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View Poll Results: Which project would have the greatest impact on Boston for the funds available?
North-South Rail Link 18 18.18%
Red-Blue Line Link 31 31.31%
Green-Silver Link (to South Boston Waterfront) 16 16.16%
New Back Bay Subway (Green or Blue Lines) 1 1.01%
Green Line to South End 5 5.05%
Urban Ring (Rail) 17 17.17%
Red/Blue/Orange Line Extensions 9 9.09%
Other 2 2.02%
Voters: 99. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-02-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
vanshnookenraggen
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Poll: The Next Big Project

My mind wandering while folding laundry I began to think about the transportation problems facing Boston meeting the limited available funds. I don't want to turn this into another "Crazy Transit Proposals" thread but rather a more realistic conversation about what can be done and what should be done.

I've put together a quick list of current proposals along with an "other" choice; if you select this please feel free to post what that might be.

Basically, if we only have a couple billion to work with what would be the most worth while project for Boston to tackle next?
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:04 PM   #2
HenryAlan
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I'd like to see some neighborhood extensions, but to do that at a significant level, we first need to solve some downtown connectivity issues. Close call in my opinion, between Red/Blue and Green/Silver, but I opted for the latter, since it does connectivity plus neighborhood service expansion.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:06 PM   #3
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I think the Red-Blue connector does the most for residents of the urban core areas (Boston/Cambridge/Somerville) because of its huge impact on the MBTA and the ability to spread out riders at core stations. The whole T system functions more efficiently.

The N-S link i see as having a much greater impact on Greater Boston transit. South Side commuters going to the other side of downtown, North Side going to Financial District, Seaport, Airport. Day-to-day this is less of an impact on a city dweller than Red-Blue. If you include the calculus of thru running DMUs that broaden the urbanization throughout the area and create new links to the outer edges of the urban area, then I think N-S. If you think DMUs are a separate follow on I vote for Red-Blue.

In reality we need both, but I think we will get the N-S first because the state can sell its value to the larger commonwealth better than just a 1 stop <1 mile extension within the urban core on a subway most suburbanites never want to get on anyway.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:27 PM   #4
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

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In reality we need both, but I think we will get the N-S first because the state can sell its value to the larger commonwealth better than just a 1 stop <1 mile extension within the urban core on a subway most suburbanites never want to get on anyway.
You know there is something fundamentally wrong with suburbanites deciding which rail expansion projects are needed in the core subway system.

I don't go to town meetings in Dracut and tell them where to put traffic lights and intersection redesigns and bus stops...
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:31 PM   #5
fattony
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

IMO Green Line to Seaport slightly edges out Red-Blue for maximal impact while still having a budget and schedule lower than infinity.

Urban Ring rail would be truly transformative, creating and expanding multiple new transit hubs. I just don't see it as realistic on any reasonable timescale. It is too big to bite off in one piece and it doesn't need to be done in one piece. However, no single piece is worth more then GL-Seaport or Red-Blue.

As choo states, NSRL is a bigger regional impact than anything else, but less so for city residents. I selfishly reject it for that reason.

A second BB subway or GL-South End are all wrapped up in the GL-Seaport. I would skip these pieces for a century if it meant that I got GL-Seaport this decade.

Radial line extensions are low impact. It doesn't change our network topology at all. We don't even have a Dulles on the other end we are trying to stretch out to. Incremental, not at all transformative.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:41 PM   #6
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

Urban Ring, hands down. I don't know how anyone can argue that the other projects would even come anywhere near the impact of the Urban Ring. Even if $2bil for Urban Ring only gets you from Logan to a point on the GLX, that is still *huge*! It also shatters alot of geographic restrictions, such as Chelsea Creek, the Mystic River, and the Charles. You're opening up our network to a net-like system, rather than a radial system. It also could offset the Red-Blue to some degree.
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Old 12-02-2014, 04:57 PM   #7
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

Are we voting for what is most likely to be done or what should be done? If the former then nothing will be done, if the latter then Urban Ring.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:19 PM   #8
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

My bet is probably on the North-South Rail Link.

But this was thought about just before the Big Dig got underway, and for them to do it now, it would probably mean digging the streets up again to put it in.

Or maybe building a monorail, which would mean far less construction and traffic headaches. Because it could be built overhead instead!
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:26 PM   #9
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I voted Red-Blue. It's the missing link downtown and would reduce transfer loads on the other lines.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:37 PM   #10
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I voted for Red-Blue. If you'e only playing with a few billion then I doubt that whatever parts of Urban Ring you'd be able to complete would have as much of an impact.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:30 PM   #11
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I voted Red-Blue for the load spreading, although Green to Seaport is a close second for me. Other than that I'm in agreement with fattony.

As for rail UR, the only part of the ring that can be completed before the N-S Link is a GL spur to Chelsea/Logan via the Eastern Route out of Lechmere and Sullivan. Can't cannibalize the Grand Junction for RT until the N-S link is done.
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Old 12-03-2014, 06:45 AM   #12
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I was conflicted. I believe Red-Blue has the most impact "for its money" as the question asks. But it is also a much cheaper project that North-South. If the funds were available, as you say, I believe North-South would be more transformation.

This is the simplified way I view the transformation effects of each:

Red-Blue turns a three-seat ride into a two-seat ride for any pair of destinations along the Red and Blue lines. It also un-crowds the overcrowded downtown subway areas.

North-South turns a two-seat or three-seat ride for any pair of destinations along ANY HALF OF OUR commuter rail/Amtrak stations to any OTHER HALF OF OUR commuter rail/Amtrak stations into a one- or two-seat ride. It also un-crowds the overcrowded downtown subway areas.

Finally, the deal-breaker: Red-Blue, while I still believe an extremely vital link, will have some of its necessity alleviated with the opening of the GLX and reopening of Government Center. Some of the destinations that would have previously been viewed as exclusively "Red Line" destinations can be reached via the GLX and thus a two seat ride from the Blue Line. Blue-Red is still really important, these are just reasons why it's second to North-South, in my opinion.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:00 AM   #13
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

Noth-South is, IMO, only transformational for the MBCR/Amtrak commuters UNLESS RT is strung alongside. Not many riders will use the South and North Station "Under" for transfer unless there's rapid transit, or MBCR both gets Charlie and is running trains through the link frequently enough to be an effective transfer.

While I think it's straightforward to future-proof the link for future RT, as it is there will not be any RT put through the link initially because there's nothing to hook it up to. Eventually a "RedX" sort of system that's been discussed here before could take over the GLX, but that kind of conversion from LRV to HRV would be several decades away at least. Given that rapid transit is not in the near future for the N-S Link, I don't see it as transformational for intra-urban transit.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:20 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

I voted UR, because I took the question to mean what would you want to see built if the funds were available.

In terms of what is more reasonable/what we could get done with funds currently available & the political will to push the projects through, I'd like to revise my vote to be in favor of the Red/Blue connector. I'd take this, and like to see it done with provisions for a future BL extension through BB to Kenmore, and then through Kenmore whether it be by the D line ROW or some other routing.
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:58 AM   #15
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
Noth-South is, IMO, only transformational for the MBCR/Amtrak commuters UNLESS RT is strung alongside. Not many riders will use the South and North Station "Under" for transfer unless there's rapid transit, or MBCR both gets Charlie and is running trains through the link frequently enough to be an effective transfer.

While I think it's straightforward to future-proof the link for future RT, as it is there will not be any RT put through the link initially because there's nothing to hook it up to. Eventually a "RedX" sort of system that's been discussed here before could take over the GLX, but that kind of conversion from LRV to HRV would be several decades away at least. Given that rapid transit is not in the near future for the N-S Link, I don't see it as transformational for intra-urban transit.
I assumed EMU/DMU service alongside Amtrak/Commuter Rail service as part of a 4-track North-South build. If it's a minimum build, I would vote Red-Blue.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:12 AM   #16
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

Thinking real world, the "Next Big Project" should be the Red/Blue. It's the most bang per buck to fix a ton of problems.

Thinking dream world, it would be N/S Link. Combining that with EMUs and more infill stations is like suddenly doubling the system, especially if it: A) gets you to places like Lynn, Waltham, Chelsea, Reading, and Woburn; B) finally gets Fairmount working; C) helps inner core trips to places like Roslindale and Brighton (and again, the Fairmount corridor); and D) gets you a bunch of new 128 park/ride spots. That's a full build engineering-politics-and-money-are-no-issue world though.

A few years ago, I would have said Urban Ring. The longer I think about it though, the more I think it's better as a string of connected BRT (actual BRT, non-SL division) than a streetcar or subway. Actually, going back to thinking real world, that would probably be the best bang per buck project post Red/Blue.

Last edited by underground; 12-03-2014 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 09:22 AM   #17
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

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Thinking real world, the "Next Big Project" should be the Red/Blue. It's the most bang per buck to fix a ton of problems.

Thinking dream world, it would be N/S Link. Combining that with DMUs and more infill stations is like suddenly doubling the system, especially if it: A) gets you to places like Lynn, Waltham, Chelsea, Reading, and Woburn; B) finally gets Fairmount working; C) helps inner core trips to places like Roslindale and Brighton (and again, the Fairmount corridor); and D) gets you a bunch of new 128 park/ride spots. That's a full build engineering-politics-and-money-are-no-issue world though.

A few years ago, I would have said Urban Ring. The longer I think about it though, the more I think it's better as a string of connected BRT (actual BRT, non-SL division) than a streetcar or subway. Actually, going back to thinking real world, that would probably be the best bang per buck project post Red/Blue.
+1. I feel like this may be the most in-agreement the aB community has been on a poll ever. Kumbaya and everything. But seriously, Blue-Red is the best bang for your buck and the most realistic, should happen, transformative project. North-South full build would be the most transformative, and is more expensive and less realistic.
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:03 AM   #18
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I assumed EMU/DMU service alongside Amtrak/Commuter Rail service as part of a 4-track North-South build. If it's a minimum build, I would vote Red-Blue.
EMU yes. Can't put any push-pull diesels/DMUs in the Link. N-S Link is a great project but it requires a lot of other work to be successful. It requires portals to any line which would use it (BIG $$). It requires the electrification of any line that would use it (BIG $$). Realistically, we aren't ever getting a N-S Link full-build in one fell swoop, which is why Red-Blue makes the most sense to me. N-S Link isn't transformational until it's completed
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:17 AM   #19
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

Red-Blue and Green-Silver fix things that are broken, whereas North-South just makes something much, much better.

Really, Red-Blue should have happened as mitigation for the Gov't Center closure, because it's royally screwing things up.


Still haven't decided on what to vote for, although I do agree the ring is kind of outside the scope of everything else. The ring makes the most sense to do piecemeal, in coordination with other projects.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:50 PM   #20
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Re: Poll: The Next Big Project

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EMU yes. Can't put any push-pull diesels/DMUs in the Link. N-S Link is a great project but it requires a lot of other work to be successful. It requires portals to any line which would use it (BIG $$). It requires the electrification of any line that would use it (BIG $$). Realistically, we aren't ever getting a N-S Link full-build in one fell swoop, which is why Red-Blue makes the most sense to me. N-S Link isn't transformational until it's completed
This describes my vote very well.
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