Tweaking the Silver Line

TheBostonian

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I'm not sure if I've shared this proposal yet. I think the existing Silver Line Waterfront/Airport service could be enhanced without any new infrastructure. For simplicity, efficiency, reduced traffic, and connectivity, I think the SL should absorb the Massport shuttle.

1. Eliminate the Massport shuttle that operates between terminals and the Blue Line.

2. Add the Blue Line Airport Station to the Silver Line's route. This means a hassle free connection between the Blue Line and the South Boston Waterfront.

3. Since the SL currently only runs counter clockwise through the airport, someone could not get directly from, say, terminal A to E. To solve this problem, have half of all Silverline buses run clockwise.

4. If the SL replaces the free Massport shuttle, should the SL then be free? I could go either way.
 

Merper

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i think the configuration of the roadways at Logan prevents buses from running in opposite directions. I beleive all traffic moves in the same direction.
 

Ron Newman

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I dunno, would it be that hard to turn one of the lanes into a contraflow?
 

chumbolly

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Ron Newman said:
I dunno, would it be that hard to turn one of the lanes into a contraflow?
I find the current New! Improved! layout of the airport roadways to be incredibly complex, needlessly so. I think adding a contraflow lane would result in total chaos.

Otherwise -- I like Bostonian's plan. The T would need to quadruple the number of Silverline buses running the airport route, though. And to quote one driver of a Silverline bus I was on that had just broken down, "You would not believe how much these things cost!"
 

ckb

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Plus, the Massport shuttle is free for people to travel between the terminals if needed... and there are different shuttles which go different places.

http://www.massport.com/logan/getti_typeo_logans.html

Not to say that it isn't worthwhile to consider the blue-silver connection at Airport. At some point, the link between the new Airport Station and back to the Ted Williams Tunnel was supposedly difficult. With all the overlapping ramps, its impossible to get a sense from Google Maps. Although, when I went for a Silver Line joy ride a few months ago, the link back from Terminal E was already awkward -- I don't know if that was a temporary arrangement or not.
 

Merper

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I agree about the new and improved roadways... its been a couple of months now in the current configuration, and I'm still getting disoriented regularly (actually, last night was the first time I didn't)... maybe its because I 'remember' the old routes; as in, perhaps for somebody who wasn't intimately familiar with the old layout, the new layout is 'simple'.
 

justin

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So you're advocating increasing the time it takes to get from the terminals to South Station, so that the minuscule proportion of Blue Line riders wanting to go straight to WTC could have a direct connection? I'd say the Silver Lie is slow enough as it is.

justin
 

quadratdackel

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It's probably faster for Blue Line riders to go downtown and transfer a few times than to weave through all the terminals and do the Silver Line Waterfront zig zag anyways.
 

JeffDowntown

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I'm not sure if I've shared this proposal yet. I think the existing Silver Line Waterfront/Airport service could be enhanced without any new infrastructure. For simplicity, efficiency, reduced traffic, and connectivity, I think the SL should absorb the Massport shuttle.

1. Eliminate the Massport shuttle that operates between terminals and the Blue Line.

2. Add the Blue Line Airport Station to the Silver Line's route. This means a hassle free connection between the Blue Line and the South Boston Waterfront.

3. Since the SL currently only runs counter clockwise through the airport, someone could not get directly from, say, terminal A to E. To solve this problem, have half of all Silverline buses run clockwise.

4. If the SL replaces the free Massport shuttle, should the SL then be free? I could go either way.
The Massport shuttle now serves the Rental Car Center in the main loop, eliminating all the independent rental car buses.

Also, there are numerous different loop flows, some just terminals, some limited terminals (and of course the various parking lot, water taxi, etc. shuttles).

Not clear to me that there is any benefit in the elimination of the Massport shuttles in favor of using the Silver Line.

And I believe that once the SL to Chelsea is complete, it will connect to Airport Blue Line Station.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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The Massport shuttle now serves the Rental Car Center in the main loop, eliminating all the independent rental call buses.

Also, there are numerous different loop flows, some just terminals, some limited terminals (and of course the various parking lot, water taxi, etc. shuttles).

Not clear to me that there is any benefit in the elimination of the Massport shuttles in favor of using the Silver Line.

And I believe that once the SL to Chelsea is complete, it will connect to Airport Blue Line Station.
I think the only thing that would make the Blue/Massport shuttles expendable is if the next major Logan renovation constructed a grade separated busway for the terminal stops that didn't have to co-mingle with regular curbside dropoff traffic slowing it down. Then the SL1 schedule gets zippy enough that it can absorb a loop at the Blue Line station, make good time back to the Ted, and have its frequencies increased overall to balance the absorption of the shuttles.

I have no idea what that would structurally entail to build such a busway. Probably nothing feasible within the current general configuration of the roads. But Logan radically remakes itself once every 20-25 years so chances are the next radical makeover of Central Parking and the Terminal access will look nothing like it does today. Just like the late-90's/early-00's makeover looks nothing like what came before it.
 

whighlander

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The Massport shuttle now serves the Rental Car Center in the main loop, eliminating all the independent rental car buses.

Also, there are numerous different loop flows, some just terminals, some limited terminals (and of course the various parking lot, water taxi, etc. shuttles).

Not clear to me that there is any benefit in the elimination of the Massport shuttles in favor of using the Silver Line.

And I believe that once the SL to Chelsea is complete, it will connect to Airport Blue Line Station.
Jeff and others -- Massport is doing fine with what they have at Logan -- especially since all the redundant rental car buses are gone

What needs to be done to fix the Silver Line is quite simple and not unreasonably expensive:

In order of priority and in order of construction:
  • 1 Tunnel under D Street to an Underground Silver Line Way Station
    • air rights construction above to pay for most of the costs
    • the work can all be done with minor disruption of existing infrastructure until the final cut through
    • this enables true Rapid Transit frequencies of all electric buses from South Station Mid Level to Silver Line Way Under -- a kin to Harvard on the Red Line
  • 2 Direct Connection to Ted Williams Tunnel using the "State Police Ramp"
    • they are now all supposed to be working for the same master
    • this removes the problem of the Silver Line to Logan messing with the surface street traffic
    • Most service would now be SS to CH, WT, Or SLW -- 1/2 departures from SS
    • From SLW -- Silver line Service would depart for Chelsea, South Boston, UMass area [possible connecting at JFK UMass back to the Red Line
    • Regular Buses depart from SLW throughout the entire Seaport / Innovation District and the "Mid Town District" originally proposed as part of the Olympics
  • 3 Massport connects Terminal E to Blue Line T
    • The next stage in redo of Terminal E directly links via pedestrian connection the Logan Terminals to Blue Line Airport Station
    • Airport Blue Line T become major Silver Line hub just like SLWU
    • from SS or SLWU connects to Blue Line and Terminals
    • from Chelsea connects to Boston via the Blue Line Airport T and the Silver Line to SS via the Ted Williams
  • 4 later dig underground Silver Line branch from Court House to a new station at the Hotel or the BCEC, and connecting to GE, Papas area and on to "Mid Town" and Widett Circle
    • this one is a bit of a challenge because of the highways -- but as opposed to rail vehicles buses can deal with steeper grades and tighter turns
  • the above explodes the political myth of the "One seat ride" and replaces it with a 'Network" with frequent mostly surface-traffic-free services -- a bit like replacing POTS with Wifi
 

vanshnookenraggen

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* 4 later dig underground Silver Line branch from Court House to a new station at the Hotel or the BCEC, and connecting to GE, Papas area and on to "Mid Town" and Widett Circle
Wasn't this the whole point of not digging under D St in the first place? The Silver Line was supposed to be a trunk route for flexible bus routes through South Boston and in the end all the branches got cut for funding or by NIMBY pols. I remember an Andrew Sq branch was proposed (and printed on the original maps). With the gentrification in Southie you'd think the need for this kind of service would be growing, no?
 

tysmith95

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Coyote137

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Curious if this is an honest, good-faith trial, or a fetid pantload of camel droppings.
 

JumboBuc

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Jesus the restrictions are insane.
Agreed, but if the ramp opens to busses even with 100 restrictions I'd still consider that a huge win. Restrictions can be gradually lifted over time after everyone sees that the sky isn't falling and confidence grows. The toughest step is the first one; everything after that gets easier.

Also, I don't see tunnel speed restrictions (i.e., busses only allowed when tunnel traffic is at 30 mph or slower) as very burdensome. The ramp is most needed when traffic is slow. When cars are flying down the tunnel at 50 mph, busses won't benefit very much from taking the ramp rather than taking their current routes. The greatest benefit comes when traffic in the tunnel is moving along at a crawl (or not moving at all), and that's when the ramp would be open.

Also, there was a story yesterday that "[a] Massachusetts State Police trooper was injured near a Mass. Pike entrance in Boston … on Haul Road near the Mass. Pike entrance in the eastbound direction." I wonder what the full story is there, if the incident took place at the police ramp, and how/if it could affect SL operations.
 

choo

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This isn’t a near-term tweak, but wouldn’t require new silver line infrastructure and could significantly boost capacity. When the blue line people mover gets in place (so 2030) I imagine all SL will go to blue line station and drop off.

Not having any SL touch terminals mean those buses cycle a lot more. Unfortunately the TWT will always be the cap.
 

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