Green Line Reconfiguration

Joel N. Weber II

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I like the plan for warren even though I doubt it would be approved dedicated bus lane and dedicated row for light rail? that would be a huge improvement for transit.
Separating the bus lane space from the Green Line space is something that I'd only expect to happen just south of Dale St where the Green Line trains would stop to reverse directions and the separate bus lanes would keep the trains at the end of their runs from getting in the way of buses. There's a giant parking lot there as of the last time Google Maps updated their images, so there shouldn't be any need to demolish anything valuable to get that space.

For the stop just north of Walnut St, we'd probably want something more like https://streetmix.net/JoelNWeberII/12/warren-st-n-of-walnut-ave-in-boston where the Green Line trains and buses would share the transit lanes and shelters (but it looks like Streetmix won't let me explicitly indicate that mode sharing).
 

bakgwailo

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Separating the bus lane space from the Green Line space is something that I'd only expect to happen just south of Dale St where the Green Line trains would stop to reverse directions and the separate bus lanes would keep the trains at the end of their runs from getting in the way of buses. There's a giant parking lot there as of the last time Google Maps updated their images, so there shouldn't be any need to demolish anything valuable to get that space.

For the stop just north of Walnut St, we'd probably want something more like https://streetmix.net/JoelNWeberII/12/warren-st-n-of-walnut-ave-in-boston where the Green Line trains and buses would share the transit lanes and shelters (but it looks like Streetmix won't let me explicitly indicate that mode sharing).
Eh, I don't think mixing buses in with light rail is going to turn out well in a dedicated ROW - I would guess buses would greatly reduce capacity/speed in it, as I think has been discussed on sharing the E Line row with buses.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Looking at Dudley Sq closer I feel like any street running through there, no matter dedicated ROW or not, is asking for trouble. Adding twits and turns to the route, especially with traffic, will slow down trains considerably. While obviously more expensive I think that the best solution would be to throw the whole thing in a tunnel from just north of Melnea Cass to Dudley St, under Washington and Warren Sts. No loop needed, extend the tracks south of Dudley St to give the terminal enough capacity. This way you avoid the tight parts and keep traffic flowing while creating provisions for an extension south.
 

bakgwailo

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Could we also take parking on Washington, route the Green in a ROW on the far side of Dudley (so basically it aligns with the fork onto Warren) - then make Washington St. there a one way (which ever direction based on the highest flow), and then maybe even take all of Warren until crossing Dudley St? Seems like two trolley lanes and a single traffic lane (with 6' sideways + dividers) would fit at least, and would probably be much cheaper than tunneling (although I fully agree that tunneling there would be the best solution).
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Taking parking would be the obvious choice but that always seems to cause a reaction. I would PREFER that over a tunnel, I was just assuming that would be a non starter.
 

George_Apley

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Either Washington or Warren on either side of Dudley Square should be closed to car traffic. Make the remaining one two-way and leave the shut one for trains and busses only.
 

Charlie_mta

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Either Washington or Warren on either side of Dudley Square should be closed to car traffic....and leave the shut one for trains and busses only.
Politically that becomes radioactive when there are businesses along the route that would be impacted, and residential access as well. I'm with Van on this one: tunnel from Melnea Cass to Dudley.
 

coleslaw

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A tunnel could even have heavy rail right? The density of the area could definitely support it, as could roxbury south of it. In the MassDOT study I linked on the last page they even mention that the density is higher than what is needed for light rail and enough for heavy rail (and that was including mattapan and parts of dorchester).
 
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citylover94

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Honestly in Boston all of the light rail lines get enough ridership and go through dense enough areas to jusify conversion to heavy rail except for the D line. The green line as a whole has more riders per mile than every single heavy rail system in the country other than the MBTA, PATH, and NY MTA. The main reason it hasn't been converted is because it would be very difficult to convert to heavy rail because of clearance and turn radius issues.

I do think it would be interesting to see an analysis of a heavy rail line and where it would go downtown.
 

fattony

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Honestly in Boston all of the light rail lines get enough ridership and go through dense enough areas to jusify conversion to heavy rail except for the D line. The green line as a whole has more riders per mile than every single heavy rail system in the country other than the MBTA, PATH, and NY MTA. The main reason it hasn't been converted is because it would be very difficult to convert to heavy rail because of clearance and turn radius issues.

I do think it would be interesting to see an analysis of a heavy rail line and where it would go downtown.
3-car trains, signal priority, stop consolidation, all-door boarding... there is a lot of low hanging fruit to add a lot of capacity to the Green Line. Heavy rail conversion is a far distant need.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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A tunnel could even have heavy rail right? The density of the area could definitely support it, as could roxbury south of it. In the MassDOT study I linked on the last page they even mention that the density is higher than what is needed for light rail and enough for heavy rail (and that was including mattapan and parts of dorchester).
I think you are reading too much into what I said. I'm just talking about a short tunnel below Dudley Sq only, the line would be street level light rail to downtown.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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The Green Line is like the Gordian Knot, you fix one part and another becomes more difficult. I tried to get most of it fixed in my recent post (https://www.vanshnookenraggen.com/_index/2018/03/the-future-of-the-green-line-from-harvard-and-needham-to-the-seaport/) but still got called out for leaving out Dudley service.

Dudley is a whole other can of worms as rerouting the Orange Line really unbalanced the system to the point where anything adding new transit will end up costing way more than can be justified or will cause other problems. I would guess that even if the GL had a second trunk in the way I described it would have space for a Dudley branch but I'm not 100% sure there would be enough service. There would be enough for service along Washington St but maybe not enough for service past Dudley to Grove Hall (or Mattapan). What I mean but that is you'd wait 10 min for a train and the whole trip would take 30-40 min and that's a damn long commute; probably faster to take a bus to the OL.

At street level the trip from Mattapan to Park St is looooonnnnngggg (I've actually driven this) so what's really needed is rapid transit levels of service on the Fairmount Line (the only thing stopping this so far is MBTA mismanagement). The city couldn't even get the 28X built so I'm skeptical that you could remove that much parking for light rail. But building a tunnel on the southern half of the line and street running on the north half is an even worse idea than the reverse. So while street running might be fine for the local Washington St needs it doesn't do much for Rox and Dot riders.

The only way I could see a tunnel (full length) making sense is if the city went hard upzoning Washington St and Warren St south of the Dudley area. Not impossible but this is an area that has gentrified and currently gentrifying, respectively, so you have a lot more people with means who will oppose upzoning, or the destruction of historic buildings at the least. So you are kinda stuck between a rock and hard place in terms of what's needed; anything you do won't be enough.

This isn't an excuse to do nothing, like I said you can fit a Dudley service through the Central Subway now and a reconfiguration would give you even more space, but you are only trading the SL bus for light rail which will get stuck in traffic too unless you can convince all the wealthy white folks to give up their parking.
 

citylover94

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In the end I feel like the real issue is that somehow someone looked at a phrase about replacing the Orange Line with "equal or better service" that started to be thrown around when the planning for the El being removed was starting and didn't stop to say hey maybe we should keep the orange line and if the El is an issue we can rebuild it as a subway instead. It is hard to find a good solution when the best solution would just be to reroute the orange line back to a subway under Washington Street. If there are fears about pulling service from the NEC alignment that could be looked into, but I doubt it would seem like that big a deal.
 

TallIsGood

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Would moving the Orange Line south of Back Bay provide enough space to add tracks for Amtrak and commuter rail? Maybe its an idea that would solve multiple problems.
 

citylover94

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Well if you mean moving the line back to Washington Street that absolutely adds space for two more sets of track which would allow for 5 tracks in the NEC row for Amtrak and commuter rail trains.
 

coleslaw

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In the end I feel like the real issue is that somehow someone looked at a phrase about replacing the Orange Line with "equal or better service" that started to be thrown around when the planning for the El being removed was starting and didn't stop to say hey maybe we should keep the orange line and if the El is an issue we can rebuild it as a subway instead. It is hard to find a good solution when the best solution would just be to reroute the orange line back to a subway under Washington Street. If there are fears about pulling service from the NEC alignment that could be looked into, but I doubt it would seem like that big a deal.
I would support it. I think this would benefit from extending the E to forest hills/arborway again. It would better serve both the washington st and centre street corridors. Otherwise it would put all of centre street south of hyde square over a ten min walk to the T.
 

tysmith95

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I would support it. I think this would benefit from extending the E to forest hills/arborway again. It would better serve both the washington st and centre street corridors. Otherwise it would put all of centre street south of hyde square over a ten min walk to the T.
Ehh, street running trolleys aren't any better then buses.
 

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