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Old 03-15-2016, 02:54 PM   #1221
The EGE
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I very much like that, with two exceptions.

The Inner Harbor Ferry should be Zone 0. It's a very important connector for a lot of people in Charlestown, and it's not fair to make them pay more than a subway fare. The Hingham/Hull ferry (and Lynn and Salem if brought under MBTA control) should be approximately the same as a commuter rail fare from the same distance.

Close-in commuter rail stops with inbound riders are either serving areas without rapid transit (West Medford, Fairmount Line) or acting as an express bypassing crowded rapid transit (Quincy Center, Porter, Yawkey). The former deserve cheap transit; the latter serve to reduce subway load while causing only minimal problems for commuter rail.
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Old 03-15-2016, 04:23 PM   #1222
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

^I like the feedback. You are right about the Ferry. Inner Harbor Ferry (Charlestown) should be Zone 0, while Commuter Boats (Salem/Lynn/Hingham/Hull) should correspond to their distance, as you said.

The CR comment is a very interesting one. For stations that are duplicating Rapid Transit, I still like having a distinction between Zone 1 and Zone 2 (a higher fare for Forest Hills and Quincy Center than Ruggles and JFK/UMass when riding the Commuter Rail, for example). As you've said, this duplicates Rapid Transit and it's not a big deal to charge more for CR service. This isn't the point of contention, though, as you know.

Your point about giving inner, transit-starved areas a discount is a tricky one. This would essentially wipe out my proposed Zone 2. Currently, there are only two "new" Zone 2 stations that duplicate rapid transit: Quincy Center and Forest Hills. Nearly every single other "New Zone 2" Station is under-served by rapid-transit to some degree. They are all somewhere on a blurry spectrum from urban, transit-starved neighborhood (Morton Street) to less-dense, less-transit starved, wealthy suburb (Winchester Center). Where to draw the line in these 5-10 mile out stations though is the tricky part. Here's how the conversation would go:

Morton Street is in a fairly urban neighborhood of Boston (Mattapan) with a high concentration of transit-dependent people. The Fairmount Line should clearly be rapid transit. By having the Fairmount Line have CR frequencies, and still charging CR prices, you are unfairly punishing the residents of Mattapan doubly with crappy transit (price and frequency). Now, we've lowered the price for the majority of the Fairmount Line. Why not give this whole should-be rapid transit line lower fares at Fairmount and Readville. Hyde Park and Forest Hills are closer in on the same line as Readville, so those fares should be lowered as well. Now, it seems silly to give Hyde Park lower CR fares than very similar Boston neighborhoods Roslindale and West Roxbury. Might as well lower the fares for Roslindale Village, Bellevue, Highland, West Roxbury. Arbitrary municipal borders aside, West Medford and Waltham are very comparable to Hyde Park and West Roxbury in terms of distance and how well-served by transit they are. Lower their fares as well. It makes sense to lower Belmont and Waverley, as they are closer in on the same line as Waltham. And on and on until there is no "Zone 2" left.

Here is this conversation in action (often discussed by Hyde Park and Roslindale residents):

Boston choo-choo ka-ching

Quote:
...Commuter rail fares in Boston range from $2.10 to $6.25 per one-way trip. These differences relate ó but arbitrarily ó to MBTA zones, which only kind of tie to distance from major city rail hubs (mostly South Station). Moreover, a short walk or drive away can make that nearly 300% differential, and again, these are all within the city limits.

Then cue the Mommy-Jane-got-something-I-didnít calls. The Fairmount neighborhood (mine) lobbied and otherwise worked the system for years go get the service, frequency, stations, and BANG! drop from $5.75 to $2.10 a trip. Readville and Hyde Park Stations, only a short distance away are still at $5.75 and $6.25 a trip. Those around them are aware that out-of-Boston stations like West Medford are at $2.10. (Insert understandable foot stomping.)...
The problem is, "New Zone 2" stations are (with the exception of Quincy Center and Forest Hills), all under-served to some degree. So, there needs to be a line drawn somewhere. I don't have a good answer. One solution is to do something similar to Philadelphia with their SEPTA Regional Rail and have all city of Boston stations be no higher than my proposed Zone 1. That way a "Zone 1 Pass" is good for all travel within the city limits of Boston (and then some) for $100/month.

For reference, here is the proposal with updated boat fare zones:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1. Local Bus
    • Fare: $1.70 (unchanged)
    • Pass: $55 (unchanged)
    • This includes all local buses. No proposed change.
  2. Zone 0:
    • Fare: $2.25 (unchanged from Rapid Transit Fare)
    • Pass: $75 (down from $84.50 cost of LinkPass). For many reasons, I think there should be much lower ratio from fare to pass. It encourages people to use mass transit more, it discourages fare evasion, etc.
    • This includes the following services:
      • Inner Harbor Ferry
      • All Rapid Transit (Red, Blue, Green, Orange Lines).
      • "New" Zone 0 Commuter Rail (North Station, South Station, Back Bay). For now, this only covers travel between Back Bay and South Station. With the N-S Rail Link, all travel between these three core stations would be covered by a Zone 0 Fare/Pass.
      • A Zone 0 pass includes all travel on Local Buses.
  3. Zone 1:
    • Fare: $4 (more expensive than the $2.25 Zone 1A, cheaper than the $5 Inner Express Bus)
    • Pass: $100 (more expensive than the $84.50 Zone 1A, cheaper than the $128 Inner Express Bus)
    • This includes the following services:
      • "New" Zone 1 Commuter Rail includes stations within 5 miles of a theoretical Central Station. All stations are currently Zone 1A. The stations in "New" Zone 1 would be: Chelsea, Malden, Porter, Yawkey, Boston Landing (under construction), Ruggles, Newmarket, Uphams Corner, Four Corners/Geneva, Talbot Ave, JFK/UMass.
      • "New" Inner Express Buses. Different from, and more restrictive than, what we currently classify as Inner Express Bus. It includes any buses that get on I-93 at Exit 32 in Medford (the 325 and 326) and the "500" bus (my proposal):
        • Currently some 501 buses running in the non-peak direction take the "quick" way to/from Brighton to get back to the peak passengers. I propose to turn this into Allston's very own Express Bus. It would start at the same location in Brighton as the 501 (Winship & Union). It would then take Cambridge Street eastbound, making the same stops as the 57 and 66 along this stretch. Then, the 500 would get on the Pike at Exit 18 for a quick ride Downtown. Unlike the 501, it would emphasize this route at peak times in the peak direction. This would dramatically improve the connection from Allston to Downtown.
      • A Zone 1 pass includes all travel on Zone 0/Local Buses.
  4. Zone 2:
    • Fare: $5 (more expensive than the $2.25 Zone 1A, same as the $5 Inner Express Bus, cheaper than the $6.25 Zone 1, $7 Outer Express Bus)
    • Pass: $125 (more expensive than the $84.50 Zone 1A, cheaper than the $128 Inner Express Bus, $168 Outer Express Bus, $200.25 Zone 1)
    • This includes the following services:
      • "New" Zone 2 Commuter Rail includes stations within 10 miles of a theoretical Central Station. Similar to, but wider than, the current "Zone 1," including some current 1A/2 stations. The stations in "New" Zone 1 (with current Zone in parentheses) would be: Riverworks (2), Lynn (2), Wyoming Hill (1), Melrose/Cedar Park (1), Melrose Highlands (1), Greenwood (2), Wakefield (2), West Medford (1A), Wedgemere (1), Winchester Center (1), Belmont (1), Waverley (1), Waltham (2), Newtonville (1), West Newton (2), Forest Hills (1A), Roslindale Village (1), Bellevue (1), Highland (1), West Roxbury (1), Hyde Park (1), Morton St (1A), Fairmount (1A), Readville (2), Quincy Center (1).
      • "New" Outer Express Buses. This includes all remaining expresses (other than the 325, 326, and "500.") Any of the 3xx that take I-93 (except 325, 326), the 4xx that take Route 1, or the 5xx that take the Pike (except the "500").
      • A Zone 2 pass includes all travel on Zone 1/Zone 0/Local Buses.

The Zones would continue further out on the CR and Commuter Boats.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
EDIT/ADDITION: In a perfect world, GLX is completed to Medford and the Fairmount goes full Indigo Line with frequencies, vehicles, and is fully integrated into the rapid transit system. THis would solve all of this quibbling. That isn't a reality in 2016, though. So, I want to keep this as a reasonable pitch for now.
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:31 PM   #1223
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Here's another one. Let me know if you think this is a bad idea or in-feasible for whatever reason:

Turn Temple Place, as well as the block of Washington Street between West Street and Temple Place, into a bus-only street for the Silver Line. This would quasi-extend the pedestrian zone of Downtown Crossing once more block south. It would also improve Silver Line ops. There are no garages on this stretch, so that isn't a potential hurdle.

The streets could be narrowed, as the bus section would not need as wide of a ROW as is there now. Alternatively, the entire street could be flush with the sidewalk to encourage pedestrian-ization. The small amount of parking would be removed. Deliveries and emergency vehicles would be handled the same way they are (should be?) in the existing pedestrian zone of DTX.

Last edited by bigeman312; 03-24-2016 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:56 PM   #1224
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Yes! It's absolute madness that some jackass in a fancy car, parking it in front of a bar, can grind the Silver Line to a halt for 20 minutes while they hunt his dumb ass down.

And yes, I've seen it happen.
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Old 03-25-2016, 08:29 AM   #1225
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
Here's another one. Let me know if you think this is a bad idea or in-feasible for whatever reason:

Turn Temple Place, as well as the block of Washington Street between West Street and Temple Place, into a bus-only street for the Silver Line. This would quasi-extend the pedestrian zone of Downtown Crossing once more block south. It would also improve Silver Line ops. There are no garages on this stretch, so that isn't a potential hurdle.

The streets could be narrowed, as the bus section would not need as wide of a ROW as is there now. Alternatively, the entire street could be flush with the sidewalk to encourage pedestrian-ization. The small amount of parking would be removed. Deliveries and emergency vehicles would be handled the same way they are (should be?) in the existing pedestrian zone of DTX.
I'm all for extending the ped-zone, but falling short of that temple just needs to remove the parking to fix the silver line. 2 travel lanes, the right lane marked bus only. If some jackass blocks the normal travel lane, others can pass in the bus lane.
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:48 AM   #1226
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

While visiting London last year I was surprised that their regional/commuter rail system used faregates (they also had ticket checkers on board). What's our hold-up here in implementing a similar system here in Boston (though not sure if you need manual ticket validation on board)? It would work the exact same as any distance-based fare calculation at the farebox, like Metro in DC or BART in SF. Is it capital costs only (added faregates, potential station modifications, utilities, etc.)? Is it fear of crush loads at North and South Station as an entire train (or more than one train) unloads? I have to say it worked pretty well in London. If capital costs are the hurdle, perhaps it could be phased in by line? Has anyone ever done an analysis to see how much money would be saved over the years by a reduction in labor?

I put this post in the Reasonable Transit Pitches thread because it seems pretty reasonable to me.
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Old 03-28-2016, 02:20 PM   #1227
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

UK rail services seem to be run with a mish-mash of ticket barriers and ticket checks. It's rather strange, and not very well thought out. The problem with the ticket barriers is that they do become a bottleneck, very much so, and you have people queuing to leave the station (especially in Cambridge where, for some godawful reason, they only have a single, small exit with maybe 3-4 exit gates).

At seemingly arbitrary times, the ticket barriers are all thrown open and nobody checks anything at all. Or sometimes there will be an employee collecting the paper tickets and looking at them (yeah -- mobile ticketing is still in "beta" and not in this region at all).

On my trip up to Edinburgh, on the first leg, the conductor came through the car and said "anyone who boarded at <minor intermediate station> please show me your ticket." I never had to show my ticket, although I did have to use it to get through the barrier. On my way back from Edinburgh, I never once had to take my ticket out of my wallet. And that includes when I took a break in Newcastle to go get lunch (one nice thing about the system here is the ability to take virtually unlimited breaks in your journey on many kinds of tickets).

Of course, that is the way it should be -- barring random checks -- it's much better and more efficient to have quick and easy access between the street and the platform. Which is why the proper answer is "Proof of Payment" and definitely not the mixed-up UK system where they can't decide whether they should be PoP or barrier-based.

To digress some more: I've heard some horror stories where the barriers ate perfectly valid tickets because of improper programming. Or barrier staff refused entry because they didn't understand their own rules. The UK rail ticketing regulations are extremely complicated with all sorts of weird historical artifacts and exceptions. The pricing system is nearly as complicated (e.g., I'm still not sure what the proper price is for a trip between Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Every time I go, I get a different answer. And I thought my discount card would give me a discount, but instead sometimes it seems to increase my price. Go figure).

My general rule for copying any British practices is simply this: Don't. At least, not without thorough examination.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:27 PM   #1228
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches



Combine the 15 and 66 routes to form one long crosstown route.
15: Harvard - Kane Sq or Fields Corner via Allston, Brookline, and DUdley Sq
66 (additional service): Allston (Union Sq) - Dudley

Here are the specific changes:
- Harvard-bound buses will drop off passengers in the Bennett alley near Brattle Sq, and pick up passengers in the upper tunnel. I find the Dawes Island stop to be a bit isolated.

- buses bound for Fields Corner will speed up travel times by not looping around the dudley station, instead dropping passengers off on the street between Washington and warren. Harvard-bound buses will continue to diverge into the bus station

-bus lanes where possible

-(less reasonable)Create a bus station at Union Sq in Allston, on the small segment of craftsman st. (just before the intersection of Brighton Ave and cambridge street, there is a Domino's as well), Close that short street segment to traffic (except for access to the parking lot) and cut into the median of brighton ave allowing buses to turn left onto the street and into the station. And don't make it just any old bus stop with a box shelter. Make it look like Coolidge Corner on the C Line. This could also serve the once- proposed Harvard-Kenmore route of the urban ring, 57 short-turns, the 64 route, and any route variants of the 501/503 that use the Allston exit from the pike to serve brighton. You could even build a A-line spur of the green line and have it loop around union sq into the Craftsman St./Domino's station to head back to the subway.

But maybe let's not call it "Craftsman St. - Domino's".

Any objections?
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:00 PM   #1229
The EGE
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

The biggest problem with the 66 isn't that it's too short. The problem is that it's already too long. By the time northbound buses get to Allston, and southbound buses to Brigham Circle, they're already far off schedule because the running times are so variable. If you extended it by interlining with the 15, you've essentially dooming riders on much of the route to even more inconsistent service.

You need to do a lot of eat-your-peas work to the existing 66, and probably add short turn variants (Harvard-BV, Dudley-BV, etc), before you can ever think about extending it. That definitely means transit signal priority, plus some BRT-lite features like queue jumps at traffic lights and ENFORCED exclusive bus lanes. Unfortunately, that's going to draw you into ugly fights about removing parking.

Harvard Street between Comm and Brighton, Comm between Harvard and Union Square, and Huntington between Riverway and Brigham Circle would be your three biggest targets. The former two you might be able to alleviate by building structured parking on existing surface lots like the block behind Blanchards. Huntington? Good luck trying to get Mission Hill to give up their on-street parking.

I do definitely like your Union Square consolidated stop idea.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:40 PM   #1230
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

^ I could see an overlapping express bus route taking the long haul and leaving the 66/15 for local runs. Not real BRT express, but certainly that sort of bus route will be a necessary component to any "urban ring" system, since that corridor isn't likely to get rail access soon...
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Old 03-31-2016, 12:11 PM   #1231
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

RE: enforcement of bus-lane exclusive use

What does a lic plate reader cost? Is there any possibility of using the busses themselves to ensure enforcement? My uneducated idea would be that, with a reader mounted on the bus itself, a driver can active the reader/snapshot the plate of a car idling/misusing a lane and then issue an automatic ticket. Would probably require an institutional RMV-BTD-MBTA cooperation so I won't hold my hopes up, but is the technology there for such a system? And if so, is it an idea that's worth pursuing or am I glossing over some major faults?
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Old 03-31-2016, 12:13 PM   #1232
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I believe that sort of system is used in some other cities and I believe the technology already exists and is used in some regular traffic cams.
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:49 PM   #1233
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

San Francisco is doing exactly that with their big bus lanes + signal priority push. They're luckier in that one agency has top-level control over everything, but the technology is there and not horrifyingly expensive. I believe the tickets are still manually issued, but that's still just someone sitting in a back room looking at 15 seconds of video pulled when the bus detects a car in the lane, and doesn't require on-the-site enforcement.
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:55 PM   #1234
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

In the UK they're replacing bollards with cameras that detect illegal entries by cars. It's safer, they say.

They do a lot of camera and vehicle detection here that makes the US look pretty backwards, actually. Most every traffic signal comes with loads of detectors: car, bike and pedestrian (but they still force you to push a button to cross *grumble*).

Albeit, not all for good. For example, there's some pedestrian crossings that won't stop traffic until they detect a gap in the stream of cars. Pretty dickish, in my opinion. They even have newer crossings that detect whether or not the pedestrian is still waiting around, and will cancel the request if they leave.
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:39 PM   #1235
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Reasonable MBTA Expansion Ideas

Post here reasonable MBTA expansion ideas that are both necessary and needed. We all know the red to blue needs to happen one day, nsrl, the orange line should be expanded to needham, roslindale, readville, the fairmount line should be electrified, and the blue line to lynn.

A few other ideas I thought would be an underground portal at govt center to the orange line, a portal at DTX to the green line, a portal at the chinatown orange stop to the green line, move fenway green line station north and connect it to yawkey, theres a million different configurations the green line could take.

I think overall much of the subway system need to extend all the way to 128.

Also the Franklin line of the commuter rail should stop at Draper mill in Hopedale instead of forge park. The rails are already there, the mbta has to send empty trains back to boston every night because there is not enough storage, and the mill has been in talks about becoming apartments/train station/trainset storage for a while. This would give milford access as well to the commuter rail which is a large market with minimal access.

The orange line could also be extended to chelsea.

In general housing should be added along the commuter rail line. Framingham has already rezoned their downtown to do this.

Not everything is perfect or easy to do but its blatantly obvious that the system is not extensive enough. Traffic is only going to increase in the future and there is no plan yet to remedy this. Talks need to start now about what to do about this or its never going to happen and well wish it did. Development is great but all of our transit systems are strained beyond capacity and its only going to get worse. If we fix the transit problems the sky will be the limit for development in the future, as well as a better quality of life in general for the populous.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:17 PM   #1236
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Re: Reasonable MBTA Expansion Ideas

What about the Reasonable Transit Pitches thread?
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:06 PM   #1237
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Reasonable Pitches (all focused on the upper end of the Fitchburg Line)
  • Snake Hill Rd grade separation via undergrade bridge
  • Sandy Pond Rd grade separation via adjusted routing (purchase a slice of the junk yard and hit Central Ave at a perpendicular angle) and undergrade bridge
  • An other-than-main track from CPF WL/Willows to CPF AY/Ayer on the south side of the right-of-way primarily to act as a switching lead for Cains, CPF, Epic, and the Old Ford Yard but also for positioning road freights
  • Walker Rd grade seperation via adjusted routing by having road parallel the right-of-way on the north side down to an intersection with Patterson Rd
  • Eliminate the Davis St grade crossing entirely, why does this even exist
  • New interlocking at OX (east end of Fitchburg Yard) with switching leads trailing off to the east on both the north and south sides, particularly to get a couple of customer switches off the mainline

I have more, but they start getting more in-depth and their need is lessened by the above until more traffic (freight or passenger) comes about.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:44 PM   #1238
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

I understand that Snake Hill Rd would be a much easier job, as it has a fairly long, wooded approach, but if you are going down the grade separation path, wouldn't it make sense to look at the more heavily traveled roads and the further inbound crossings first? Park Street, Sherman Street, Brighton Street, and Beaver Street all seem like way higher value-add to get grade separation. Did you not include those (and others) because they are more costly and difficult?
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:01 AM   #1239
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Those will be more costly and also have almost zero impact on operations. The ones I outlined have a direct impact on operations, except Davis St which is pretty damn redundant and poorly designed. They are frequently blocked for large blocks of time by freight operations, whereas the ones you mention are only blocked for the passing of a passenger train and then they're done.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:17 AM   #1240
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Snake Hill Road seems like a better candidate for a road bridge - dipping the road under is going to risk frequent flooding.

Sandy Pond you could bridge approximately on the current routing - the two houses nearest the road would just need a short length of driveway parallel to the bridge.

The ROW is certainly wide enough for an additional track - it used to carry the Fitchburg RRR and the Stony Brook RR on parallel mains. I'd also like to see Willows get a flyover - that was discussed early on in the improvements project but no pursued.

Walker certainly seems reasonable.

Why is Davis a problem with Center and Phoenix fairly close?
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