Assembly Sq <-> Casino Footbridge

ceo

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Sheesh, who pissed in y'all's Wheaties this morning? (Or yesterday morning, looks like.)

I'm not convinced that the proposed alignment blocks a LRT Urban Ring bridge. This line would have to come through Sullivan where the new storage tracks are, just west of the Orange Line, and then come up on a bridge to cross over the OL and the Haverhill Line. It looks on Google Maps like there's room to bring it across the Mystic to the north of the existing bridge and parallel the Eastern Route between Encore and Gateway Center and still fit the Northern Strand in there. Though there'd have to be a station right there, which would complicate matters, as would having to cross the Eastern at some point if we assume it's following the former Grand Junction route to the airport, supplanting the SL3 busway.

As for the bridge being exposed to weather, so are the Longfellow and Mass Ave bridges, and that doesn't seem to deter people from crossing them on foot.
 

shmessy

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Sorry HenryAlan. I was directing my self-defensive bristles at Vagabond. I just want it to be clear that I don't mind the Casino attaching itself to the trail. I just don't want a single use bridge going directly to the casino... and oh yeah... if you want to continue on the bike trail you can do that.
I think if the casino were smart and thinking of the rest of the public and our needs, they'd build a small bridge popping out from the back wall near the Encore's business center in the meeting room area. Easier to go through drywall and stucco than it is to drop pilings in the Mystic. It's cheaper, straighter, smarter and warmer for those cold walkers to boot.
Here's a top down view with the Encore's connection in yellow, the NST in brown and the cheap temporary crossing in green.

View attachment 18262
I'm seriously thinking three 40 foot shipping containers cut in half top and bottom and welded together would be better for the Commonwealth in the short term. Rigid, cheap and solid wind cover for 4 feet vertically!

The problem the future Marriott Encore has with any sensible options for the rest of us: Some of the captive gamblers might escape over the wall and go to Costco for a slice and a coke instead of going to the chi-chi dining options inside the Perimeter of Control. Rubes leaving the de-casherie is bad business.
To anyone else: I can't and won't stop being snarky about casinos. I have seen all the ills that gaming brings first hand and I despise the whole idea of state sanctioned grift. I thought Massachusetts was smarter than that. I despise the something for nothing idea they sell and the underplayed flock of ruined lives they generate. I think I'm being pretty gracious in even acknowledging them at the table here.
Unfortunately the two biggest growth industries in 21st century America are 1) Casinos/gambling and 2) Penitentiary Industrial Complex

Not a great prescription for societal development and progress.
 
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BeyondRevenue

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So you won't have to look here's the link to the earlier post. F-Line is, was and will be right about this.
Don't like words? Here's the picture again:
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tl;dr?
A: The existing commuter rail bridge is an overbuilt piece of crap for commuter rail purposes, but would be great as a walkable bridge with the urban ring vehicles (whatever they might be) up the middle.
B: A NEW shallower commuter rail bridge (built much cheaper without weaving around the obstructive Casino bridge) would be better for commuter rail trains.
I think adding the casino bridge as planned slaps of financial stupidity. If you have ever thought yourself a financial conservative, chime in now. Knowing what we will need in the future, why triple the future engineering expense figuring out how to build around a bridge that shouldn't be where it is in the first place?
This isn't partisan. This isn't about whether I like the casino or not. This is about being short sighted to please masters we shouldn't have.
You've heard the term 'penny wise, pound foolish'?
The casino bridge 'deal' is that.
 

Brattle Loop

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I'm not convinced that the proposed alignment blocks a LRT Urban Ring bridge. This line would have to come through Sullivan where the new storage tracks are, just west of the Orange Line, and then come up on a bridge to cross over the OL and the Haverhill Line. It looks on Google Maps like there's room to bring it across the Mystic to the north of the existing bridge and parallel the Eastern Route between Encore and Gateway Center and still fit the Northern Strand in there. Though there'd have to be a station right there, which would complicate matters, as would having to cross the Eastern at some point if we assume it's following the former Grand Junction route to the airport, supplanting the SL3 busway.
My concern is largely based on F-Line's discussion...somewhere (I'll try again to find it, it's quite possibly in the Green Line Reconfiguration thread) in which it was suggested that a Green Line/LRT Urban Ring branch would use the current bridge and the Eastern would move back to its old alignment on a new bridge, and in that case the LRT line would always be north/west of the Eastern Route. The problem I have is that this bridge appears to use the old Eastern bridge's alignment on the Everett end, which would appear to preclude it being used for CR (and the CR bridge being repurposed for LRT). Building a new LRT bridge north of the existing one introduces a bunch of complications that aren't necessarily project-killers, but which could all be avoided if the footbridge just...doesn't use the proposed alignment.

As for the bridge being exposed to weather, so are the Longfellow and Mass Ave bridges, and that doesn't seem to deter people from crossing them on foot.
That much is...sort of true? I'm sure a considerable number of people are deterred from crossing them, at least in the winter, but that there's sufficient density on both sides that they still get decent pedestrian volumes at all seasons. Part of the issue some of us have here is that with the density here we're already not talking blockbuster numbers, and a windswept design isn't going to help much. But I certainly don't think it is or should necessarily be a project-killer (though it does make me want to whether there's any seasonality in their projections for users).

To anyone else: I can't and won't stop being snarky about casinos. I have seen all the ills that gaming brings first hand and I despise the whole idea of state sanctioned grift. I thought Massachusetts was smarter than that. I despise the something for nothing idea they sell and the underplayed flock of ruined lives they generate. I think I'm being pretty gracious in even acknowledging them at the table here.
I wouldn't call it gracious by any means. The casino is a legal, commercial business. It's absolutely fine to despise that fact, and there are very good reasons and arguments why casinos and legalized gambling are controversial. The state had that argument, over a decade ago, and the pro-legalization side won (one imagines that for people in power unlikely to experience the harms directly, the allure of all that shiny revenue was quite tempting...). But until and unless the state decides to repeal the casino law (and the lawsuits would be such a mess), it's a legal, legitimate business, and they have every right to participate in public discussions and projects just like any other business. That doesn't mean the state should do them any favors (and to be clear, I am personally perfectly fine with a bridge directly and solely to the casino if Encore wants to pay for it) but I also think it's not appropriate to, in effect, argue that a legal business should be excluded from public participation as an interested stakeholder in public projects because that specific business is disfavored by some in the community.
 

BeyondRevenue

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The casino is a legal, legitimate business, and they have every right to participate in public discussions and projects just like any other business. That doesn't mean the state should do them any favors (and to be clear, I am personally perfectly fine with a bridge directly and solely to the casino if Encore wants to pay for it) but I also think it's not appropriate to, in effect, argue that a legal business should be excluded from public participation as an interested stakeholder in public projects because that specific business is disfavored by some in the community.
Disfavored for a reason. At least drug money stays in the Commonwealth.
Casinos have an obscene amount of influence on policy decisions and local politicians. Their deals are about as opaque as defense contracts or as accurate as their reported daily take. They may be able to legally fleece their patrons, but will try my best to prevent them from fleecing the state treasury... again.
That said, their proposed bridge positioning is a bad deal for the Commonwealth. THAT is why it should be denied. And we sure as hell shouldn't be helping them screw us.
 

The EGE

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While I'm very suspicious of the value of the footbridge, particularly with the design not seeming useful in many weather conditions, I don't think it inherently blocks an Urban Ring alignment. Keeping the existing CR bridge (whose grades will be much less an issue with electrification) and building a new Urban Ring bridge just to the north would be perfectly adequate, and possibly cheaper (as a light rail bridge does not require the same structure as a CR bridge). Slightly less ideal alignment than moving CR to the old alignment? Yes. Perfectly workable? Very likely.
 

JumboBuc

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archBoston: "The Northern Avenue Bridge over Fort Point Channel (178 meters) MUST be pedestrian only!!"
Also archBoston: "Nobody is going to walk from Assembly to Everett on a bride across the Mystic River (also 178 meters)!"
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Brattle Loop

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While I'm very suspicious of the value of the footbridge, particularly with the design not seeming useful in many weather conditions, I don't think it inherently blocks an Urban Ring alignment. Keeping the existing CR bridge (whose grades will be much less an issue with electrification) and building a new Urban Ring bridge just to the north would be perfectly adequate, and possibly cheaper (as a light rail bridge does not require the same structure as a CR bridge). Slightly less ideal alignment than moving CR to the old alignment? Yes. Perfectly workable? Very likely.
I don't think it necessarily makes it impossible, but it certainly makes it harder, particularly on the Somerville side of the Mystic. If the Urban Ring line's on an alignment north/west of the existing CR bridge, it's going to have to run through that fairly-tight section where the Eastern's already climbing the grade onto the bridge after separating from the Western Route, with the Partners garage constraining the eastern end of that site. I'm not an engineer, but I feel like it might be tricky to stick an overpass in there. Certainly not impossible, but the kind of unnecessary complication that administrations like the present one tend to latch onto as reasons to kill projects, and a completely avoidable one at that.
 

chmeeee

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That said, their proposed bridge positioning is a bad deal for the Commonwealth. THAT is why it should be denied. And we sure as hell shouldn't be helping them screw us.
I think there is some misunderstanding on the origin of this bridge. This isn't something that the casino wants but isn't willing to pay for. Advocates were asking for this as casino mitigation but it didn't make the cut. They agreed to fund the design only.

particularly with the design not seeming useful in many weather conditions,
I am totally confused at why so many people are clutching their pearls at the lack of weather protection on this bridge. I can't think of any bridge that carries pedestrians in the metro Boston region that is weather protected. Is the North Bank Bridge a failure due to lack of weather protection? This is a path connection. Paths aren't weather protected. People still use them year round, albeit less so in the coldest 3 months of the year.

I actually think weather protection would make this worse. Hot and steamy all summer long inside a gerbil tube of scratched milky glass. No thanks.
 

Brattle Loop

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I am totally confused at why so many people are clutching their pearls at the lack of weather protection on this bridge. I can't think of any bridge that carries pedestrians in the metro Boston region that is weather protected. Is the North Bank Bridge a failure due to lack of weather protection? This is a path connection. Paths aren't weather protected. People still use them year round, albeit less so in the coldest 3 months of the year.
I'd say for my part that it's at least in part because of the general lack of density around there, at least at the moment. It makes me wonder whether it passes the cost-benefit test if it's going to be inhospitable a good part of the year (especially because there's so much open space there that it's going to be more windswept than a lot of places).
 

The EGE

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I don't think it necessarily makes it impossible, but it certainly makes it harder, particularly on the Somerville side of the Mystic. If the Urban Ring line's on an alignment north/west of the existing CR bridge, it's going to have to run through that fairly-tight section where the Eastern's already climbing the grade onto the bridge after separating from the Western Route, with the Partners garage constraining the eastern end of that site. I'm not an engineer, but I feel like it might be tricky to stick an overpass in there. Certainly not impossible, but the kind of unnecessary complication that administrations like the present one tend to latch onto as reasons to kill projects, and a completely avoidable one at that.
You may very well be right. I do want to note that there's never been an official study of any LRT Urban Ring alignment (BRT using the Revere Beach Parkway bridge was chosen very early on), so there's nothing other than F-Line's sketch to actually prove that this footbridge alignment is a problem.
 

Brattle Loop

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You may very well be right. I do want to note that there's never been an official study of any LRT Urban Ring alignment (BRT using the Revere Beach Parkway bridge was chosen very early on), so there's nothing other than F-Line's sketch to actually prove that this footbridge alignment is a problem.
Definitely a fair point. I'm not saying that it's impossible, because I simply just don't know, just that it appears like it could be a problem, and I don't want to see the Urban Ring compromised unnecessarily.
 

BeyondRevenue

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archBoston: "The Northern Avenue Bridge over Fort Point Channel (178 meters) MUST be pedestrian only!!"
Also archBoston: "Nobody is going to walk from Assembly to Everett on a bride across the Mystic River (also 178 meters)!"
View attachment 18269 View attachment 18268
How To Lie With Numbers 101.

<Flag on the play>
Northern Ave is full length measurement, Casino Endorsed Proposition is not.
Northern Ave image is scaled to appear larger than Casino Endorsed Proposition.
10-yard penalty for drawing the forum offside.

Penalties aside, I love masculine contests where we see which one is shorter! Let me whip mine out...

OooohMeToo!.png

109m. Beat that!
 
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Tallguy

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And when is the last time anything big enough to need the largest lock went up the Mystic?
 

JumboBuc

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And when is the last time anything big enough to need the largest lock went up the Mystic?
Navigable waters are navigable waters. You can’t eliminate a lock and its capacity just because it isn’t used very often.

I’m not married to this design or alignment, and really the Commonwealth probably isn’t either. It’s a conceptual rendering that will surely be refined and revised going forward. But I find it absolutely bonkers that people are anti-footbridge here. A bike/pedestrian connection across the Mystic between Assembly and Everett strikes me as an absolute no brainer.
 

BeyondRevenue

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Navigable waters are navigable waters. You can’t eliminate a lock and its capacity just because it isn’t used very often.

I’m not married to this design or alignment, and really the Commonwealth probably isn’t either. It’s a conceptual rendering that will surely be refined and revised going forward. But I find it absolutely bonkers that people are anti-footbridge here. A bike/pedestrian connection across the Mystic between Assembly and Everett strikes me as an absolute no brainer.
Nobody is anti bridge here. For my personal opinion I'll say this slowly...
I🙏WANT🙏 A 🙏 FOOT 🙏 BRIDGE 🙏 JUST🙏NOT🙏 THAT🙏 FOOT🙏 BRIDGE🙏!

Also, I'm not saying the AED path won't have to be a little higher. It's just easier to lift a small bridge than spend a buttload more cash on the CASINO flavored bridge and how it will likely be positioned to hinder future opportunities.
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Is it me? It's him isn't it?
 

Equilibria

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Actually, there have been posts that have been against a bridge altogether, yes.

And the thing about lifting a bridge to a navigable height is that you need approaches. A navigable bridge over the dam, or any future dam, will by definition be the same length as a navigable bridge anywhere else if what determines the length is the clearance and not the width of the channel, as I believe is the case here.

The alternative is the swinging walkways the Charles River Dam has, but those can't possibly be ADA accessible and I believe you need to walk bikes across them. This option is better for commuting.

Also, the reason you land a footbridge on the downstream side is not just the Casino. It's also that the downstream side is the one primed for major mixed-use redevelopment by the City of Everett and multiple developers, Wynn among them. There's also the fact that the CASINO has EMPLOYEES who ride the ORANGE LINE to get to their JOBS, and currently have to ride a CIRCUITOUS SHUTTLE BUS. Also, the casino is NOT PAYING FOR THIS BRIDGE.
 

chmeeee

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the CASINO flavored bridge
Your feelings about casinos are coloring your opinions of the bridge. The alignment is dead on the desire line for a continuation of the path while minimizing crossing distance.

And again, this design is at concept level right now. If it needs to change for the purpose of future proofing urban ring, there is plenty of time to do so.
 

Charlie_mta

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It should be possible to fit in a new LRV bridge (shown below in green) across the Mystic River immediately upstream (west) of the existing CR bridge, even with the propose footbridge:

The only concern I would have is 4F (park) issues with the LRV line crossing the new park at the south end of the footbridge,
 

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