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Old 07-25-2018, 07:07 PM   #1
FK4
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Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

This has been discussed on here before, but I do not believe it has its own thread, and I think it deserves one.

I don't have time right now to upload all the images and links, but it's sponsored by Walk-Up Roslindale and has the support of the city and cautiously, of the Arboretum. I am not sure what the status of MBTA support is, but I do not believe they have thoroughly reviewed the current proposal yet.

Anyway, the update is there was a 25% design meeting tonight, of the MBTA segment only (Roslindale Sq. to the Arboretum). The images will be uploaded by tomorrow on Walk-Up Roslindale's site. I had to leave after the presentation and Q&A, but there were were workshops following this session.

People asked various questions, but overall the support was in favor, if anything, for a more bike oriented path; there were no questions that indicated opposition to the project itself. They expect to hold another meeting for the 25% design portion of the Arboretum leg in a couple months.

I asked about whether this design leaves room for future double tracking and was told this had not been accounted for but the T would review the design next. Walk-Up's attitude seemed more of the "if it's not gonna happen for 20-30 years, no need to design with this in mind"; I disagree (since if it's not accounted for now it's just gonna be more fights down the road by pro-bike path preservationists, etc). More to come.

In other very good news, the insanely dangerous Bussey-South St intersection is being reconstructed right now. For anyone who has ever tried to cross this intersection on foot, cars fly down South and take the very soft right onto Bussey, often in excess of 40mph. This will be a very welcome change. I am not sure of the status of the Centre-Walter intersection; the city released a redesign but Walk-Up is requesting changes... I think the best solution here would be a roundabout, but looks like nobody is fighting for that, unfortunately.

(As an aside, I am going to contact Walk-Up offline to ask how they notified abutters - I was personally contacted by someone at Walk-Up who knew I was supportive of this ó and I am one of the twenty or so houses that abuts the MBTA property ó and I definitely did not get anything delivered to my house. I am hoping that cynical tactics aren't being employed here, because it seems like the participants in tonight's meeting were essentially cherry picked. I support the extension but I do believe everyone who may be affected by this deserves a formal notification of these meetings... more to come on that, perhaps I am wrong).
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:59 PM   #2
Randomgear
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Two or so years ago DCR was planning changes to the Centre St/ Walter St intersection; thought that they were the ones doing the work. The design team they hired (Beta Engineering, I think) was less than enthusiastic about major changes such as a roundabout and had to be prodded to consider bicycles and even second-rate pedestrian crossings.

Notifying abutters for a non-government planning presentation/discussion? It's not a public hearing.
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Old 07-26-2018, 01:37 PM   #3
HenryAlan
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Thanks, FK4, good write-up. I appreciated your asking the question about leaving room for additional tracks. I asked the same thing at an earlier meeting and the response at that time was that nobody really expected anything to ever change regarding track configuration. I thought last night's answer was better, which essentially boiled down to: if double tracking is happening in the near-term, we'll adjust the plan where needed, but we don't think this would interfere with it anyway. To my untrained eye, using Google satellite view, it appears to me that there is room for double tracking within the area currently fenced off. As they described things last night (and also per the map displays), the path will not be within that section of the ROW.

I know some of the people at Walkup Roslindale and Rozzie Bikes (another organization heavily involved with this), and I would discount the idea that they are trying to control the participant list. Certainly possible, but I don't think these meetings so far are any kind of official meetings of the sort where community input becomes a part of the approval process. I can't imagine there would be any construction without well publicized open meetings.

As for the bike question, yes, the room definitely seemed more interested in that than walking. I was a bit discouraged by how many people seemed set against the idea that it could not be lit. There are several reasons not to light that path, including Arboretum prerogative and accommodating the needs of abutting property owners. I would not want a lit path running above and behind my back yard, and as a user of such a path, I'll just deal with the fact that it's not so accessible for winter evenings. I'll still use it and frequently, and be glad that it's there.
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Old 07-26-2018, 02:18 PM   #4
HenryAlan
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

The presentation isn't up yet on the Walkup Rosilndale site, but there is a link to the actual report. The image bellow is a quick and dirty look at the area under discussion, running from the commuter rail station to the Arboretum.

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Old 07-26-2018, 04:16 PM   #5
Joel N. Weber II
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by HenryAlan View Post
As for the bike question, yes, the room definitely seemed more interested in that than walking. I was a bit discouraged by how many people seemed set against the idea that it could not be lit. There are several reasons not to light that path, including Arboretum prerogative and accommodating the needs of abutting property owners. I would not want a lit path running above and behind my back yard, and as a user of such a path, I'll just deal with the fact that it's not so accessible for winter evenings. I'll still use it and frequently, and be glad that it's there.
What if the path were lit from sunset to 8 PM or something and then after that the lights would go out?
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:46 PM   #6
FK4
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Thanks Henry - re tracks, I agree, from what the maps looks like, thereís room for future double tracking with the path as is... but thatís just my unprofessional eyeballing.

I may just be paranoid about who gets asked to come. I was invited by someone else on my street who stopped by a couple months ago when I left the door open, and had just wanted to gauge my attitude towards it. We ended up having a long discussion about transit and I recommended he check out archboston, which heíd not heard of. I guess I can see two avenues for notifying neighbors; on the one hand, maybe itís better to come up with something feasible and only then offer it before the neighborhood; on the other, some people might be angry that this thing is happening behind their backs, so to speak. Iíve followed Walk Up Roslindale from well before I moved here, so I certainly support their work across the board. I do not agree, either way, with your assertion, though, Randomgear, that one neednít bother with something if itís not mandated by law. If you make a decision on anything, you should be making it for the right reasons, not the legally required ones.

As for the lighting, I also agree, people seemed very hung up on it. The Arbo is obviously not going to allow lighting, and the presenter properly noted that it would be poor form to essentially lure people into the path with lights only to find them ending in darkness at the Arbo border. However, I think some ground level lights - just enough to see the trail - on the MBTA portion would certainly be appropriate, especially since that section will be much dimmer than the Arbo one. Iíll definitely raise this at a later date.

Overall it sounds like this is making good progress. Perhaps the city will reconstruct the segment of South between Bussey and Forest Hills before the trail gets built - Iím so happy about the intersection redo but the condition and safety of South in general makes it s very intimidating ride. And in the longer term also, although this is JP stuff, the Arborway rotary redo will be a huuuge win, if and when it happens.
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Old 07-27-2018, 07:55 AM   #7
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Needham Line was tri-tracked to Rozzie Square back in the day. There were both freight and passenger depots on the station property, which is why the site today has such absurdly large parking lots for a dense intracity stop.

I'm not sure Keolis is going to be all that keen on coming in if the single track, which has been re-centered, needs to be moved to the side in order to install security fencing. They have track machines that can lift up the whole track assembly, move it a couple feet, re-ballast, and re-tamp it. But it's nonzero cost/labor and if any of the rail/ties in the affected curve area are coming due for cycled replacement the path prep will be a trigger for them to have to do that labor too.

The only transit potentially affected is City of Boston's 2030 rec for +1'ing Orange to Rozzie alongside commuter rail to mitigate the Forest Hills bus crush. Then you do need 2 track berths for Orange and 1 for Needham in this vicinity. But I doubt such a quick-and-dirty path job would ever be a blocker for that scenario. If the time comes, the embankment will be re-landscaped anyway for drainage of 3 tracks and the path can effortlessly be moved--albeit at mildly greater cost--20 ft. north into the wooded area down the embankment instead. No biggie if you're already spending a big wad on the corridor.
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:45 AM   #8
FK4
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
Needham Line was tri-tracked to Rozzie Square back in the day. There were both freight and passenger depots on the station property, which is why the site today has such absurdly large parking lots for a dense intracity stop.

I'm not sure Keolis is going to be all that keen on coming in if the single track, which has been re-centered, needs to be moved to the side in order to install security fencing. They have track machines that can lift up the whole track assembly, move it a couple feet, re-ballast, and re-tamp it. But it's nonzero cost/labor and if any of the rail/ties in the affected curve area are coming due for cycled replacement the path prep will be a trigger for them to have to do that labor too.

The only transit potentially affected is City of Boston's 2030 rec for +1'ing Orange to Rozzie alongside commuter rail to mitigate the Forest Hills bus crush. Then you do need 2 track berths for Orange and 1 for Needham in this vicinity. But I doubt such a quick-and-dirty path job would ever be a blocker for that scenario. If the time comes, the embankment will be re-landscaped anyway for drainage of 3 tracks and the path can effortlessly be moved--albeit at mildly greater cost--20 ft. north into the wooded area down the embankment instead. No biggie if you're already spending a big wad on the corridor.
I figured youíd pop into this one F Line. Long time no read.

It seems rather shortsighted to continue the commuter rail alongside a redundant orange line, although I guess from a financial and governmental planning standpoint thatís much more likely to get done then to illuminate the need and branch altogether and extend both orange and green.

The problem with three tracking I see, though, is I highly doubt it will go over well with everyone on Conway and Arborough to carve 20 feet north into that hillside. Itís an extraordinarily steep slope, and there would have to be a lot of reinforcement work done, plus, just moving shit closer to the road itís going to create opposition, especially the houses that are closer to the grade of the rail bed at the bottom of the hill.

As an aside the original railroad company owned all the land between Conway and the Arboretum. Thatís why Conway bends, and why thereís a Mendum St gate but no formal Arborough gate (and why thereís a formal path from Fairway and not Arborough) - the rest of the neighborhood and the arboretum were developed concurrently. Iím not sure why the railroad would have purchased all the hillside land in the first place, but I assume that most likely the entire original parcel was just carved out of an old farm or estate. Also, South St used to have an at grade crossing. Itís an interesting and very old road that predates nearly all other roads around there (and goes all the way to putterham, Church St being briefly the name thru W Rox). Weld and Walter are also very old colonial era roads.
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Old 07-27-2018, 02:57 PM   #9
F-Line to Dudley
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Re: Roslindale Arboretum Gateway Path

Quote:
Originally Posted by FK4 View Post
I figured youíd pop into this one F Line. Long time no read.

It seems rather shortsighted to continue the commuter rail alongside a redundant orange line, although I guess from a financial and governmental planning standpoint thatís much more likely to get done then to illuminate the need and branch altogether and extend both orange and green.

The problem with three tracking I see, though, is I highly doubt it will go over well with everyone on Conway and Arborough to carve 20 feet north into that hillside. Itís an extraordinarily steep slope, and there would have to be a lot of reinforcement work done, plus, just moving shit closer to the road itís going to create opposition, especially the houses that are closer to the grade of the rail bed at the bottom of the hill.

As an aside the original railroad company owned all the land between Conway and the Arboretum. Thatís why Conway bends, and why thereís a Mendum St gate but no formal Arborough gate (and why thereís a formal path from Fairway and not Arborough) - the rest of the neighborhood and the arboretum were developed concurrently. Iím not sure why the railroad would have purchased all the hillside land in the first place, but I assume that most likely the entire original parcel was just carved out of an old farm or estate. Also, South St used to have an at grade crossing. Itís an interesting and very old road that predates nearly all other roads around there (and goes all the way to putterham, Church St being briefly the name thru W Rox). Weld and Walter are also very old colonial era roads.
Keep in mind, that was City of Boston with Boston 2030 who proposed the Orange +1. They're just poking the T with a stick to start a conversation while trying not to prematurely spook the "suburbanites" in West Roxbury. Once the bleak picture of NEC traffic management in the SW Corridor tunnel gets spelled out to more parties, then full rapid transit trade-in of the Needham Line starts to become real public debate.

I guess in any event, the path is movable if Rozzie +1 matters that much...and it's movable back onto the Track 3 easement if Orange expunges Purple. Probably not a deal-breaker of any sort for any parties involved because a lot of multimodal money will be muscled around through this area to do any sort of Orange extension.
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