Crazy Transit Pitches

ulrichomega

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So I see it as:

1. Electrify Fitchburg and run Urban Rail from Weston/128 to North Station/NSRL
2. Run Red to Arlington Heights and hope for future expansion
3. Run Green from Porter to Watertown
This does seem like the most obvious way forward. Maximize service on the Fitchburg line, and extend service to two areas that desperately need it. The only other thing I can see is that there's no reason (well, a few reasons) to not branch the Green Line at some point. I can foresee a situation where the downtown connections simply can't handle any more northside branches, but I could also foresee a simple +2 extension (Alewife Brook Parkway, and maybe Brighton St) along Fitchburg through Alewife as a sort of short-turn for Porter service.
 

George_Apley

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This does seem like the most obvious way forward. Maximize service on the Fitchburg line, and extend service to two areas that desperately need it. The only other thing I can see is that there's no reason (well, a few reasons) to not branch the Green Line at some point. I can foresee a situation where the downtown connections simply can't handle any more northside branches, but I could also foresee a simple +2 extension (Alewife Brook Parkway, and maybe Brighton St) along Fitchburg through Alewife as a sort of short-turn for Porter service.
Maybe, sure. Hell you could even send Green all the way to Waltham someday, if demand starts to max out the Fitchburg Urban Rail, overcome Belmontian opposition, and bump Commuter Rail in Waltham over to Central Mass. But IMO, that’s a much longer term idea than RLX-Arlington or GLX-Waltham.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Central Subway congestion shouldn't affect further northern Green expansion. For one, the two Urban Ring legs converging at Brickbottom are going to be trading off subway slots vs. intra-Ring slots. Two, Brattle Loop @ GC is probably going to be where the UR branches end on their subway runs, as their radial nature doesn't make it completely mandatory that they hit Park St. Three, the South End lines to the Seaport, Dudley Sq., and potentially a relocated E center traffic on the 4-track portion of subway and diminish today's traffic weighting between Boylston curve and Kenmore (esp. if the E gets relocated through Back Bay).

There'll end up plenty of slack to run a Watertown branch and a Waltham branch, with the double-up of frequencies through Porter giving the heaviest-traffic and most transfer-critical part of the line 3 min. headways. There won't be an enormous number of stops past Porter since the hills and wetlands the Fitchburg ROW passes through make the overall density spotty.

  • (inbound to Union + Lechmere)
  • Porter (transfer: Red Line, Fitchburg Line)
  • (split w/ Watertown Branch)

  • Alewife Brook Pkwy.
  • Blanchard Rd. (historic name: Hill's Crossing)
  • Belmont Center
  • Pleasant St. (maybe...if TOD warrants)
  • Waverley
  • Warrendale (historic name: Clematis Brook)
  • Main St. (historic name: Beaver Brook)
  • Waltham Center
  • Prospect St. (historic name: Riverview)
  • Brandeis/Roberts
  • Weston/Route 128 (transfer: Fitchburg Line)
 

ErnieAdams

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  • Pleasant St. (maybe...if Belmont's town government collapses under the weight of its own provincial self-righteousness and the municipal scraps get subsumed into Watertown and/or Cambridge, after which it could be possible that TOD warrants)
Fixed it in bold. Probably not even then though, since one side of the tracks is all 1/2 family homes with big yards and the other side is a narrow commercial strip buffered with conservation land. All good in any event because the Belmont/Waverley spacing would be fine.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Let's stipulate:

1) "Greater Alewife" is everything in Cambridge from Mass Ave to Fresh Pond and from Sherman St (Danehy Park) to Brighton St (Belmont Line)
I'll field this one since I stared out at Danehy from my back window for 9 years.

No...up to Sherman is pretty clearly North Cambridge with more of a Mass Ave. affinity. This has to do with Danehy being the former town dump creating a firm and smelly wall between the neighborhood and Alewife until it was capped in the mid-80's. And also has to do with the apartment blocks on upper Rindge Ave. being low-income and prejudices therein. Field St. behind the former Armory and Rindge west of the cemetery at start of the apartment blocks are where the neighborhood identity starts to flip. And it's a very weak flip, mind you, since there historically has been so little residential near Alewife.

Belmont has absolute-zero affinity with that area. Wetlands have them 100% separated to this day from Acorn Park and Cambridge Park. You can even see the city line without ever seeing a line on a map in the way the street grid north of Concord Ave. breaks hard at the border with 100% residential on the Belmont side and 100% commercial/industrial (formerly all-industrial) on the West Cambridge side. The bike path is not an identity-changer in itself; the distinctions at the border and isolation-by-wetlands of each side are still sharp.

2) Assume Green has come out from Union via Porter and will continue on to "Greater Alewife" and that Porter is "by then" a "Super Station" where GLX2, RL, & Fitchburg RER meet
...and buses. Don't forget about the 77/77A and 96 are monster-ridership routes.

"Greater Alewife" will not be part of the Union-Porter base build because it would (1) require an expensive treatment of the Sherman St. grade crossing that really would be far too much work for a +1 to the Parkway, and (2) it jumps the gun on exactly which extension--Watertown or Waltham--would come first.

The Sherman crossing is a legit nightmare; the best (from other threads) I could come up with was trolley duck-under but CR staying at grade because changing the level for both modes at once may be impossible (yes, I've stood on it and stared for collective hours over the years I lived down the street trying to figure this one out). As for extension demand, it's far more likely that Watertown is going to crest before Belmont/Waltham given the building boom around Arsenal. So even if someday both branches ultimately become likely, the project pecking order any sets of data are going to point to is H2O #1, Waltham #2. Therefore, stub-out at the Parkway is not a good idea. You'll get a stop behind the Mall anyway if Watertown gets built, so "Greater Alewife" won't be starving for new transit touches. It's only about which touch gets scheduled first.

Keep in mind as well: that 1000 ft. separation from the Red station + buses referenced a page ago re: CR station demand is still in effect with Green. While the 6-min. frequencies of a Green branch would merit the stop in a way that 15-min. Fitchburg Urban Rail frequencies almost certainly would not...it's still not going to be a world-beater on ridership because of the gaping disconnect from the multimodal station and the off-center placement from the Cambridgepark office buildings. It's a necessary stop on the route to Waltham, but it is most definitely not a big 'get' on ridership at all and shouldn't be overvalued.

3) That Greater Alewife should have a station for each of the 3 services taht were/will be at Porter, but, given Porter as a hub, a transfer station isn't strictly needed.
No. CR frequencies, even at Urban Rail, aren't going to be good enough to beat: exit CR @ Porter --> escalator --> 2 stops on Red --> exit Red @ Alewife. Not when majority of the commuting jobs are fewer footsteps from the Red entrance than they are to the CR entrance with its steep hillsides and/or switchback ramps. You can time the savings in footsteps via Porter and come out ahead at those frequencies. Now, if some businessperson wants to give a charitable donation to building that CR platform few would waste the footsteps getting to, that's their problem. But as before, I doubt after taking a survey of their own employees on which station is an easier commute that they'll find a CR stop to be money ever worth spending.

Green, being rapid transit, needs to keep somewhat representative station spacing so an extension to Waltham is obviously going to stop at the Parkway...poor integration and all. 6-or-better min. headways are enough to stay competitive with the footstep math, but as noted...it will not be a barnburner on ridership, just an "OK enough" nip at the fringe. It'll still be down a steep, steep hill via a lot of footsteps on ADA-graded ramps to get from the parkway to trackside, and there's no sugarcoating that it'll be kind of a pain in the ass.

4) That, if you demolish the Alewife garage and rebuild it "better" you are also freer to line up services with their 40-year-plan outer terminus.
I have no idea what this means. But if you're hot to demolish a garage that's not at end-of-life, there better be some very compelling data points snapping to that "40-year-plan" (whatever that is). I don't think "Let's talk about nuking that bastard!" precedes talk of the demographic trending in any way/shape/form. And what is a "better" garage, anyway, when it's the wetlands that are shaping the constipated road access here and a 1970 highway cancellation that dumps an expressway onto city streets beckoning some sort of Pn'R presence to play goalie on those cars? Is Route 2 somehow not going to be terminating at Alewife in another 40 years?

5) Let's also note that if we do RER/Regional Rail right, the Fitchburg should end up having frequent service to Waltham.


So you've got 3 lines to play with, and roughly 5 corridors to put them on:

- Rt3/Lowell St to Burlington (via a turn northward at Arlington Center)
- Mass Ave / Minuteman Bikeway to Hanscom
- Rt2 to Rt128
- Fitchburg Line to Waltham
- Bike path to Mt Auburn & Watertown

And by "Corridor" I mean "generally following the established alignment" but "don't hold me to exactly within the state-owned ROW"

Seems to me the Crazy Pitch should be

1) Fitchburg should be electrified and get service every 10 minutes via Beaver Brook, Waltham, Brandeis to a new Park and Ride terminus on the Waltham-Weston line.
15 mins. They can't turn MU's around quite that fast with all the mandatory FRA tests for changing ends.

Also, you DO need to weight the state-owned corridors more heavily because private property is such a real nightmare to engage. Your realistic corridors are:


  • Fitchburg Line, Union Sq. to West Cambridge (ex- Tracks 3 & 4 berth northerly side + short Porter subway, portal on southerly side)
  • Watertown Branch landbank, West Cambridge to School St., Watertown + TBD (street-running?) to Watertown Sq.

  • Lexington Branch landbank, Thorndike Field to Arlington Center (tunnel to Arlington HS)
  • Lexington Branch landbank, Arlington Center-Hanscom AFB
  • Eversource power line ROW, Hanscom AFB-Burlington Mall

  • Fitchburg Line, West Cambridge to Route 128 (ex- Tracks 3 & 4 + widening of 1955 Waverley grade separation, southerly side, to Clematis Brook; complete displacement of Fitchburg CR Clematis Brook-Route 128
  • Central Mass landbank, Clematis Brook to Route 128 (relocation of Fitchburg CR around Waltham Ctr. displacement)

It's not even reliable for a Crazy Transit Pitches thinkpiece to posit that the same towns that threw up a successful highway revolt against Route 3 are going to allow property-takings or years of destructive digging on the exact same corridor. Absolutely, positively forget about Lowell St. being a "corridor". I've never even heard a fantasy Burlington reach that attempted to break off any sooner than Lexington Center.

2) That Red should go out whichever "not Fitchburg" is densest
The tunnel already goes 1/3 mile out of the 1-1/2 miles to Arlington Center, so that's pretty self-explanatory. Arlington, while lower in total population than Waltham, has unbroken density out to Arlington Heights while the Fitchburg corridor is chopped up by large tracts of wetlands between density concentrations. Multimodally that gives Arlington more uniformly-heavy patronized buses to plug in and amplify the ridership effects. Then amplify further when some of the Alewife routes to Belmont, etc. get reorganized out of AH terminal to trim the route duplication. Waltham, while a big bus terminal, has a pronounced directional skew south into Newton and northwest crawling 128 because east-west the grid is heavily shaped by the wetland tracts.

If you're looking for what'll produce the most new transit riders immediately, it's Arlington where the rapid transit extension immediately creates a much more inviting bus network that can then be revamped/enhanced to superlatives. Waltham is simply going to require more preliminary multimodal development--and time--to achieve similar effect because its feeders' geographical skew is what it is.

3) Green go out whichever is next dense after the Red gets its pick
Which would be Waltham, per above on which is a faster reach for stimulating ridership from feeder sources.

But, hate to be beating a dead horse here: Red already points to Arlington, Green already points to Watertown and Waltham. Which line to where is not a debate that would ever be held in the real world, because risk assessments are part of project scoring. Blowing up a garage or section of tunneling intruding on the property + utilities + possibly building of a private abutter, or taking on an ironclad requirement to eliminate all grade crossings when some project to be brutal are all huge risk factor demerits. Going off a state-owned ROW in a desperate reach for...something personally preferred?...is a significant risk factor and red flag.
 

Arlington

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That Red tunnel that points to Arlington could also carry Green that had turned North from the Fitchburg main (and gotten a new over/under level vs new Red tails out the Fitchburg cutoff)

The Red can go where it's platforms point (to the Fitchburg cutoff). As tail tracks go, we'd much prefer straight, wouldn't we? And while out there, maybe better parking ramps/spirals/EZPass.

The Alewife garage structural suckiness is cited as the reason why it never got levels 7&8 that its elevator shaft and capped colums were originally provisioned for. If you tell me it can support 7&8 why aren't we doing reasonable transit pitch of "add levels 7&8". (It is missing it's top two levels, forgive me if I got the identifiers wrong)

And if the current garage can't do 7&8, I say nuke it, and consider options for new alignments (like a Green duck under to Thorndike and new Red tails straight out the Fitchburg Cutoff) and build a new garage that both spans the street and has levels up to 8.
 

George_Apley

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That Red tunnel that points to Arlington could also carry Green that had turned North from the Fitchburg main.

The Red can go where it's platforms point (to the Fitchburg cutoff

The Alewife garage structural suckiness is cited as the reason why it never got levels 7&8 that its elevator shaft and capped colums were originally provisioned for. If you tell me it can support 7&8 why aren't we doing reasonable transit pitch of "add levels 7&8".

And if the current garage can't do 7&8, I say nuke it, and consider options for new alignments (like a Green duck under to Thorndike and new Red tails straight out the Fitchburg Cutoff) and build a new garage that both spans the street and has levels up to 8.
But why bother with all that damn work to realign Red and Green? What's the purpose? Are there any reasons Red works so much better than Green to Waltham or Green to Arlington? This seems like wanting to blow things up just to blow them up.
 

Arlington

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This is crazy pitches. I am probing the boundaries of reasonableness.

Can we get a definitive answer on why Alewife Garage has never gotten its top two levels?* That would greatly clarify its long term value [versus a newer, taller, wider, one atop a reconfigured basement]

*Seems It is right up there with the Silver Line Ramp in screw ups between planning and implementation.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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This is crazy pitches. I am probing the boundaries of reasonableness.
No, no. That's "Crazy" without the "Transit Pitches". We're talking alternate realities where money is available for lower-priority or extremely ambitious projects, but the laws of project scoring physics still apply in this universe. I throw around the term "Civil Engineering Strongman Competition" when these posts start sailing into target fixation on the most physically impossible and/or destructive way to build something just to prove you can...but forget that the goal is simply checking off the boxes on serving a transit demand audience. Not someone's idea of unassailable transit perfection, but meeting the broadest needs of the target audience with the most efficiency. The same way we score real transit proposals in-study and hash out acceptable compromises.

This discussion, unfortunately, has turned into one of those what-if's on hardest physically possible way to skin a cat. If you want to turn Alewife into a pile of rubble, there has to be some stated value proposition to it other than "Look! For infinite money we could turn Alewife into a pile of rubble and then put it back together again!" Subsequent digging has established:

  1. No, there isn't a whole lot of difference in service quality between Red or Green to Waltham when all roads lead to Porter superstation.
  2. The construction difficulties with a westward Red don't end at the Alewife tunnel realignment given the thorny grade crossing problems.
  3. The flip of HRT away from a grade-separated Arlington build towards a crossing-full Waltham build while wasting LRT's ability to handle crossings exacerbates #2 a lot.
  4. The Watertown Branch looms as a very likely first-priority build over Waltham, and a mode flip makes a bigger mess out of branching construction for handling that.
  5. No justification has been offered as to why Alewife garage is intrinsically bad enough to be blown up and replaced with...something?...when the environs at terminus of stub-end highway don't support much different.
Things like this make-or-break real transit pitches. They make or break the "crazy" ones too.


Can we get a definitive answer on why Alewife Garage has never gotten its top two levels?* That would greatly clarify its long term value [versus a newer, taller, wider, one atop a reconfigured basement]
It's on top of a remediated swamp in a neighborhood where 150 years of industrial usage just buried their trash in their own site-adjacent landfills. I'm pretty sure right there (not at one or two Cambridgepark buildings that are a story taller, but right there) the enviro-capped nasty stuff in the ground limits the height. As for width, I'm not exactly sure how you're going to make it wider pinned in by the brook, parkway, or Cambridgepark development. Realignment of Cambridgepark Dr. to square up with the Rindge Ave. intersection would mainly end up benefitting the busway and south-facing retail capacity, not the garage.

*Seems It is right up there with the Silver Line Ramp in screw ups between planning and implementation.
The design was drawn up in 1976 and frozen in 1979 when ground was broken. Seeing as how Alewife was still a highly speculative industrial dumping ground 40 years ago and it was too hazy to picture modern car usage patterns back then, that's a big reach for second-guessing. But I still vividly remember the Silver Line ramp being hotly debated as a looming debacle when the Transitway was in design. That one wasn't escaping any notice back then.
 

Arlington

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Is that Alewife garage "must remain exactly as now" an engineering answer (like, it is sinking, cracking or demonstrably weak because it is on top of landfill...an actual structural report somewhere), or just a "scary landfill, please don't ask any more questions"? *

Now that the site is no longer speculative, based on having built on and used it for 40 years, and via the foundation/structural report (hypothesized above), and given 40 years of construction innovation (helical piles, floating piles, slurry walls, an extra 10 feet of clay...), could a new-build garage be all of:

1) higher above the flood plain (more capping, more flood protection)

2) full height (two levels taller)

3) wider (extended out to what is now the median strip of "Steel Place" (as Google Maps calls it), or even partly bridging Steel Place to use more of the triangular parcel that the current "bridge" over "Steel Place" lands on?

4) Having a new kiss and ride curb on the opposite (west) side (and underpass under Steel Place) so that kiss and ride no longer needs to turn left in the morning.

5) expanded Red tail tracks & storage placed a straight shot out (and under) the Fitchburg Cutoff
(Under the wedge-shaped parcel the spiral ramp sits on)


Steel Place and the kiss and ride would continue to have allocated space on the ground floor of a bigger garage built above.

* In a lot of these episodes, tales of the haunted landfill turn out to be a story told by NIMBYs or the State Police to scare off two more levels worth of park-and-ride traffic, and not a real story of structural limitation.

Cast me as Thelma, removing the mask of the monster to reveal the face of Shelia Mincotti, an abutter, who initially seemed in favor of TOD.
 
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ulrichomega

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No, no. That's "Crazy" without the "Transit Pitches". We're talking alternate realities where money is available for lower-priority or extremely ambitious projects, but the laws of project scoring physics still apply in this universe. I throw around the term "Civil Engineering Strongman Competition" when these posts start sailing into target fixation on the most physically impossible and/or destructive way to build something just to prove you can...but forget that the goal is simply checking off the boxes on serving a transit demand audience. Not someone's idea of unassailable transit perfection, but meeting the broadest needs of the target audience with the most efficiency. The same way we score real transit proposals in-study and hash out acceptable compromises.
I think this is mostly a disagreement about what is reasonable to discuss. I don't think anyone here is honestly proposing that we demolish Alewife purely to spend more money to send it to a worse location. It's about exploring the possibility space and determining why it's a bad idea to do so. That's one of the reasons why I took such offense to the suggestion that straight lines don't go where straight lines clearly go: It was an invalid criticism of a flawed idea. The better criticisms are the ones you're making now. I also want to point out for I don't know what time that nobody is suggesting demolishing the station immediately. We're talking about a crumbling structure that's already needed to be shut down and emergency-repaired. It's going to be torn down and rebuilt at some point, and including provisions for future projects in that construction would be an effective way to lower the eventual cost of such projects.
 

Arlington

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^ Yes, I too would write the current Alewife garage off as a failed 40 year old beta test. It taught us a lot about what the site can and cannot support, but has not proven sustainable in general release.

Structurally, given the history of emergency repairs and the inability to support the two final levels it was designed for, I rate it inadequate.

Further its design is obsolete: it is inappropriate both for the road Network we have and for the one we are likely to have over the next 40 years.

It also assumes that parking fees are determined collected by people and little booths with gates, instead of sensors and cameras.

Looking ahead, we're probably better off picturing that the last two miles of Transit will be provided by frequent autonomous neighborhood speed electric navettes (maybe alongside both the Minuteman and Fitchburg cut-offs, and the ABP & FP side paths), rather than buses.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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^ Yes, I too would write the current Alewife garage off as a failed 40 year old beta test. It taught us a lot about what the site can and cannot support, but has not proven sustainable in general release.
You keep saying this is "failed" as if that's universally acknowledged consensus. It's not. The degree of OVERutilization of the garage is a big fat data point to the contrary. The highway rump dumping into the station isn't going anywhere in 40 years, transit system expansion will shift but not diminish that P'nR utilization because the roads are where they are, there are finite TOD parcels to exploit because of wetlands, and the TOD that has been built around Alewife is extremely parking-heavy not challenging the prevailing utilization. A seismic shift in TOD vs. Pn'R utilization is flat out unlikely over 3-4 decades with that trending and with the fixed/limited parts of the neighborhood layout. And if that is to change, some very outsized catalyst apart from status-quo dev infill will have to materialize from inertia of rest to overturn that trending.

That's actionable data. Where's yours for the contrary outcome? A "pitch" of transit--"crazy" or "reasonable"--requires some testable hypothesis supported by evidence. Repeating that a garage is obsolete without saying why or how the utilization demand is going to flip on its head counterintuitive to its sources says nothing about a project's purpose or value proposition. Start substantiating why there's a "failure" to be corrected here, please. There's no reasoning behind a garage replacement scheme without doing that much.
 

Arlington

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F-Line, I am proposing a garage that is both on a larger footprint (half-spanning Steel Place) and two levels taller, i.e., having greater capacity than the garage that is currently there. How is the current Alewife Station garage's over-utilization and underbuild an argument that it should not be replaced by a bigger one? (Such as I propose).

Also I would like a specific answer to my question of how it was determined that the current garage could not get its added two stories?

The fact that it sits on a toxic dump does not seem salient because it was/has been known at all relevant times, including the moment they built an elevator shaft two stories taller than the garage (and trenched through to put the subway)

Rather, we seem to have learned that Alewife Garage's foundations and structure suck; necessitating emergency repairs and being insufficient for adding its final two stories as planned/provisioned.

This alone argues that it should be nuked and replaced with a garage appropriate for the site, larger better underpinned and....as a bonus... potentially containing underground clearances for additional red tail tracks which...as a bonus...might point straight out the Fitchburg Cutoff....which as a bonus might be a fine place to lay GL tacks atop, and put some more garage above that.
 
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ulrichomega

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You keep saying this is "failed" as if that's universally acknowledged consensus. It's not. The degree of OVERutilization of the garage is a big fat data point to the contrary. The highway rump dumping into the station isn't going anywhere in 40 years, transit system expansion will shift but not diminish that P'nR utilization because the roads are where they are, there are finite TOD parcels to exploit because of wetlands, and the TOD that has been built around Alewife is extremely parking-heavy not challenging the prevailing utilization. A seismic shift in TOD vs. Pn'R utilization is flat out unlikely over 3-4 decades with that trending and with the fixed/limited parts of the neighborhood layout. And if that is to change, some very outsized catalyst apart from status-quo dev infill will have to materialize from inertia of rest to overturn that trending.

That's actionable data. Where's yours for the contrary outcome? A "pitch" of transit--"crazy" or "reasonable"--requires some testable hypothesis supported by evidence. Repeating that a garage is obsolete without saying why or how the utilization demand is going to flip on its head counterintuitive to its sources says nothing about a project's purpose or value proposition. Start substantiating why there's a "failure" to be corrected here, please. There's no reasoning behind a garage replacement scheme without doing that much.
F-Line, can you please stop asserting that anyone is talking about demolishing the garage and not building a new one?

...I truly hope to God we've rebuilt the parking garage by then, and as part of that it's more than possible to include provisions for this eventual project.
If the Red needs to go via Alewife to Waltham, it'd go by Fitchburg Cutoff (after nuking the current garage both because the garage sucks
(emphasis mine)

4) That, if you demolish the Alewife garage and rebuild it "better" you are also freer to line up services with their 40-year-plan outer terminus.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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F-Line, I am proposing a garage that is both on a larger footprint (half-spanning Steel Place) and two levels taller, i.e., having greater capacity than the garage that is currently there. How is the current Alewife Station garage's over-utilization and underbuild an argument that it should not be replaced by a bigger one? (Such as I propose).
Because such supersizing that you propose would not get an EPA permit. When the original garage was built 2000 spaces was considered the upper limit for mitigable runoff into the wetlands from cars entering/exiting [Page 6-14 of the 1976 EIS]. The site alternatives offered selection of 1 garage over the station or 2 smaller garages split across the street from each other connected by overhead walkway. They went with the max size for a single garage, because split garages surveyed unfavorably. Floated proposals to try to cram 3000 spaces in split garages generated intense local opposition, and were opposed by the state because of the cost-busting redesigns for additional wetlands buffering to accommodate the extra car runoff.

Today, the garage is 2471 spaces so they found a way to densify it inside of the existing structure. But the parcels across the street are all completely built over, so it's not possible to spread the load out away from the wetlands. Since it was conclusively proven once that you can't build to higher capacity next to the wetlands because runoff from egressing traffic is the density limiter...building bigger from that starting footprint is a D.O.A. proposition. Today's environmental regs are tougher, and parkway owner DCR inherits its predecessor's wetlands "No" vote on 3000 spaces. Not to mention it would--for good reason--be just as violently opposed by the City today as it was in '76

Also I would like a specific answer to my question of how it was determined that the current garage could not get its added two stories?
You just got ^it^. The EIS doesn't say there's a structural limit on the capped nasty stuff, but the car capacity limit was firmly ensconced. Dirty dirt is, however, going to make a mess of any attempts to blow up the garage and build...one that has the same capacity.

The fact that it sits on a toxic dump does not seem salient because it was/has been known at all relevant times, including the moment they built an elevator shaft two stories taller than the garage (and trenched through to put the subway)
It doesn't matter because we know about it? HUH???

And what does building a tall elevator shaft have to do with a subterranean cap? The subway already dealt with the dirty dirt above its footprint when it was constructed; trenching into the subway does not engage that in any way/shape/form. Unless said shaft went deep BELOW the subway that is not relevant to anything.

Rather, we seem to have learned that Alewife Garage's foundations and structure suck; necessitating emergency repairs and being insufficient for adding its final two stories as planned/provisioned.
Hold on...we "learned" that Alewife Garage's foundation sucked? Where did we learn that? The repairs are for deteriorated deck and joint beam concrete and failing drainage system. There is nothing related to the building foundation there, and nothing that says the foundation is insufficient for carrying weight. There is nothing in these repairs that you can use to speculate about the integrity of the foundation.

Alewife has not been proposed--in the real, non-fantasy world--for more capacity because it flat-out won't get an EPA permit for more capacity. That's the bottom line.

This alone argues that it should be nuked and replaced with a garage appropriate for the site, larger better underpinned and....as a bonus... potentially containing underground clearances for additional red tail tracks which...as a bonus...might point straight out the Fitchburg Cutoff....which as a bonus might be a fine place to lay GL tacks atop, and put some more garage above that.
"Wow" is all I have to say at the irresponsibility of this statement. Assume groundswell of support for making it larger because reasons contradicted by past/present evidence, assume structural deficiency for making it larger because facts not in existence...then assume that giant leaps of faith on the former allowing a rubble pile to be made allow wide-open opportunity to make a rubble pile out of other infrastructure too because why-not. No site considerations, no project scoring, no demand analysis, nothing.

We are in full crazytown now.
 

guitarguynboston

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Anyone ever play the game "Mini Metro"?". It's a neat little game where you play with subways. Anyways I wish they had a mode where you could modify existing cities subways and try to better balance the systems.
 

Arlington

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Alewife has not been proposed--in the real, non-fantasy world--for more capacity because it flat-out won't get an EPA permit for more capacity. That's the bottom line.
Please lead with the bottom line next time. You seem to have gotten so caught up in sharing scary images and denouncing insanities that you didn't, until about 10 posts in, get to the bottom line.

And then, when was the last time we asked the EPA? The environmental impact of cars has changed a lot since 1976. Apparently there's a process by which the bottom line went from 2000 to 2471.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Anyone ever play the game "Mini Metro"?". It's a neat little game where you play with subways. Anyways I wish they had a mode where you could modify existing cities subways and try to better balance the systems.
Train Sim has long allowed that, but they have a rabid audience of railfan foamers demanding features like that. I don't think the rapid transit enthusiasts are quite as vocal in their gaming preferences.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Please lead with the bottom line next time. You seem to have gotten so caught up in sharing scary images and denouncing insanities that you didn't, until about 10 posts in, get to the bottom line.
Does it have to take one poster waiting to get home/off-tiny-phone to Google for a document to get others repeating the same closely-held belief again and again to try to ground personal suppositions in something, anything resembling testable evidence??? This whole thing started started with making a mess of Alewife to swap Green and Red routings without ever saying what the upside or value proposition was...ended with making a mess of Alewife over a garage without ever saying what the upside was except a bunch of untruths about the structural integrity of the current one. All of this apparently in the name of justifying the "Crazy" shorn from the "Transit Pitch".

Please excuse me if "why?" is too bold a question for a demolition derby that doesn't offer any clue to who benefits for what reason at what cost. A "pitch", if you will, if we still care about loosely following thread titles.

And then, when was the last time we asked the EPA? The environmental impact of cars has changed a lot since 1976.
The garage's proximity to the brook has not changed since the '79 groundbreaking. But the brook's level of hands-on environmental maintenance and monitoring has increased about tenfold in the last 10 years. That's not a trending that will end up rubber-stamping the construction permit to allow 1500 more cars to kick up road salt and oil slick on that access road each day. It's moving further in the opposite direction of what'll get an EPA permit for a bigger garage. So is City of Cambridge support, if anyone mistook the EPA as the only last word on this.
 

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