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Old 05-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #21
Commuting Boston Student
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I argue for sweeping core improvements like Green Line Heavy Rail because I do see getting even one big thing done setting off a domino effect of improvements in the wake of having finally overcome everything acting to oppose improvement. I don't think Red-Blue or Blue to Lynn would have any real problems getting off the ground in the wake of such a huge undertaking, and once you start building on Blue why stop? Knock both of those out as part of the same project, and then Blue Line to Waltham/Orange Line to Reading stops looking so crazy.

That having been said, nothing can happen until we start with something. I like the idea of reducing the number of stops on non-D Green Line branches, and as long as we're consolidating stops, why not consolidate Reservoir/Cleveland Circle? They're close enough together that you'd really only need to build a larger station on top of the yard they have there now. You pick up a C-to-D connection, clear the way to keep that yard in use for both LRV and HRV Green Line stock, assuming that we can't convert all the branches.

I'd also like to see a study assessing how doable B branch heavy rail is. I imagine it starts looking a whole lot better when you start axing stations?
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:18 PM   #22
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Grade separating the "B" is too expensive. Cut-n-cover might be worthwhile up to Harvard Ave, especially when they redo Comm Ave, but what do you do beyond that? Elevate? That'll go over well. Really, there's nothing wrong with light rail when run properly. That means signal priority and proper boarding procedures. I also don't understand why you would want to do a relatively easy extension (Lynn) after an extremely difficult conversion ("B").

I don't know what you mean by consolidating Cleveland Circle and Reservoir. What for? The stations are really not that far apart. They could use some improvements for pedestrians there anyhow.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:23 PM   #23
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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The stations are really not that far apart. They could use some improvements for pedestrians there anyhow.
That's the point. You can combine them.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:54 PM   #24
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Elevating the the B line until the hill after Warren Street would be pretty easy in conjunction with the major Comm Ave overhaul. Carriageways could be used to divert traffic during construction and the current rail line would be able to operate during construction as they build the elevated line in the center of the right-of-way. Create a bike path and green space underneath and along the line and we'd have a very nice corridor going.
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Old 05-05-2012, 04:17 PM   #25
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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How about this for reasonable: consolidating Green Line stops along the B, C and E branches. This would reduce the B and C branches by 5 stations each to 13 and 8, respectively. It would also consolidate the E branch to 8 stations from its current 11.

Consolidating stations would bring most interstation distances on each line to around 1200-1800 feet or 4-6 minutes walking. Much more manageable than the 500-700 feet that some stations are apart right now.

Oh, and finally switch on the damn signal prioritization along the C and E branches.
This looks good. I would actually move BU west to the intersection with Mountfort / BU Bridge so that it's easier to transfer to the CT2/47.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #26
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

As much fun as it would be to see portions of the Green Line converted, simply doing signal prioritization, consolidated stops, and ending front-door only boarding through one method or another, would drastically improve the Green Line to the point that few people would be clamoring for heavy rail anymore. If you want to spend a few billion to make the whole system run more smoothly add CBTC; the "How fucked is the Green Line" of yore will be a thing of the past. Like Matthew said, there's nothing wrong with light rail as long as it's done well. The current Green Line procedures on the Green Line don't meet the needs of today's ridership, traffic patterns and frequency. This can be fixed much more cheaply than by upgrading it to heavy rail, as much as I'd like to see it someday...

As long as we're talking about extending the tunnel from Kenmore to Harvard Ave on the "B", why not cut and cover Brighton Ave, Cambridge St and Washington St to give us back an "A" branch to Oak Square? Hell depending on ambitions, bring it all the way to Watertown Sq.
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Old 05-05-2012, 06:56 PM   #27
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

So here's a map of rapid transit rail projects that in my opinion are "reasonable"

http://g.co/maps/ytvwm (turn on "transit" view to see the existing system)
  • Blue Line: Red Line transfer at Charles/MGH; Extension to Lynn
  • Orange Line: Extension to Roslindale Village; possibly continue to West Roxbury
  • Green Line: Signal Priority; All-door boarding; Stop Consolidation; Extension to Rte 16 via Lowell Line; Extension to Porter Square via Fitchburg Line; Restoration of "E" to Forest Hills; "A" branch to Oak Square; Branch to Needham Junction via "D"
  • Indigo: DMU South Station to Westwood. Possibly similar DMU routes to Riverside on Worcester Line and to Cedarwood on Fitchburg Line.

Figure out an LRV route for the Urban Ring and toss that in there too. I neglected the Washington St corridor because I think the best we can hope for there at this point is a Trackless Trolly Bus. Anything else (including my beloved Red Line extension to Hanscom) is currently just too "Crazy"...
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:33 PM   #28
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Very much agreed on all of those, Busses. I'd just add that extending the A all the way to Watertown would be fantastic and not at all unreasonable.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:52 PM   #29
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Oh, it makes perfect sense now. A brand new suburban rail right-of-way along a power line corridor is 'reasonable' but electrifying and upgrading a current rail right-of-way is 'crazy'. Got it.

With densities like 4,000ppsm (Waltham), 1,900ppsm (Lexington) or 2,100ppsm (Burlington), none of these towns has anywhere near the demand to support intra-suburban rail. Even considering the 'downtown' developments you reference, each town would need to at least double (if not triple) its density before there would be enough critical mass for intra-suburban rail.

I'll echo the sentiments of BussesAin'Trains and Boston Commuting Student: the value of rail to the region's core cannot be understated. It would be a domino effect that would eventually lead to town centers along Route 128 asking for better transit connections. You cannot, however, start down the line and expect all of the preceding dominoes to fall as well.
Omaja -- you are using the wrong metric. The average density of the town or city is not relevant. Boarding numbers on the Blue Line in Orient Heighs is totally decoupled from the near suburban density in West Roxbury. What matters is some combination of linear density along the line (and a few blocks away) and some parking for the non-walk/bike-up commuters + the people making the reverse commute.

Thus while Arlington as a whole is not dense enoungh for a Light Rail line by the book -- the LR-like frequency Mass Ave. #77 Bus is full most of the time when it leaves Cambridge. All along Mass Ave. there are multi-storey appartments providing urban levels of density for a couple of blocks on either side of the bus route.

In addition, the Tech Cores along Rt-128 in Waltham, Lexington and Burligton expected to result from thus new initiative on the part of the various developers will provide not just clusters of commuters, but also clusters of employment and shopping.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #30
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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I think at least half the T's charm is invested in having a station named "Back of the Hill". You'll pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
CZ -- don't forget we used to have Adams Friend -- we lost "him" when they restrutured the Green Line for Government Center

Luckily we still have Haymarket (though there be nary a blade of straw about the place)
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:01 PM   #31
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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This looks good. I would actually move BU west to the intersection with Mountfort / BU Bridge so that it's easier to transfer to the CT2/47.
This is your first warning -- You are attempting to infect the Reasonable with Crazy tendancies

You have been warned!!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:04 PM   #32
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
So here's a map of rapid transit rail projects that in my opinion are "reasonable"

http://g.co/maps/ytvwm (turn on "transit" view to see the existing system)
  • Blue Line: Red Line transfer at Charles/MGH; Extension to Lynn
  • Orange Line: Extension to Roslindale Village; possibly continue to West Roxbury
  • Green Line: Signal Priority; All-door boarding; Stop Consolidation; Extension to Rte 16 via Lowell Line; Extension to Porter Square via Fitchburg Line; Restoration of "E" to Forest Hills; "A" branch to Oak Square; Branch to Needham Junction via "D"
  • Indigo: DMU South Station to Westwood. Possibly similar DMU routes to Riverside on Worcester Line and to Cedarwood on Fitchburg Line.

Figure out an LRV route for the Urban Ring and toss that in there too. I neglected the Washington St corridor because I think the best we can hope for there at this point is a Trackless Trolly Bus. Anything else (including my beloved Red Line extension to Hanscom) is currently just too "Crazy"...
This is your 2nd warning -- You are attempting to infect the Reasonable with Crazy tendancies

You have been warned again!!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:10 PM   #33
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

What is my definition of reasonable:

1) a lot less digging than the Big Dig
2) adds something which would "complete" the T such as Red/Blue connection; pedestrian connection between DTX and State
3) improves the basic operational effeciency or operational flexibility of the T without increasing the operating expenses significantly
4) goes where the people are living or working and particularly places where the poplulation or employment is rapidly expanding
5) has a reasonable chance of being constructed in the next 20 years -- meaning that planning has already been underway

The rest are by my definition -- Crazy
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:01 PM   #34
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
Omaja -- you are using the wrong metric. The average density of the town or city is not relevant. Boarding numbers on the Blue Line in Orient Heighs is totally decoupled from the near suburban density in West Roxbury. What matters is some combination of linear density along the line (and a few blocks away) and some parking for the non-walk/bike-up commuters + the people making the reverse commute.

Thus while Arlington as a whole is not dense enoungh for a Light Rail line by the book -- the LR-like frequency Mass Ave. #77 Bus is full most of the time when it leaves Cambridge. All along Mass Ave. there are multi-storey appartments providing urban levels of density for a couple of blocks on either side of the bus route.

In addition, the Tech Cores along Rt-128 in Waltham, Lexington and Burligton expected to result from thus new initiative on the part of the various developers will provide not just clusters of commuters, but also clusters of employment and shopping.
Whigh, you're proving my point. Density and demand exist along the Mass Ave corridor for service to Cambridge and Boston. Conversely, neither the density nor the demand exist for service between Waltham-Lexington-Burlington. Average density does matter considering these are suburbs, after all, where density tends to be lower and more uniform.

Start with service to the inner Boston area and you might see more demand develop for intra-suburban travel. Until then, though, intra-suburban rail will be one of the craziest pitches in my book.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:09 PM   #35
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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As much fun as it would be to see portions of the Green Line converted, simply doing signal prioritization, consolidated stops, and ending front-door only boarding through one method or another, would drastically improve the Green Line to the point that few people would be clamoring for heavy rail anymore. If you want to spend a few billion to make the whole system run more smoothly add CBTC; the "How fucked is the Green Line" of yore will be a thing of the past. Like Matthew said, there's nothing wrong with light rail as long as it's done well. The current Green Line procedures on the Green Line don't meet the needs of today's ridership, traffic patterns and frequency. This can be fixed much more cheaply than by upgrading it to heavy rail, as much as I'd like to see it someday...
I raised the issue of the B branch more as a curiosity piece, and while I think CBTC will do a lot to solve the problems with the Green Line west of the split, I don't see CBTC solving the problems east of Kenmore. When I drafted the crazy pitch for a Heavy Rail conversion, I sent it down the D branch but prioritized every other part of the project first for a reason.

Converting the Green Line but not any of its branches to Heavy Rail would just create a severe headache at Kenmore that's worse than the current one plus all the headaches Park Street to North Station at Rush Hour combined. It's been mentioned before as well that despite the great ROW on D, D is a lesser choice for conversion than B or C would be. So I had to ask.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:13 PM   #36
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whigh
What is my definition of reasonable:

1) a lot less digging than the Big Dig
2) adds something which would "complete" the T such as Red/Blue connection; pedestrian connection between DTX and State
3) improves the basic operational effeciency or operational flexibility of the T without increasing the operating expenses significantly
4) goes where the people are living or working and particularly places where the poplulation or employment is rapidly expanding
5) has a reasonable chance of being constructed in the next 20 years -- meaning that planning has already been underway

The rest are by my definition -- Crazy
Well that's the problem with this thread isn't it? We all will have different definitions of "reasonable" and "crazy", which are after all, subjective terms. I think the best use of this thread is to hash out the logistics and feasibility of transit pitches, instead of calling people out saying "that's not reasonable!"
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:17 PM   #37
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Elevating the the B line until the hill after Warren Street would be pretty easy in conjunction with the major Comm Ave overhaul. Carriageways could be used to divert traffic during construction and the current rail line would be able to operate during construction as they build the elevated line in the center of the right-of-way. Create a bike path and green space underneath and along the line and we'd have a very nice corridor going.
I hate to derail this too much into the elevated thread, but I noticed that Comm Ave is pretty similar to the Schönhauser Allee in Berlin that has the U2 running down it. The same lightweight elevated structure would work just fine on Comm Ave:

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Old 05-05-2012, 10:18 PM   #38
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I think Busses's suggestions are quite reasonable. They've been formally proposed (or operated) in the past, there's existing ROW, and they solve problems.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:23 PM   #39
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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I hate to derail this too much into the elevated thread, but I noticed that Comm Ave is pretty similar to the Schönhauser Allee in Berlin that has the U2 running down it. The same lightweight elevated structure would work just fine on Comm Ave:
I think of all the corridors that are the most reasonable for elevated rail, Comm Ave wins in spades. It's absurdly wide up until Chestnut Hill Ave.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:28 PM   #40
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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I think a good case can be made for a building a stand-alone trolley running in the HV electric transmission line ROW which will link the Waltham, Lexington and Burlington High Tech Clusters along Rt-128

especially as these clusters redevelop into the new downtowns for Rt-128:
1) Former Polaroid at Rt-20 in Waltham
2) Prospect Hill / Winter St. in Waltham
3) Hanscom in Lexington
4) Hartwell Ave in Lexington
5) NW Park in Burlington
6) Netwok Drive in Burlington / Bedford

Ultimately (Crazy excursion) this Mattapan -type line should be connected to the Red Line and Kendall
Yes, there's an ROW there, but it's not uninterrupted (goes over lakes, I-95, etc). Why not a bus on I-95?
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