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Old 11-25-2010, 07:11 AM   #41
belmont square
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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That would theoretically allow orange line service all the way out to Anderson / 128 essentially on existing track

Another idea that is way too good to have any potential of happening.
The population density necessary to support rapid transit drops off quite a bit beyond West Medford. Is it really such a good idea to extend rapid transit service 7 miles (W Med to Anderson) beyond where the density can support it? In order to get there you'd need to pass through tony Winchester, which would almost certainly oppose it (in fact, dense and relatively blue collar Medford has been less than enthusiastic in their support for GLX).

You'd essentially be creating a stretch of Orange Line from Anderson to West Medford that would be about as long as the Forest Hills to Wellington stretch, on which there would be essentially empty trains throughout most of the day, and empty trains coming every 5 minutes during the peak periods in the non-peak direction.

Maybe not as good an idea as you think?
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:32 AM   #42
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

There's a ROW through downtown Wouburn on up to Anderson. It may have been the former Middlesex Canal, or at least partially. That would pick up alot more density, but you'd certainly have to tunnel under the center.
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:45 AM   #43
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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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.
If everything you said is correct, then even the next most expensive projects is not even close. Even looking at similar American project that this project is on the upper end of HRT. Something is not adding up. My memory tells me that the extension is being made with provisions for HRT one day, but at $250 mil per mile, it could be HRT and underground right now.

At this price, the cynicism in me says there's only one thing that can drive up prices this much and even then, it has to be at severe 3rd world country levels as even countries like China are not paying that much.

Something is just not adding up.
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:21 AM   #44
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches





My Proposed Sullivan Station

A complete reworking of the current station, which should fit in the current ROW, if not, the rightmost commuter rail track could be placed inside the east retaining wall. Also note that I-93 supports would likely need replacing.

Improvements including a better Orange Line expressing system, and a brand new "Silver Line" (Urban Ring, heavy rail) connection. Also, a new commuter rail stop, making this the north side's very own "Back Bay" type station.
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Old 11-28-2010, 05:59 PM   #45
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

More details please, it looks more like abstract art than a diagram.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:08 PM   #46
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

It's just to give an idea, really, not much detail.

But there would be a connection to the roads to the north and south, ideally. The names of which slipped my mind and Google isn't loading so I can't check... I believe one is New Maffa, to the north. Also, there's that street to the west that dead ends.
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:18 PM   #47
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Just some fun with map making.

Click for full size image.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:49 PM   #48
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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Just some fun with map making.

Click for full size image.
Actually, that is very well thought out. Extend the Red Line up to Burlington Mall/Lahey Clinic and you've got a deal.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:03 PM   #49
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

My urban infrastructure professor this past semester was from DC and all he did constantly was bash the MBTA for having short heavy rail systems. "They really should be a lot longer," he'd say. He really didn't like the fact that from downtown, you can go to the end of any line within 20-25 minutes because heavy rail is made to go a lot longer. I agree that it should be extended and they should start by implementing the original Red Line Extension to the Burlington Mall. It's such a pain going to Alewife and waiting for a bus.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:28 AM   #50
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Did the professor think they should be longer for the sake of being longer? DC's system works like a hybrid urban rail/suburban commuter rail system (which fills a need given DC's relatively poor commuter rail network). Did he criticize NYC subway lines for being too short? Although they are a lot longer than Boston's, if they were serving areas with the same density that WMATA's subway serves (or that some would advocate should be served here), the NYC subway would need to be extended by about 20 miles in every direction.

My experience is that if you're looking for an urban neighborhood well served by rapid transit, you can find a lot more of them here than in DC. If you're looking suburban rapid transit stations surrounded by acres of parking lots with very little off-peak ridership, than DC would be the better choice.
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:09 PM   #51
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

What your professor doesn't realize is that Boston is not only full of NIMBY's, but that it is also landlocked. D.C. is a bigger city and the D.C. Metro Region has more land density, and therefore can expand.

In my opinon, the Maryland Light Rail system is sweet. I went to visit a friend from College in 2007, and we took the light rail from his house to Camden Yards for a Sox game and back. Clean. Smooth. It wasn't even magic.
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Old 12-20-2010, 03:40 PM   #52
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Omaja ^ - great illustration.

Here's my own "2040" vision:



This isn't meant to be pie-in-the-sky, and I'll readily admit that there are few original ideas here. The overarching mission here is to maximize impact (increasing connectivity, serving underserved communities) while minimizing investment. I've proposed going about that in three ways:
1) Use existing ROWs for new or extended service, and include rapid transit service on CR tracks (DMUs for example - "Rapid Express Service" on my map.)

2) Encourage street running trolleys: NIMBYs aside, the assumption being that changes to traffic patterns, road layout and street parking can make this feasible - taking Toronto or Melbourne as examples. The Green Line extensions on my map reach underserved neighborhoods in this way.

3) Expand trolleybuses: they represent fixed investment, and seem to work well where they do currently. On my proposal this forms the basis for an extensive system that complements the subway.
There are three expensive parts of this plan that I think are worthwhile. All of these have been discussed before.
A) Beacon St or Marlboro St tunnel from Charles/MGH to Kenmore - connecting the Blue Line to an upgraded heavy rail D line.

B) Mass Ave tunnel from Central Sq to the upgraded Indigo Line (cut and cover most of the way). Note that the light-blue line on the map is actually a Red Line branch, but colored differently for readability. In this proposal, then, Indigo Line is upgraded to a Red Line branch (and yes I'm aware of the arguments in favor of keeping this CR).

C) A short Green Line extension from Boylston to South Station under Essex Street and into the current Silver Line tunnel. A note on the Green Line: by having trains continue through Boylston in three different ways (From Lechmere towards Dudley; from Kenmore to Southie; and from Kenmore to Lechmere) the volume of traffic in the central subway can be mitigated. (Upgrading the D to blue also helps, of course). I've suggested GL routings in the map (some of which don't even go into the central subway) but there may be a more optimal arrangement still.
A few notes:
- Sorry for the "weight" of the file; I didn't know how to cut this down
- Map is not to scale, of course. I do have a Google Earth file that you can import - PM me if you are interested
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:36 PM   #53
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

wow that is awesome!

i think you mean 2140 though!
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:39 AM   #54
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Nice work, Shepherd and Omaja! I love looking at this kind of stuff. Now how do we get it done?
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:01 AM   #55
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

^^We wait until the population density actually meets the demand which doesn't seem likely until Boston builds up in the area where there are multiple station/line coverage. In other words, you have to wait for about a generation or two to get rid of the NIMBYs.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:02 PM   #56
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Well, both maps have more than a few common sense projects in common:

1. Connecting the Riverside Green Line with the Blue Line (although I would prefer via Huntington Ave).

2. Putting a subway down Mass Ave.

3. Running a Green Line branch down Washington Street.

Wish we had the money.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:52 PM   #57
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

So, I just took a look at this.

Is the "Rapid Express Service" a BRT?

Why so much overlap between light blue line and red line from Central Square to Alewife?
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:30 PM   #58
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

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So, I just took a look at this.

Is the "Rapid Express Service" a BRT?

Why so much overlap between light blue line and red line from Central Square to Alewife?
"Note that the light-blue line on the map is actually a Red Line branch, but colored differently for readability."
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:32 PM   #59
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

Thanks! And the rapid express service is DMU or EMU service along CR lines. I think I explained that too. Black lines represent an expanded trolleybus system.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:31 PM   #60
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Re: Crazy Transit Pitches

How about expanding the Blue Line beyond just the Charles/MGH stop, so that it has other uses besides those of a glorified suburban rail.

Perhaps extending it further to Arlington (Green Line stop), NE Medical Centre and to Dudley Square. Essentially using the Silver "Line" alignment.

Maybe even further, to the Morton Street commuter rail stop.
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