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Old 04-07-2008, 02:30 PM   #21
Riverworks
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

As a daily commuter from Salem to Wonderland, Wonderland to Boston ... I thought I'd share my opinion here.

First off, I used to take the commuter rail from Swampscott to North Station, and after testing out the drive from Salem to Wonderland, the Blue Line was a faster option by far. Even with traffic...

If any of you are familiar with the area, you'd know that during peak hours Route 1A and the Lynnway are packed ... and often adds 15-20 minutes onto the commute. Most of this congestion is due to the amount of people driving to Wonderland. There are 5 different parking lots around the station, enough to rival any medium sized shopping mall.

Not only would a Blue Line extension to Lynn resolve much of the area's congestion, but it will also provide commuters with a variety of options and reach out to communities in need of more service. Local officials also speculate that the extension will boost local economies ... which I agree to be true. The stops proposed north of Wonderland (on the narrow gauge route) are Oak Island, Point of Pines, Riverworks (Market Square area) and finally Downtown Lynn.

Even though some of you see a "no man's land", I see communities that are physically isolated and lack adequate transportation. There is great potential to these areas, and transportation is the catalyst that will give these communities a second chance.

The extension would have a noticeable impact on most of the North Shore: Revere, Saugus, Lynn, Nahant, Marblehead, Swampscott, and Salem. There are hundreds of other commuters who drive from other towns and cities.

As Ron Newman said earlier, clearly the narrow gauge option is the most beneficial. If you're going to spend 600M on an extension, don't just align it along the current commuter rail tracks because there's an existing track there. What communities would this serve? It's simply a waste of money. If you're going to spend this kind of money, build the narrow gauge route for 400M, and construct a commuter rail station at Wonderland for 100M. I don't know how they would connect, but maybe a pedestrian bridge/link of some sort. Give us some options.

In my opinion, the Red-Blue connector would only help those going to the airport. I guess you have to ask the question ... Which is better, re-connecting the North Shore with 5 miles of new track, or spending just as much money on 1/2 a mile to MGH?

I think you know my answer...

Last edited by Riverworks; 04-07-2008 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:05 PM   #22
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

This project is a good idea. Unfortunatly, it's at the bottom of a long list of other good ideas.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:29 PM   #23
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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This project is a good idea. Unfortunatly, it's at the bottom of a long list of other good ideas.
It was proposed in the 70's, 80's, 90's and again in 2008 ... it shouldn't be. The MBTA needs to stop thinking about cheap quick fixes and pump this baby out already.
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:29 PM   #24
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

The Red-Blue connector would do little for people going to the airport (we've already got the Silver Line for that), but it would greatly improve the usefulness of both the current Blue Line and any extension to Lynn. Imagine being able to live in downtown Lynn and work in Kendall Square -- or live in Davis Square and work in Revere.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:00 PM   #25
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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The Red-Blue connector would do little for people going to the airport (we've already got the Silver Line for that), but it would greatly improve the usefulness of both the current Blue Line and any extension to Lynn. Imagine being able to live in downtown Lynn and work in Kendall Square -- or live in Davis Square and work in Revere.
Well that I do understand. I'm sure the possibilities are endless in terms of how one might live or work if they were both to be built. But what I'm saying is if you had to choose one, and go another 5-15 years without the other, I'd choose the Blue Line extension. We need to get more people into Boston and increase ridership before another downtown connection is considered.

Why is it so hard for people to just take another 10 minutes or so to transfer ... or even get off and walk. The downtown stations are so close together that adding another one without a huge spike in ridership just seems like a waste to me.

The only downtown connection I see that's feasible and worth the time is a North-South Station rail link. Maybe it could be designed to connect the Red and Blue Lines as well ...
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:09 PM   #26
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

The problem with "get off and walk" is that if you exit the T at Government Center and re-enter it at Park Street, you pay a second fare unless you have a monthly pass. The problem with transferring is that it takes time (often more time than walking) and overcrowds the busiest part of the Green Line.

The Red-Blue connection doesn't add any new stations. It just brings the Blue Line to Charles station. Its primary beneficiaries are people whose destination is not downtown, but who are travelling between Cambridge/Somerville and Eastie/Revere/Lynn.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:13 PM   #27
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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The Red-Blue connection doesn't add any new stations. It just brings the Blue Line to Charles station. Its primary beneficiaries are people whose destination is not downtown, but who are travelling between Cambridge/Somerville and Eastie/Revere/Lynn.
After that being said, wouldn't you think that the extension to Lynn should be a top priority? Look at what you're connecting to: East Boston, Airport, Wood Island, Orient Heights, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Revere Beach, and Wonderland ... where are the jobs there? With the exception of Airport station, I'd say the majority of these locations are residential. I can see a need to travel outbound on the Red Line since there are actual points of interest to be found around those stops. It is in Lynn that jobs are beginning to grow and will continue to grow once an extension is built.

If the Red-Blue connection is built before the Lynn extension what will this achieve? Do you think people in Cambridge/Somerville will actually be going to Suffolk Downs to work? If they do ... they'll most likely drive across routes 16/99/60 to do so.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:24 PM   #28
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

I think the two extensions should be built together.

If the Lynn extension opens first, I think it will overload the Park-GC section of the Green Line.

I'd hope that a Blue Line extension would generate development and job-creation all along the route.

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If the Red-Blue connection is built before the Lynn extension what will this achieve?
In the short term, it will make it easier for people who live in Eastie and Revere to get to jobs in Cambridge. In the longer term, it may encourage more development around the Eastie and Revere stations, by making them easier to reach from Cambridge. There's a lot of vacant land around some of these stations, and there will be even more if or when the racetracks close down.

Last edited by Ron Newman; 04-07-2008 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:50 PM   #29
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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I think the two extensions should be built together.
Right on.

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If the Lynn extension opens first, I think it will overload the Park-GC section of the Green Line.
Some days, this is already the case. In the days when I was working at Harvard, it was often easier and faster to walk from Bowdoin to Charles and to connect via Park. My commute from Orient Heights to Harvard Square was typically 75 minutes. I would drive to work a couple of days every month -- door-to-door in 20 minutes via Storrow, 15 minutes for the extra buck via the Pike. I don't expect the T to meet this time, but how about 2x driving time?

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I'd hope that a Blue Line extension would generate development and job-creation all along the route.
The T is basically land-banking around Wonderland with all their parking lots (not sure on which ones they own). There's a busy T lot off of my street that's mobbed with folks from Winthrop every morning. My neighbors stopped a three-level parking structure back when I was in high school. It would be a great site for a TOD project.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:14 PM   #30
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

I agree with you in that the two projects should be built together, but the MBTA hardly has any funds for either project. I'm curious to see how this follows through.

In terms of generating funds and raising ridership, I think the extension would be an instant success. On the other hand, the connector would definitely alleviate some of the congestion from the already heavily trafficked portions of the Green Line, as you mentioned before.

Beton, in regards to your comment on the parking situation at Wonderland ... it's a mess to say the least. 2 of the lots are managed (maybe owned) by Laz Parking, 1 owned by Wonderland, and the last two are owned by independents. The MBTA website says there are 1,257 parking spaces total ... at $3-4 a day ... with all spaces occupied (most of the time they are) ... at least $3,770 - $4,000 a day ... I hope they're taking advantage of this.

Last edited by Riverworks; 04-07-2008 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:49 PM   #31
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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I agree with you in that the two projects should be build together, but the MBTA hardly has any funds for either project. I'm curious to see how this follows through.
Indeed. The T has failed utterly to make the most basic overtures toward maintenance at any of the existing Blue Line stations. Consider:
  • The Heights station was slated for replacement in 1994; the station's present state is, to be blunt, a disgrace.
  • Wood Island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Revere Beach, and Wonderland have significant deferred maintenance; poor construction and poor choice of materials don't help the situation.
  • The Maverick project is dragging on; from what the local paper says, the T's trying to cheap-out on the materials (I'll try and post a link when the put up last week's edition).
  • Airport's still shiny but Aquarium is already showing its age.

Last edited by Beton Brut; 04-07-2008 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:00 PM   #32
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

Good find, but unfortunate news.

I don't know if you've been looking at the T's "Project" page lately, but apparently some repair work is going to happen at most of those stations. From the looks of it just concrete and tile work. It's supposed to start in April and go for a few months...

I know that the drawings have been sent out for the new Orient Heights station, but the design is nothing to get excited about. The thing that sticks out for me is the "mock chimney" with a big T on the front... Clearly architecture that is indigenous of its site
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:08 PM   #33
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

^ Where'd you see a rendering? I could use a laugh. DMJM Harris is supposed to be the design firm behind the project, but there has been no meeting to discuss the project; not even the de rigueur self-congratulatory PowerPoint presentation.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:23 PM   #34
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

Hehe I thought it might've been revealed by now. A friend of mine works for the firm and I got a quick glimpse. I can't really say more than that
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:43 PM   #35
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

What you describe speaks volumes. Who needs transparency?

If it means anything, our pols are either dismissive or bewildered by questions about the project and why nothing's happened in nearly 20 years. I once asked a T construction operations manager if he knew if the funds for the replacement of the Heights station were spent beneath the South Boston Waterfront, or under Hingham? He didn't know whether to shit or wind his watch.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:53 PM   #36
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

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[*]Wood Island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Revere Beach, and Wonderland have significant deferred maintenance; poor construction and poor choice of materials don't help the situation.
Didn't they entirely replace all of those stations a few years ago, during a year-long shutdown of that part of the line?
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:05 PM   #37
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

Probably both.

If this extension were ever created I'm curious what designers would think is an appropriate design for future stations. Even though the Orient Heights is old and outdated, I still feel it responds to its context. I almost feel something weathered or industrial looking might fit. But after looking at those renderings, it's nothing but a sea of brick

I feel like Lynn station should definitely have an industrial feel. Exposed structure, some sort of masonry ... something that relates to its tannery days. I almost picture an old New York subway station ... but I'm getting carried away here...
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:12 PM   #38
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

Personally, I feel orange line extensions in both directions would be cheaper and bring in more riders.

Green Line in Somerville should be the number 1 priority however.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:32 PM   #39
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

The Orange Line? I laugh at you

The only part of the Orange Line that needs an extension is the southern route ... going out to the people in Roxbury who have been left out in the cold since 1986, ever since the EL was demolished. The Silver Line is not an adequate replacement.

Don't even get me started on how many costly mistakes the MBTA has made on the Orange Line. I almost wish it still ran down Atlantic Ave ... giving the North End some decent transportation options ... along with City Sq, Thompson Sq, and the tip of Everett.

The Orange Line is at least getting a station at Assembly Sq. I hear design for it starts within a month or two.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:57 PM   #40
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Re: Blue Line extension to Lynn

I still think a one-stop Orange Line extension to Roslindale would make sense, replacing several zillion buses that now travel down Washington Street between there and Forest Hills.
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