General MBTA Discussion Thread

bigpicture7

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Just "Newbury" is fine, let's not overthink it. This is where the GL intersects Newbury, people will figure it out. If you're so concerned, see "Boylston" station.
I'm with you on the "keep it simple" front, but is the one extra syllable of "Newbury West" going to break the bank?

The issue here is that the relationship between GL and Newbury is essentially parallel the entire way, until they subtly swap sides. At least at Boylston, it takes a sharp turn...at Arlington it intersects perpendicularly...same deal with OL at Mass Ave.

Yes people will "figure it out"...but is helping them at essentially zero cost such a shame?
 

whighlander

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Just "Newbury" is fine, let's not overthink it. This is where the GL intersects Newbury, people will figure it out. If you're so concerned, see "Boylston" station.
Illogical -- Newbury is parallel to Boylston which conducts the Green Line -- you would have no sense as to where on Newbury

No it has to be Berklee -- the other end of Arlington is hardly referenced anywhere

Of course if Marriott buys the Hynes and integrates 3 Hotels and a large Ballroom into the privately operated Back Bay Convention Center -- you could call it Marriott
 

whighlander

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Close to 50 years ago they *briefly* studied adding a rail median to Route 128 when the highway was being widened to 6 lanes all-around, but it was just a throw-shit-at-the-wall concept that wasn't even fleshed enough to say what mode they'd be choosing and what exactly (other than the generally-accepted rapid transit offsets for planned highway construction) it would interface with. Skin-deep only glance, so it left no mark or lessons on history.

The major problem with attempting this is that the density along 128 isn't a fit for transit. The immediate exits have all the clustered office park density, but between exits the highway is going through Neponset Reservation, Wilson Mountain Reservation, Cutler Park, outer Charles River, Stony Brook Reservoir, the outskirts of Minuteman State Park, and a lot of tall trap rock outcrops....all of which have more resident turkeys than humans. It's very hard to string something coherent together when the density comes on/drops off a table instead of ebbing and flowing in a way that would be amenable to transit. There's no "corridor" per se, just a density cluster built up around an exit that peters out when it hits the nearest geological limit. And since there isn't any sort of contiguous demand corridor, just a lot of last-mile trips from an exit, I can't see how a transit line that has to live 100% on transfers and the density that's immediately adjacent to the transfer stops can survive when there's almost no variety of intermediate stops you could string together for any sort of corridor. So I don't think there's any there there for circumferential transit, even if the spoke lines from Boston built/unbuilt/potential/crazy forced a taming of the car culture at those office parks. Last-mile shuttles are what's needed to the jobs, but they live off the spokes.

The only *possible* exception, and I think the need is a weak one, is shivving tracks along 128 for about 1.7 miles connecting Riverside Jct. on the Worcester Line with the Fitchburg Line as a replacement for the Grand Junction. There is easily room for it through Stony Brook Reservoir by shifting the road a lane over to the westerly side and rebuilding the River St. overpass. Assuming something is baked into the mass rebuild of the Pike/128 interchange you'd have the path reserved through the ramp spaghetti. But, as has been described here before, you don't need a direct replacement for the Grand Junction or the NSRL to take it offline for Urban Ring conversion; south vs. north Commuter Rail equipment independence such that 1-2x daily Grand Junction T/Amtrak moves can shrink to 1-2x weekly over the Worcester-Ayer bypass will do it. There's no freight considerations anymore for routing away from Allston. And the Worcester-North Station study showed little demand outside of hours when Orange/Red were suffering under load, so fixing Orange/Red reliability defrays most of that MetroWest need. I also don't think you're managing a Green Line poke to Waltham out of Riverside on this connector because River Rd. is an extremely weak intermediate catchment making it an extremely off-scale distance for GL stop spacing averages.

So...feasibility is pretty decently established. The need, however?...not at all. That connector would be a proverbial hammer in search of a nail.
F-Line I think I agree in general about following Rt-128as being a non-starter -- with one exception:

from just south of Totten Pond Rd exit [Winter St.] past Trapello Rd on to Rt-2 in Lexington there is essentially one continuous strip on both sides of the highway with several million square feet of high-value office / lab space -- this will eventually generate more than 10,000 commuters as well as some restaurants and hotels

You could put in a Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line type of service running just behind the buildings along Wyman St and Smith Street -- you would have to take some pieces of parking lots by eminent domain unless you wanted to tunnel
 

Siobhán

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Illogical -- Newbury is parallel to Boylston which conducts the Green Line -- you would have no sense as to where on Newbury

No it has to be Berklee -- the other end of Arlington is hardly referenced anywhere

Of course if Marriott buys the Hynes and integrates 3 Hotels and a large Ballroom into the privately operated Back Bay Convention Center -- you could call it Marriott
The Green Line runs under Boylston street and has a station named Boylston.
 

bakgwailo

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Illogical -- Newbury is parallel to Boylston which conducts the Green Line -- you would have no sense as to where on Newbury

No it has to be Berklee -- the other end of Arlington is hardly referenced anywhere

Of course if Marriott buys the Hynes and integrates 3 Hotels and a large Ballroom into the privately operated Back Bay Convention Center -- you could call it Marriott
There is literally an Arlington Station (along with Bolyston St). If the Air Right developments don't fall through how about renaming the area 'Pike Square' and then call the station that as a reminder as to what it used to be.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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F-Line I think I agree in general about following Rt-128as being a non-starter -- with one exception:

from just south of Totten Pond Rd exit [Winter St.] past Trapello Rd on to Rt-2 in Lexington there is essentially one continuous strip on both sides of the highway with several million square feet of high-value office / lab space -- this will eventually generate more than 10,000 commuters as well as some restaurants and hotels

You could put in a Mattapan High Speed Trolley Line type of service running just behind the buildings along Wyman St and Smith Street -- you would have to take some pieces of parking lots by eminent domain unless you wanted to tunnel
The local biz coalition is already on this with a proposal for a circulator bus connecting to the also-proposed Fitchburg Line + 70 bus superstation at Exit 26. The circulator would leverage the MassHighway frontage road proposed for direct-connecting MA 117 to US 20/Exit 26 off the Bear Hill Rd./117 intersection.

What you're pitching here is EXACTLY the ideal role for circulator buses at the 'spines' stations, where to-be-Urban Rail 15 minute headways drive demand for these short bus loops. A well-studied example of such a circulator is the one that's been proposed for the Green Line Needham extension at New England Business Center. City of Newton has a detailed presentation on that (PDF's are oft-linked on AB...try the Newton-Needham threads on the dev forum) stepping out the redevelopable square footage, jobs, economic impact to the city, and congestion issues on Needham St. The NEBC Green Line stop they propose (just east of the former/future 128 overpass, while stop spacing would strongly hint at a separate stop west of the overpass on Gould St. for all the redev around TV Place and for load-balancing the Pn'R audience) would have a circulator covering the whole swath of real estate down to Kendrick St., and would hit the parking garages in the development for reverse-commuters.

That same model can be applied to pretty much all of the 128-hitting 'spine' stops once they get the necessary rail frequencies: Westwood, Dedham/Legacy Place, Highland Ave./NEBC, the Waltham/Weston infill on the Fitchburg Line, Anderson RTC, a Quannapowitt infill on the Reading Line, and the Peabody Branch to North Shore Mall. Plus Riverside if Urban Rail retires enough of the Pike express bus routes to free up rubber-tire equipment for reassignment, and Quincy Adams if the bus facilities realignment can load-spread more equipment to outer garages like Quincy. And obviously with strengthened Urban Rail frequencies on the commuter rail lines the privately-funded biz coalition shuttles have a firmer leg to stand on and won't be nearly so volatile to service cuts in the slightest economic downtown (which has really hampered them getting well-established to-date).

I would cringe if any of these biz coalitions started calling for luxury aesthetics like a trolley dinky, because worldwide this is exactly the application where buses are the preferred mode for last-mile linkage that scales quickly. Look at what ConnDOT has in the pipeline with the Hartford Line; all of the office parks it passes through are getting year-after-year rollouts of shuttles, both public and public-private variety. That's the model to follow, because ConnDOT did their homework on how upstart lines around the world have handled the last-mile problem in suburbia. RER frequencies to the 'burbs and aiming to go dense on the areas in walking distance of a suburban station are only part of the battle. Last-mile transit has to get a lot better as well if those stops are to wean off some of their extreme over-reliance on parking. That means way more local bus routes run at acceptable frequency...not only the biz shuttles, but densification of the RTAs' route maps. None of it is sexy-looking, and looking for it to be sexy-looking is beside the point. It's just frequencies begetting connecting frequencies, and each continuing to amplify each other over time. Ops-side, not mode-side, grunt work.
 

jbray

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The Green Line runs under Boylston street and has a station named Boylston.
There is literally an Arlington Station (along with Bolyston St). If the Air Right developments don't fall through how about renaming the area 'Pike Square' and then call the station that as a reminder as to what it used to be.
Yes, we should double down on poor naming conventions because we already have Stations named that way.
 

Arlington

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"Boylston" was a good name from about 1896 to 1900 when the project was a Tremont St Subway. Once/since it turned the corner and actually ran under Boylston, the name has sucked.

Newbury would be a clear, elegant blend of wayfinding and marketing.

I like that Somerville has proposed it's station name == neighborhood names that real estate listings and restaurants can use.

Boston is a hub-and-spoke street system. Naming line stations after the hubs (squares and neighborhoods) is ideal.


New York, given a strong grid and famous traverse streets (14, 23, 34,42,57) named its lines after Avenues (Broadway, 7th, Lex, 6th, 8th, 2nd...) and stations after streets. Here, such a cross street-names-station scheme has no semantic underpinning.
 
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Arlington

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(College Ave is not my favorite for the GLX, I'd have preferred Tufts College the original name of the school, but we have too many Tufts)
 

jbray

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If you have the ability to lend an ear, Metrolinx (of Toronto) is presenting their regional rail plan, The Big Move, to the FMCB to explain how they achieved and are trying to achieve their vision.
 

bakgwailo

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Yes, we should double down on poor naming conventions because we already have Stations named that way.
I didn't advocate for that - just that Newbury West seems fine as it has the location of Newbury Street right in it, and the argument that using Newbury at all is bad because the Green Line runs parallel to it is... silly since there is already a Bolyston St Station without any directional finding at all in its name. Also, I don't see how at the time the station was created that it was poorly named, and, even today is apparent enough of where it is - seems to be apparent enough where the station is for 100 years. Anyways - I think Pike Square works.
 

jbray

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I didn't advocate for that - just that Newbury West seems fine as it has the location of Newbury Street right in it, and the argument that using Newbury at all is bad because the Green Line runs parallel to it is... silly since there is already a Bolyston St Station without any directional finding at all in its name. Also, I don't see how at the time the station was created that it was poorly named, and, even today is apparent enough of where it is - seems to be apparent enough where the station is for 100 years. Anyways - I think Pike Square works.
Apologies there, I had briefly thought your point was contrasting with the one weighlander made about Arlington.

My main point, which sarcasm is terribly woeful as a discussion point is that the MBTA station naming conventions tell new and outside riders nothing about their wayfinding. Stations like Boylston, Assembly, Ruggles and by extension "Newbury" have an imprecise and in some cases, nearly useless wayfinding potential. Simplicity is catchy but also can ruin the point of transportation which is for people to get from point to point. The only reason a Harvard or Assembly works is because of outside knowledge:

"I know Harvard! That must be where the school is."

Is not "That's the Harvard Square station."

It seems like quite a few of you do not remember how awful it was to try and figure out where to go on the T when you first started riding, especially if you weren't told. Does GPS make that easier? Sure. Should we expect people to rely on it? That's the question. From a wayfinding perspective, Berkeley and Newbury (alone) are terrible station names that continue a poor naming convention for the sake of being simple.
 

Equilibria

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That's the question. From a wayfinding perspective, Berkeley and Newbury (alone) are terrible station names that continue a poor naming convention for the sake of being simple.
The reason Berkeley is a bad name is illustrated by the fact that you misspelled it (at least I think you did given the context). The suggested name was "Berklee", which being an institution would have the same function as "Harvard", but which is ruined by the fact that Berkeley Street exists (and is not very close by).

The same does not apply to Newbury. Newbury Street isn't just a cross-street, it's a popular commercial and tourist destination. Granted, Copley and Arlington also provide access to it at different points, but this is the only place that the Green Line directly touches it. A better question would be whether the MBTA wants people to get off here for Newbury Street, given that the station is at the far end of the shopping corridor (and I've advocated for this name in the past).

The real wayfinding problem isn't with the station, it's with the location. This is a no-name square that really should have a name.
 

jbray

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The reason Berkeley is a bad name is illustrated by the fact that you misspelled it (at least I think you did given the context). The suggested name was "Berklee", which being an institution would have the same function as "Harvard", but which is ruined by the fact that Berkeley Street exists (and is not very close by).

The same does not apply to Newbury. Newbury Street isn't just a cross-street, it's a popular commercial and tourist destination. Granted, Copley and Arlington also provide access to it at different points, but this is the only place that the Green Line directly touches it. A better question would be whether the MBTA wants people to get off here for Newbury Street, given that the station is at the far end of the shopping corridor (and I've advocated for this name in the past).

The real wayfinding problem isn't with the station, it's with the location. This is a no-name square that really should have a name.
Caught in the act. I didn't even think to check it.

I think you've illustrated my point though. I am arguing that Harvard is a bad station name because it relies on the renown of the University. In the future, a theoretical West Station may be a better choice to get to pieces of Harvard (the school) than Harvard (the station) would. "Harvard Square" is better for wayfinding. Berklee is spread out over the area, it's not a place.

On top of that, and you alluded to this, Copley is the best station (7/10 times) to access Newbury street for commercial purposes. Presenting this station as the quasi-official Newbury Street station is maybe best compared to Airport station on the blue line and Logan with more connectivity but not quite what the title promises. Newbury West or Newbury at Mass Ave are better names from a wayfinding perspective.*

*Emphasis that this is just one perspective that should be considered for a transportation network.
 

whighlander

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Good Idea -- because until there are papers in play for selling the Hynes -- its entirely a hypothetical discussion
 

jbray

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The T bought more "broke 'ems" for the commuter rail
Yeah, It was obvious from the discussion that this would be the result. The argument is that capacity was needed yesterday, the single level coaches need replacing regardless, and we can sell them (theoretically) if we turn out not to need them for full life because there is a dearth of coaches in the market.

Take that as you will.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Yeah, It was obvious from the discussion that this would be the result. The argument is that capacity was needed yesterday, the single level coaches need replacing regardless, and we can sell them (theoretically) if we turn out not to need them for full life because there is a dearth of coaches in the market.

Take that as you will.
The quantities are the same as the Rotem option that they hemmed and hawwed on picking up a couple years ago, so I'm guessing they were somehow able to loophole their way either directly back into that contract or to reprint the contract for the options. If that's how it went down they did some creative voodoo around Buy America regs, as the infamous Philly plant of Rotem's that botched the original order and SEPTA's Silverliner V's so badly has long since been shuttered. I honestly don't know if they even have a North American plant of any kind, so these may have to be produced entirely overseas. Possible assist for those contractual acrobatics may go to the accessibility deficit created by the T having fewer restroom-equipped coaches on the roster now than it did before, because of the inability to tap the Rotem option the first time around.

The T will have to issue yet another RFP for the remainder of the single-level replacements, since 80 is only enough to retire the remaining MBB coaches (the ones the original contract was supposed to displace), and one class of Bombardier coaches. There'll still be the other half of the Bombardier fleet rotting away at fast-diminishing reliability, with only the '96-remanufactured Pullman flats still in anything resembling above-par condition. And if Rotem doesn't have a factory set up they aren't going to have any chance to bid on the next one, meaning they're staring into the abyss again on anyone who can make Kawasaki bi-level clones. For those of you keeping electrification tabs...yes, that means the Bombardier MLV coach that will be able to trainline in push-pull or EMU configuration is still sitting at pole position for the next replacement + fleet expansion order of ~125-150. Watch those 400+ 'slush' options on NJ Transit's MLV contract carefully. That could still be a laundering pipeline for either/or diesel or electric fleet needs.
 

Balerion

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Since the recent weekend Orange Line closures between Ruggles and Forest Hills, it seems as though most if not all of the slow orders on the south side of the line have been cleared up. The approach to/from FH is noticeably faster and some crawling through the Ruggles area has gone away.

Still some slow patches north of Wellington, which hopefully will be cleared up later this fall.
 

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