Assembly Sq <-> Casino Footbridge

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
5,797
Reaction score
4,563
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,
The question I have about both this and F-Line's version is whether you want LRT on the outside of the CR tracks. It seems like you'd want it inside, because that's where the busway is.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,627
Reaction score
1,454
The question I have about both this and F-Line's version is whether you want LRT on the outside of the CR tracks. It seems like you'd want it inside, because that's where the busway is.
You’d have to cross the CR tracks at some point if you’re gonna link up with the busway, and there’s much more room to make that crossing somewhere on the Chelsea/Everett side of the Mystic than on the Boston/Somerville side.
 

The EGE

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2013
Messages
1,271
Reaction score
2,218
From Beacham to 2nd, the inner track slots (the former Grand Junction) is occupied by freight tracks. Even with potential redevelopment of some of the area, you're at minimum going to have freight service to the produce terminal kept. That means you need to keep the UR tracks on the outside until at least as far as Sweetser Circle, or have some substantial viaducts for the UR to avoid the freight leads.
 

Vagabond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
826
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,
In the Crazy Transit Pitch urban ring, what would the construction phasing be to keep it all operational?

It looks like you have to build the new CR bridge on the North side anyway to keep CR operational then add a GLX-Everett on the existing southern piers to match the existing SL alignment? Theres no mandatory reason to have a GLX-E connect to Assembly with Sullivan so close, especially not at the expense of space.

The pedestrian bridge is likely going to be federally funded, so not worried about costs. The idea raised above that a bridge to wealthy Needham is a 1-for-1 swap for a transit connection to a disadvantaged area is pure fantasy politically. The Needham extension is a good idea, but don't put them in the same conversation.
 

ceo

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
474
Reaction score
413
In terms of staging, first thing is going to be to move the CR tracks to the east/south side of the corridor and eliminate the long freight leads, replacing them with a switch directly off the mainline. That will at minimum require single-tracking the Newburyport/Rockport line for a while. Then you can build the UR tracks (moving the bike path if necessary) without interfering with CR all that much. Probably have to put the crossover viaduct between the Produce Market switch and the 2nd St grade crossing. Speaking of which, those five grade crossings in rapid succession are an interesting problem, and how you actually get this thing to the airport even more so.
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
902
Reaction score
196
If it needs to change for the purpose of future proofing urban ring, there is plenty of time to do so.
I think building a bridge to Encore is all they want to do. Don't want to make it too complicated. The render is probably the ideal route.

The complaints about this making LRT/BRT unrealistic seem pretty valid to me, esp if they want to avoid the Dam.
 

Tallguy

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
520
Reaction score
242
In the Crazy Transit Pitch urban ring, what would the construction phasing be to keep it all operational?

It looks like you have to build the new CR bridge on the North side anyway to keep CR operational then add a GLX-Everett on the existing southern piers to match the existing SL alignment? Theres no mandatory reason to have a GLX-E connect to Assembly with Sullivan so close, especially not at the expense of space.

The pedestrian bridge is likely going to be federally funded, so not worried about costs. The idea raised above that a bridge to wealthy Needham is a 1-for-1 swap for a transit connection to a disadvantaged area is pure fantasy politically. The Needham extension is a good idea, but don't put them in the same conversation.
Firstly, tax money is tax money, and Mass pays much more in Fed tax than it gets back, so you should indeed be worried about costs.
This bridge is way to more easily pry money from working and middle class folks, so,please refrain from the class warfare-baiting.
 

Vagabond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
826
Firstly, tax money is tax money, and Mass pays much more in Fed tax than it gets back, so you should indeed be worried about costs.
This bridge is way to more easily pry money from working and middle class folks, so,please refrain from the class warfare-baiting.
FYI- so theres no misunderstanding intent- it's literally what the money is allocated for. This project is submitted for a RAISE Grant.

"Projects for RAISE funding will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. Within these criteria, the Department will prioritize projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs.

For this round of RAISE grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million, and no more than $100 million can be awarded to a single State, as specified in the appropriations act. Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants, including at least $10 million to Areas of Persistent Poverty."
 
Last edited:

Tallguy

Active Member
Joined
May 2, 2018
Messages
520
Reaction score
242
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.
I wasn't suggesting that, but curious how frequently a drawbridge across would have to be raised
 

jklo

Active Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
902
Reaction score
196
I wasn't suggesting that, but curious how frequently a drawbridge across would have to be raised
Drawbridges are bad.

FYI- so theres no misunderstanding intent- it's literally what the money is allocated for. This project is submitted for a RAISE Grant.

"Projects for RAISE funding will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. Within these criteria, the Department will prioritize projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs.
Pretty buzzwordy so tough to say if it would win the grant. It would help out the casino and I imagine you would get a fair amount of usage from employees and customers.
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
Drawbridges are bad.



Pretty buzzwordy so tough to say if it would win the grant. It would help out the casino and I imagine you would get a fair amount of usage from employees and customers.
Making a better case to win the grant? Use the buzzwords.
Connecting Assembly to the Gateway Center makes a better case for economic competitiveness than the casino does, even now with all the box stores. If it was developed better - as I've heard it will be - the casino focused case gets weaker. It can be easily argued that casinos do not contribute to quality of life as their business model is frankly making people poorer.
Transportation linkage? Also a better case for improvements for Gateway Center workers who only have 1 regular bus and an alternate partial route. The casino already has 3 regular busses dropping off out front. Also, realigning to allow for a future Urban Ring or Silver line connection stop on the trail, or if we're going big speculation, when we turn commuter rail into rapid transit with regional rail there could be room for a stop for that as well.
If I was writing the grant application I would keep the casino out of it. It's not a good thing to a lot of people. As much as I would love to see the people working at the casino using the bridge I would not make that one employer the focus when there are the employees of 20 businesses in the Gateway Center in more need for everything the grant describes.
For environmental sustainability, I'd also suggest not using concrete as it is not very environmentally sustainable. I'd favor something simpler, cheaper and better that would be paid for entirely by the grant, possibly building a semi-buoyed causeway from the east side rising to a bridge to clear the lock boat traffic, all constructed with less destructive/recycled materials. Rising sea level awareness? Check. Environmental connection? Check. Chance of people jumping to a concussed watery death? Much lower. Also, probably not as windy closer to the water.
The most innovative thing is showing how you are scoping for improvements to come, not building a big concrete schlong because you can.

Build to the terms of the grant, don't try to jam a square peg into a round hole.

I can't be the only one who thinks there isn't massive room for improved thinking here.
 
Last edited:

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
Dusting this off after a month or so of inactivity... I was at the future Assembly Square pop-out (waiting for OL as always) and I am as concerned as ever that the state is going to 'do a dumb' with RAISE cash here.
On my mind:
1. There is only $100M possible RAISE cash for the entire commonwealth. Limited pot.
2. Encore's bridge proposal would likely suck up all of that cash. Not cool at all.
3. A better, smaller, closer, smarter bridge using the dam's footings can be built for a fraction of the cost. No brainer.
4. That bridge will leave cash for other deserving projects on our list of initiatives. Better for everybody.

1639417119018.png

I took a picture from the future pop out (X) to show you what I mean. Note how much closer the edge of the AED (A) is to The end of the Northern Strand Trail (B) and the Gateway Center behind it. Look at the line in Green -- which is stuff that's already built (between X and B). Now look at the approach to where the Encore proposed bridge would end (C) and how it crosses two possible ROWs for the Everett Chelsea SLX/GLX and a possible alignment for the CR.

I just want to make sure I'm being clear and that this isn't being pushed aside just because we're bored of it or blinded by the shiny shiny.
 

Attachments

ceo

Active Member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
474
Reaction score
413
3. A better, smaller, closer, smarter bridge using the dam's footings can be built for a fraction of the cost. No brainer.
I'm confused by the video you linked to... you can't put a one-piece prefab bridge down across the locks, because boats still have to get through. A crossing via the AED would have to involve walkways on top of the lock gates like the Charles River Dam, which are 1 person wide with sharp bends, or a drawbridge over each lock, which could well be more expensive than a separate bridge.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,627
Reaction score
1,454
Dusting this off after a month or so of inactivity... I was at the future Assembly Square pop-out (waiting for OL as always) and I am as concerned as ever that the state is going to 'do a dumb' with RAISE cash here.
On my mind:
1. There is only $100M possible RAISE cash for the entire commonwealth. Limited pot.
2. Encore's bridge proposal would likely suck up all of that cash. Not cool at all.
3. A better, smaller, closer, smarter bridge using the dam's footings can be built for a fraction of the cost. No brainer.
4. That bridge will leave cash for other deserving projects on our list of initiatives. Better for everybody.
This project hasn't been awarded any "RAISE cash." MassDOT put in three RAISE applications in 2021 and didn't hit on any of them. The only Massachusetts project that was awarded anything from RAISE this year is the Blue Hill Ave BRT corridor, and that application was put in by the City of Boston and the MBTA (and was another try after the project didn't get picked for BUILD last year).

RAISE is a competitive project-specific USDOT grant program, it's not like the states just ask for the money and get to spend it on whatever. MassDOT may (or may not) try again here next year, but USDOT is the agency that ultimately decides what projects the funds go to.
 
Last edited:

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
...you can't put a one-piece prefab bridge down across the locks, because boats still have to get through.
The walkway above the Gridley Locks in the pic below is a fixed structure above a high-traffic waterway -- maybe 18-20 feet off the surface (or two shipping units tall depending on you unit of measure).
I'd suspect a crossing over AED wouldn't need to be anywhere near that high. The fix: Fabricate a dozen lightweight 3" steel trusses. Like the other lightweight bridge I linked to, I'd envision an 8-foot wide gantry with an aluminum deck.

... and that's if we'd even need to worry about going up.
We don't have any data on boat height or traffic at the AED. Before dismissing/endorsing any proposal, maybe see if your suggested problem exists at all. If our SOP use case is 90% kayak, dinghy, or Boston Whaler traffic, a surface bridge with a simple swing/draw for the odd tri-masted schooner would do. Much cheaper, smarter, closer, faster. If a drawbridge works for Alford Street, it's good enough here.

1639423702084.png

A crossing via the AED would have to involve walkways on top of the lock gates like the Charles River Dam, which are 1 person wide with sharp bends, or a drawbridge over each lock, which could well be more expensive than a separate bridge.
Red herring. None of that's necessary. They would not even be touched. Lightweight bridge goes above it all.

Before running to the loving embrace of the shiny Encore proposal, get data. I've seen nothing here except emotional outbursts and doomsaying.

Redirect -- Work on factoring for future cost overruns in looping CR/GLX/SLX around the possibility of the Encore bridge (C to X). Unless you hate public transportation, cost effective engineering or both, that's where your troubleshooting efforts should be.
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
This project hasn't been awarded any "RAISE cash." MassDOT put in three RAISE applications in 2021 and didn't hit on any of them. The only Massachusetts project that was awarded anything from RAISE this year is the Blue Hill Ave BRT corridor, and that application was put in by the City of Boston and the MBTA (and was another try after the project didn't get picked for BUILD last year).

RAISE is a competitive project-specific USDOT grant program, it's not like the states just ask for the money and get to spend it on whatever. MassDOT may (or may not) try again here next year, but USDOT is the agency that ultimately decides what projects the funds go to.
They are attempting to get a future RAISE grant here. And the bigger the price tag, the bigger the problem. There is a finite amount of cash and I do not want to see it squandered on something unnecessarily expensive. The Encore veresion is much more expensive than it needs to be. And I do not want to buy what I don't need. I want to bridge from Assembly to the NST, the easiest and best way possible.

READ THIS: I can clearly see the state setting aside dedicated bridge construction money with that grant in mind and subsidizing the bad bridge once the grant (invariably ) falls through. Not better, not smaller, not closer, not smarter. That's worse, much larger, much farther, and much dumber. Also, much more expensive, overbuilt and prohibitive, obstructive and corrupt.

As a side note, I'd say the Blue Hill BRT is a much better use of the funds and fits the parameters a hell of a lot more solid than the casino bridge does.

--- Mods, can we put Northern Strand in the post title please. As in 'Assembly Sq. <-> Northern Strand Trail > Casino Crossing'
 

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
677
Reaction score
1,110
The walkway above the Gridley Locks in the pic below is a fixed structure above a high-traffic waterway -- maybe 18-20 feet off the surface (or two shipping units tall depending on you unit of measure).
I believe it's 23 feet at the Gridley Locks, so just a little higher than your estimate.

I'd suspect a crossing over AED wouldn't need to be anywhere near that high. The fix: Fabricate a dozen lightweight 3" steel trusses. Like the other lightweight bridge I linked to, I'd envision an 8-foot wide gantry with an aluminum deck.
The Eastern Route railroad bridge and the Orange Line/Western Route bridge to Wellington, flanking the dam, both have a charted vertical clearance of 30 feet. I suspect trying to put in a permanent structure with a clearance lower than that is not going to go over very well. Meaning that if you want to put in something lower than 30' clearance, it'd have to be a moveable bridge, with all the additional complexity and cost that entails. And, not for nothing, but moveable bridges are inconvenient (either to boaters if they don't open enough and there's enough boat traffic, or to pedestrians if there's a lot of boat traffic and the bridge has to open frequently) and you have to pay someone to operate them (because there's no way in hell you can get away with a part-time obstruction over a navigable waterway).

If a drawbridge works for Alford Street, it's good enough here.
Theoretically accurate, I suppose, but not necessarily the best of arguments. The current bridge is on the same alignment as the much-older original which I believe collapsed in the 1960s. My assumption, and I could be wrong, is that they simply rebuilt it as a drawbridge because doing so meant they didn't have to reconfigure the approaches or anything like that, not that if you were building a clean-sheet structure now that that would be the ideal way to do it.

Redirect -- Work on factoring for future cost overruns in looping CR/GLX/SLX around the possibility of the Encore bridge (C to X). Unless you hate public transportation, cost effective engineering or both, that's where your troubleshooting efforts should be.
I do agree that it's absolute lunacy to propose a bridge from Assembly that goes to the east side of the Eastern Route bridge/ROW. That absolutely does screw things up for future Urban Ring planning for no reason. (It'd save casino patrons a short amount of walking at the cost of making the walk to the shopping center and the rest of the trail a bit longer.)

I'd stick the bridge on the west side of the Eastern Route bridge, there's no need to interface with it, you don't even need to touch it at all, and doing it that way would avoid compromising the old Eastern Route alignment (which would ideally be used by the CR in the future with the existing bridge turned over to Urban Ring LRT). Doing it that way would also avoid any need to interface with the dam, which I don't think would be as easy as you seem to think. There's ample room from the Assembly punch-out to get up to the going-rate 30 feet of clearance to avoid any need for a moveable bridge, and staying clear of the dam just cuts them out of the picture entirely.
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
If the state wants to take a decade to plan then buy a hulking concrete craptacular instead of putting up a glorified gantry this summer, so be it.
I just want access. Yesterday.
And yes. Whatever is built it has to be west of the existing CR bridge and join the actual NST, ideally in a straight line, not by way of a pointless Casinotopia detour.

One more quick and dirty... complete with approach paths and a headhouse extension... and mine doesn't block the would-be soccer pitch
AED.jpg

When they do build Chelsea GLX/SLX, I hope they put it on top of a new dam. AED is hurting. Not that I'll be around to see it...
 

Brattle Loop

Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
677
Reaction score
1,110
If the state wants to take a decade to plan then buy a hulking concrete craptacular instead of putting up a glorified gantry this summer, so be it.
I just want access. Yesterday.
And yes. Whatever is built it has to be west of the existing CR bridge and join the actual NST, ideally in a straight line, not by way of a pointless Casinotopia detour.

One more quick and dirty... complete with approach paths and a headhouse extension... and mine doesn't block the would-be soccer pitch
View attachment 19528
When they do build Chelsea GLX/SLX, I hope they put it on top of a new dam. AED is hurting. Not that I'll be around to see it...
Might want to put a "not to scale" on that, or else make clear if there are moveable spans, because it doesn't look like there's any way that thing's got ~30 feet of clearance under it. Now, I don't know, maybe that number can come down a bit, but it's the controlling clearance on the two bridges directly above and below the dam, so I wouldn't bet money on it. And it doesn't matter if it's once in a blue moon that a sailboat comes through there, you're not allowed to obstruct a navigable waterway simply because you feel like it. The bureaucratic wrangling involved would be considerable (and if it involves the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the Coast Guard, well, consult the South Coast Rail thread for a decent discussion of the ACE's reasonableness or lack thereof).

I do appreciate the directness of your dismissal of the casino. Obviously if you don't see any point in improving access to the casino, bridge plans primarily or substantially involving that don't make a ton of sense. That said, it's both in the casino's interest that as many people go there as possible, and in the state's interest that a business that generates revenue for the state generates as much revenue as possible (both of those things are absolutely independent of any discussion of whether one likes casinos or thinks legalized gambling is a good or bad thing, the first one is rendered functionally irrelevant by the voters' permission of the second one). I, personally, view improving access to the casino as a legitimate objective, albeit one that means Encore should chip in to help pay for.
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
347
Reaction score
628
FYI: When community boating goes out on the harbor from the Charles, they collapse their masts.

For gaming, I'd like to revisit that vote. I don't think we had the facts. The fix was in.

As a precursor to another vote, I'd like an honest cost benefit analysis of... how many more people declared bankruptcy and financially wrecked their families? I'd like a count of how many people who should have known better have fallen-- and fallen hard? I'd like to know how many extra cops had to be hired in surrounding towns? How much extra stolen merch ended up on ebay? How many kids lunch money went to the tables? How many guys ended a losing streak with a pistol? And how much we all spent of their emergency room visit before they died? There's revenue and there's blood money. They pick a lot of pockets to fill theirs. But we get 'a taste'. Libertarian delusions.

And I don't hate the player, I hate the game.

I look at casinos like an asshole mobster neighbor who buys off the cops and get away with anything. As long as they stay in their own backyard, allegedly they're not hurting us. Once they start poking the Commonwealth's ribs, we cease to function properly. We are waaaay to glib about what has happened and keeps happening.

That said, you'll pay for their bridge, and you'll fucking like it. Capiche?
 
Last edited:

Top