two-plus 1 express track regional rail corridor. This seems like a bad solution at first, but with the new room we can talk seriously about SCR via Old Colony, and if we run that plus the other three lines we're talking ten minute headways.

Yes it's a very radical change, but could it work?
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:31 PM   #3422
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Well, I could see the Red Line as three tracks instead of the current four, with the middle track reversible, AM northbound and PM southbound. That would free up space for a second track for the Old Colony line.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:58 AM   #3423
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by Wash View Post
I was talking with TransitMatter's regional rail director earlier today, and asked him how he'd solve the Braintree chokepoint on the old colony lines.

He suggested ripping out red entirely and converting the whole thing to a two-plus 1 express track regional rail corridor. This seems like a bad solution at first, but with the new room we can talk seriously about SCR via Old Colony, and if we run that plus the other three lines we're talking ten minute headways.

Yes it's a very radical change, but could it work?
No, it would not work and it's a horrendously bad idea. It would worsen headways to Dorchester and Quincy, because they can't be dispatched as tightly out of an open-network terminal like South Station with interdependencies on every other train in/out of SS. RER is very, very good frequencies but it is NOT the same as thing as a closed-system heavy-rail subway that only has to dispatch itself between Alewife and Columbia Jct. to meet an aggressive frequency target. And those Red frequencies to the branches are set to get a lot better with the new cars, signal renewal, and dwell-taming practices anyway so the gap is set to widen in 3 years.

I can't believe a TM flak would be whispering about robbing someone's frequencies to either pay for someone else's or uphold one's own integrity-of-concept. Talk about loose lips sink ships...that is lethal for coalition-building. This better not become a habit of them.

-------------------------

SCR via the Old Colony is utter swill anyway with worse travel times, worse frequencies, and transit loss to boot (Cape rail, Middleboro station) compared to the only half-broken Stoughton Alternative. It'll never work as useful transit, and they've got threatened lawsuits from (so far) Towns of Middleboro and Taunton to stop it dead if it proceeds any further than the enriching-consultants PowerPoints stage it's in now. I firmly believe that because of the threatened lawsuits it's still Stoughton-or-bust, though they have to challenge the Army Corp's faulty DEIR on the single-track swamp trestle and factor in some serious NEC upgrades if they want to un-break the artificial capacity pinch.

-------------------------

There are only 3 OC branches, and flights-of-fancy about SCR aside there's only going to be 3 OC branches. You can run 3 branches of RER on 2 tracks; the Eastern Route is going to do exactly that without need to add tracks if Peabody/128 comes online, so nothing's unprecedented here. And the OC's not going to get bogged down on 2 tracks because the 3 inside-128 stops are all majority exit-only transfers to Red and buses with very low dwell times. Something the TM flak should've been aware of before proposing to go against the grain.

Also, density on the 3 branches has to be factored in. You can run near-"Indigo" 15-20 minute all-day frequencies to Brockton because it's the largest city en route and has a very large bus terminal. But...
  • Middleboro/Buzzards Bay isn't going to fetch crumbs at 15-20 min. levels because those are a semi-rural to rural bedroom communities comprising very spread-out geographic area. This is typical "495-land", more appropriate for 30+ min. turns. Service throttling at Brockton is going to be necessary.
  • Cape Cod is so detached from Greater Boston, with stagnant long-term population growth and transit demand that's so dependent on bridge traffic by time of day that it probably can't justify more than hourly service with maybe a slight peak surge. Probably another service throttle looming at Buzzards Bay before crossing the bridge.
  • The Plymouth Line intermediates likewise lose their quasi-"Indigo" demand south of Weymouth, and go semi-rural south of Whitman (though Abington & Whitman can be boosted on all-day demand if they joined the BAT bus district full-time). Plymouth is a decent-size city...but also physically large and very spread out, and well-detached from Greater Boston. Some service densification with the northern half of the line (possibly with infill stops) is plausible, but it's not nearly as clear-cut as the "Indigo-Brockton" example. Everywhere else is pretty clearly "495-land".
  • Greenbush's only dense region in Weymouth is well within reach of the Quincy Center bus routes, then the density falls way off around Hingham as the rest of the corridor becomes bedroom communities. Not sure there's even a clear dividing line for a mid-line service throttle here, so might as well all be considered a single "495-land" schedule.
Keep in mind that RER practices don't mean a flat hyper-dense headway everywhere to everywhere on a large, sprawling system. Under no circumstances do those practices ask the operator to bleed itself dry running the same homogenous service levels to places of heterogeneous demand. That's an essential difference from the flat headways on rapid transit & branches.

So it's fully OK if the Old Colony only has full-on "Indigo"-branded 15-20 min. headways to Brockton at the single largest multimodal and density demand catchment, but everywhere else gets grouped in with the 30+ minute schedules. It's not at all incongruous if service levels to the exurbs get throttled down, because that's what we'll be doing anyway for 128 vs. 495 terminating runs. And not incongrous if Hyannis has to throttle down some more for being very far-detached from Boston, because that's what we'll be doing for interstate destinations equally far like Wickford Jct. Middleboro/Cape isn't even an outlier at having multiple throttles, because if you consider Haverhill/Reading as 1 line instead of 2 separate ones it'll have the same number of throttles: Reading for "128/Indigo" frequencies, Haverhill for "495-land" frequencies, and Dover, NH for regional intercity frequencies.

What makes it all still RER-practice is that:
  • ...the schedules are clock-facing at the given headway so riders do not have to be shackled to the paper schedule to plan trips.
  • ...the schedules enhance transfer utility with last-mile transit like feeder buses (also prioritizes clock-facing).
  • ...the given headway is run bi-directionally to keep equipment efficiently in rotation instead of bottled up in layover yards as happens with peak-direction schedules.
  • ...if peak augmentation is needed, those slots should try to fit in between the clock-facing headway and disrupt it as little as possible.

It's not as complicated--or compromising--as it sounds. There's a general understanding with RER that "inside-128" is going to have more frequent service than "128-to-495" is going to have more frequent service than "intrastate intercity/across state lines". Simply because that's the broad-based way demand is organized across the system. And that's completely consistent with how the OC would get sliced/diced.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:29 PM   #3424
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by Riverside View Post
Everything else you said makes perfect sense, particularly given the other freight customers that I didn't know about (and thanks for all the detail!). I also like your suggested reconfiguration around JFK/UMass, although I wonder if it might be simpler just to add a flying junction south of Savin Hill, at the location of the old Harrison Square station, where the Ashmont Line turns west, freeing up the Braintree tracks north of there?
  1. Savin Hill is a very low-ridership station (2nd-lowest on all Red), so full-on mainline frequencies are a big waste there.
  2. For taking ailing trains out-of-service from the subway you need crossover options and most conflict-free pick of empty platform berths at a location closest to the portal in order to dump passengers and/or minimize delays reversing to Cabot Yard. Busting JFK down to a single island platform is going to hurt recovery time from a disablement by lots vs. being able to pick which nearby platform berth will be unoccupied the longest.
  3. Not a lot of room between Savin Hall and the Freeport St. bridge to split tracks and flyover. And extremely little lateral room in that stretch. Flying over closer to Clayton St. split is going to punish someone with an ill-advised slow zone by tacking on a graded incline in close proximity to a curve.
Of those #2 is the one that'll burn most frequently.

Quote:
But the quoted above is interesting. I'm not surprised to hear in general, but if memory serves, the CTA in Chicago has a couple of heavy rail grade crossings -- I think on the Ravenswood Line? That was what I had in mind when suggesting the same here. How does Chicago make it work? (Or am I misremembering?)
All of CTA's remaining grade crossings are grandfathered. And they've been trying to get rid of their last remainders for years, but can't come to a consensus on how to do it. While there's no FRA-type body lording over rapid transit, the NTSB would have a field day with that so there'll never be any allowances for new-construction HRT to have public crossings. As late as the 70's they were still considering building the Orange Line to Reading with some of the Western Route's grade crossings retained...but that was several lifetimes ago for the phenomenon of distracted driving/walking.

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Follow-up idea: in a post-Link (with an OC portal) Regional Rail world, what's the argument against converting the Red Line tracks on the Braintree Line to mainline, and running Regional Rail on them, through-running the tunnel downtown out to Porter and Waltham, or some other northside line? You still get the peak-express track, especially for south-of-Middleboro service, but get a lot more capacity overall, plus a faster ride downtown for Quincy and Braintree riders.
Quincy losing their one-seat to Kendall and Harvard is an immediate disqualifier politically, because nothing else can approximate ease of access to Cambridge. Forced transfer to a sardine can at JFK is an unacceptable substitute. Also...RER makes no assumptions that NSRL is getting built, so the wholly-future Porter possibility is irrelevant today. You must implement RER frequencies or the Link has no basis for getting built, and if RER frequencies must pre-date the Link to get it built then so must the fix for OC single-track. You can't sell RER or the track fix on the back of immediate transit loss to Cambridge or you'll get skinned alive in Quincy.

Also, in terms of raw frequencies...not all 3 OC lines qualify for the maximal 15-min. RER headway we call "Indigo" for the 128-turning lines. See my previous post for how hyper-dense service is differentiated from suburban service (or pull up the TransitMatters website where they make the same exact distinction in bullet form) while still following RER operating principles. It's probably only short-turns to Brockton can support all-day demand at 15-min. headways. The other two lines, and service past Brockton slot demographically much firmer in the 30-min. headway category. 30 minutes being pretty damn great in terms of feasible all-day demand from Greenbush, Plymouth, and Middleboro/Buzzards Bay. But it's not going to be Red frequencies, which'll be 3 minute headways to JFK and 6 to Braintree in 2021 after the signal upgrade + car procurement projects are complete.

And even if you could tweak those RER schedules to draw close to par, it's never going to be 6 mins. with a one-seat to Kendall, Harvard, MGH, and all the other big destinations inbound of JFK. That simply can't be done on any Purple Line routing current or future, and that is the be-all/end-all for (substantial!) Quincy/Braintree transit demand.
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Old 12-20-2018, 11:19 AM   #3425
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Hey there, I have a statement from Ethan Finlan, the TM Regional Rail Lead:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Finlan
"I mentioned that in the context of something that would be worth studying long-term as an option, with a need to carefully study it. I certainly did not intend to suggest that it was an official TransitMatters consideration and am very sorry for the misunderstanding. I appreciate your feedback, F-Line."

Ethan Finlan
Regional Rail Lead
TransitMatters
This was not an official TransitMatters position and should not be construed as such.

Best,
Tim L.
VP of Operations
Communications Director
TransitMatters
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Commuter Rail. Reimagined. Read the report: regionalrail.net
Electrification + High Platforms + Infrastructure + Frequent Service + Free Transfers = #REGIONALRAIL
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:35 PM   #3426
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by datadyne007 View Post
Hey there, I have a statement from Ethan Finlan, the TM Regional Rail Lead:

This was not an official TransitMatters position and should not be construed as such.
Sorry I didn't make this clear in my original post.
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Old 12-22-2018, 12:46 PM   #3427
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
RER makes no assumptions that NSRL is getting built, so the wholly-future Porter possibility is irrelevant today. You must implement RER frequencies or the Link has no basis for getting built, and if RER frequencies must pre-date the Link to get it built then so must the fix for OC single-track. You can't sell RER or the track fix on the back of immediate transit loss to Cambridge or you'll get skinned alive in Quincy.
To be clear, as I said above, this is very explicitly only an idea floated for a post-NSRL world -- something that might be circled back to after many other things. But your point is taken about the sequence of dependencies (OC single-track -> RER -> NSRL), makes sense.

Quote:
Also, in terms of raw frequencies...not all 3 OC lines qualify for the maximal 15-min. RER headway we call "Indigo" for the 128-turning lines. See my previous post for how hyper-dense service is differentiated from suburban service (or pull up the TransitMatters website where they make the same exact distinction in bullet form) while still following RER operating principles. It's probably only short-turns to Brockton can support all-day demand at 15-min. headways. The other two lines, and service past Brockton slot demographically much firmer in the 30-min. headway category. 30 minutes being pretty damn great in terms of feasible all-day demand from Greenbush, Plymouth, and Middleboro/Buzzards Bay.
So here is a question that I don't understand: you've outlined the following mainline rail services north of Quincy Center:
  • 2 tph from Greenbush
  • 2 tph from Kingston/Plymouth
  • 2 tph from Middleboro/Buzzards Bay
  • 2 tph short-turning from Brockton
which adds up to 8 tph, which would, if evenly distributed (and I'm guessing that's the kicker?) translate to headways of 7.5 minutes, which actually is better than the 9-minute peak headways the Red Line currently enjoys.

The way you framed your point here suggests that you think RER frequencies could never come close to Red frequencies, given how few of the OC lines actually qualify for 4 tph service. But this corridor is far enough upstream that it still would be 8 tph for most of it, so I guess my question is, am I missing something here? (Aside from the future Red upgrade to 10 tph.)

Is OC RER likely to be non-clock-facing, with clustering arrivals followed by 25-minute lulls? Is the assumption that the trains will be mostly full by the time they hit Quincy?

Quote:
But it's not going to be Red frequencies, which'll be 3 minute headways to JFK and 6 to Braintree in 2021 after the signal upgrade + car procurement projects are complete.
This was something else I didn't know -- yes, that, particularly combined with one-seats to MGH, Kendall etc., clearly makes a mainline conversion of the Braintree Line a non-starter, that makes sense.
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:20 AM   #3428
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by Riverside View Post
To be clear, as I said above, this is very explicitly only an idea floated for a post-NSRL world -- something that might be circled back to after many other things. But your point is taken about the sequence of dependencies (OC single-track -> RER -> NSRL), makes sense.



So here is a question that I don't understand: you've outlined the following mainline rail services north of Quincy Center:
  • 2 tph from Greenbush
  • 2 tph from Kingston/Plymouth
  • 2 tph from Middleboro/Buzzards Bay
  • 2 tph short-turning from Brockton
which adds up to 8 tph, which would, if evenly distributed (and I'm guessing that's the kicker?) translate to headways of 7.5 minutes, which actually is better than the 9-minute peak headways the Red Line currently enjoys.

The way you framed your point here suggests that you think RER frequencies could never come close to Red frequencies, given how few of the OC lines actually qualify for 4 tph service. But this corridor is far enough upstream that it still would be 8 tph for most of it, so I guess my question is, am I missing something here? (Aside from the future Red upgrade to 10 tph.)

Is OC RER likely to be non-clock-facing, with clustering arrivals followed by 25-minute lulls? Is the assumption that the trains will be mostly full by the time they hit Quincy?



This was something else I didn't know -- yes, that, particularly combined with one-seats to MGH, Kendall etc., clearly makes a mainline conversion of the Braintree Line a non-starter, that makes sense.
It's the combination of these factors that make it a nonstarter:
  • Red is evolving faster than the RER implementation, with those 6-min. headways coming in only 3 years...keeping it at king-of-heap on frequencies.
  • Because East Braintree Jct. splits those Greenbush frequencies off before Braintree Station, Braintree Station sees a 4 TPH decrease.
    • ↑Maths Note↑: Make sure to multiply your TPH's by 2 to reflect track occupancy for bi-directional service. e.g. 30 minute frequencies going both directions = 2 TPH x 2 directions = 4 TPH. In reverse, factor half of the total TPH for figuring the headway, since headway reflects unidirectional frequency to a constant destination/direction. e.g. 4 TPH 2 equal-balanced directions = 2 TPH per direction = 30-min. headway each direction
  • Quincy's commute orientation is to downtown and Cambridge, so the line-in-sand dealbreaker for them is anything that cuts them off from DTX, Park, MGH, Kendall, and Harvard. Since RER cannot make assumptions of an NSRL, transfer at JFK or South Station is acutely harmful to their commute patterns honed over nearly 50 years. And if NSRL ever does happen, transfer at Porter is no substitute for the lost one-seat destinations. That's a multi-municipality lawsuit right there drawing in many Legislators and a couple Congressional districts. A paper study has no ability to graduate to a build rec with all the opposition it'll stir up. In terms of showstoppers, loss of the one-seat job centers is bigger than raw frequencies.
  • Quincy Ctr. is the South Shore's primary bus terminal, and most bus terminals of that size are attached to rapid transit. Shearing it off to another mode with destination (primarily) and frequency compromises risks another neverending quagmire like the "equal or better" debate after Dudley bus terminal lost its rapid transit anchor with the Orange Line relocation in '87. Quincy isn't nearly Dudley's heft in sheer size so the impacts may not dominate to the degree of that 3-decade festering sore in Roxbury, but the controversies and equity debates will rage...and will dovetail with the primary objection to loss of one-seat to key downtown and Cambridge stops. If the one-seat hornet's nest doesn't kill it dead by lonesome, then the Yellow Line coattails feeding to those same destinations are the clincher.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:02 PM   #3429
Joel N. Weber II
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Red Line branch to Tufts University

What if a new deep bore tunnel were dug starting around where the Red Line crosses Summer St in Somerville, and continuing to the Tufts University station being built in Medford as part of the Green Line Extension project, in conjunction with a Tufts commuter rail platform being constructed?

http://amateurplanner.blogspot.com/2...tic-first.html claims we can't have 3 minute headways on the Red Line if all the trains have to turn around at Alewife because of limitations of the crossover and curve at Alewife. Obviously we could address this by extending the Red Line past Alewife, either with the infrastructure under the park as proposed in that blog post, or with a Lake St and/or Arlington Center station extension; but having a second branch and sending only the Braintree trains to Alewife, and sending the Ashmont trains to Tufts (or vice versa) would also address the Alewife crossover capacity bottleneck.

Enabling Lowell Line commuters to transfer to the Red Line at Tufts / College Ave in Medford also might make them less likely to drive. (I'm aware of someone who several years ago was working near Alewife Station and living somewhere near the Lowell Line who found the transit commute to be too inconvenient and drove instead, though this would require transferring at both Tufts and Porter to get from Lowell to Alewife; but Lowell to Harvard / Central / Kendall would become a two seat ride.)

An infill station near the Powder House Square rotary would also be possible.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:55 PM   #3430
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Re: Red Line branch to Tufts University

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Originally Posted by Joel N. Weber II View Post
What if a new deep bore tunnel were dug starting around where the Red Line crosses Summer St in Somerville, and continuing to the Tufts University station being built in Medford as part of the Green Line Extension project, in conjunction with a Tufts commuter rail platform being constructed?

http://amateurplanner.blogspot.com/2...tic-first.html claims we can't have 3 minute headways on the Red Line if all the trains have to turn around at Alewife because of limitations of the crossover and curve at Alewife. Obviously we could address this by extending the Red Line past Alewife, either with the infrastructure under the park as proposed in that blog post, or with a Lake St and/or Arlington Center station extension; but having a second branch and sending only the Braintree trains to Alewife, and sending the Ashmont trains to Tufts (or vice versa) would also address the Alewife crossover capacity bottleneck.

Enabling Lowell Line commuters to transfer to the Red Line at Tufts / College Ave in Medford also might make them less likely to drive. (I'm aware of someone who several years ago was working near Alewife Station and living somewhere near the Lowell Line who found the transit commute to be too inconvenient and drove instead, though this would require transferring at both Tufts and Porter to get from Lowell to Alewife; but Lowell to Harvard / Central / Kendall would become a two seat ride.)

An infill station near the Powder House Square rotary would also be possible.
Ari's wrong there. The Red Line vehicle + signal improvements program does indeed allow for an upper limit of 3-min. headways. See p. 2 of this PowerPoint file from an FCMB presentation. And also, the ruling limit on the line is not Alewife but rather Harvard curve. So assuming 3 min. (which is pretty damn good) is somehow not enough, you wouldn't be able to improve anything by making any touches out in North Cambridge. If it's anywhere north of the curve, its service is subservient to the curve.

But the 3-min. headways we're soon to get aren't a problem. The main threat to Red's vitality is that it's simply overloaded at peak by a far greater...and faster-growing...share than the other HRT lines. So tasking it to somehow carry even more of the gruntwork for the whole system is completely counterintuitive; we absolutely don't want it to become Boston's equivalent to the Lexington Avenue line where disproportionate share of the whole metro economy teeters on top of it. The major unbuilt rapid transit projects of consensus max-priority--Red-Blue, Transitway-Back Bay, Urban Ring Cambridge + Harvard spur, and even a completed GLX--all in some way directly address the areas of most acute Red Line congestion by spreading out rider distribution via more transfer options or (as in case of GLX-Medford flanking the Tufts/Powder House end of Davis) through alternate pathways.

Clear out that project backlog by getting some of those critical builds going and the city can continue growing without Red being so taxed that Harvard curve and 3-min. headways ever manifest themselves as real-world barriers to service.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:45 PM   #3431
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Make it a $10 toll to go south through the Zakim and north south of the city during the morning rush hour, reverse the toll during evening rush hour. Add a toll to the Charlestown bridge to prevent people from cutting over there. Also one on Morrissey. Use the money to pay for the NSRL and electrification of the commuter rail.

That'll be an easier sell than taxing people in Worcester and Springfield to pay for transit improvements in Boston.

The big dig straddled the city in debt and hurt the MBTA, so these tolls would make sense. Also increase tolls on the pike during rush hour.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:47 PM   #3432
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Make it a $10 toll
I know this is Crazy Transit Pitches, but you'll have riots.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:01 AM   #3433
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Instead of tolling Morrissey, why not eliminate the ramps to/from it on 93? Make Columbia Road and Granite Ave the only two ramps in the area, and force people to commit to one or the other. Now you won't have people bailing off of 93 to cut through Southie as much, and you're not really losing much access to either road in the area.
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:01 AM   #3434
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by Arenacale View Post
Instead of tolling Morrissey, why not eliminate the ramps to/from it on 93? Make Columbia Road and Granite Ave the only two ramps in the area, and force people to commit to one or the other. Now you won't have people bailing off of 93 to cut through Southie as much, and you're not really losing much access to either road in the area.
Problem with that is the Morrissey exits are the access point to Neponset Circle, North Quincy (with all its exploding development), and Gallivan Blvd./Ashmont. Quincy would scream bloody murder over all they've got riding on N. Quincy taking off as a big commercial hub, and they'd be well-justified. There's no easy way to de-couple the UMass speed trap from all the mission-critical neighborhood linkage emanating out of the Circle because of the way the ramps are spread all around between Exits 12-14.

If it were possible to. . .
  • ...do some property-taking of the car wash at Neponset Circle
  • ...stretch the rotary somewhere in the area between the shopping center and the Red Line tracks
  • ...make the rotary into a geometrically kosher half-rotary/half-frontage setup with new duck-unders of 93 for changing directions
. . .they might be able to revamp Exit 12 into a more functional single-point NB+SB interchange, delete Exit 13 (Victory Rd./Freeport St.) in total to get traffic off side streets, and put the whole length of Morrissey between Garvey Playground and Freeport St. on a great big road diet while redeveloping the hell out of that ugly stretch of plazas. Exit 14 to UMass is probably worth keeping, but with the overcapacity on Morrissey trimmed back all points south of there it can probably be compacted into a single-point traffic light at the Freeport intersection reflecting its lower volumes (with free offramp movements still permitted northbound to UMass via traffic-island turn). And then, obviously, extremely major road diet from Exit 14 to Columbia rotary so it's no longer the UMass Expressway.

If it no longer feels like a highway, tolls won't need to be a debate because it'll shed most of its induced demand and bottom-line itself around native demand. But to do that you've got to make some sense out of the distended ramp spaghetti and take care of the Neponset Circle locus which is a bona fide neighborhood-to-neighborhood diverging point of critical value. Compacting the setup so the Circle's in a separate realm entirely from the strip-mall and UMass Expressway portions of Morrissey is great place to start. Hopefully not too expensive, either.

------------------------------

What I really want to see is for the Frontage Roads to be extended south to Columbia Rd., swallowing Von Hillern St. on the northbound side to span the Columbia & Southampton ramps...and *delicately* extending the Boston St. connector frontage to meet up with the Columbia ramp 1800 ft. south. That would take a ton of traffic (especially trucks) off Dot Ave. and lower Mass Ave. while correcting the unfortunate jam-causing flow kink at the Southampton merge that the Big Dig left behind as a small daily-annoyance brainfart. A much more meaningful improvement than extending the HOV's from Savin Hill to the Pike exit, which I think is grotesquely overrated because of the rich bounty of directly parallel transit.

I think if you compact the Red Line track sprawl at adjacent Columbia Jct. to open up room on the east side (needed anyway to double-track the Old Colony through Dorchester) you can create just enough lateral room around the Boston St.-Dot Ave. block to shift things over for the SB frontage extension without blowing up the Polish American Citizens Club or any houses on Washburn St. I've got an MS Paint crayon drawing circulating here on how to do the Red Line compacting pretty elegantly. May have to do a slight concrete pour on the last 50 ft. of subway to shift the portal another 25-30 ft. further away from Von Hillern to create maximal space for packing in the frontage infrastructure, but that's a very minor detail.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:03 AM   #3435
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line
The main threat to Red's vitality is that it's simply overloaded at peak by a far greater...and faster-growing...share than the other HRT lines.
Slightly off topic, but I've seen many statements about Red Line congestion, and as predominately an Orange Line rider, I tend to scratch my head. When I look at ridership stats, the Orange Line carries more passengers per mile and per car than the Red Line, though slightly less passengers per station. My first impression of the stats I have available is that the Orange Line is more congested. I recognize that car capacity could impact things, but by my calculations, OL cars carry almost 500 more passengers per day, that seems like a lot, even if we adjust for capacity differences. Other possibilities are that OL riders are more evenly distributed across time and geography. Anyway, it's a curiosity that makes me wonder about the claims regarding Red Line ridership. If anybody knows what I'm missing or can point to my flaws, I'd appreciate gaining a better understanding.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:31 AM   #3436
whittle
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
Slightly off topic, but I've seen many statements about Red Line congestion, and as predominately an Orange Line rider, I tend to scratch my head. When I look at ridership stats, the Orange Line carries more passengers per mile and per car than the Red Line, though slightly less passengers per station. My first impression of the stats I have available is that the Orange Line is more congested. I recognize that car capacity could impact things, but by my calculations, OL cars carry almost 500 more passengers per day, that seems like a lot, even if we adjust for capacity differences. Other possibilities are that OL riders are more evenly distributed across time and geography. Anyway, it's a curiosity that makes me wonder about the claims regarding Red Line ridership. If anybody knows what I'm missing or can point to my flaws, I'd appreciate gaining a better understanding.
I think the important thing to note is the difference between the rather artificial current capacity based on the number of cars that are run and the maximum theoretical capacity based on the number of cars we expect we could possibly run if the number of cars available wasn't an issue. In the former sense, you are correct that OL is more crowded than RL, but this is not considered a long term issue since the solution is just to buy more cars (which we're doing). But in terms of theoretical capacity, RL is much closer to capacity since it has more riders and is limited by the Harvard curve (and the southern branches are limited to half of whatever we send through Harvard). So the point at which "buy more cars" is no longer a solution to crowding is much closer for RL.
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Old 01-22-2019, 11:43 AM   #3437
Lrfox
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
Slightly off topic, but I've seen many statements about Red Line congestion, and as predominately an Orange Line rider, I tend to scratch my head. When I look at ridership stats, the Orange Line carries more passengers per mile and per car than the Red Line, though slightly less passengers per station. My first impression of the stats I have available is that the Orange Line is more congested. I recognize that car capacity could impact things, but by my calculations, OL cars carry almost 500 more passengers per day, that seems like a lot, even if we adjust for capacity differences. Other possibilities are that OL riders are more evenly distributed across time and geography. Anyway, it's a curiosity that makes me wonder about the claims regarding Red Line ridership. If anybody knows what I'm missing or can point to my flaws, I'd appreciate gaining a better understanding.
It's lack of perspective - the OL is more crowded at peak times. you're right on all counts. I am predominantly a Red Line rider (Davis), who sometimes utilizes the Orange Line (Sullivan). I regularly have difficulty squeezing on OL trains at Sullivan in the morning. Barring significant delays, this is rarely an issue at any point on the Red Line from Alewife or from Braintree (never commuted northbound on the Ashmont line so I can't speak to that). Yes, the Red Line can get crowded (it was this AM, but there were delays), but never to the extent the OL is on a regular basis.

The big thing is the headways. The Orange Line is just terrible on this front and it leads to big overcrowding issues. I don't know why, but I'm consistently surprised when I get to Sullivan at 8:00 and see that the next train is 7 minutes away and there are no delays.

The other thing for the Red Line, at least north of downtown, is that there's better two-way flow of passengers at the stations between the terminus and downtown. Lots of southbound commuters get off at Harvard, Central and Kendall which makes room for people getting on. The Orange Line builds and builds until you hit Back Bay (coming from Forest Hills) or North Station (coming from Oak Grove).

Finally, the case could be made for squeaky wheels. I know it's a polarizing opinion, but the Red Line handles a more affluent population. Those voices are often heard when other voices are not. So we hear a lot more about how congested the Red Line is, but the stats tell a different story. My personal experience echoes the stats. The Orange Line is more overcrowded in every sense of the word. Though as whittle pointed out, the fix for overcrowding on the Orange Line is easier (more trains) than the fix for the Red Line.

Last edited by Lrfox; 01-22-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:24 PM   #3438
HenryAlan
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Thanks both of you for the answers. Both affirming of my sense of things, and very clear about why it's a different issue on each line. I'm definitely looking forward to the OL fleet expansion!
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Old 01-22-2019, 04:13 PM   #3439
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Per the 2014 Blue Book, Orange has only 324 scheduled one-way trips per day while Red has 438...a full 26% more. Even Blue, the lightest-ridership color line, beats Orange with 354 trips. That explains the per-car discrepancy in ridership.

So, yes, scarcity of service absolutely is the primary reason for Orange overcrowding. And that will be alleviated immediately by the new cars and signaling project dropping headways to 4.5 minutes. You should see most of that overcrowding dissipate. Red will get a slighter improvement in headways too from the order, but after that it'll be very nearly tapped out to the upper throughput limit of Harvard curve. Since the crowding is still moderate-severe and growth projections slam Red harder than any other, the small-scale upcoming tweaks are not sustainable relief. That's where the other top-priority rapid transit builds have to get moving so they can do their part.

-------------------------

Route miles explain the per-mile ridership discrepancy. Red + branches are 21 route miles, Orange only 11...a 47% difference. Number of stations, however, is pretty close: 19 for Orange, 22 for Red + branches. That works out to 1.7 stations per mile for Orange, and 1.0 per mile for Red. So Orange will end up coming on top of the per-mile ridership race because it packs more stops in a shorter length in a more centralized area. Red is physically much larger, but also has 9 stops on the branches running at half-mainline frequencies skewing the numbers somewhat. A top-ridership ranking of stops shows a stark difference in mainline loads, however.

Per the Blue Book, Top 25 ranking of Red & Orange stops, with totals at transfer stops separated out by their individual lines. . .

South Station - 23.7K
Harvard - 23.2K
Back Bay - 18.1K
Central - 16.5K
Kendall - 15.4K
Forest Hills - 15.2K
Davis - 12.8K
Malden - 12.7K
DTX - 12.5K (OL share)
Charles/MGH - 12.1K
Alewife - 11.2K
Park - 10.8K (RL share)
North Station - 10.8K (OL share)
DTX - 10.6K (RL share)
Ruggles - 10.4K
Sullivan - 10.1K
Ashmont* - 9.3K
JFK/UMass - 8.9K
Porter - 8.9K
Quincy Ctr.* - 8.7K
State - 8.2K (OL share)
Wellington - 7.6K
Haymarket - 7.0K (OL share)
North Quincy* - 7.0K
Oak Grove - 6.6K
* - branch stop

Every single RL mainline stop except Broadway & Andrew is represented here. Note how much South Station (Seaport + Regional Rail) and Cambridge are blowing it out for Red, and how shockingly high Charles/MGH ranks. Since Seaport, Cambridge, West End are #1/#2/#3 with a bullet on where the next 25 years of urban megagrowth is coming from, there's your festering congestion sore needing augmentation with projects like Transitway-Back Bay, Urban Ring + Harvard spur, Red-Blue, etc. On the Orange side it's a much shorter list of mainly Back Bay and Forest Hills that are in real trouble for overload. Well...FH needs that extension to Roslindale and/or West Roxbury to diffuse some of the crush-load bus transferees coming from lower Washington. And BBY needs Worcester Line Urban Rail soon then probably further out a proper Green Line platform via a new E tunnel routing replacing Copley Jct.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:43 AM   #3440
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Thanks for the comprehensive reply F-Line, I always enjoy learning from your strong knowledge base.
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