archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Design a Better Boston

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-20-2019, 07:55 AM   #3521
ulrichomega
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 8
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
If they pick up Transitway-Downtown for re-study as LRT, they'll work up the Essex St. Alternative again simply because that was the best-studied one when it was Silver Line Phase III. But its chances are not good because of the expense incurred by structurally underpinning Boylston Station and Chinatown Station (with a double-decker Silver platform, making it 3 stories deep!!!), and the mitigation costs incurred by the digging under very narrow Essex.

The killer flaws that need to be corrected to net a cost estimate that's actually buildable are:
  • Fewest structural underpins possible. Offset, rather than stacked, stations.
  • Fewer touches of old infrastructure. 20th c. widened streets, 1960's urban renewal property >>> "Old Boston" 19th c. buildings + poorly documented utilities.
  • Less duplication of infrastructure. Re-use outer Boylston platforms + some/all of Tremont tunnel instead of building twice, resorting to ham-fisted geometry to make transfers.
That probably means you're doing a South End jog, hitting Orange-Tufts Med. Ctr. with a connecting concourse, and looking for wide and/or urban renewal streets (Kneeland, Marginal...more than one way to try it). Then hitting the pre-provisioned trajectory into the Transitway at the north tip of Chinatown Park. And keep in mind: as BRT the Essex tunnel was to be so godawful dog slow that nearly all service would be forced to loop from either side at Boylston for dispatching sanity. So a trolley on fixed track is going to make this trip faster than SL Phase III ever would've even if the path is no longer straight as the crow flies and looks underwhelmingly indirect on a 2D map. SL Phase III would've been way, way worse than the Transitway crawl.
There are two broad options for connecting the Transitway to the Green Line system as a whole: Either you connect from Park St or you connect from Kenmore (let's ignore a new E line trunk for now). the south side, in my opinion, has far more capacity to give than anything routed through Park St. Given the narrow street geometry near Boylston, I don't see any sort of track curve happening to bring anything from Kenmore down south to reconnect to the Tremont subway. Far better, in my mind, to simply follow Van's suggestion of using the widened tunnel near Arlington to bury a new tunnel under Boylston and Chinatown. The costs are high, yes, but if it means actually being able to feed the Seaport rather than sacrificing overall system capacity I think it's worth it.

Quote:
It's less about having a "favorite" routing than maximizing the build odds...because we should've already had this but those bulleted pitfalls above torpedoed the cost. It's a billions-dollar project, but we want a "buildable" digit stuck onto the front.
As above, think efficiency + minimal pitfalls to lift up the Seaport connection to the realm of buildability. Tremont tunnel is 4 tracks...right there you've got grade separation for 2 branches. Can you utilize 2 tracks for the Seaport branch and 2 tracks for the Dudley branch? Or can you plow that 4-track tunnel past Tufts station down Tremont, set up 2 of the tracks to go to the Seaport + Dudley, and leave a 2-track stub to continue west as the "new" E to Back Bay + Prudential. Such that the Huntington tunnel eventually gets extended to become an "alt. spine".
Now let's bring back the new E-Trunk. This new tunnel gives us another way of reaching the Seaport from the south: merely continue the tunnel forward with a wye where you would otherwise turn to hit Boylston. This lets you route traffic from the north and south into the Seaport. I like it as a solution, and will probably integrate it into future thoughts. Under this system you'd essentially be trading one E-Trunk branch for a Seaport branch at Park St.

For the record, I was considering one of the two tracks to continue west under Stuart or Marginal, and dedicate the other to Seaport/Dudley traffic.

Quote:
As in my last reply, that's way way too many northern branches to dispatch...and the fact that the non-UR additions are subject to the chaos of hard-to-control grade crossings offset too far from nearest traffic lights means schedule dominoes are going to start falling regularly.
Look again at the map. Only three lines are actually going into Lechmere from the north. There's a bit of dispatching trouble possible at the new maintenance yards, but at no point would more than three lines ever be sharing tracks:
  • Urban Ring, Malden to Downtown, Malden to Kendall across the bridge into Sullivan
  • Medford Branch, Porter Branch, Malden to Downtown through Lechmere into Downtown.
  • Porter Branch, Malden to Kendall and Urban Ring along a short stretch between the maintenance yards and where the Grand Junction splits off.

Now, that's a lot of line interweaving but there's no point at which it becomes a crisis, especially given that two of the lines are completely traffic separated.

Quote:
The Cambridge Ring is absolutely positively essential. Kenmore is the tie-in destination, because the south-half Ring that's going to have to be BRT originates there. Filet service between the Kenmore circuit and Harvard Branch as suitable, but anyone waiting on the westbound platform at Kendall surface station must be able to hit Kenmore on at least every other train. Bio-metropolis over in Cambridge needs to be able to pick up a quick transfer to Longwood; that shouldn't even be a question.
How is traffic getting routed at Kenmore then? If it's continuing straight into Back Bay then I don't see the point of any of it. At what point does someone get on the train along the Urban ring to go all the way through Kendall and BU just to get to Park St? If the traffic is bounding back out along the C or D, then reconfiguring the tracks is going to be a monster to allow that. And if we're bounding back out along the B then Kenmore is a terminal station on the Urban Ring? That seems reasonable, but I'd be worried about trains sitting on active B platforms.


Quote:
Watertown's pretty straightforward. It'd be about 3/4 mile of street-running (though perhaps with reservation'ed platforms) on Arsenal St. at the very tail end...not enough length to kill an inbound schedule to Lechmere. But other than that the routing is very direct and structurally simple (2 shallow duck-unders of Sherman St. and Fresh Pond Pkwy. being the most concrete poured). On cost and buildability it's a good one. It's just not as mission-critical as the biggies. We REALLY REALLY need the Seaport connection, the NW+NE Ring quadrants, Dudley streetcar, the Porter transfer, Needham (for all the well-documented RER-driven reasons), and the E Back Bay relocation. Watertown just doesn't have any oxygen when that's the five-alarm needs list.
Hence why I didn't include it. There's a dozen ways out from there, all of them reasonably priced and of reasonable ridership to alleviate Red Line congestion at the end, but none of them that are of high importance.

Also, I start to get nervous extending any line out from there too far. You quickly start looping back on yourself over absurdly long dispatch distances if you send D or E out there, which you have to if you want to maintain branches as traffic separated.

Quote:
As I said, that's just too many northern branches. And that's a bad thing if the extras exert any destabilizing effect on a load-bearing branch like the Urban Ring segments. Or Medford, for that matter...that one's got insane potential to completely blow its projections out of the water and require more service. And you can't do much more than is already going up. Lechmere is a pretty snug fit across the street, so there isn't a turnback until Brattle Loop. The problem with having crossing-heavy branches added to the 2 grade separated GLX's and the 2 very nearly grade separated Ring routes is that if one of these extra builds stubs its toes in crossing traffic in Malden it's already started dragging the rest down for several stops before it ever gets the chance to dump out at Brattle. And that's doubly ungood for whatever other branches are running at much denser frequencies when they get tripped up (like two 3-min. headway 3-car trains becoming late because of a 6-min. headway 2-car train, and relative numbers of riders impacted).
I absolutely agree that keeping completely traffic-separated branches apart from non-separated branches is critical, but I don't see any way to really do that unless we're limiting ourselves to two northside branches for all time (or biting the bullet and picking out new downtown tunnel locations. An alternative is to send all of the Urban Ring/Malden branches down the Grand Junction, but I don't think that riders there are going to love needing to make odd transfers to get downtown.
ulrichomega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2019, 09:28 AM   #3522
Tallguy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 23
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
I would posit finding some evidence to back up such a bold statement, but I know that ship has sailed. In your mind, this is modal warfare: anything on steel wheels is better than anything on rubber tires, regardless of the service offered. I'm asking what is it about a such a convoluted routing, with so many conditions levied on it (Orange-Reading, reworking a large chunk of Orange, reconstructing 1.5 miles of a state parkway for a reservation, ROW acquisition beside an Interstate highway) to function at all, that makes it good TRANSIT. Ditto your 6th GL-north branch to Saugus with all its own traffic impacts, and how you're going to integrate two brittle schedules into the Green Line without gumming up Union, Medford, UR NW, and UR NE at the Brickbottom merge.

One is an argument of intensity-of-belief, one is an argument of facts and empirical comparison with other routes. I think you need to account for why no other routes in the area choose such pretzeled routings and how systemwide--all-modes--the twisted routings fare in relation to more direct routes. On the evidence that clearly is not so strong a rider behavior characteristic as you're assuming it is. I think you need to account for the feasibility of any project with so many separate prerequisite builds if it is to exist at all, and how you're ever going to stage so many separate builds in separate jurisdictions to...make...it...all...so. How much is Orange-Reading going to cost and how many years will it take to even give you any path at all to the Medford Branch and Saugus Branch before spending another load to rework a 2.5 mi. stretch of Orange ROW? How is it the mere existence of steel wheels that makes Fellsway a more viable transit route when that's contingent on MassHighway spending 9 figures separately to rip the everloving crap out of the roadway to radically compact it and make a reservation. How can any planner expect to just wave those things off as foregone conclusions??? And since we're talking modes, why is bus congestion and troubleshooting therein so stinky-poo while there is no consideration whatsoever being given to the network effects of merging SIX branches at Brickbottom. We point fingers all the time at Kenmore's 3 branches and the future mitigation that's needed there to pare back "garbage-in/garbage-out" from the B and C. But are the chaos effects of mixed-traffic running under street signals somehow not a concern at Brickbottom because of the magic of steel wheels on Fellsway and all those askew Saugus Branch crossings???


I've been through enough of these arguments on AB to know that you cannot argue rationally with pure intensity-of-belief, and you will never convince someone deep in the modal warfare trenches that flawed transit is flawed transit is flawed transit. Their choice of vehicle is already the hammer looking for every nail: nothing more needs to be considered because "_RT = voila!", project flaws don't need to be corrected because of "Y mode sux!" irrelevance and near-religious belief that their mode choice is self-correcting, and every prospective rider believes exactly the same as they do.

Been there, done that. Too many times. Believe what you want to believe, but on the merits these are deeply flawed proposals that assume way too much about their project areas, prerequisite infrastructure, system integration, and rider behavior. All that stuff doesn't get waved away because you believe harder in it than the next person.
Ah, I was wondering how long it would take the see the "modal warfare" epithet!

Here is what I have observed, not "believe".

1. That transport moves best on a dedicated, grade crossing free ROW.
Barring that, a dedicated ROW with minimal crossing is next best.
That a dedicated steet running lane is more desirable.
2. That one seat rides draw the most, even in cases where it might result in a moderately longer trip.
3. That HRT can carry more people than LRT, which can carry more people than buses.
4. That Boston's roads are clogged and are only going to get worse.
5. That BRT operations require the kind of roads that we have few of.
6. That, within financial reason,it is easier to adapt to human nature than it is to try to change it
7. That real estate prices and development make my points.


While I admire the progress that the Everett and Washington St. bus lanes have brought to transit solution discussions, they are not enough. Let a thousand bus lanes bloom! We still need to extend the Orange Line to West Roxbury. We still need to do more to provide transit equity to Everett, Chelsea and Mattapan. BRT Light will help., but full development of Fairmont Line, Green Line UR over the Mystic River and RER to Salem should still be the goal.
But maybe rich people deserve steel wheels and poor people should just make due with rubber tires........

Does that make me a modal warrior? Strange argument from a person whose screenname advocates for replacement of buses with street-running trolleys. ....

But consistancy does not seem a hallmark of your reasoning. You advocate a circuitous route from Watertown to downtown by Green Line, but condemn me forthe same. You blithely wave off the nightmare that contructing a trench across Rt 2 would be. You also calmly dismiss the effects of 3/4 mile of street-running on Arsenal, a major artery, would have on Brickbottom branch merging, but condemn my Medford and Saugus proposals for their impact. You try to equate the 25-30 street-crossing nightmare of the B and C lines with the 5 crossings of Medford and while Saugus has 14-9 crossings, the route is MUCH less congested(one crossing services a dozen houses, a lorise apt building and a small business.

I did not wait over a year for the right to post to get into a flame war, but I will not abide inconsistent argumentation or ad hominem attacks either.

BTW, F-Line, I checked this mornings travel times from Medford Center this AM, as I did several times before I suggested the route. All the options were longer and only one was one ride, the express to Haymarket (which might still require a transfer ifyou are going anywhere but Haymarket. This is called research, not "intensity-of-belief".

Last edited by Tallguy; 05-20-2019 at 09:39 AM.
Tallguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2019, 09:52 AM   #3523
Tallguy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 23
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrichomega View Post
There are two broad options for connecting the Transitway to the Green Line system as a whole: Either you connect from Park St or you connect from Kenmore (let's ignore a new E line trunk for now). the south side, in my opinion, has far more capacity to give than anything routed through Park St. Given the narrow street geometry near Boylston, I don't see any sort of track curve happening to bring anything from Kenmore down south to reconnect to the Tremont subway. Far better, in my mind, to simply follow Van's suggestion of using the widened tunnel near Arlington to bury a new tunnel under Boylston and Chinatown. The costs are high, yes, but if it means actually being able to feed the Seaport rather than sacrificing overall system capacity I think it's worth it.



Now let's bring back the new E-Trunk. This new tunnel gives us another way of reaching the Seaport from the south: merely continue the tunnel forward with a wye where you would otherwise turn to hit Boylston. This lets you route traffic from the north and south into the Seaport. I like it as a solution, and will probably integrate it into future thoughts. Under this system you'd essentially be trading one E-Trunk branch for a Seaport branch at Park St.

For the record, I was considering one of the two tracks to continue west under Stuart or Marginal, and dedicate the other to Seaport/Dudley traffic.



Look again at the map. Only three lines are actually going into Lechmere from the north. There's a bit of dispatching trouble possible at the new maintenance yards, but at no point would more than three lines ever be sharing tracks:
  • Urban Ring, Malden to Downtown, Malden to Kendall across the bridge into Sullivan
  • Medford Branch, Porter Branch, Malden to Downtown through Lechmere into Downtown.
  • Porter Branch, Malden to Kendall and Urban Ring along a short stretch between the maintenance yards and where the Grand Junction splits off.

Now, that's a lot of line interweaving but there's no point at which it becomes a crisis, especially given that two of the lines are completely traffic separated.



How is traffic getting routed at Kenmore then? If it's continuing straight into Back Bay then I don't see the point of any of it. At what point does someone get on the train along the Urban ring to go all the way through Kendall and BU just to get to Park St? If the traffic is bounding back out along the C or D, then reconfiguring the tracks is going to be a monster to allow that. And if we're bounding back out along the B then Kenmore is a terminal station on the Urban Ring? That seems reasonable, but I'd be worried about trains sitting on active B platforms.




Hence why I didn't include it. There's a dozen ways out from there, all of them reasonably priced and of reasonable ridership to alleviate Red Line congestion at the end, but none of them that are of high importance.

Also, I start to get nervous extending any line out from there too far. You quickly start looping back on yourself over absurdly long dispatch distances if you send D or E out there, which you have to if you want to maintain branches as traffic separated.



I absolutely agree that keeping completely traffic-separated branches apart from non-separated branches is critical, but I don't see any way to really do that unless we're limiting ourselves to two northside branches for all time (or biting the bullet and picking out new downtown tunnel locations. An alternative is to send all of the Urban Ring/Malden branches down the Grand Junction, but I don't think that riders there are going to love needing to make odd transfers to get downtown.
If UR stayed UR and did not try to go downtown, both Sullivan(from the north) and the presumed Inner Belt station on the UR(from the south) should be easy same platform transfers to Medford or Saugus. So, three branches feed Lechmere not six.
Tallguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2019, 12:59 PM   #3524
dmdogs900
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 12
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Yikes. It's about 30 miles between Northampton and the nearest passing of the App Trail, with some rough terrain in-between. I seriously doubt it. The B&A and Fitchburg Main were the only two RR's ever chartered that passed through the border of Berkshire County to any of the neighboring counties to the east...so there aren't any unused RR ROW's available at all. Nor is rail-with-trail a possibility on those two hugely busy freight lines, as some of the cuts/fills/ledges done through tricky terrain are no wider than the in-use trackbed. There may be a maze-like spaghetti map of hiking trails available that span much of the distance, but you'd be talking very circuitous routes, unmaintained surfaces, and a lot of grades so steep a complete trip by mountain bike would be out of the question...and possibly some climbing gear required.


Central Mass trail is also far from finished. Between Clinton and Belchertown the RR was abandoned in pieces between 1933-38, so property acquisition is a bear. Most of what's trailed or planned for trail is on the MBTA-owned section Waltham to Hudson, the Mass Water Resources Authority-owned section around Wachusett Reservoir, and the Northampton-Belchertown section spanning the Conn River Line and NECR mainline (re-named the Wheelwright Branch after the mainline was severed in the middle) abandoned by B&M in 1979. The roadbed on the Depression-era abandonment is remarkably unencroached after all this time, but there's still huge amounts of legal work to do before they can span Worcester County with a connecting trail between T territory and the Wheelwright Branch.
I think it can be connected to the new England trail, from there can it be connected to the appalachian Trail?
dmdogs900 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 07:29 AM   #3525
ulrichomega
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 8
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallguy View Post
If UR stayed UR and did not try to go downtown, both Sullivan(from the north) and the presumed Inner Belt station on the UR(from the south) should be easy same platform transfers to Medford or Saugus. So, three branches feed Lechmere not six.
Exactly. Lechmere is a chokepoint, but with the Grand Junction switched to Light Rail we have a convenient outlet for a lot of traffic from the Sullivan direction. Also given how much of a job center Kendall is I think direct service there from points north would do a lot to alleviate congestion on the Orange Line and the downtown transfers.
ulrichomega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 01:08 PM   #3526
Tallguy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 23
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Has anyone seen cost estimates for a bridge over the Mystic for a pair of LRT tracks? I know a ped bridge has been discussed....
Tallguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Yesterday, 05:45 PM   #3527
F-Line to Dudley
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 4,912
Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallguy View Post
Has anyone seen cost estimates for a bridge over the Mystic for a pair of LRT tracks? I know a ped bridge has been discussed....
Doesn't exist. Urban Ring Phase II was never studied in enough depth to itemize any costs by component, and hasn't been revisited in a dozen years now.

You would first have to re-study to even figure out WHAT kind of bridge you were building. UR has to go on the west side of the Eastern Route tracks to steer clear of the Everett Terminal freight turnout. That means that the most logical bridge option would be repurposing the 1988 RR bridge for the UR and instead building a new RR bridge on the alignment of the old Eastern Route drawbridge...at half the length of the '88 span...to shift the Eastern Route onto. But if that's not doable you're probably building a new one to the north that's a few hundred feet longer than the '88 span.

How can you possibly peg an itemization without doing a new study to affirm even a tentative preference? It's unknowable, because we don't know by factor of half how long a new bridge will need to be.
F-Line to Dudley is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Limeys Going Paranoid Like Crazy! TikiNYC General 18 06-17-2010 05:50 PM
2009 Remembered as The Christmas of Crazy Snowball Fights TikiNYC General 0 12-24-2009 05:24 PM
In Transit current issue Patrick General Architecture & Urban Planning 3 12-11-2009 11:59 PM
We don't need Mass Transit!!! JohnAKeith Transit and Infrastructure 1 06-22-2009 03:14 PM
Transit Use in San Francisco and Elsewhere ablarc Transit and Infrastructure 2 06-17-2007 09:04 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:45 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.