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Old 08-14-2019, 12:28 PM   #3681
MjolnirMan
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
That map is not accurate. The tunnel enters through the center of the parking garage then does a due-north turn onto the access road.
This does not appear to be correct. According to Google's 1/B1/B2 layers, and my own recollection of the station, the platform points right at the Cutoff with the tail tracks curving to the north to Thorndike. The tunnel in the middle of the garage is the pedestrian walkway, which approaches the train tunnel at an angle.

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Old 08-14-2019, 12:37 PM   #3682
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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This does not appear to be correct. According to Google's 1/B1/B2 layers, and my own recollection of the station, the platform points right at the Cutoff with the tail tracks curving to the north to Thorndike. The tunnel in the middle of the garage is the pedestrian walkway, which approaches the train tunnel at an angle.



This is my understanding as well. I'm sourcing openrailwaymaps as my primary, but every other map I'm seeing agrees with them. I'm talking about cutting the existing tracks right after the platforms and constructing a new tunnel straight out of the station along the bike path, as my map indicates.

More importantly, we're talking far enough in the future that I truly hope to God we've rebuilt the parking garage by then, and as part of that it's more than possible to include provisions for this eventual project.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:47 PM   #3683
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Restating: So far I don't see any big conflicts:

If the Red needs to go via Alewife to Waltham, it'd go by Fitchburg Cutoff (after nuking the current garage both because the garage sucks (not being able to support the extra two levels it was designed for) and because nuking the garage is cheaper than nuking buildings.

If the Red's been diverted up Mass Ave, the CR/RER replacment for "Alewife" would go along the Fitchburg Main (and probably get its own overpass & garage, wth the current garage nuked and replaced with TOD)
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:03 PM   #3684
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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If the Red's been diverted up Mass Ave, the CR/RER replacment for "Alewife" would go along the Fitchburg Main (and probably get its own overpass & garage, wth the current garage nuked and replaced with TOD)
I'm actually surprised I've never heard a call for a Fitchburg Line station in the Alewife area. That's possibly me not remembering/not reading enough. But it feels like prime territory for a station with multiple commute patterns:
  • Residents trying to get downtown by skipping the Red Line.
  • Reverse Commuters trying to get to offices in Alewife.
  • Outer-commuters going to work in local offices.
  • Bertucci's fans.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:38 PM   #3685
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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I'm actually surprised I've never heard a call for a Fitchburg Line station in the Alewife area. That's possibly me not remembering/not reading enough. But it feels like prime territory for a station with multiple commute patterns:
  • Residents trying to get downtown by skipping the Red Line.
  • Reverse Commuters trying to get to offices in Alewife.
  • Outer-commuters going to work in local offices.
  • Bertucci's fans.
There absolutely has been a call for it - it's not unlikely to happen as Alewife builds out, funded by developers.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:02 PM   #3686
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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There absolutely has been a call for it - it's not unlikely to happen as Alewife builds out, funded by developers.
So there has! Unfortunately it looks like it hasn't really gone anywhere. Also talk of air rights over the station, but unless they're building the station directly under Alewife Brook Parkway this doesn't look like prime air rights territory: everything is very flat. I'd also imagine a better placement would be further to the west, perhaps nearer to the maintenance building, as that puts it closer to more, larger offices, and is more centrally located in that little bubble. It looks like things have really built up even in those few years, so I'd imagine there'd be even more demand/need for it now.

http://www.cambridgeday.com/2015/12/...ghts-platform/
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:03 PM   #3687
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

With the Fitchburg already stopping at Porter and ending at North Station, I see very little marginal benefit to adding another Fitchburg stop at Alewife.

I'd be surprised if aggregate time saved (beyond next-best alternative) by those who used the stop exceeded aggregate time lost by all the other Fitchburg riders.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:31 PM   #3688
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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With the Fitchburg already stopping at Porter and ending at North Station, I see very little marginal benefit to adding another Fitchburg stop at Alewife.

I'd be surprised if aggregate time saved (beyond next-best alternative) by those who used the stop exceeded aggregate time lost by all the other Fitchburg riders.
The walking distance kills it. An outbound side platform is 1000 ft. to Cambridgepark Dr., 1300 ft. to the Red Line entrance. An inbound side platform is (assuming a hillside ramp along Terminal Rd.) 1500 ft. to Cambridgepark Dr. and 1800 ft. to the Red entrance. Split the difference on awfulness if it's a center island with towering switchbacks. On a 2D map it doesn't seem like a long distance, but it's literally half the walking distance between Porter and Davis. As if you're building another stop at Russell St. and calling it "Davis".

Extremely few people are ever going to take that many footsteps to destination when it is quite literally faster to keep going to Porter, transfer, take 2 stops, then walk out of Alewife much closer to destination and without any need to hoof it up a steep hill or tower full of switchback ramps. Yes, it's been proposed by businessfolk. The same kind of businessfolk who never take transit themselves but think things like a Track 61 dinky are a grand idea. Occasionally they get Cambridge City Council all atwitter about it. But then it gets forgotten the second the anemic ridership projections get tossed about...because to people who actually take transit, footsteps matter.

File this one in the same recurring 'zombie' proposal category as Wonderland CR, which also gets proposed by businessfolk every time some passing fancy comes for the stillborn dog track TOD. Same deal there: too freaking far from the multimodal station, and the ridership projections evaporate with the footsteps. Now, that doesn't mean somebody can't propose an Alewife(ish) Fitchburg stop with private money. But usually private money wants to see some sort of bottom-line return for their efforts. That's not going to happen if Alewife-Red is doing 12,000 riders and Alewife(ish)-CR is doing 300...with the lion's share of these contributing CEOs' employees going Porter-Red-Alewife because it's [pick one: cold, hot, rainy, snowy, buggy, dark, allergy season] out. Money doesn't flow that way.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:32 PM   #3689
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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This is my understanding as well. I'm sourcing openrailwaymaps as my primary, but every other map I'm seeing agrees with them. I'm talking about cutting the existing tracks right after the platforms and constructing a new tunnel straight out of the station along the bike path, as my map indicates.
The bike path is not "straight" off the station. It's north. "Straight" off the station is the NNE-facing side of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and their 300,000 sq. ft. of office space. The tunnel clips the side of the building and intrudes on an acre's worth of property. Even if you can somehow save the building by skin of teeth the utility plant for a major biolab is toast and the disruptions will leave the building unsusable as a lab for years. That's a big impact. The alternative that avoids private property involves taking the first leg of the Arlington curve and S-curving onto the bike path where the path itself S-curves around the parking ramp. Except...that does not provide enough running room onto the Cutoff alignment to avoid fouling the DCR wetlands restoration area, so EPA permit denied.


This is a frankly bizarre target fixation. Why are we playing Civil Engineering Strongman with Red-Waltham when Green-Union/Porter is already on the bloody ROW for continuation west and requires no destruction to properties whatsoever. Just because it's Crazy Transit Pitches thread doesn't mean project scoring goes out the window. We've already got one line that doesn't require building impacts, is already on-target to interface with Red at Porter, and can take all un-eliminable grade crossings as-is. When you've got a zero in-hand on property impacts...you don't go out begging for property impacts somewhere else. Including the subject of the Alewife garage that would have to be blown up to do any tunnel trajectory-changing whatsoever. I don't care how personally anti-garage someone may be, but is finding places for all the displaced parking demand not a pretty thorny construction mitigation unto itself.

The only thing it's potentially got going for it is one-seat on Red vs. two-seat at the Porter transfer...but that potential would first have to be borne out by demand numbers that say Waltham's orientation is so extremely skewed to Red that one-seat vs. two makes all the difference. And I doubt you could find a statistical basis big enough in a 128 'burb buffered by a couple density cavities in Belmont that says all the construction messes on Alt. Red are extremely worth it for the one-seat.

There is a viable transit pitch here. But I'm failing to see why it needs to be the craziest one. Can anyone please justify--beyond "I hate Green"--why such dicey and possibly unachievable risk mitigation is so very the way to go here?
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:29 PM   #3690
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
The bike path is not "straight" off the station. It's north. "Straight" off the station is the NNE-facing side of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and their 300,000 sq. ft. of office space. The tunnel clips the side of the building and intrudes on an acre's worth of property. Even if you can somehow save the building by skin of teeth the utility plant for a major biolab is toast and the disruptions will leave the building unsusable as a lab for years. That's a big impact. The alternative that avoids private property involves taking the first leg of the Arlington curve and S-curving onto the bike path where the path itself S-curves around the parking ramp. Except...that does not provide enough running room onto the Cutoff alignment to avoid fouling the DCR wetlands restoration area, so EPA permit denied.


This is a frankly bizarre target fixation. Why are we playing Civil Engineering Strongman with Red-Waltham when Green-Union/Porter is already on the bloody ROW for continuation west and requires no destruction to properties whatsoever. Just because it's Crazy Transit Pitches thread doesn't mean project scoring goes out the window. We've already got one line that doesn't require building impacts, is already on-target to interface with Red at Porter, and can take all un-eliminable grade crossings as-is. When you've got a zero in-hand on property impacts...you don't go out begging for property impacts somewhere else. Including the subject of the Alewife garage that would have to be blown up to do any tunnel trajectory-changing whatsoever. I don't care how personally anti-garage someone may be, but is finding places for all the displaced parking demand not a pretty thorny construction mitigation unto itself.

The only thing it's potentially got going for it is one-seat on Red vs. two-seat at the Porter transfer...but that potential would first have to be borne out by demand numbers that say Waltham's orientation is so extremely skewed to Red that one-seat vs. two makes all the difference. And I doubt you could find a statistical basis big enough in a 128 'burb buffered by a couple density cavities in Belmont that says all the construction messes on Alt. Red are extremely worth it for the one-seat.

There is a viable transit pitch here. But I'm failing to see why it needs to be the craziest one. Can anyone please justify--beyond "I hate Green"--why such dicey and possibly unachievable risk mitigation is so very the way to go here?
If we're not tearing down buildings, Green-Waltham would have to be mostly street-running west of School St, which seems like it would be a vastly worse service than Red-Waltham.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:00 PM   #3691
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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If we're not tearing down buildings, Green-Waltham would have to be mostly street-running west of School St, which seems like it would be a vastly worse service than Red-Waltham.
School Street? In Waltham School St runs east-west and doesn't cross the Fitchburg Line ROW. GLX to Waltham would run along Fitchburg via Belmont.

Are you thinking of the (separate) Watertown GLX concept? If you are then Arsenal is perfectly capable of hosting LRT to Watertown Square. The ROW west of Watertown Square to Waltham is NOT a good way to get to Waltham by surface rail. It's very encroached and has awful grade-crossing angles.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:13 AM   #3692
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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School Street? In Waltham School St runs east-west and doesn't cross the Fitchburg Line ROW. GLX to Waltham would run along Fitchburg via Belmont.

Are you thinking of the (separate) Watertown GLX concept? If you are then Arsenal is perfectly capable of hosting LRT to Watertown Square. The ROW west of Watertown Square to Waltham is NOT a good way to get to Waltham by rail. It's very encroached and has awful grade-crossing angles.
Sorry, yes. I was thinking of the via Watertown alignment.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:32 AM   #3693
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
The bike path is not "straight" off the station. It's north. "Straight" off the station is the NNE-facing side of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and their 300,000 sq. ft. of office space. The tunnel clips the side of the building and intrudes on an acre's worth of property. Even if you can somehow save the building by skin of teeth the utility plant for a major biolab is toast and the disruptions will leave the building unsusable as a lab for years. That's a big impact. The alternative that avoids private property involves taking the first leg of the Arlington curve and S-curving onto the bike path where the path itself S-curves around the parking ramp. Except...that does not provide enough running room onto the Cutoff alignment to avoid fouling the DCR wetlands restoration area, so EPA permit denied.
The station certainly does not point directly at Dicerna. I can see the argument to be made that you'd hit their utilities out back, but can we please stop with the demolition talk when it's clearly not true? Simply draw a line on the map and see that the building is at least thirty feet from a straight-line shot out of Alewife along the current station tracks. Construction would absolutely be detrimental to business there, but you wouldn't have to demolish the building.

Quote:
This is a frankly bizarre target fixation. Why are we playing Civil Engineering Strongman with Red-Waltham when Green-Union/Porter is already on the bloody ROW for continuation west and requires no destruction to properties whatsoever. Just because it's Crazy Transit Pitches thread doesn't mean project scoring goes out the window. We've already got one line that doesn't require building impacts, is already on-target to interface with Red at Porter, and can take all un-eliminable grade crossings as-is. When you've got a zero in-hand on property impacts...you don't go out begging for property impacts somewhere else.
You're begging the question when saying that this is a stupid project because it has building impacts, when that's precisely what we're disagreeing about. I agree that sending the Green Line out this way is a vastly simpler project that would provide almost as much benefit, and I've even said that I don't see this project being on the table for at least 100 more years, because of how expensive it would be versus the benefits.
Quote:
Including the subject of the Alewife garage that would have to be blown up to do any tunnel trajectory-changing whatsoever. I don't care how personally anti-garage someone may be, but is finding places for all the displaced parking demand not a pretty thorny construction mitigation unto itself.
Nobody has brought up demolishing the garage and replacing it with nothing. In fact everyone has been talking about replacing it (see my post that mentioned rebuilding with provisions for this tunnel because we'd be rebuilding the garage before doing anything remotely close to this project).


Again, I want to reiterate (because the assumption always seems to be that the person proposing something thinks we should be dropping everything else to do it right away) that there are numerous other transit projects in this area that take precedence. Green Line to here, rebuilding the garage with exit/entrance ramps to 2, Alewife station if Urban Rail materializes, bus route optimizations, etc. I'm continuing this conversation because F-Line keeps asserting that you'd need to demolish buildings to do this build, and that clearly isn't the case if you just look at a map. The project has way more problems than that. But eventually there will need to be a plan for a Red Line extension out of Alewife. And I'd rather we have a list of real problems than imaginary ones. And if that list of problems includes "Need to rebuild Alewife station five feet north so that the tracks are in the right place" then so be it.

EDIT: I think we're pretty much disagreeing over just one aspect of this: The trajectory out of Alewife. We agree on pretty much every other aspect of this.

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Old 08-15-2019, 09:35 AM   #3694
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
The bike path is not "straight" off the station. It's north. "Straight" off the station is the NNE-facing side of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and their 300,000 sq. ft. of office space. The tunnel clips the side of the building and intrudes on an acre's worth of property.
Honestly? Looks pretty "straight" to me.


Google appears to have the property boundaries in map view as well. Not a transit engineer, but it doesn't look like you'd have to S-curve at all to stay within the Cutoff and avoid the Dicerna property.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:15 AM   #3695
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Honestly? Looks pretty "straight" to me.
snip

Google appears to have the property boundaries in map view as well. Not a transit engineer, but it doesn't look like you'd have to S-curve at all to stay within the Cutoff and avoid the Dicerna property.
snip
I'm thinking a potential issue is the curve needed to be completely on-alignment by the time you're threading the needle between private property and the reservation? But even that looks eminently doable with only a minor bend. Even then, we're talking the taking of a small strip of grass (well, it's grass now, God knows what it'll eventually be) to cut across that northern-corner of Dicerna. I believe the MBTA took more property than that for the GLX, and the bigger obstacle would be all of the commuters on the bike path.

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Old 08-15-2019, 11:25 AM   #3696
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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I'm thinking a potential issue is the curve needed to be completely on-alignment by the time you're threading the needle between private property and the reservation? But even that looks eminently doable with only a minor bend. Even then, we're talking the taking of a small strip of grass (well, it's grass now, God knows what it'll eventually be) to cut across that northern-corner of Dicerna. I believe the MBTA took more property than that for the GLX, and the bigger obstacle would be all of the commuters on the bike path.

The politics of the bike path will be really hard because the Fitchburg cutoff isn't wide enough to do rail + trail and the environmental impact of constructing an HRT corridor (especially a tunnel) could also have strong negative impacts on the reservation.

The benefits of Red to Arlington via the Minuteman are:
  • Tunneling in key spots will be more straightforward with lower environmental impacts
  • Many parts of the ROW have room for rail + trail
  • There's a lot of property redev opportunities along the ROW that could have the potential to accommodate the trail off of the ROW at certain tight spots. Less oppo for that on the cut-off in Cambridge Highlands.
  • Bringing Red to Arlington Heights allows a total restructuring, expansion, and rebalancing of busses in Lexington, Bedford and Burlington, which are currently the widest transit gaps in the MBTA district (because there's no Commuter Rail service between Waltham and Woburn), compared with Waltham, which would be almost equally well served by urban-rail frequencies on inner-Fitchburg.
  • Doesn't disrupt any existing Commuter Rail services, whereas Fitchburg rail would need to be moved to the Central MA RR in Waltham Center and west to the junction.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:42 AM   #3697
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Let's stipulate:

1) "Greater Alewife" is everything in Cambridge from Mass Ave to Fresh Pond and from Sherman St (Danehy Park) to Brighton St (Belmont Line)

2) Assume Green has come out from Union via Porter and will continue on to "Greater Alewife" and that Porter is "by then" a "Super Station" where GLX2, RL, & Fitchburg RER meet

3) That Greater Alewife should have a station for each of the 3 services taht were/will be at Porter, but, given Porter as a hub, a transfer station isn't strictly needed.

4) That, if you demolish the Alewife garage and rebuild it "better" you are also freer to line up services with their 40-year-plan outer terminus.

5) Let's also note that if we do RER/Regional Rail right, the Fitchburg should end up having frequent service to Waltham.


So you've got 3 lines to play with, and roughly 5 corridors to put them on:

- Rt3/Lowell St to Burlington (via a turn northward at Arlington Center)
- Mass Ave / Minuteman Bikeway to Hanscom
- Rt2 to Rt128
- Fitchburg Line to Waltham
- Bike path to Mt Auburn & Watertown

And by "Corridor" I mean "generally following the established alignment" but "don't hold me to exactly within the state-owned ROW"

Seems to me the Crazy Pitch should be

1) Fitchburg should be electrified and get service every 10 minutes via Beaver Brook, Waltham, Brandeis to a new Park and Ride terminus on the Waltham-Weston line.

2) That Red should go out whichever "not Fitchburg" is densest

3) Green go out whichever is next dense after the Red gets its pick
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:02 PM   #3698
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

I like your parameters, but “whichever is densest” isn’t the only important consideration. It’s also “whichever can be imagined to get through local politics and state costs”. even though this is crazy transit pitches, it doesn’t mean we should disregard that Lexington will be a BEAR to get rail through, whether on the Minuteman or some other alignment. We also shouldn’t disregard that some massive new tunneling or elevated project through Lexington to get to Burlington is any way cost effective for the ROI.

So I see it as:

1. Electrify Fitchburg and run Urban Rail from Weston/128 to North Station/NSRL
2. Run Red to Arlington Heights and hope for future expansion
3. Run Green from Porter to Watertown
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:37 PM   #3699
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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1. Electrify Fitchburg and run Urban Rail from Weston/128 to North Station/NSRL
2. Run Red to Arlington Heights and hope for future expansion
3. Run Green from Porter to Watertown
Perfect.

I'll add that if Lowell Line has been electrified/urban-rail-ified that the GLX from MVP might make sense to go up to Winchester Center but then turn on the half-there alignment out to Woburn and onward to Greater Burlington.

Another Crazy Transit Pitch would be to take the GLX from U-Haul along the (Arlington-side) MVP in to Arlington Center.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:57 PM   #3700
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Perfect.

I'll add that if Lowell Line has been electrified/urban-rail-ified that the GLX from MVP might make sense to go up to Winchester Center but then turn on the half-there alignment out to Woburn and onward to Greater Burlington.
Winchester Center makes sense to give GLX a transfer to Urban Rail (West Medford won’t have room for both). Past Winchester becomes a problem because of the viaduct and the lack of clear ROW to Woburn Center. What alignment are you thinking?

Quote:
Another Crazy Transit Pitch would be to take the GLX from U-Haul along the (Arlington-side) MVP in to Arlington Center.
I don’t know if Red needs any more Green flanking maneuvers north of Porter. I’m thinking about all of the different pitches in which Green flanks Red and gives slack to downstream Red and Downtown transfers: Porter (via Union), Harvard (via BU), and Kendall (via Grand Junction). Any two of those would take a major burden off of Red, rendering a tough, street-running GLX to Arlington Center inadvisable and unnecessary. Better to spend resources beefing up bus service between Red in Arlington, Green in Medford, and Orange in Malden.
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