Reasonable Transit Pitches

jbray

New member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
This may actually be a crazy pitch or may have been brought up, so excuse me if I'm in the wrong here. Why is GLX going forward without a junction stop in Brickbottom near Twin City Plaza and Inner Belt Road? Could they not build an elevated platform for the D line and a grade platform for the E that connect so that Lechmere is not the last transfer? Could this be infilled?
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
This may actually be a crazy pitch or may have been brought up, so excuse me if I'm in the wrong here. Why is GLX going forward without a junction stop in Brickbottom near Twin City Plaza and Inner Belt Road? Could they not build an elevated platform for the D line and a grade platform for the E that connect so that Lechmere is not the last transfer? Could this be infilled?
Location's way too complicated to effectively shiv a platform. Too many switches spaced too closely, and actually providing a station facility and egress amidst all the flying infrastructure is a big reach. Would require major redesign of the junction to plausibly work, and the set-back location isn't a great one for the areas served (not awful, just very meh).

Twin City/McGrath would be served as Stop #1 if the Grand Junction were converted to LRT.
 

whittle

Active Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2017
Messages
217
Reaction score
4
Location's way too complicated to effectively shiv a platform. Too many switches spaced too closely, and actually providing a station facility and egress amidst all the flying infrastructure is a big reach. Would require major redesign of the junction to plausibly work, and the set-back location isn't a great one for the areas served (not awful, just very meh).

Twin City/McGrath would be served as Stop #1 if the Grand Junction were converted to LRT.
Would GJR light rail even look like through this area if if the light rail conversion continues to Sullivan?
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
Would GJR light rail even look like through this area if if the light rail conversion continues to Sullivan?
The NW quadrant would junction off the Union Branch with a flying junction + Fitchburg Line duck-under underneath the McGrath overpass. No alterations necessary to the GLX infrastructure. The NE quadrant (or Sullivan stub if paying on the installment plan) would take the carhouse turnout from Lechmere or the Union-carhouse flyover for thru-routing to/from the NW quadrant. Upgrades would be needed for carhouse reconfig to turn the outermost 2 lead tracks into revenue tracks wrapping around to 3rd Ave., but it wouldn't be too intensive. Mostly mass switch reconfiguration.

To Sullivan would require 1 private grade crossing of 3rd/BET driveway and a small duck-under or cut beneath the freight wye. Then graft on an addition to the existing station. Stub out to tail tracks if that's just a first phase, and maybe extend the C from North Station to terminate there.
 

jbray

New member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Location's way too complicated to effectively shiv a platform. Too many switches spaced too closely, and actually providing a station facility and egress amidst all the flying infrastructure is a big reach. Would require major redesign of the junction to plausibly work, and the set-back location isn't a great one for the areas served (not awful, just very meh).

Twin City/McGrath would be served as Stop #1 if the Grand Junction were converted to LRT.
Looking at the Corridor plan map, I see your point. So, in light of your description of a Grand junction green line, would that potential stop include the D line or, because of the geometry of the viaduct, would the E line be the only transfer if that's even possible? This is why I felt it could be a crazy pitch due to the real underlying question being does not having this transfer point planned out diminish the potential of a grand junction transformation?
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
Looking at the Corridor plan map, I see your point. So, in light of your description of a Grand junction green line, would that potential stop include the D line or, because of the geometry of the viaduct, would the E line be the only transfer if that's even possible? This is why I felt it could be a crazy pitch due to the real underlying question being does not having this transfer point planned out diminish the potential of a grand junction transformation?
You wouldn't need to have a union station for branch transfers in the middle of that spaghetti junction (a moot point anyway since the space for it doesn't exist). Once you hook the Ring in the service patterns on it are not going to be fixed and monolithic. It's expected that only some trips will stay completely on the Ring (i.e. Sullivan<-->Twin City), while others will thread through Downtown like traditional GL branches (i.e. Twin City<-->Lechmere, Sullivan<-->Lechmere).

This can be accomplished by alternating the routings, such that a person waiting at the Kendall stop wanting to get to North Station will be guaranteed every other train being signed for downtown. Similarly, someone at Chelsea wanting to get to Kendall across the Ring will be guaranteed that every other train is signed for Cambridge. A typical B/C/D/E peak headway is 6 minutes, so if these frequencies are alternating as if it's two branch schedules' worth of interlining it'll never be more than a 6 minute wait to get the train destination you want. Same advertised wait (if less chaotic overall) than if you were standing on the Park St. outbound platform waiting for any one branch. Meanwhile, the overall churn of trains on the Ring stops will be at a 3-minute clip...quite a bit less than the Central Subway but also quite a bit more service density than the branches.

^That's^ a somewhat simplistic view of it. Presence of the Harvard Branch being able to run thru from the Kenmore or Ring ends adds more math to the service calculation. And if demand is radically higher on the NW quadrant through Cambridge than the NE quadrant through Chelsea that could exert force on dividing the frequency pie. But the general idea remains the same: vary up the one-seat destinations and keep the headways brisk so (1) no square-peg transfer station is needed in a hard-to-reach spot, and (2) choosing your adventure on the Ring ends up little different a rider experience in time or familiarity than waiting for the right lettered train at Park St.
 

jbray

New member
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
36
Reaction score
4
Thanks F-Line!

Better Bus Pitch: Northern 88 and 89 changes.
I actually gave this feedback in the survey but I wanted to run it by this group before I continued to push it. There's an A and B plan for changing the 88 and 89 that I think they should consider.

Plan A: Instead of cutting off the 89 at Davis, send all 89 buses through Davis and on to Clarendon Hill along Holland just as the current 87 and 88 bus routes go. This maintains access to CH and Teele riders while also making the 89 go to Davis on every run which is where it should be going. A bonus of this is that the 89 becomes viable for all riders as a means to go to Davis from CH which is a large portion of ridership on the 88 and 87 from that point on.

Plan B: Plan B includes all of plan A but reroutes the 88 along Broadway out to Powder House Square then follows College ave back to its original route. This maintains headways to Davis on Holland as the 88 and 89 have simply swapped places and connects Broadway to Davis by bus (including the new Powderhouse Development). Another tiny byproduct of this is that Powder House Square adds another bus to it's transfer point allowing the 80 and 88 to connect (although much of that overlaps with the 94 route and the 87 now connects to the 80 in Arlington).

Plan A adds the most value as it really makes the CH corridor to Davis the most functional but plan B accommodates ridership on Broadway. while maintaining a similar, if not the same, functionality on Holland.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
Reposting the link to this "reasonable" map because people seem to like the visualization.

MBTA Transit Concepts

Minor updates like rearranging the E-Line stops to Forest Hills, added some Local RER stops to the Lowell Line in Winchester/Woburn, added an (UNreasonable IMO) RLX to Hanscom I-95 on the "other concepts" layer.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,502
Reaction score
12
Reposting the link to this "reasonable" map because people seem to like the visualization.

MBTA Transit Concepts

Minor updates like rearranging the E-Line stops to Forest Hills, added some Local RER stops to the Lowell Line in Winchester/Woburn, added an (UNreasonable IMO) RLX to Hanscom I-95 on the "other concepts" layer.
The line to woods hole has been taken by a bike path. Doubt that locals would be ok with coverting it back to rail. Anyway, at that distance, you're getting too long for daily commuters.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
The line to woods hole has been taken by a bike path. Doubt that locals would be ok with coverting it back to rail. Anyway, at that distance, you're getting too long for daily commuters.
Falmouth Depot-Woods Hole also isn't landbanked, sold directly by Penn Central to the town in 1969. North Falmouth-Falmouth Depot is recently landbanked by the state with the usual rote-standard revokable trail lease, and the far more critical piece of the puzzle because Falmouth Depot is next to the Steamship Authority parking lot and hosts the 2nd-largest bus terminal on the Cape after Hyannis. There isn't a lot of traffic between downtown and Woods Hole because all ferry patrons have a forced transfer to shuttle bus clearing out the roads, with generally only employees with permits or special-needs riders allowed to park-and-ride at the terminal's undersized lots.

Therefore, the only restoration that matters for traffic relief is N. Falmouth-Falmouth Depot. That's the one that accomplishes the transit goals of that whole swath of Cape along Route 28 if you can make a rail-with-trail restorations. One-seat to Woods Hole is a nice-to-have, but given the much steeper legal issues with ROW ownership it's ultimately a surplus-to-requirement vs. working the bus transfers to the hilt at Falmouth Depot.
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
3,826
Reaction score
134
Trimmed back to Falmouth Depot. I think I added it in because of a discussion here about rail + trail is possible to Falmouth Center.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
Trimmed back to Falmouth Depot. I think I added it in because of a discussion here about rail + trail is possible to Falmouth Center.
Yes. The line used to be double-tracked when it saw daily commuter rail, so the width is available the whole way. Including to Woods Hole, though obviously legalities are different there.
 

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,506
Reaction score
5
I work right on the 554, and take the T to work, but avoid the 554 at all costs because its routing is circuitous and asinine, its on-time performance is abysmal, and it is constantly mired in traffic. Every now and then I tempt fate and give it a shot and always regret it. Today it took 46 minutes for the 554 to get from Waverley Oaks Rd in Waltham to Newton Corner. This is a typical weekday afternoon experience, and can be much worse when school is in session. That makes this bus basically unusable. So, I have a reasonable transit pitch:

Eliminate the 554 and replace it with two new routes:

506: Waverley Square - Copley Square
  • It would follow the same route making the same stops as the 502 between Copley and Watertown Square
  • Between Watertown Square and Waverley Square, it would follow: Main St (making the same stops as the 70/70A) <--> Waverley Ave <--> Belmont St <--> Lexington St

552: Waltham - Copley Square
  • It would follow the same route making the same stops as the 553 between Waltham CR Station and the Mass Pike
  • It would follow the same route as the 502/503 along the Mass Pike and to Copley Square

It appears that 2-3 buses are devoted to the 554 depending on the time of day.

It also appears that up to 6 buses are devoted to the 502 at peak times.

So, I propose:

  • 502: Decrease the number of buses devoted to the 502 at peak times to 5. With the additional 506 serving the same route, this would cause little-to-no decrease in service at peak times and an increase in off-peak service.
  • 504: Stop serving Copley Square off-peak, but keep the same number of buses and drivers. This would cause an increase in off-peak frequency as the trip would be shorter without the Copley deviation and the 506 would serve Watertown <--> Copley riders.
  • 506: Devote a single bus all day to the new 506. This route would take about half as much time to complete a trip as the current 554, so frequency to/from Waverley would remain about the same, but the trip time and reliability would dramatically improve.
  • 552: With the freed up bus(es)/driver(s) from the 502 and 554, add the all-day 552 route. 553/554 passengers along Moody Street or in Newton would see similar service levels, but with a mix of Copley and Downtown bound buses.

This proposal would cost very little money. There would be about five new bare bones stops added in Watertown along Waverley Ave and Belmont St. There would need not be any increase in drivers, fleet, maintenance, etc.

The only place losing service is along the 554 route in Waltham between the train station and the Watertown border, which has abysmally low ridership. ("In total, there are fewer than 85 boardings between Waverley Commuter Rail Station and Waltham Commuter Rail Station." That's across 14 round trips per day.) Most of those riders are, like myself, at stops that are within walking distance of the new improved service.

This proposal would dramatically improve service for those in Belmont, Watertown, the urban core of Waltham, Newton, and Back Bay. Let's take a look at how this proposal would effect riders at the two most affected hubs in the area:

Waverley Square:
  • Regular, quick, one-seat trips to Watertown Square and Newton Corner are added with the addition of the 506. As of now, getting from Waverley to Watertown Square or Newton Corner involves going into Cambridge on the 73 and transferring to go back out on the 71 to get to Watertown. To get to Newton Corner involves walking from Watertown, a third bus, or battling an absurd, often 50+ minute ride on the 554.
  • An all-day express bus to Copley Square, which would be quicker (and more frequent and cheaper) than taking the CR into North Station and taking the Orange or Green Line out to Copley or Back Bay.
  • Trips into Downtown Boston from Waverley are already significantly faster on the CR or the 73 -> Red Line, so there is no loss there.
  • The only loss of service for Waverley is to/from Waltham, which is not nearly as common of a ridership pattern as the ones mentioned above. This could be offset with an increase in Fitchburg Line frequency, as that is a much faster trip anyways.

Waltham Center:
  • Adds a much-needed, one-seat express bus to Copley Square. Currently there is no one-seat ride between Waltham and Back Bay, save for a couple odd-hour round-trips on the 170. This would connect these points for which is makes no sense that a connection is lacking.
  • The only loss of service for Waltham is to/from Waverley, which is not nearly as important of a pairing as Copley Square.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
The whole west region's bus network is in need of a serious reboot. I'm hoping (but not altogether hopeful) that the bus facilities plan being worked on today implements the primary recs from the study a decade ago: new 60-footer capable facility in the Wellington parking lot forming a 'super-campus' with Charlestown, and a new 40-footer facility at Watertown or Riverside (probably Watertown now because Riverside has more TOD mojo than it did 10 years ago)...which would break Waltham/Newton/Watertown and parts of Allston off their dependency on faraway Charlestown. Geographically it would be the equivalent of 'turning a dial' from the 12 o'clock position to the 2 o'clock position on where buses are souced. West region would get a bigger and more nimble supply smack between Watertown Sq. and Newton Corner with the new garage, while Charlestown would have the freed capacity to offer greater penetration into downtown to supplement the highest-ridership routes and equip the ones that need it most with 60-footers.

That would help tremendously with the Waltham situation, because those routes have to be so long and meandering due to threadbare equipment rotations at that distance from the nearest garage. So you have examples abounding like the 554 which are 1-1/2 routes mashed together in a total routing + audience self-owning because ops priority out there is so heavily weighted to stretching equipment to the limit, not running taut and logical service. It makes Waltham a much poorer-served bus terminal than it superficially appears on a spider map, because it has an impressive roster of routes but the routings themselves are disproportionately batty. You'd be able to splice off those useless appendages and recombine them with a more appropriate route if vehicle supply was plentiful enough to run shorter, better-targeted routes. The facilities study saw this as a major upside to the garage reorg; we'll just have to see if the FCMB implements it or if Pollack pulls another whaaaaaambulance act about never spending on major service initiatives.


Also goes without saying that Urban Rail to Riverside on the Worcester Line would obsolete all of the Pike express buses from the west that get snarled in traffic and allow for each of those routes to be taken apart and put back together anew as recast local routes to aid in the west network revamp. Preferably by strengthening the transfer utility of the inner Worcester and Fitchburg Urban Rail stops with a thicker route net in-between.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,502
Reaction score
12
The whole west region's bus network is in need of a serious reboot. I'm hoping (but not altogether hopeful) that the bus facilities plan being worked on today implements the primary recs from the study a decade ago: new 60-footer capable facility in the Wellington parking lot forming a 'super-campus' with Charlestown, and a new 40-footer facility at Watertown or Riverside (probably Watertown now because Riverside has more TOD mojo than it did 10 years ago)...which would break Waltham/Newton/Watertown and parts of Allston off their dependency on faraway Charlestown. Geographically it would be the equivalent of 'turning a dial' from the 12 o'clock position to the 2 o'clock position on where buses are souced. West region would get a bigger and more nimble supply smack between Watertown Sq. and Newton Corner with the new garage, while Charlestown would have the freed capacity to offer greater penetration into downtown to supplement the highest-ridership routes and equip the ones that need it most with 60-footers.

That would help tremendously with the Waltham situation, because those routes have to be so long and meandering due to threadbare equipment rotations at that distance from the nearest garage. So you have examples abounding like the 554 which are 1-1/2 routes mashed together in a total routing + audience self-owning because ops priority out there is so heavily weighted to stretching equipment to the limit, not running taut and logical service. It makes Waltham a much poorer-served bus terminal than it superficially appears on a spider map, because it has an impressive roster of routes but the routings themselves are disproportionately batty. You'd be able to splice off those useless appendages and recombine them with a more appropriate route if vehicle supply was plentiful enough to run shorter, better-targeted routes. The facilities study saw this as a major upside to the garage reorg; we'll just have to see if the FCMB implements it or if Pollack pulls another whaaaaaambulance act about never spending on major service initiatives.


Also goes without saying that Urban Rail to Riverside on the Worcester Line would obsolete all of the Pike express buses from the west that get snarled in traffic and allow for each of those routes to be taken apart and put back together anew as recast local routes to aid in the west network revamp. Preferably by strengthening the transfer utility of the inner Worcester and Fitchburg Urban Rail stops with a thicker route net in-between.
Only problem is that for the Worcester line you run into capacity constraints at South Station, so you'd probally need either a South Station Expansion or a NSRL in order to increase to rapid transit frequencies on the Worcester Line.

Of course a Worcester to North Station connection would help. The actual Worcester line doesn't have the capacity constraints that the Providence/Franklin/Needham lines do, so you could add Worcester to North Station trains without eliminating any of the South Station ones.
 

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,506
Reaction score
5
Only problem is that for the Worcester line you run into capacity constraints at South Station, so you'd probally need either a South Station Expansion or a NSRL in order to increase to rapid transit frequencies on the Worcester Line.
Increasing frequency at the Newton stations has more to do with rebuilding the stations so that they are accessible and serve both tracks. That can be done without increasing overall frequency on the Worcester Line (not that this shouldn't happen as well).

In fact, as laid out in last month's Rail Vision presentation, even Alternative 1 (Higher Frequency Commuter Rail) would result in 30-minute peak and 60-minute off-peak frequencies to Auburndale, West Newton, and Newtonville. This is without NSRL or even SSX, just by simply rebuilding those three stations to more logically serve trains in both directions.

This would result in an increase from 13 daily round trips serving the Newton stations to approximately 22 daily round trips. Without South Station Expansion OR North-South Rail Link. Again, not saying those projects shouldn't happen, but service could be dramatically improved to the Newton stations completely independent of those larger projects.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,502
Reaction score
12
Have any studies been done on extending the orange line a half mile to Wyoming? You could eliminate Wyoming and Ceder Hill on the commuter rail, speeding up times there, and Melrose would get much more frequent service. Plus Wyoming is in a denser area than Oak Grove.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
Have any studies been done on extending the orange line a half mile to Wyoming? You could eliminate Wyoming and Ceder Hill on the commuter rail, speeding up times there, and Melrose would get much more frequent service. Plus Wyoming is in a denser area than Oak Grove.
Nothing formal study-wise, but a lot of "Why not?" blogger & transpo-advocate pub for this very similar to what you pose. Mostly last 15 years because before then there used to be a freight siding to a factory on the would-be Orange side of the ROW halfway between Oak Grove and Wyoming.

The only snag with this is that the Wyoming Ave. grade crossing would have to be eliminated with overpass or trench if the line extended to Reading. And even the state acknowledges in the Rail Vision Alts. that NSRL may force that move. So do you dump out in the parking lot knowing the bulldozers could possibly nuke the works as soon as an NSRL funding bill is passed, or do you attempt some sort of earth-moving that *minimally* provisions for that day? Not talking great stakes by any means, but it's a consideration requiring some sort of decision.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,425
Reaction score
17
The only snag with this is that the Wyoming Ave. grade crossing would have to be eliminated with overpass or trench if the line extended to Reading.
As I remember, the original plan in the 1960's to extend the Orange Line to Reading called for cars with combination pantograph/third capability, like the Blue Line cars (but bigger) so that the grade crossings could stay in place. Too late now with the new Orange Line cars, but some years from now when new ones are ordered they probably should have pantographs so the line can be extended north without new grade separations.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,304
Reaction score
121
As I remember, the original plan in the 1960's to extend the Orange Line to Reading called for cars with combination pantograph/third capability, like the Blue Line cars (but bigger) so that the grade crossings could stay in place. Too late now with the new Orange Line cars, but some years from now when new ones are ordered they probably should have pantographs so the line can be extended north without new grade separations.
Any cars can be modded for roof-mount vs. underside current collection. That isn't an issue. The FTA not allowing HRT grade crossings anymore is the big change. The cars are too high off the ground with no sloped ends like trolleys or RR end cars which create a "cow catcher" effect pushing obstructions away. So there's high risk of fatalities in an auto getting crushed under the front end or the lead car getting lifted off the ground by a vehicle stuck underneath and jacknifing.
 

Top