B Line Improvements

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,325
Reaction score
96
Why don't we have a B Line thread? It's fucked enough to deserve it.

My proposal can be found in this map:

https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid...&ll=42.342749,-71.08532&spn=0.036732,0.077162

The solution I give is two-fold: one part is actual B Line improvements (consolidation of stops, signal priority) and the other is a new '58' bus route (runs at weekday peaks only, perhaps at similar headways to the 57A which short turns at Oak Sq). The point behind the bus is it can easily run limited stops by default, doesn't have to wait for left turn signals (moot point with Green Line signal priority), and could potentially run with even fewer stops with simple schedule changes and express designations.

Map Key:
Green Marker: Green Line Stop
Green Marker w/Black Dot: Green Line AND 58 Bus Stop
Yellow Marker: 58 Bus Stop
Yellow Marker w/Black Dot: 58 Bus Layover Point

I'm considering further modifications, such as making the Kenmore busway the terminus for every other bus, rather than going all the way to Back Bay (although I feel like a Kenmore terminus doesn't help much).
 

MBTAddict

Active Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
474
Reaction score
0
I still want an elevated B-Line, although I admit it's mostly because I think elevated lines are cool if done well. A public private partnership that saw the space under the new elevated B-Line used for new restaurants, shops, etc (any use that doesn't mind the noise too much) would be a huge asset for the corridor.

I guess this would only really work for the section form Kenmore to Packard's Corner or the intersection with Harvard Ave.
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
Stop consolidation, signal priority, and all-door boarding.

What I don't like about the bus is that it makes everyone want to run back and forth to try and catch either one. And the T has an annoying tendency to make station access a pain in the ass.
 

novitiate

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
190
Reaction score
0
For the most part it looks like a decent plan, but I have a few thoughts...

(1) I'm not sure I understand the need of the 58 bus- like, you're already eliminating stops on the B corridor, and then you have an express beyond that? The Prudential/Back Bay section makes me wonder whether that would be a good idea for the 57 bus. I have to admit it seems a little strange to me to have the bus provide express service and the train local- in other places (the E/39) it's the opposite.

(2) I guess you just consolidated Chiswick and Sutherland west of the current Sutherland? (Where the "Sutherland Rd Station Access" is) I don't know if that will work- IIRC the last time the T tried to close Chiswick they got a lot of local opposition from elderly populations who would find the walk elsewhere difficult.

(3) Are you actually planning to move Packard's Corner to the other side of Brighton Ave., or is that just part of the map? Admittedly, the reservation definitely seems wide enough for a station there.

(4) It looks like you placed a station in the Blandford pocket track, which would probably require removing the track- I suppose you could build a new pocket track where BU East is now, though.
 

Commuting Boston Student

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,168
Reaction score
1
There's no need for a bus that perfectly mimics the entire B corridor through to Kenmore and then deviates off to Back Bay.

There are, however, a couple of good choices for new bus route implementation in various parts of the B's line:
  • Boston College - Cleveland Circle - Brigham Circle via Boylston Street, which improves radial movements between the lines
  • Packard's Corner - Kenmore - Back Bay, which is presumably short enough that we can get headways down to 10 minutes, hopefully satiating some of the huge BU demand and creating a strong link between Kenmore and Back Bay

Furthermore, novitate mentions possibly extending the 57 to Back Bay. I disagree - but only because I think the 39 should be extended to Kenmore, instead.
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
The existing BU shuttle could takeover that last suggestion with a few tweaks. Add a stop closer to Newbury Street and increase frequencies; it already gets really crowded.
 

vanshnookenraggen

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
6,730
Reaction score
858
Tunnel down Comm Ave to Harvard St, up to Allston at Western Ave and into Cambridge to Harvard Sq. Also a portal past Packards Corner so you can still retain trolleys out to BC.
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
One major disadvantage of grade separation is that it hurts accessibility. I'd rather just focus on making it work as a surface tram. And improving access.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,845
Reaction score
3,340
Tunnel down Comm Ave to Harvard St, up to Allston at Western Ave and into Cambridge to Harvard Sq. Also a portal past Packards Corner so you can still retain trolleys out to BC.
Probably don't need to go that far. BU Bridge is the main chokepoint, so if you buried it under the reservation that far and spit back up to the surface at St. Paul St. it takes care of most of the issues. Only 4 traffic lights--St. Paul, Pleasant, Babcock, Packards--a -6 overall reduction including the schedule-murdering Mountfort/bridge light cycles.

Subway stops at BU East, headhouse grafted onto Warren Towers and whatever the hell they build on the parking lot across the street, and BU Bridge with headhouse grafted onto BU Academy and entrance diagonal across the street at one of the small grassy knolls abutting the Mountfort/Comm Ave. intersection. Build a flying junction at Bridge station as an Urban Ring/Grand Junction provision, portal on the grassy knoll between BU Bridge, Storrow, and the GJ tracks. And put it to immediate non-revenue use as a small layover yard for short-turns and Sox extras as a more readily accessible replacement for Blandford. That combines Blandford, East, Central, and West into 2 subway-spaced stops.

Couple with signal priority, stop consolidation/recalibration, and the improvements with the Packards-Warren rebuild of Comm Ave. and the rest of the B should perform extremely well. 13 or 14 surface stops, no particularly difficult light cycles post-improvements other than Packards. That's at least on-par with the C's performance, if not a little better. And future-proofed for the UR or some Harvard-payola branch without present-tense unused infrastructure (if they do the layover on the grassy knoll).
 

vanshnookenraggen

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
6,730
Reaction score
858
I'm taking it so far as to create a proto-Urban Ring. I reject the Grand Junction route since the whole concept is flawed to begin with. A route through the Allston Yards would be cheaper but ultimately the point of a subway is to connect people to the places they want/need to go. What is more obvious than connecting two universities with the area of greatest student housing?
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
The "grassy knoll" doesn't conjure up good tidings... ;)

Maybe signal priority on the computer controlled signals along that segment can alleviate the schedule killing effect of that stretch for billions of dollars less?
 

novitiate

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
190
Reaction score
0
While I like the idea of a subway on the route, the only way it really makes sense is if you're preparing for some kind of Urban Ring (like vanshnookenraggen's line to Harvard- I hope the tunnel under Comm Ave is 4 tracks so the Green Line to BC can have two and the line to Harvard can be heavy-railed later on) or maybe an A restoration to compensate for the slower street-running past there. (This tunnel would likely portal out at Packard's Corner with an above-ground split like Kenmore was pre-1930s)

While ridership on the B reaches levels comparable to the subway system, I think there's still more efficiency that can be wrung out of the streetcar...
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,845
Reaction score
3,340
I'm taking it so far as to create a proto-Urban Ring. I reject the Grand Junction route since the whole concept is flawed to begin with. A route through the Allston Yards would be cheaper but ultimately the point of a subway is to connect people to the places they want/need to go. What is more obvious than connecting two universities with the area of greatest student housing?
True. You could always build that line first. It's just quite likely that something someday would branch off at BU Bridge so the provisioning is worth it for the relatively modest cost of cut-and-cover under an existing cleared reservation. Putting it to use as a temporary short-turn/layover before a branch gets built also brings immediate relief.

And, hell, you could always continue the Comm Ave. subway later towards Packards. This would just be the highest-priority leg for killing the biggest traffic choke on the B and serving by far the highest ridership stops. It's unlikely they'd ever be able to afford to build it all the way to Packards in one shot, so breaking the build in half makes it a lot more palatable.
 

cden4

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
1,217
Reaction score
191
Another idea: Pave the green line reservation up to Packards Corner so that the 57 buses AND Green Line trains can use it. This is done in many other cities, namely Seattle which recently added light rail to their downtown bus tunnels. The light rail and buses use the same roadway and same platforms.
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
Another idea: Pave the green line reservation up to Packards Corner so that the 57 buses AND Green Line trains can use it. This is done in many other cities, namely Seattle which recently added light rail to their downtown bus tunnels. The light rail and buses use the same roadway and same platforms.
Sounds an awful lot like what they did to the "A" line down Brighton Avenue. Paved the reservation... didn't work out so well.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,845
Reaction score
3,340
Another idea: Pave the green line reservation up to Packards Corner so that the 57 buses AND Green Line trains can use it. This is done in many other cities, namely Seattle which recently added light rail to their downtown bus tunnels. The light rail and buses use the same roadway and same platforms.
The reservation isn't wide enough, especially around the platforms, to handle buses at any decent rate of speed. Not when even the Transitway's wide margin of error is painfully slow. Assuming you took the freed up median space from the recent lane drop you're still going to have a lot of trouble with tight squeezes when buses in opposite directions have to pass each other on undersized lanes. Even worse when a bus has to pass a trolley. A head-on collision with an LRV would be...very, very, very bad for the bus at any speed.

It would definitely work in the Transitway. Or any busway for that matter where the bus width came first and there was one-way traffic physically separated from oncoming traffic. That's how the Harvard tunnel operated its last 20+ years before the last trolleys were bustituted, and how Forest Hills is set up for the never-used E loop.
 

novitiate

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
190
Reaction score
0
Sounds an awful lot like what they did to the "A" line down Brighton Avenue. Paved the reservation... didn't work out so well.
Later on, we could also allow HOV traffic and "green cars" to use the extra lane. Of course, such mixed traffic could cause problems- therefore as an experiment the "B" branch can be replaced with an articulated bus, thus reducing the number of different vehicle types in the lane. If this experiment is successful (we have defined no failure condition), we could move the stops to the side of the road, a major safety improvement as pedestrians will not need to cross the street. Finally, the center lanes don't have enough traffic using them, so just open them up to general cars. A massive success in traffic engineering!
 

Matthew

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2012
Messages
3,585
Reaction score
1
You think that's sarcasm but the Boston MPO just [Dec 2012] released a report saying that HOV lanes were not as good as general lanes because they are only expected to carry 1500 vehicles/hour vs 2200 vehicles/hour for general traffic.

Probably should put that in another thread actually.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,845
Reaction score
3,340
Later on, we could also allow HOV traffic and "green cars" to use the extra lane. Of course, such mixed traffic could cause problems- therefore as an experiment the "B" branch can be replaced with an articulated bus, thus reducing the number of different vehicle types in the lane. If this experiment is successful (we have defined no failure condition), we could move the stops to the side of the road, a major safety improvement as pedestrians will not need to cross the street. Finally, the center lanes don't have enough traffic using them, so just open them up to general cars. A massive success in traffic engineering!
Then it's not a transit project, it's an auto giveaway. Just like interstate HOV lanes that relax, relax, relax the requirements over time on who can use them. Until damn near everyone can use them.

We just busted down Comm Ave. to BU Bridge from a 6-lane speed trap to 4 lanes with ped-friendlier curb juts. It's an improvement. Up until it goes 6 lanes again the road's a lot less scary than it was 5 years ago. The proposal to remake Packards-Warren from its unruly speed trap setup into a Beacon St. Brookline-style boulevard is even more dramatic. Comm Ave. throughput can be improved by better light cycle timing and maybe someday an improvement (air rights realignment?) of the Mountfort/BU Bridge/University Rd. debacle. But it has nothing to do with lane capacity. The lanes aren't clogged or vehicle-count dependent. They're speed-dependent. Absolutely the worst possible reason for having that many lanes on a city arterial. Nothing's lost by the lane drop project except for diminished ped/bike body count. Why in the hell would we ever want to consider HOV lanes??? That's pretty much what godawful Packards-Warren is...and we can't blow that up fast enough.
 

novitiate

Active Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2012
Messages
190
Reaction score
0
Don't worry, I'm not actually proposing such a thing- just being a bit doomsday. I do think that paving the reservation for bus lanes is a bad idea, but I doubt in the modern situation it would lead to the Brighton Avenueization of Comm Ave. (Especially since, as you say, the road is having its number of lanes reduced)
You think that's sarcasm but the Boston MPO just [Dec 2012] released a report saying that HOV lanes were not as good as general lanes because they are only expected to carry 1500 vehicles/hour vs 2200 vehicles/hour for general traffic.

Probably should put that in another thread actually.
Just the type of thinking I'd expect from our traffic planners.
 

Top