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Design a Better Boston Are you disappointed with the state of Boston's current architecture/development? Think you have a better idea? Post it here.

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Old 02-10-2019, 11:14 AM   #3441
tysmith95
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Instead of the South Station expansion, build a new smaller terminal station in the seaport using track 51. Route the Greenbush, Kingston, and Middleborough lines to this new station.

Downtown bound passengers could just get off at JFK/UMass and switch to the red line. Alternatively red line passengers could get off at JFK UMass and switch to a seaport bound train.

An ideal spot for the new station would be behind the PWC building. But a more likely spot would be next to or under the convention center.

Double tracking the lines might require the South Boston bypass road to be taken. However I think that's a decent compromise for better transit.

This would also set up space for increased service on the other lines that will continue to go to South Station.

As an alternative you could get rid of the bypass, route the Fairmount line to track 51. You could even upgrade the line to rapid transit via electrification and smaller vehicles.
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Old 02-10-2019, 02:58 PM   #3442
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by tysmith95 View Post
Instead of the South Station expansion, build a new smaller terminal station in the seaport using track 51. Route the Greenbush, Kingston, and Middleborough lines to this new station.

Downtown bound passengers could just get off at JFK/UMass and switch to the red line. Alternatively red line passengers could get off at JFK UMass and switch to a seaport bound train.

An ideal spot for the new station would be behind the PWC building. But a more likely spot would be next to or under the convention center.

Double tracking the lines might require the South Boston bypass road to be taken. However I think that's a decent compromise for better transit.

This would also set up space for increased service on the other lines that will continue to go to South Station.

As an alternative you could get rid of the bypass, route the Fairmount line to track 51. You could even upgrade the line to rapid transit via electrification and smaller vehicles.
That would do absolutely nothing except worsen the whole of the South Shore's access to downtown, tank their service levels because such a constrained routing can't handle the schedules or equipment rotations, and punish those riders with more hoops to jump through to get to other critical services like Amtrak, intercity buses, and local buses. Transferring on a crowded JFK platform is no substitute. Now, if you want to get a sense of how much a nonstarter this is going to be...watch the fur fly when the 'till-now secret South Coast Rail Middleboro Alternative traffic modeling gets unveiled and ends up gapping the hell out of South Shore headways. Several towns are already ready to sue over that...and that damage to service from SCR projects relatively mild compared to the disruption of shearing them off to some Amshack of a terminal out by the Convention Center.

Prior to 1900 the 4 individual southside RR's--Boston & Providence, Boston & Albany, New York & New England, and Old Colony--all did have their own single-purpose separate terminals scattered about Back Bay/South End, the Seaport, and Ft. Point. The whole point of that quartet banding together to build South Union Station was location! location! location! and convenience. SS was at the crossroads of multiple neighborhoods and had superior intermodal transfer access to any site south of the old downtown. And the same is true today, even with the blocking presence of USPS cutting the Dot Ave. gateway to Southie from general traffic. There is literally no better place to run the trains.


Fairmount to Track 61 was already proposed by some BCEC flaks, and already violently opposed by Dorchester and Hyde Park commuters who would've lost many times more access than gained. Nonstarter for them, too. Amtrak had not yet weighed in on publicly on that proposal, but they were very likely to say nein to any service that crossed over their access to Southampton Yard. Conceptually kookier thru-routes to Track 61 have also been thrown around. The overwhelming conclusion is that one-seat commuter rail trips to the Seaport are NOT desired by any known segment of the suburban population. Southside CR riders also aren't the biggest critics of the Silver Line's problems, either, because that's generally not the crowd that's being passed like a kidney stone through both over-congested sides of the Red-Silver transfer...they're just going right downstairs to Silver.


What needs to be done is pull the unrelated cogs of SSX apart into separate projects...because too many chefs are stirring the pot with pieces that serve different masters. The bare platform construction and switch layout fixes for traffic conflicts are not all that controversial on their face. It's a major capacity expansion that also does more rapidly-turning RER ops a real solid by eliminating the cross-cutting movements that keep trainsets bottled up on the platforms. The switch fixes allow platform lengthenings so every berth can take on a crush-load crowd. That's all fixing a glitch induced by lopping the formerly symmetrical station in half in the late-1960's. It doesn't require anything more than fixed-cost rail engineering, and platform pours that have the requisite metal awnings. Track work did not cause SSX to sail to nearly a billion dollars or become an existential crisis for the Commonwealth. The real estate interests are what ended up confusing this project to a mess.

The real estate empire-building, bejeweled headhouses and expanded waiting rooms, grand reimaging of Dot Ave., recreational use of Ft. Point Channel, and all the other form-over-function stuff is somebody else's problem to fund. It doesn't impact the transportation essentials. All the transpo-centric base build has to do is get USPS moved, do its fixed-cost track/platform construction, and fashion air rights peg mounts between tracks exactly like the main station's 1989 renovation did for future uses that took 30 years to materialize. Shear all the empire-building nonessentials off for others to figure out. It might actually do the land-use planning some genuine good in the end to narrow and bottom-line its focus so it's not such a confused lump of conflicting interests.



As for Track 61...it's overrated in general for transit because it whiffs on any/all connecting transit starting in the Southampton/Widett wasteland, missing Broadway + Andrew at the midpoint, running on the wrong side of the Pike for a direct transfer to Silver, and failing to catch the 9 or 11 buses deep down in the very constrained pit. For no reason other than it happens to pass in front of BCEC it's become this shiny bauble of "potential" that officials and deep-pocketed investors think must be exploited...yet no one's ever been able to fashion a coherent transit best-practices argument (bread-and-butter stuff like frequencies, transfer utility, accessibility) for the various schemes floated about. At this point it's not that people haven't thought hard enough for an angle; if anything they've thought TOO hard. It's just a square-peg line to try to fashion anything out of...and being the first to push extremely hard enough to wedge the square through the round hole isn't going to suddenly make it good transit. Nor is getting rid of Haul Road and sacking Southie with a daily truckopalypse for their troubles.
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:50 PM   #3443
Java King
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Seaport-South Boston-Bayside Streetcar System

I posted this in the Bayside thread too.

What about a "starter" streetcar line that starts at South Station and runs on Summer Street all the way to L Street. It continues on L Street to William J. Blvd, where it continues to Bayside Development and JFK Redline Station. This could be a single line that hits HUGE commercial development in the Seaport, area around Drydock Avenue, Cruise Terminal, South Boston Powerplant redevelopment, South Boston residential heart, plus Bayside growth.

Additional lines could be added down Broadway to service the commercial and retail heart of South Boston.

Good examples:

https://portlandstreetcar.org/
https://www.dcstreetcar.com/
https://seattlestreetcar.org/

Am I crazy to think Boston could fund this and NOT MBTA?
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:05 PM   #3444
meddlepal
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Re: Seaport-South Boston-Bayside Streetcar System

Crazy Transit Pitches
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:06 PM   #3445
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Seaport-South Boston-Bayside Streetcar System

I don't think you're getting a streetcar that runs on Southie neighborhood streets ever. Maybe a converted/dual-mode transitway tunnel from SS to BCEC/WTC, tunnel under D-Street and emerge to run a streetcar along Summer (or the new Haul Road) to City Point. It would be peripheral to the neighborhood but could funnel passengers from the bus network between Broadway and Andrew in the west and City Point in the east. Maybe even branch it out of the Transitway and have another stub that runs down to the west of the Reserve Channel and ends at First Street.

I think it would be politically unpalatable to blast a streetcar through Southie and reach points in Dorchester.

EDIT:
Something like this perhaps:
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:13 PM   #3446
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Seaport-South Boston-Bayside Streetcar System

The southside could be well-handled by BRT, especially if that's how the southern loop of an Urban Ring is completed someday.
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Old 02-16-2019, 07:59 PM   #3447
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Seaport-South Boston-Bayside Streetcar System

Get the Green Line to the Transitway first and we'll talk.

9 City Point (more or less today's 9 bus) was a busy Green Line branch off the Pleasant St. portal until its bustitution in Dec. 1953. CP is always a possibility since the 9 is perpetually overloaded. Pluses in favor of streetcar off Silver Line Way is that the Summer St. bridge is wide enough to re-stripe and put the trolleys to the left of the yellow stripe for complete traffic separation (if not physical separation). That means there would only have to be at most about 3/4 mile of actual mixed traffic street-running to reach Marine Park.

Minuses would be that the former Silver Line routing down E. 1st didn't do so hot on ridership the last time around so you probably have to do battle with traffic-heavier E. Broadway instead; demand seems to glom much more closely to the literal 9 route instead of 'close enough' parallel streets. Also can't go totally streetcar-mad off Silver Line Way with a whole Southie-crawling network of tracks because there'll be too much co-mingled bus & trolley traffic running through there. Too many branches of each mode will start to gum up the works more than bringing in high-capacity LRT can help clean it up. Keep in mind that southeast-quadrant Urban Ring may be a critical future addition to the traffic mix. So for new trolleys entering city streets after getting Green as far as SL Way you may be limited to just the drop-in replacement for SL2 (hopefully with some modest street reconfig for better traffic separation) and a go/no-go option on whether to do a poke to City Point.
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