Crazy Highway Pitches

DominusNovus

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Highway crazy pitch: decking over 93, 90, and others, to keep weather off them. Possibly put solar panels on the decks, to power the lighting needed.

How does the math work out, when comparing the savings in snow removal and safety to the cost of installation and maintenance?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Uhh...they have to plow the 93 lower deck too. That sideways-blowing snow from Nor'easters most definitely accumulates under the cover.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Walls, screens, etc.

Either way, surely the lower deck gets less snow than the upper deck.
It does.

Boston also isn't Duluth so it melts pretty quickly on highways. Annual snow removal here costs an order of magnitude less than the construction and maint costs on a snow shed. That is never going to be a viable reason to deck. Space vs. lane capacity disparities are the only consideration most planners would consider viable, and even that is being tempered by maint considerations as deck structures are forced to go longer between rebuilds than originally rated. We definitely aren't adding more lane capacity here, so that justification is off the table.
 

ErnieAdams

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The best one of these that I have seen on here is decking the Pike east of the Pru tunnel and moving the Marginal-type parallel roads to a center parkway over the deck, while the former roadways get sold for terra firma development.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Crazy pivot: deck it over, but add lanes on top to double the capacity of our highways.
Why such a hurry to add lanes? Where's all that induced demand traffic going to go after it gets off the add-a-lane decks??? Do our metro thoroughfares and non-metro highways have anywhere near the slack capacity to distribute that much extra load?

C'mon, people, this is Capacity v. Demand 101. Distorting the induced demand of one part of the system ends up tanking the whole system. If you want to justify decking, you're going to need a better gimmick than in-town add-a-lanes begetting mass lane-drop jams at every point exiting town.
 

HenryAlan

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I might support placing elevated transit above highways, but I'd need to think about whether the highways are going to areas not already well served, plus there is the question of what to do with the trains once they get downtown.
 

meddlepal

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Running high speed rail above Route 9 to Worcester would be interesting. You could probably connect it into Union Station too with minimal construction disruption.

I've often thought that Pike beyond Metro West should be decked with solar panel arrays... but the ROI is probably not good enough.
 

ulrichomega

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Why stop at a deck? Fully enclose that shit and turn the captured exhaust into pancakes, or something.
Turnpike Pancakes? Turncakes! Get your turncakes here!

Though in all honesty, further decking of the cut-portions of the expressways seems like only a positive thing in terms of stitching communities back together. Unfortunately so little of these highways is in a cut, and we've repeatedly seen how much of a stumbling block construction over decking is. An additional greenway from Back Bay to Albany Street would be absolutely amazing.

If we were to bury another portion of highway, what would be the most likely candidate (ignoring the various decking proposals of 90)? I feel like SE Expressway is the most likely, given the lack of much beneath it other than parking lots, though the industrial areas it goes through in the areas with parking lots mean you don't get a lot of benefit from burying. The portions through Dorchester seems like a good place as well given their existing nature in a cut, and maybe the interaction with the Red Line might be a positive in terms of alleviating bottlenecks on the Old Colony lines. Has Savin Hill ever been properly connected to the rest of Dorchester? Looking back through MapJunction makes me think no. I would propose we:
  1. Bury 93 from just south of Savin Hill (to avoid needing to deal with the basin there) to Boston St.
  2. Leave 93 from there all the way to the insane interchange with 90 the way it is. Too much width and frontage road (though obviously that could be left at surface level) to be worth burying in such an industrial area. Maybe if Widdett and the Flower Exchange and Cabot-area air rights (see F-Line's post about this a while back) all miraculously work out this will change and burying again past Melnea Cass will make sense. I'm not sure when you'd have to leave a tunnel to allow the grades to work with that non-euclidean interchange.
  3. Bury under the Red Line/OCLs at JFK. Take the opportunity to get a little luxurious and expand the OC to 2 tracks (maybe three if we're feeling even more extravagant).I would probably leave these in a cut unless we've electrified them, with the exception of a tunnel before the approach to JFK to allow an uninterrupted Greenway along the whole length of the buried highway.
That gives you almost a mile and a half of additional green space in Dorchester that can host bikeways, trees, or even light construction if we're feeling like it. The downside of course is $$$ and the intrinsic limits on number of lanes, as well as speed limitations that would decrease capacity. Honestly it seems like the city would keep a boulevard on the surface similar to the CAT project to increase capacity, thus nullifying many of the benefits of a burying.
 
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MjolnirMan

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The best one of these that I have seen on here is decking the Pike east of the Pru tunnel and moving the Marginal-type parallel roads to a center parkway over the deck, while the former roadways get sold for terra firma development.
I've seen those here too. This general idea was formally explored (and somewhat rejected) in A Civic Vision for Turnpike Air Rights in Boston, circa 2000. Check out page 49:
p49.PNG

  • Option A: The existing street grid is retained and an additional cross street added in parcel 20 to reinforce the traditional block pattern. The one way traffic pattern and small blocks allow drivers to circulate easily.
  • Option B: Herald Street becomes a wide two-way boulevard. Marginal Street becomes a local street terminated by a park on parcel nineteen. West-bound traffic is diverted from Marginal to a new Herald Street Boulevard to reach the turnpike on-ramp.
  • Option C: Marginal Street is shifted south out over the air rights parcels creating narrow development parcels to the south and expanding existing parcels to the north.
Review of these options included a discussion of advantages and disadvantages, from traffic operations (pedestrian and vehicular), community, and urban design perspectives. The extension of Herald Street from Columbus Avenue/Claredon Street to Tremont Street was also considered by the TWG.

The TWGs concluded that option A provided the most desirable street layout, primarily because of its functionality with respect to accommodating both pedestrian and auto circulation, ease of implementation (it exists now), and expected lower cost. The Chinatown neighborhood supports Option A and believes that the Herald Street extension is not something that will serve their neighborhood. The TWG and the SDSC do not recommend the Herald Street extension or Boulevard concepts. However, the guidelines have been structured to allow any of the three roadway options to be considered in the future, should public or private funding become available.
 
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WormtownNative

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Running high speed rail above Route 9 to Worcester would be interesting. You could probably connect it into Union Station too with minimal construction disruption.

I've often thought that Pike beyond Metro West should be decked with solar panel arrays... but the ROI is probably not good enough.
There's alot of hills on Rt. 9 that would prove challenging. As for solar arrays, why don't we try somewhere out in the berkshires on the Pike first and see if that would be feasible and then expand it east?
 

Charlie_mta

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I might support placing elevated transit above highways, but I'd need to think about whether the highways are going to areas not already well served, plus there is the question of what to do with the trains once they get downtown.
Seattle has a great elevated rail line (double track, not single track) running along a freeway here. Boston would have to get over its irrational phobia about elevated rail, but I'd like to see this type of elevated rail built in several places in the Boston metro area. It would be an affordable alternative to tunneling.
 

Arenacale

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Get rid of the ramps to/from 93 at Neponset Circle and Freeport St., access to the south of Dorchester and Quincy then is at Granite Ave. exclusively, and access to the north of Dorchester and Southie is at Columbia Rd.

Morrissey Blvd. then gets cut to 2 lanes with a bike lane either side for it's entire length. The frontage road by BC High and Santander is eliminated, and there is a one lane exit approaching the bridge to access Mt. Vernon St. Day Blvd.'s connection to Kosciuszko Circle is eliminated, and it terminates instead at Mt. Vernon.

I'd like to get rid of access to 93 at Southampton St. as well, but I can't figure out how to do it without clogging everything else up for access to South Bay.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Get rid of the ramps to/from 93 at Neponset Circle and Freeport St., access to the south of Dorchester and Quincy then is at Granite Ave. exclusively, and access to the north of Dorchester and Southie is at Columbia Rd.

Morrissey Blvd. then gets cut to 2 lanes with a bike lane either side for it's entire length. The frontage road by BC High and Santander is eliminated, and there is a one lane exit approaching the bridge to access Mt. Vernon St. Day Blvd.'s connection to Kosciuszko Circle is eliminated, and it terminates instead at Mt. Vernon.

I'd like to get rid of access to 93 at Southampton St. as well, but I can't figure out how to do it without clogging everything else up for access to South Bay.
I don't know if you can get rid of Southampton per se, but I always thought the frontage roads needed to be extended to Columbia Rd. to effectively load-spread truck traffic away from Dot Ave. and smooth over the SB flow kink at the Southampton merge. Space is readily available for it too with only 1-2 minor property takings, so that's at the very reasonable end of the spectrum.

Agreed on consolidating Freeport/Neponset/Victory/Morrissey ramps in any meaningful way to get traffic off side streets and improve wayfinding. Shoot for a 2-ramp consolidation out of that pu-pu platter and I'll be happy with the greater simplicity even if it's not perfection.
 

bakgwailo

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I can't see combining the Granite on/off ramp with the 203/Neponset - both are already insanely backed up at rush hour (203/neponset backing up well int Quincy).
 

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