Blue Line to Lynn, Silver Line Phase III and Urban Ring projects officially canceled

Arborway

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The state's Charlie Card is empty.

So we're stuck with what we have, with only the Route 28X project on the horizon. And that seems to be stalling in the community review phase. Then again, the projects were far from perfect.

The Blue Line extension has been toyed with for ages, but like the Red / Blue connector it remained a project the state spent money on, but never actually had anything to show for. Decades of delays have led to encroachment on the right of way that would be used, making it progressively more difficult to win community approval with each passing year.

The Silver Line project could never overcome questions of bus capacity and lifespan, and remained overshadowed by the design and construction failures of the initial phases. Including a rapidly-crumbling tunnel, and tunnel speeds that fall below those achieved on surface streets. Plans to rip up the Common, Boylston St. and parts of Chinatown to snake tunnels alongside the foundations to landmark buildings further eroded public support. The T's insistence on destroying abandoned rail tunnels that could have saved hundreds of millions in construction costs gave the community even less confidence in the T's ability to put together the best possible project.

Basic questions about the Urban Ring's viability were never answered. The MBTA cannot currently operate its fleet of 60' buses in slippery conditions (read: winter + precipitation = 40' bus for you). This meant the T would need to spend millions on a special reserve fleet just for snowy and icy days. Running the buses on electric power would cut emissions to nothing, reduce noise, increase traction and extend the lifespan of the buses; saving two purchasing cycles. But that was dismissed.

The Urban Ring also depended on a tunnel through Longwood. A project that was fraught with issues, including the poor example set by the Silver Line Phase 2 bus tunnel project which while completed, ultimately failed to live up to its promise. Different proposals were banded about. Some would allow for it to remain bus only, leave the door open for conversion to light rail ala the Green Line, or a heavy rail Orange Line extension. All cost a great deal of money, making up the bulk of the project's cost. Forgoing the tunnel and running the Urban Ring through Longwood on the surface was simply not workable. As it is, the plan was to operate the line through the Kenmore area on surface streets - effectively dooming commuters during Sox season.

Now all those plans are on the shelf. To be resurrected occasionally, but completed sometime in the future by another generation with more vision and ability than our own.
 
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ablarc

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MBTA is completely fucked.

Silver Line's stupidity is world class.

Doubt that any transit agency anywhere else could have come up with anything equally brainless.

A confederacy of morons.
 

Lurker

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$115 million to paint a bus lane and install some prefab shelters? Does that include a few extra years of construction where every worker is serviced by Olympic class courtesans while eating caviar and smoking fine Cuban cigars?

Maybe the design team has a few million allowance to go gambling in Vegas?

Or does someone's second uncle's niece's sister's brother's cousin need a 'job', which involves a 'study' in which nothing different than what has already been determined is presented a 'finding'?

One wonders if the local press will peel itself away from reporting about deer running into liquor stores in Kansas, or the had hitting expose on how BO the dog liked an ice cream cone, or how some woman lost her dry cleaning ticket but found it later to even cover this?
 

briv

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Why does the public tolerate this level of incompetence? Is it a lack of awareness or just complacency?
 

Shepard

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How does one get a job - a management role - at the mbta? Please no snide answers such as "be the right person's nephew." I'm angry in a constructive way and ready to join the fray.

(Plus I hear the benefits are nice.)
 

found5dollar

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while it is sad to see the blue line extension put on hold, i say good riddence to the rest. Mostly just highway expansions and mass transit projects we have all been complaining about. But, what about the other projects? Are they still going to happen? The Red Blue connector? The Green Line extension? that weird silverline extension? THe Fairmont line improvements?

If they are than hopefully by weeding some projects, hopefully these ones will get more time and attention paid to them.
 

Lurker

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The Blue Line extension to Lynn has been in 'planning' since the 1940s. The fact semi-useless bus projects with low ridership keep getting priority over what should have been an easy expansion speaks volumes.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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while it is sad to see the blue line extension put on hold, i say good riddence to the rest. Mostly just highway expansions and mass transit projects we have all been complaining about. But, what about the other projects? Are they still going to happen? The Red Blue connector? The Green Line extension? that weird silverline extension? THe Fairmont line improvements
Those, minus the BRT, are mandated by law suits and are already in various stages of planning, design, or construction. The BRT is covered by Federal stimulus money so the state doesn't need to worry about that. The rest are going to be paid for somehow (which is probably why these projects were shelved.)
 

czsz

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mandated by law suits
It's time to get reading some other agreements. If courts have been receptive to mandating construction of several services already, it's worth trying more.
 

mass88

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Does anyone have any further information about the 93 and mystic ave interchange work? That whole area needs a lot of work, it is a mess. This is too bad.

Does anyone have any estimates or facts behind the potential cost to ext the blue line to Lynn?

The site lists a lot of other projects being cut. Of those, was the stretch of 128 past 93 supposed to be widened too?
 

vanshnookenraggen

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just like the red/blue line connector and the Arborway trolley....
The Red/Blue connector is actually back on the table (which means they will pay for a study and leave it at that) but Arborway just ain't gonna happen.
 

Ron Newman

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What needs to be done around 93 and Mystic Avenue, other than improving pedestrian connections between Assembly Square and the rest of Somerville? The highways themselves seem fine.

And widening any part of Route 128 is wasteful. Keep the existing 'breakdown lanes as rush hour travel lanes' experiment, it works well and costs nothing to maintain.
 

cden4

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Re 93 and Mystic Ave, the whole tangle of ramps, intersections, and tunnel just don't work well for anyone. There needs to be more logical and better connections for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. In addition, it should be designed to minimize the barrier effect that I-93 has.

Re 128, the simplest solution if safety is a concern would be to just prohibit travel in the breakdown lanes altogether, as is the case on every other highway. Yes, you'd be reducing the roadway capacity at rush hour, but at a time when we're trying to reduce the number of cars on the roadways and increase the use of other modes, adding a lane is pretty much the exact opposite way to do that.
 

mass88

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What needs to be done around 93 and Mystic Avenue, other than improving pedestrian connections between Assembly Square and the rest of Somerville? The highways themselves seem fine.

And widening any part of Route 128 is wasteful. Keep the existing 'breakdown lanes as rush hour travel lanes' experiment, it works well and costs nothing to maintain.
I look at that whole area as one big mess and in need of some fixing. The signage is old , very poor lighting given the high volume of traffic it sees.


I take it you are against the widening of 128 from Rt. 9 to 24? I think that is one of the best highway projects this state has done in a long time. It is needed and will make the flow of traffic move better. While I am not saying widening highways is the answer to traffic, when you have a major highway that goes from 4 lanes down to 3 and then back up to 4 in the manner 128/95 does, it hurts things.

I don't feel allowing people to drive in the breakdown lane is either efficient or fast. It creates problems and hazards for all driviers.
 

mediaseth

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The article says that a primary reason for dropping the Blue Line extension is encroachment on the right of way. It is my understanding that the major culprits are in Revere.

I made an attempt to contact Boston MPO to find out what specific other reasons, if any, played a role in the decision.

I am also trying to find experts who can share information or opinion on whether a city such as Lynn can pursue any kind of action against another city for allowing encroachment on an existing right of way that is also a transportation corridor. I am also trying to find out how encroachment to the point of effecting the viability of the corridor was allowed. And finally, I'd like to know whether eminent domain can ever be used in such as case as this if, by some miracle, the T is ever rolling in cash or receives Federal funds for the project.

I'm writing a piece for a Lynn publication.

Thanks!!

Seth Albaum
Editor
LynnHappens
 

Ron Newman

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Are there actual buildings on the right of way? Anything other than a building doesn't count as a real encroachment. Fences, parking lots, temporary storage sheds, and the like can be easily removed.
 

mediaseth

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Are there actual buildings on the right of way? Anything other than a building doesn't count as a real encroachment. Fences, parking lots, temporary storage sheds, and the like can be easily removed.
Ron,

To be more specific, I've been told directly by a non-professional source that a condo building comes way too close to make it viable anymore. But, it's something I'd like verified.
 

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