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Old 11-16-2017, 12:50 PM   #1381
JumboBuc
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

^ Access to and from (but especially from) Alewife is also an issue. I know from personal experience that if you're parked on the roof of Alewife, it can take an hour or more to get down the ramps and onto the streets, then more time to reach Route 2.

This used to happen to me when I parked at Alewife in 2010-2012, so I don't know if the redesign of the intersection at Rt 2 and Alewife Brook Parkway has done anything to ameliorate this.

There have been pitches on aB before about a bridge/ramp directly from the upper levels of Alewife to Rt 2 West. It's probably never going to happen, but that could greatly improve Alewife's capacity.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:00 PM   #1382
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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^ ... if you're parked on the roof of Alewife, it can take an hour or more to get down the ramps and onto the streets, then more time to reach Route 2.
My hypothesis would be that the upper floors of the garage would be used by people trying to park at Alewife later in the AM rush and at midday, and also leaving at non-peak times. Peak hour throughput is not going to change, but that's no reason to not accommodate increased all-day ridership.

I think we could call it a win just to be able to have people arrive at 9am and still be able to find parking (and not need the ramps that davem sketched and that you refer to below)

There also ought to be better e-pay solutions (EZPass/pay by plate) that would make barrier free exits (or at least an express exit) possible.

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^ There have been pitches on aB before about a bridge/ramp directly from the upper levels of Alewife to Rt 2 West. It's probably never going to happen, but that could greatly improve Alewife's capacity.
Davem supplied the mockup below in the Alewife thread.
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Old 11-16-2017, 01:19 PM   #1383
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Davem supplied the mockup below in the Alewife thread.
A flyover through a wet land? That's DOA. Besides you don't need a costly fly over, you just built a west bound lane adjacent to the existing off ramp which would go under the bridge. There is more than enough space there so that pedestrians could be protected.
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:33 PM   #1384
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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There also ought to be better e-pay solutions (EZPass/pay by plate) that would make barrier free exits (or at least an express exit) possible.
^This, very much this. Would more than pay for itself too, not least because of the extra float from higher account balances of daily parkers.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:36 PM   #1385
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Ok, no flyovers to the upper levels. In fact, todays entry road is practically wide enough to be two lanes, and therefore two way, if you could get an exit lane under route 2 and out on the Thorndike Field side. (Which locals would probably block)

Back to what's reasonable....

Focus on the simple power of 2 additional parking levels to boost off-peak and midday ridership. Alewife does not need additional SOV users at the AM rush. If anything, I'd like AM Subway users to arrive by bus, and to squeeze out the SOV users at that time. I might even say that the two new levels open at 9am (or whenever the AM bus service starts to taper off) and serve specifically to add riders at non-crush times.--non-crush both for the subway and Rt 2.

And then, yes, add e-payment and e-exit lines (with photo-enforced or pay by plate for non EZPass users)


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Alewife's structure includes the stumps on top that two additional levels of parking would tie into, and its elevators go 2 levels higher than the garage, ie the garage was originally designed to be expanded by about 50%, ...where you can see the concrete knock-outs for the elevator lobby windows on unbuilt levels "6" and "7" (for which the elevators even have unused blank buttons)

F-Line has written (long ago) that this hasn't happened because they later determined that the foundation/structure could not support it. While I accept that this kind of error can happen in swampy fill, I'd really like to see this confirmed as the "why" it has not happened, and even so see the foundation issue revisited--maybe a new foundation technology like grout injection or helical piles can solve the problem now.

Also the glass atrium is tall enough to support escalators to the unbuilt upper levels.
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Old 11-16-2017, 03:53 PM   #1386
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Ok, no flyovers to the upper levels. In fact, todays entry road is practically wide enough to be two lanes, and therefore two way, if you could get an exit lane under route 2 and out on the Thorndike Field side. (Which locals would probably block)

Back to what's reasonable....

Focus on the simple power of 2 additional parking levels to boost off-peak and midday ridership. Alewife does not need additional SOV users at the AM rush. If anything, I'd like AM Subway users to arrive by bus, and to squeeze out the SOV users at that time. I might even say that the two new levels open at 9am (or whenever the AM bus service starts to taper off) and serve specifically to add riders at non-crush times.--non-crush both for the subway and Rt 2.

And then, yes, add e-payment and e-exit lines (with photo-enforced or pay by plate for non EZPass users)
The limiting factor isn't the payment for parking as much as it is the physically getting out on to the street. I remember trying to exit the Alewife garage and sitting for multiple minutes underneath an open barrier, not moving, waiting for the car(s) in front of me to inch out into traffic. On days like that, removing the barriers wouldn't have made any difference. (Obviously, every day wasn't like this).

With regards to peak vs off peak, "rush hour" now extends well past 9 am. I was someone who left my downtown office at around 6, so I was stuck leaving the garage around 6:30 - 7pm (or later). In order to get truly "off-peak" you'd have to limit hours pretty drastically, and I don't see what benefit adding capacity in such a limited time frame would have.

And pay by plate has pretty lousy "farebox recovery".
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Old 11-16-2017, 04:21 PM   #1387
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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The limiting factor isn't the payment for parking as much as it is the physically getting out on to the street. I remember trying to exit the Alewife garage and sitting for multiple minutes underneath an open barrier, not moving, waiting for the car(s) in front of me to inch out into traffic. On days like that, removing the barriers wouldn't have made any difference. (Obviously, every day wasn't like this).
I've been in this situation too. Is a lot of it because a steady flow of inbound drivers 'cutting the corner' from Rt. 2 to FPP, making it almost impossible for garage exiting cars to turn left after paying (even if only a small %% of exiting cars are turning left?

I had an hour-plus ride once from the top level and that seemed to have been the cause...

If so a lot of (relatively) easy ways to fix that, which will almost certainly not happen in our lifetime.
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Old 11-16-2017, 04:34 PM   #1388
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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With regards to peak vs off peak, "rush hour" now extends well past 9 am. I was someone who left my downtown office at around 6, so I was stuck leaving the garage around 6:30 - 7pm (or later). In order to get truly "off-peak" you'd have to limit hours pretty drastically, and I don't see what benefit adding capacity in such a limited time frame would have.
You're right that things are still pretty busy on the 8:50am to 10am shoulders of rush hour--except at the Alewife garage which is long-since full by that hour, hence my desire to not make the the upper levels available early (and only encourage SOV use in the crush we have) but rather to open the upper levels on the shoulders of that rush and spread it out.

I'm thinking that Alewife, today, fills up pretty early. Like by 8:15(?), and these are the people who come back and make the PM crush.

By contrast the 8:50 to 10am crowd are the types that may then leave their offices at 6:30p to 7:30p (or later) and we'd have accommodated them outside the worst crush (sure, they'll make a small crush of their own, such is the nature of SOV travel) and yet made transit riders of them.

A too-reasonable-to-be-politically-acceptable pitch would be to apply congestion pricing in the AM rush (a $1 surcharge for arrivals at a time when bus service is good, and spend the surcharge on making bus service better).

Second best is my idea of withholding the new garage capacity for later in the AM rush at a time when the buses are already tapering their headways--when cars actually are a good idea for getting to Alewife, but at an hour when, today, there's no parking left.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:52 AM   #1389
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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I've been in this situation too. Is a lot of it because a steady flow of inbound drivers 'cutting the corner' from Rt. 2 to FPP, making it almost impossible for garage exiting cars to turn left after paying (even if only a small %% of exiting cars are turning left?
Yes, plus folks using the loop-around to go east on 16, attempting to bypass the backup at the light. Doubt it helps that much, but...

...it surely adds to the large amount of mode conflict at the northern exit of the garage. It's designed almost perfectly: folks making that loop-around "shortcut", folks trying to get back to Cambridge Park, folks trying to take a shortcut to westbound FPP, folks trying to get out of the garage, folks crossing from the Belmont leg of the community path, folks on bikes going from the Minuteman to the station, folks on foot from the Minuteman to the station, and folks exiting the garage all collide at one spot. It's also at a spot where pedestrians and bicyclists walking off a train and heading for Arlington arrive at that spot just about the same time as the first cars arriving at the garage exit. Now that they've added a Hubway station right there (which I support) it should only get "better".

This backup, by the way, definitely affects buses, at least the 84, 62, 67, and 76. The 350 and 79 suffer through the normal Alewife rotary CF.

I use all modes into and out of the station, and they all pretty much stink, but this design element is a major contributor. I have long wished that the exit ramp from Rt 2 only allowed you the alternative of heading into Cambridge Park or having to go through the station drop-off to restrict the cut-through traffic; might even help the through Rt 2 traffic a tiny bit by having less traffic merging back onto FPP from CPD. But I'm not a traffic engineer, and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:05 AM   #1390
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Right on.

Related - why has the 'extra' spiral ramp been closed forever?
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:38 AM   #1391
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Right on.

Related - why has the 'extra' spiral ramp been closed forever?
Aren't there two "extra" spiral ramps that are always closed?
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:14 AM   #1392
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Yep, two, one in and one out. I used to assume it was simply because they didn't want to staff the extra exit booths and maintain the entry machines, but I really have no idea. Might be in disrepair at this point. They did used to use the extra empty ramp for extra parking for a while, but that required staffing so seems to have fallen from favor.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:21 AM   #1393
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Yep, two, one in and one out. I used to assume it was simply because they didn't want to staff the extra exit booths and maintain the entry machines, but I really have no idea. Might be in disrepair at this point. They did used to use the extra empty ramp for extra parking for a while, but that required staffing so seems to have fallen from favor.
The idea that parking enforcement requires people is outdated. Time for a little bit of signage, electronics, and e-payment to put the ramps back in operation.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:31 AM   #1394
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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The idea that parking enforcement requires people is outdated. Time for a little bit of signage, electronics, and e-payment to put the ramps back in operation.
There are no attendants at the upramp [street view], so staffing issues shouldn't keep that closed.

Both downramps lead out to same exit [street view] which is watched over by one attendant in a booth [street view], so again, staffing shouldn't affect this.

I'd say this is more of a disrepair issue than a staffing issue. Spiral ramps take a lot of wear-and-tear from turning tires.

And since the limiting factor is getting out onto the street -- not getting down the ramps or paying -- I doubt opening these ramps would make a difference. Going up, I never once experienced traffic at the ticket machine or on the ramp. The traffic came before I reached the entrance.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:29 PM   #1395
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

If the parking at Alewife is filling up, the price is too low. Raising the price would keep spaces open throughout the day and would raise additional funding that could be used to improve bus service to the station so that some people wouldn't have to drive. It would also encourage more people to carpool (and split the cost of parking), allowing the same number of spaces to serve more T riders.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:34 PM   #1396
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

Maybe, but there is definitely a price point that results in people giving up on transit and driving in to town instead.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:53 PM   #1397
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Maybe, but there is definitely a price point that results in people giving up on transit and driving in to town instead.
Yeah, the point really is to encourage people to park and use public transportation, so its a thin line - if anything it seems to show more parking is needed if we want to remove more cars from the road during commuting hours.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:33 PM   #1398
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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I would like to see the parking capacity increased at Alewife and other terminus T stops. How can suburban commuters be encouraged to ride the T when they can't park at the stations most convenient to them during normal work hours?
Can we increase the capacity of the Red Line before we do that? It's already bad enough trying to board at Central Sq 7-830am, and they're adding housing capacity around Alewife. Adding housing is obviously a good thing, but TOD is only productive in the long-run if the transit has the capacity to absorb it and still function. Red Line is close to maxed out in mid-Cambridge. Adding parking capacity to Alewife won't encourage many new riders if they can't be efficiently accommodated by the existing system.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:48 PM   #1399
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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Can we increase the capacity of the Red Line before we do that? It's already bad enough trying to board at Central Sq 7-830am, and they're adding housing capacity around Alewife. Adding housing is obviously a good thing, but TOD is only productive in the long-run if the transit has the capacity to absorb it and still function. Red Line is close to maxed out in mid-Cambridge. Adding parking capacity to Alewife won't encourage many new riders if they can't be efficiently accommodated by the existing system.
New trains are on the way and $352 million in signal upgrades (on Red and Orange) will be complete before they arrive.
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:43 PM   #1400
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Re: Reasonable Transit Pitches

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New trains are on the way and $352 million in signal upgrades (on Red and Orange) will be complete before they arrive.
AFAIK, the new trains won't significantly increase capacity. Signal upgrades will help some and should, combined with the new cars, fix some of the chronic breakdowns. Still, the headways on the Red Line are governed by the Harvard curve; there's not a lot of frequency to add. The current problem is that trains are stuffed full by the time they get to Central during the rush. Some of that clears out at Kendall, but it's becoming laughable to call new housing along the Red Line northside "Transit Oriented Development", when said transit is at or beyond capacity during the rush. My point about the garage is that adding more rides to Alewife is unproductive without more capacity expansion and ridership spreading. Which gets out of "reasonable" transit pitch territory. Northside residential growth in Cambridge and beyond into the 'burbs, combined with pressures of the Rte 2 - Kendall commute is just too great.

The planned GLX will help some, by getting some Somerville bus-to-train riders off of the Red Line. Getting it to Mystic Valley Pkwy and directing some busses there from Arlington would also help.

The problem has to ultimately be thrown back to Crazy Transit Pitches... GLX from Union to Porter. Getting downtown (and some Back Bay) commuters off of the Red Line between Porter and Park would help Red's capacity problems in Cambridge a lot.

Last edited by BussesAin'tTrains; 11-17-2017 at 08:48 PM.
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