[CANCELED] Summer St. Gondola

Status
Not open for further replies.

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,651
Reaction score
1,540
I didnt realize Mexico City was building two new gondola lines.

And check out the timeline: Announced in Feb 2019, set to open December 2020.


Can you imagine if Americans could build stuff in a timely fashion?
M.C.'s also doing the walk-and-chew-gum-at-same-time thing. 36-mile electrified EMU + level-boarding commuter rail line to Toluca opening 2022 (slight COVID-induced delay) joining the 17 mainline miles + 2 branch Tren Suburbano system that opened in '08. Plus an extension of Metro Line 12. They're not perfect...Tren Suburbano System 2 and System 3, which were to more-or-less follow the Denver RTD model, are still tardy. So is Tren Suburbano System 1's mainline extension and third branch. The light rail system is overdue for more expansion, as Guadalajara LRT Line 3's (missing its 9/1/2020 open date because of COVID) has put political pressure on Mexico City to give rapid transit some more love. And their AFC 2.0-equivalent fare integration effort, which is nice and tight for LRT + TT + bus, is struggling like a lot of their other North American contemporaries to do full-on cross-agency contactless incorporating the HRT Metro and commuter rail.

But, yeah, the usual-suspect challenges don't seem that daunting when you're still able to multitask multiple builds on multiple modes without excess bellyaching. Now...Mexico v. U.S. aside Mexico City is yuuuuuuuugely bigger than Metro Boston by any measure and thus the scale of supportable transit expansion isn't direct comparable at all. But as long as NYCTA is the brightest-burning admin dumpster fire in the Western Hemisphere the CDMX metro area can gleefully dunk on the MTA all they want.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,213
Reaction score
294
I was in Medellin at the start of 2020 and rode their gondola lines around for a day. They are literally take-your-breath-away awe-inspiring. I was struck by two things:
i) How fantastic the gondolas are for Medellin, bringing together neighborhoods (and people!) that really couldn't have been connected by any other type of infrastructure in such a practical and efficient way; and
ii) How absolutely poorly-suited that same sort of gondola system would be for Boston / the Seaport (for a whole number of reasons!).

Medellin was also able to walk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time. They built (and are still building) the gondolas connecting isolated neighborhoods in the hillsides down to the valley, but they also built traditional heavy rail rapid transit running through the valley itself, plus plenty of traditional bus, BRT, and a new tram line too.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,774
Reaction score
229
M.C.'s also doing the walk-and-chew-gum-at-same-time thing. 36-mile electrified EMU + level-boarding commuter rail line to Toluca opening 2022 (slight COVID-induced delay) joining the 17 mainline miles + 2 branch Tren Suburbano system that opened in '08. Plus an extension of Metro Line 12. They're not perfect...Tren Suburbano System 2 and System 3, which were to more-or-less follow the Denver RTD model, are still tardy. So is Tren Suburbano System 1's mainline extension and third branch. The light rail system is overdue for more expansion, as Guadalajara LRT Line 3's (missing its 9/1/2020 open date because of COVID) has put political pressure on Mexico City to give rapid transit some more love. And their AFC 2.0-equivalent fare integration effort, which is nice and tight for LRT + TT + bus, is struggling like a lot of their other North American contemporaries to do full-on cross-agency contactless incorporating the HRT Metro and commuter rail.

But, yeah, the usual-suspect challenges don't seem that daunting when you're still able to multitask multiple builds on multiple modes without excess bellyaching. Now...Mexico v. U.S. aside Mexico City is yuuuuuuuugely bigger than Metro Boston by any measure and thus the scale of supportable transit expansion isn't direct comparable at all. But as long as NYCTA is the brightest-burning admin dumpster fire in the Western Hemisphere the CDMX metro area can gleefully dunk on the MTA all they want.
For this particular example, I think it just shows how quickly aerial gondolas in particular are to build. I think that's an advantage that could hold true in any city or country - once you get past the politics. Because thats what kills transit in the US, the politics.

Should every line be an aerial gondola? Of course not. But I think it makes sense to consider them in specific situations since they have a good track record. This thread is from 2017. Had we moved at the same speed, it could have opened this year and provided relief for the next 15 years it will take to do anything else.

I was in Medellin at the start of 2020 and rode their gondola lines around for a day. They are literally take-your-breath-away awe-inspiring. I was struck by two things:
i) How fantastic the gondolas are for Medellin, bringing together neighborhoods (and people!) that really couldn't have been connected by any other type of infrastructure in such a practical and efficient way; and
ii) How absolutely poorly-suited that same sort of gondola system would be for Boston / the Seaport (for a whole number of reasons!).

Medellin was also able to walk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time. They built (and are still building) the gondolas connecting isolated neighborhoods in the hillsides down to the valley, but they also built traditional heavy rail rapid transit running through the valley itself, plus plenty of traditional bus and BRT.
I visited Amman, Jordan last, year, and the geography in the old city is screaming for gondolas.

I think the walk-and-chew gum thing is important to think about, because American planners get absolutely obsessed with the mode argument. Every mode has pros and cons.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,710
Reaction score
362
Can you imagine if Americans could build stuff in a timely fashion?
Mexico City has a year-round construction season, and minimal regulatory or NIMBY pushback. So its full speed ahead for projects there.
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,774
Reaction score
229
Mexico City has a year-round construction season, and minimal regulatory or NIMBY pushback. So its full speed ahead for projects there.
Theres NIMBYs everywhere!

Thats why airport 2 was abandoned
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,161
Reaction score
340
Every mode has pros and cons.
It is not just a matter of pros and cons. Transit modes are not totally fungible.

Modes have different functionality for different situations. Proper transit planning matches the mode to the needs of the situation.

Gondolas are really useful in overcoming terrain obstacles -- connecting places hard to connect with other modes. But they have low capacity and slow throughput.

Other modes have different strengths that can be matched to the requirements of the situation. Pick the wrong mode and you get crappy transit (Silver Line I am looking at you). It is not like every transit decision could use any mode. Often you really really should not use a particular mode in a situation.
 

Suffolk 83

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
160
It is not just a matter of pros and cons. Transit modes are not totally fungible.

Modes have different functionality for different situations. Proper transit planning matches the mode to the needs of the situation.

Gondolas are really useful in overcoming terrain obstacles -- connecting places hard to connect with other modes. But they have low capacity and slow throughput.

Other modes have different strengths that can be matched to the requirements of the situation. Pick the wrong mode and you get crappy transit (Silver Line I am looking at you). It is not like every transit decision could use any mode. Often you really really should not use a particular mode in a situation.
I used to take the silver line (SL5) about 4x a week and it really wasnt as bad as people want to make it out to be. No dead trains to halt the whole network, no fires on tracks etc etc.
 

JumboBuc

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2013
Messages
2,213
Reaction score
294
I used to take the silver line (SL5) about 4x a week and it really wasnt as bad as people want to make it out to be. No dead trains to halt the whole network, no fires on tracks etc etc.
The SL branches through the South End are far more mode-appropriate than the ones through the Seaport. I think when people point to the SL as a mode-choice travesty they're generally referring to the Seaport routes.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,651
Reaction score
1,540
I used to take the silver line (SL5) about 4x a week and it really wasnt as bad as people want to make it out to be. No dead trains to halt the whole network, no fires on tracks etc etc.
That doesn't really characterize the essential problem with SL-Washington. It's that a majority-minority neighborhood had its HRT mode of transit taken away, was given an "equal or better" binding commitment, and then got stuck with a much more limited-capacity mode as the replacement whose detachment from rapid transit imposed extra practical hurdles to fanning out further via local-bus transfer. Compounded by all the years wasted trying to design-mash it into the Transitway when that was flat-out not feasible nor the least bit desired by a neighborhood that simply wanted its one-hop transfer utility back. The mode shares in Roxbury have never entirely recovered in 33 years from the breakage in levels of service and how much harder that made multimodal transfers to pull off now vs. then. But the fact that the artic buses are not as stuffed as 4-car HRT trains over the same corridor used to be is the primary lingering after-effect of how it doesn't do its stated job nearly as well. They aren't running "at their level"...the "level" got bludgeoned down to what they were running due to linked trips never again being as dead-simple to time and pay for as before.

It's not something you'd notice as a problem unless you had familiarity with pre-1987 transfer patterns in Roxbury. The transit usage shares that formerly used to be there simply disappeared, so what looks right-sized today was achieved through forced de-evolution. Which is clearly the wrong way to be going. While nothing will approximate the ease-of-access of the El, the neighborhood's not going to be uncapped until Service can at least run behind fare control to the big downtown transfers and run at larger capacity per headway to save more steps for staging multi-seat transfers. Because ease of transfer is what used to be the biggest driver of mode shares, and degree to which that is harder now vs. then almost wholly explains the difference in top-line demand now vs. then.


SL-Seaport is obviously a different animal. Rate of growth simply outstrips vehicle capacity by such an order of magnitude that the whole works struggles like hell to run its advertised headways and is facing such immediate armageddon for oversaturation that service quality is going to one-way nosedive from inability to handle growth already in the pipeline. And this is something EASILY anticipated by the demand-side projections right from the get-go, where they painted themselves into a corner by their overt Day 1 mode choice. Much more acute/immediate problems there, and more desperate quest for solutions.

But the difference in head-to-head urgency that doesn't mean SL-Washington isn't deeply flawed. Intentionally lowering neighborhood transit shares to force-fit a lower capacity mode then calling it "Mission Accomplished" when the shares then lower to the reduced capacity is still horrible transit practice. The fact that SL-Washington isn't exceeding overcrowding targets today isn't a 'success'...it just means the mobility bar was forcibly lowered and they successfully broke the transit shares down to the new level.
 

bakgwailo

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
1,013
Reaction score
86
The SL branches through the South End are far more mode-appropriate than the ones through the Seaport. I think when people point to the SL as a mode-choice travesty they're generally referring to the Seaport routes.
I would disagree - I think most people would point to the Roxbury/South End routes as the travesty given they were supposed to be light rail to replace the existing heavy rapid transit in the area, and the fact that the bus lanes aren't even protected making them rather a joke, especially in the winter. The Silver Line through the seaport, for what it was decided to do (connect SS and Logan) really is pretty OK - at least it has mainly grade separated routes, especially with the ramp now into the tunnel.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,651
Reaction score
1,540
I would disagree - I think most people would point to the Roxbury/South End routes as the travesty given they were supposed to be light rail to replace the existing heavy rapid transit in the area, and the fact that the bus lanes aren't even protected making them rather a joke, especially in the winter. The Silver Line through the seaport, for what it was decided to do (connect SS and Logan) really is pretty OK - at least it has mainly grade separated routes, especially with the ramp now into the tunnel.
Yep. And I would also say that the since the Urban Ring southern half is forced to be BRT because of lack of available LRT ROW's, the whole scheme doesn't work unless you can stiffen the Nubian midpoint with a rapid transit-caliber service pipe. Because the southern-half UR cannot by available modes carry as much capacity as the all- rail ROW northern-half UR and needs different kinds of augmentations to do its job. Otherwise the individual routes are still too brittle and low-capacity to fashion the two-or-more seat transfer blender that makes the neighborhood cook. A combination of 6-min. headway Green Line branch up Washington from a South End portal with Type 10 supertrain capacity and behind fare-control transfers to all the key downtown stops PLUS the Kenmore-Nubian, Nubian-Southie/Transitway, and Nubian-JFK branchline UR patterns run in non-overloaded fashion (because the stiffened rapid transit spine takes on more of the raw capacity loading) is enough of a new look for the 2+ seat linked-trip utility that you--finally, at long last--start to get "equal or better" Roxbury service. Not so much because the LRT line is drop-in equal to the old El...it isn't...but because it's better enough and higher-capacity enough presence to support the enhanced transfer linkage with the southern UR being the brand-new pattern diversifier that really helps tie the room together. Kind of needs all of those builds to truly cook in order to lift the neighborhood back over what was lost 33 years ago, but of all the separate projects treating all the separate cogs the LRT conversion is the biggest single individual catalyst of them all.
 

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
805
Reaction score
115
That doesn't really characterize the essential problem with SL-Washington. It's that a majority-minority neighborhood had its HRT mode of transit taken away, was given an "equal or better" binding commitment, and then got stuck with a much more limited-capacity mode as the replacement whose detachment from rapid transit imposed extra practical hurdles to fanning out further via local-bus transfer. Compounded by all the years wasted trying to design-mash it into the Transitway when that was flat-out not feasible nor the least bit desired by a neighborhood that simply wanted its one-hop transfer utility back. The mode shares in Roxbury have never entirely recovered in 33 years from the breakage in levels of service and how much harder that made multimodal transfers to pull off now vs. then. But the fact that the artic buses are not as stuffed as 4-car HRT trains over the same corridor used to be is the primary lingering after-effect of how it doesn't do its stated job nearly as well. They aren't running "at their level"...the "level" got bludgeoned down to what they were running due to linked trips never again being as dead-simple to time and pay for as before.
All captured in incredibly absorbing fashion in that amazing documentary, "Equal Or Better: The Silver Line Saga," by Kris Carter. Should be required viewing for all AB *initiates* (heck, all ABers, period).

Pay close attention to how he salts his Worshipfulness Himself, Fred Salvucci!
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,633
Reaction score
301
All captured in incredibly absorbing fashion in that amazing documentary, "Equal Or Better: The Silver Line Saga," by Kris Carter. Should be required viewing for all AB *initiates* (heck, all ABers, period).

Pay close attention to how he salts his Worshipfulness Himself, Fred Salvucci!

That's a GREAT documentary - - thank you for that find! I learned a great deal from it and wish we had more about many other issues. I'm going to follow up and watch the other Kris Carter documentaries - - I'm looking forward to them.

As an aside, I don't have the same personal animus towards Salvucci you have, but I'm sure you have your reasons. In sum from that documentary, it seems four main issues were:

1) The Red Line extension and the new Orange Line (SW Corridor) did, in fact, get built and the two bookended Washington Street (I'd like to better understand how far a walk from Washington Street it is to the two lines)
2 Salvucci got replaced by Taylor/Kerasiotes when the Duke was succeeded by less mass transit conscious Govs
3) The communities along the Washington Street path (Chinatown/South End/Dudley) had completely different and contradictory agendas as to mode choice. The 3 communities deep-sixed it by not cooperating with each other..
4) Peter Calcatterra had an attitude from a different era and that had to have been a huge detriment to working together with the community.

The other basic issue is on-street parking must be banished from Washington Street and replaced by a dedicated bus lane - - that simple.

Those four factors were dooming to anything else but the cheapest/easiest solution. I'm not sure how Salvucci was the problem at all. Calcatterra, from that documentary, seemed far more adversarial to the communities. Seems like his 'it is what it is - - you have to break a few eggs to make a souffle' mentality was a recipe for confrontation. Bob Terrell put it perfectly near the end - around the 49:30 mark - how the unneccessary (I would wager he's talking about Calcatterra) attitude made matters far worse with the community.
 
Last edited:

roy_mustang76

New member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
24
Reaction score
18
1) The Red Line extension and the new Orange Line (SW Corridor) did, in fact, get built and the two bookended Washington Street (I'd like to better understand how far a walk from Washington Street it is to the two lines)
I haven't had the chance to watch that documentary (aiming for tomorrow actually), but the Red Line is mostly a non-entity in terms of useful transit for the Washington Street corridor. It's way off to the East, and the only way you were accessing it from the Washington Street corridor was going to be by bus regardless of OL alignment.

Now, on paper, the SW corridor alignment doesn't look *that* bad, but the divergence gets worse the further you get from Forest Hills. From Egleston Square to Stony Brook, it's about a 4/10ths of a mile walk, which is a huge difference, especially considering that the far end of that neighborhood (over by Franklin Park) just had their walk to the train doubled. Nubian is in an even worse situation - it's 6/10ths of a mile to Roxbury Crossing, along Malcolm X Blvd, where you're mostly passing by schools and a mosque, and at the end of all that you have to cross the racetrack that is Columbus. No one is trying to do that just to then get on the Orange Line, and if you're headed to Nubian from elsewhere, you're not taking the Orange Line to then have a 6/10ths of a mile walk to get there. And of course, Roxbury Crossing and Stony Brook aren't really equipped to be bus hubs, so you get Jackson Square and Ruggles instead, which are even further from the squares where things are happening. The need to shoot over to Jackson and/or Ruggles for most major busses to have that OL connection extends the run length and notoriously breaks the headways during AM and PM rush.

From a car-centric perspective, SW Corridor isn't far from Washington at all. From a pedestrian perspective, it's uselessly far.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,633
Reaction score
301
I haven't had the chance to watch that documentary (aiming for tomorrow actually), but the Red Line is mostly a non-entity in terms of useful transit for the Washington Street corridor. It's way off to the East, and the only way you were accessing it from the Washington Street corridor was going to be by bus regardless of OL alignment.

Now, on paper, the SW corridor alignment doesn't look *that* bad, but the divergence gets worse the further you get from Forest Hills. From Egleston Square to Stony Brook, it's about a 4/10ths of a mile walk, which is a huge difference, especially considering that the far end of that neighborhood (over by Franklin Park) just had their walk to the train doubled. Nubian is in an even worse situation - it's 6/10ths of a mile to Roxbury Crossing, along Malcolm X Blvd, where you're mostly passing by schools and a mosque, and at the end of all that you have to cross the racetrack that is Columbus. No one is trying to do that just to then get on the Orange Line, and if you're headed to Nubian from elsewhere, you're not taking the Orange Line to then have a 6/10ths of a mile walk to get there. And of course, Roxbury Crossing and Stony Brook aren't really equipped to be bus hubs, so you get Jackson Square and Ruggles instead, which are even further from the squares where things are happening. The need to shoot over to Jackson and/or Ruggles for most major busses to have that OL connection extends the run length and notoriously breaks the headways during AM and PM rush.

From a car-centric perspective, SW Corridor isn't far from Washington at all. From a pedestrian perspective, it's uselessly far.
The question remains, though, in a non-downtown area, can an entirely separate train line 4/10's or 6/10's of a mile away get funding in this day and age? I wish the answer was yes, but I have my real world doubts on it.

Perhaps a solution is:

1) to spend the money on better east-west bike/pedestrian access to the Orange Line stations from Washington Street
and
2) banishing on street parking on Washington to make the Silver Line far faster/more efficient. Parking can be relegated to side streets.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top