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Old 11-22-2010, 11:34 PM   #21
Charlie_mta
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches



^^^^That layout shows the tunnel to east Boston proposed at the time to run up Hanover Street through the North End, instead of up State Street as it was actually built.


The Hanover Street route for the East Boston tunnel would have been cool. I'm wondering if the State Street route won out in order to allow room for the future (at the time) Sumner Tunnel. A Hanover Street Blue Line route would have conflicted with the Sumner Tunnel route.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:01 AM   #22
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

The Hanover St alignment would have given the North End a subway station but I think they went with State St because it allowed for a transfer at Atlantic Ave (Aquarium today) with the Atlantic Ave elevated. Also State St was the CBD (central business district) so that probably had the most sway.

Edit: I knew I had this somewhere.

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Old 11-23-2010, 12:07 AM   #23
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Fun fact about that map: it shows a possible connection with a Cambridge St subway and Washington St subway. As originally proposed, the Red Line was to be elevated along Mass Ave to Harvard Sq. This would have allowed Red Line and Orange Line trains to use the same tunnel, the Washington St subway. Residents of Cambridge balked at the plan and a full subway was proposed. Because of this change, the Red Line was built wider than the Orange Line because it didn't have to conform to the tighter elevated train standards.

This is one more reason why every line on the T is totally different.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:51 AM   #24
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

So...

1. Cambridge had rabid NIMBYs even in the 1910s

2. Said NIMBYs actually did good (burying the Red Line and avoiding future blight, leading to the line developing separately from the Orange and probably paving the way for future expansions of both that probably would have never happened).
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:51 AM   #25
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

@CZSZ They are really doing that? I can't believe they really are. This is an embarrassment and makes me ask that why isn't anyone outraged beyond this forum.

In other news. This person have a post on UH with a link to a site/blog of his statements about the green line extension. What he argues, also another thing to be embarrass about the current state of Massachusetts and likely the US on all fronts including government funded public works.

http://www.universalhub.com/node/51324
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:20 AM   #26
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

^ a very wordy proposal that essentially boils down to extending the orange line onto the proposed GLX alignment and meanwhile extending the GL from Lechmere as a trolley down major corridors eg Cambridge St to Harvard Sq.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:08 AM   #27
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
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Rush hour trips haven't been left unscathed either; trackwork has increased the time it takes to run the journey from about half an hour to an hour and a half.

I mean, I understand that there's track maintenance to do (and slippery rail this time of year) but think of the treatment that highways get: most scheduled roadwork is done in the middle of the night.
That really sucks for the folks out in Needham. They should bus them to the D-Line, and leave the folks in Westie and Rozzie to take regular bus service since both neighborhoods are well served to begin with.

It's been not so bad for those of us closer to Forest Hills. Everything seems to be routinely 15 minutes late, but if you just adjust your thinking, it adheres to a shifted schedule (one that actually works better for me).
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:30 PM   #28
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

As bad as the current situation is, I wouldn't wish a combo bus + D line trip on my worst enemy. That's easily over two hours into the city, and probably routinely more.

Quote:
^ a very wordy proposal that essentially boils down to extending the orange line onto the proposed GLX alignment and meanwhile extending the GL from Lechmere as a trolley down major corridors eg Cambridge St to Harvard Sq.
Of course, heavy rail would be preferable, so I'm down with his Orange Line suggestion. But the Green Line down Cambridge St.? Madness. Sadly, most traffic "arteries" in Boston/Cambridge/Somerville boil down to two travel lanes, making the installation of streetcars a virtual impossibility. Look at the opposition to the restoration of service on Center St. in JP... as good as these narrow streets are for deterring travel by car, they don't do many favors for transit riders, either (or for that matter, cyclists, since there's often little space for proper bike lanes). This is one of the greater structural weaknesses of the inner Boston metro, IMO.
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:57 PM   #29
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

I've never been able to understand the preference for Green Line over Orange Line for Somerville service. The way it's designed is tailor made for HRT, so why bother with LRT?
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:16 PM   #30
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Cheaper. You can lay some blacktop and build a shed roof and call it an LRT station. Not so heavy rail, which needs long, raised platforms. You also have to install all kinds of safety precautions on exposed heavy rail lines, since the third rail is electrified. LRT catenary poses no such problems.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:47 PM   #31
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Yet, it is approaching a billion dollars for 4 miles of track with the tracks and ROW already there. Did it always cost this much per mile like back in early 20th century where largest subway construction was happening? What about other countries? You know, it is commonly said (relatively) that Republicans are anti-rail and anything else besides highways. However, when projects like this costs a billion dollars for 4 miles of track, I can see why they are so hesitant.

The example that guy used built a tunnel that cost so much less. If it already cost a billion, I wonder how much if it was a Orange line spur instead. I wonder where is the money going.
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:11 PM   #32
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Whatever is making this cost $1b now, I don't think it's for any reason having inherently to do with rail that should make conservatives or libertarians more suspicious of that transport medium than of highways. Remember the insane cost overruns on the Big Dig, a highway project...this kind of thing can happen to any infrastructure medium.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that rail tends to serve more people per mile than any road. In other words, more taxpayers whose money will go into rail projects will be able to benefit from them. Because roads tend to deconcentrate people, they're used by fewer people proportionately (on a regular basis, that is), so there's rarely as direct a benefit to the citizen paying in.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:59 PM   #33
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by czsz View Post
Cheaper. You can lay some blacktop and build a shed roof and call it an LRT station. Not so heavy rail, which needs long, raised platforms. You also have to install all kinds of safety precautions on exposed heavy rail lines, since the third rail is electrified. LRT catenary poses no such problems.
The station cost is a good point (and I think was decisive here). HRT can be modified to run on overhead wires. The Chicago "L" had that capability on some of its trains for many years, and might still have it today. The trick would be having to stop the train to change over and grab the wire.

Taking a glance at his population density map, the two highest priorities for expansion on that basis would be NW Somerville (which this extension covers) and Allston-Brighton. The latter is all caught up in the Urban Ring debacle, though.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:35 PM   #34
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

A billion dollars for 4 miles ($250 million/mile) seems hugely exorbitant, especially considering the ROW is already there. Other cities like Seattle and Phoenix are implementing entire lines from scratch for a fraction of the cost per mile. There's obviously something very wrong here.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:24 PM   #35
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

That does seem high. An LRT line down the middle of a suburban arterial here in Toronto is costing between $130-160 million per mile. Factoring currency conversion and higher labor costs, that's still about $80-130 million less per mile for a brand new line with no existing infrastructure.

So, I agree, something is definitely very wrong with that figure.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:11 PM   #36
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by czsz View Post
Whatever is making this cost $1b now, I don't think it's for any reason having inherently to do with rail that should make conservatives or libertarians more suspicious of that transport medium than of highways. Remember the insane cost overruns on the Big Dig, a highway project...this kind of thing can happen to any infrastructure medium.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that rail tends to serve more people per mile than any road. In other words, more taxpayers whose money will go into rail projects will be able to benefit from them. Because roads tend to deconcentrate people, they're used by fewer people proportionately (on a regular basis, that is), so there's rarely as direct a benefit to the citizen paying in.
My bigger issue is the money. I never said it is inherit to railroads, but that is why I am asking for comparisons. Did it really cost this much back 1906? What about those subways in Beijing, are they spending 500 billion dollars or something? What is costing so much anyways? How much does cement for the platforms costs exactly? If I were governor and see projects costing that much, I would have to ask myself that, not because of roads vs rail or any of that, but just plain cost. If the project is only costing $250 million and other mode cost a Billion, I would be asking about the other modes.


Now, that said, $250 million per mile still looks off. I can't really know for sure. I don't have any experience nor access to information on how much each material cost, but something is ballooning the cost. If it not, then I have to ask how did we pay for all those now century old projects anyway.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:10 AM   #37
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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The station cost is a good point (and I think was decisive here). HRT can be modified to run on overhead wires. The Chicago "L" had that capability on some of its trains for many years, and might still have it today. The trick would be having to stop the train to change over and grab the wire.
But the station design is part of why I've suggested they might just as well do heavy rail. Have you looked at the designs? They are nothing like the B/C/D/E asphalt strips. They look very much like the SouthWest Corridor OL stations. I'll grant that there may not be space for six car platforms, and also it's possible that ridership projections don't support the need for Orange Line level service. Still, I bet the stations are a huge element of the cost calculation. They are very substantial.

As for Centenary and heavy rail, it's very possible, and is the configuration for the Blue Line, switching as it emerges from the tunnel just before Airport Station. The original plan for the new Orange Line was that it would also operate in this fashion for the never built section beyond Oak Grove. The reason for this choice was that the trains were going to have a few grade crossings, and third rail is not compatible with a crossing.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:17 AM   #38
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

does the $1B include the new maintenance yard? I know they are spending $50m just for land acquisitions for that. Perhaps it also includes funds for the Type 9 that is part of this project?
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:01 PM   #39
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Theres actually a little more to the proposal that was linked than just a orange-rather-than-green HRT/LRT option.

The proposal suggested connecting the lowell and haverhill commuter rail lines just north of the Anderson station in Woburn with a new short spur (~1 mile). That would eliminate the need to build two new tracks on the somerville corridor, parallel to the existing CR tracks, for the rapid transit service - the conversion in the existing footprint from CR rails to orange line rails and power would presumably be relatively cheap and easy.

That would theoretically allow orange line service all the way out to Anderson / 128 essentially on existing track (and, importantly, without the need for a new bridge across the mystic near route 16), with the significant cost elements being the (a) new CR ~1 mile spur connecting the lowell and haverhill lines in Woburn (b) a short connection for the orange line from community college through the vacant north point site in Cambridge to the somerville corridor (c) converting the CR rails to orange line rails and power (d) grade separation in west medford (e) building new stations and (f) rolling stock.

If you did that you could probably also eliminate the need to radically rebuild the 128 / 93 intersection in Woburn - so the cost comparison for those elements listed above would be not only 1B+ for the GLX plan but also hundreds of millions for a mammoth new eggbeater junction in Woburn.

And in return you'd get a one seat HRT ride from 128 to where the jobs are: north station, state street, park street, Back Bay, ruggles and beyond - not to mention high capacity service for somerville. Plus you'd have the potential to create rapid transit-like headways on CR trains (with a combination of express and local trains for both haverhill and lowell service, possibly supplemented by indigo-line style sprinters) between North Station and Reading or Anderson on the Haverhill ROW.

Another idea that is way too good to have any potential of happening.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:06 PM   #40
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

I was curious about this, so I looked it up:

Based on about 15 LRT projects over the past 20 years or so, the so-called "Urban Transport Fact Book" (http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-lrt2001.htm) calculates a $70 million per-mile average for LRT construction. They include some projects which aren't really analogous to the GLE, like Austin's DMU project, but it seems reasonable based on a couple specific numbers (the Portland Interstate and California projects particularly) to say the average falls somewhere in the $70-$100 million range per mile.

The GLE is currently budgeted at almost $250 million per mile. This seems high to me. In fact, it would make the GLE more expensive by $50 million per mile than the Seattle Sound Transit Project, which was constructed from nothing and involved complex elevated right-of-way. In fact, in a gross oversimplification one could argue that the MBTA could build Seattle's system and Austin's together for the price of the GLE.

According to Reconnecting America's fact sheet, Heavy Rail such as the Orange Line can cost anywhere from $50 million to $250 million per mile. According to their figures, the GLE is costing as much per mile as San Francisco's Central Subway. Assuming that the cost to extend the Orange Line fell in the middle of that range (which is, under the circumstances, patently ridiculous, but I'll dream big), an HRT extension for the 12 miles to Anderson would cost in the $1.2 billion range. Add to that the 1.5 mile CR link (via the most plausible route) at $15 million per mile, and we end up with somewhere around $1.25 billion.

That's higher than the GLE cost (though it serves far more people), but it is not the most appealing solution to me. Austin's system is DMU, and was just recently completed (so the number is relatively current, albeit in Texas). For each mile of GLE the MBTA is building, they could construct 5 miles of DMU service on existing track, perhaps along (and potentially replacing CR service on) the Worcester and Fairmont Lines. After all, for the total cost of the GLE, we could get 20 miles of DMU, enough to reach both Riverside and 128 Station.

Of course, to get the full effect of HRT, you need HRT, not DMU. Assuming it's 12 miles from South Station to either Riverside or 128, though, it would cost the same $1.25 billion to build each of those lines. It's steep, but if the T can justify spending 80% of that on 4 miles of light rail in just about ideal right-of-way, maybe new management could push one of those through.

Last edited by Equilibria; 11-25-2010 at 02:32 AM.
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