Crazy Transit Pitches

Equilibria

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The DC area is considering a monorail along part of I-270 (see https://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/politics_and_government/transportation/i--monorail-proposal-gathers-speed/article_a93df92b-6125-5b1a-b4c5-1a114e476a3d.html).

So. how about a monorail along I-95/128 linking Anderson Station in Woburn with the Green Line Riverside station. Also move the Auburndale CR station closer to I-95 to line up with the monorail route, creating a multi-modal transit complex at the Riverside/relocated Auburndale/monorail juncture. Monorail stations would be located at the Burlington Mall area (for TOD), and spaced along the rest of the route. Minimal ROW would be needed as the elevated monorail would straddle the shoulder of the expressway roadway on the existing cut and fill slopes.
I'd post the Simpsons clip, but forget it. Why can't this stupid mode freaking die?

If you ever want to build a monorail, what you're saying is that you might need BRT or HRT, but you're an idiot.
 

Charlie_mta

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I'd post the Simpsons clip, but forget it. Why can't this stupid mode freaking die?

If you ever want to build a monorail, what you're saying is that you might need BRT or HRT, but you're an idiot.
I expected the fallback Simpsons reference, but an idiot? Come on. I would prefer HRT. However, an elevated monorail is quieter than HRT, which would need to be elevated due to the tight ROW. The noise level is important for all the residential subdivisions abutting the route,
 
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fattony

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I expected the fallback Simpsons reference, but an idiot? Come on. I would prefer HRT. However, an elevated monorail is quieter than HRT, which would need to be elevated due to the tight ROW. The noise level is important for all the residential subdivisions abutting the route,
Why is monorail quieter than HRT? If it’s quieter because it runs slower... well you can run any train slower to make it quieter. There has to be some shortcoming or trade-off for why hardly any monorails exist. If they were such a good idea, there would be more of them.
 

jklo

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Why 20 years ago?
You might have been able to sell it as an commuter option at the height of 128's popularity as an employment destination. You definitely wouldn't get the ridership necessary now to justify the costs. I'm not sure you would get much ridership at all actually.

Extending Red to the Burlington Mall would get ridership for sure.
 

Equilibria

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I expected the fallback Simpsons reference, but an idiot? Come on. I would prefer HRT. However, an elevated monorail is quieter than HRT, which would need to be elevated due to the tight ROW. The noise level is important for all the residential subdivisions abutting the route,
I do need to apologize here - I was referring to the people in the article, not you.
 

fattony

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You might have been able to sell it as an commuter option at the height of 128's popularity as an employment destination. You definitely wouldn't get the ridership necessary now to justify the costs. I'm not sure you would get much ridership at all actually.

Extending Red to the Burlington Mall would get ridership for sure.
I’m not saying a train along 128 is a great idea, but it’s not a bad idea because there are no more jobs along 128. I suspect there are as many or more jobs and homes there than 20 years ago. Just because the trend is for businesses to relocate to the city doesn’t mean that they all have. Not by a long shot.
 

KCasiglio

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A worthwhile article to consider: Why Cities Rarely Build Monorails

I'm agreed that the ridership probably isn't there for this hypothetical right now, although I think with a more built out T it has potential. If most lines terminated at 128 with this connecting them, it makes working on the fringe of the metro more realistic without driving.

As an anecdotal data point, I would frequently (although not daily) ride from my home station of Quincy Adams along 128 to Riverside if the option were there.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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128 transit still has to get enough radial frequencies in place to support a robust bus shuttle ecosystem before we can look much further than that. Let's get RUR frequencies to Westwood, Dedham Corporate, an Anderson RTC with completed west-side entrance, and :30 branch frequencies to North Beverly. Add the much-needed infill stations at Weston and Quannapowitt/Wakefield. And figure out the Peabody and GLX-Needham spurs. All of those are going to have bus coattails.

Some of them minor. . .
  • The Weston superstation is the new, more convenient terminus for the 70. Can also anchor re-route options for the 558.
  • Completed west-side entrance to Anderson absorbs the 134.
  • Quannapowitt is hot-pluggable with the 137.
  • 435/436/465 all terminate at North Shore Mall on the Peabody Branch and can be re-drawn points en route to cover a more optimal spread.
Some of them pretty major. . .
  • Major re-routing of the 59 since it'll be spanning RUR-Newtonville, D-Newton Highlands, and GLX-Highland Ave. as a rapid transit circulator. North and South termini can be re-drawn more usefully away from redundancies (example: turning down Great Plain Ave. at Needham Ctr. to cover the vacated Hersey transit gap and terminate at the GP Ave. 128 exit), and enormous speedup.
  • Chance to plug some of the Dedham transit desert at Dedham Corporate (currently only served by their service-poor town bus). Loop the 34E in there, think about extending the 34/52 to terminate there, think about repurposing the 35 (which will be majorly re-drawn if OLX-West Roxbury gets built) with some new permutation that's a rapid transit circulator between OLX-W. Rox and RUR-Dedham Corporate. Plug the Wolcott Sq.-Dedham Corporate gap with something new to replace the town bus.
  • Business park circulators: they are planned for Polaroid & North Waltham around the Weston superstation if it's built to replace the Weston town shuttle, Alewife Commuter Shuttle, and 70A loop with something more targeted and frequent. City of Newton calls for GLX-Needham to have a circulator between the proposed New England Business Center stop at Highland Ave. to Kendrick St. around all that office space, including a sweep of the parking garages.
  • Actual Burlington-Anderson and Burlington-Weston bus shuttles from RUR as something better and more frequent than the Alewife Biz Shuttle and 350
  • Something/anything touching Westwood as a biz shuttle, and spanning some of the Dedham transit desert between Dedham Corporate and Westwood/128.

This monorail talk is all premature. We don't even have a skeleton of radial transit we can means-test yet. Get the rubber tires on the ground between these RUR crossing points, which will make instant-useful nodes right out of box.
 

Arlington

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I-270 is not really a circumferencial route.

Maryland needs to look at buying half of CSX as far out as Frederick MD and running dense MARC sevice.

...
At some point in the last 30 years they decided that monorails needed to have better evacuation paths--which the original Disney and Seattle monorails lacked.

With the new rules, monorails couldn't be just concrete posts and beams, and single beam stretches needed some sort of evacuation outrigger. Aerial stations needed more elaborate refuge areas. As a result monorails lost some of its former cost advantage versus heavy rail.
 
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Charlie_mta

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I do need to apologize here - I was referring to the people in the article, not you.
I didn't think you meant me, so I apologize to you as well for even implying that. I actually agree that monorail is a stupid rapid transit system. Just thought I'd throw it out there for discussion.

Mostly surface HRT could probably be squeezed in the Route 128 footprint, but with a lot of walls. However, BRT using new HOT lanes might be the most feasible option for the next several decades.
 

odurandina

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I'm as pro removing/downsizing Storrow as the next guy, but what's the rationale for the Blue Line Extension eliminating the need for Storrow?
It doesn't. It's a pipedream. Furthermore, the residents of Back Bay, and powers that be will never allow the elimination of such a vital artery connecting so many vital points.
If anything Strorrow needs 2 decks below grade. 1 level: an expressway for thru traffic, and 1 for heavy rail.

or......
The Back Bay portion of the tunnel proposed is entirely redundant with GL service.
Great! take some congestion off the GL, so they can continue building the whole area
from Back Bay to Longwood/ Brookline/ Allston/ Brighton/ Newton.
The Blue Line X should get done, the sooner--the better.
The question is, what part of Back Bay should get dug up?
Putting it under Storrow Drive might be less desirable.
Maybe somewhere about halfway between Storrow and Copley Square:
Breathe deeply: Storrow Drive isn't going anywhere.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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It doesn't. It's a pipedream. Furthermore, the residents of Back Bay, and powers that be will never allow the elimination of such a vital artery connecting so many vital points.
If anything Strorrow needs 2 decks below grade. 1 level: an expressway for thru traffic, and 1 for heavy rail.

or......

Great! take some congestion off the GL, so they can continue building the whole area
from Back Bay to Longwood/ Brookline/ Allston/ Brighton/ Newton.
The Blue Line X should get done, the sooner--the better.
The question is, what part of Back Bay should get dug up?
Putting it under Storrow Drive might be less desirable.
Maybe somewhere about halfway between Storrow and Copley Square:
Breathe deeply: Storrow Drive isn't going anywhere.
2 decks below grade?

Dude...your height fetish isn't going inverted to 335' dug subways with a spire.
 

jbray

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Here's a wild idea, instead of a Storrow subway we dream up the following:

-Blue crosses the Charles, goes to Kendall, up Broadway, splits at Hampshire St, turns at Cambridge @ Inman, Goes all the way to Harvard where it has a stop under the Harvard Bus tunnel at Flagstaff park, overtakes the Alewife north extension.

-Red removes the curve at Harvard and goes down Mt Auburn St to Watertown, cutting onto the old right of way on the other side of the cemetery, hitting the mall and ending at or just beyond Watertown square (so as to be of use to those who could use the train to get to Watertown square).

-Meanwhile, we ridiculously steal the blue line plans from those Wentworth kids who wanted to cut it under the common and Comm Ave and create a new line from Kenmore under Comm ave, under the park, under Pemberton Square, Government center, bullfinch triangle, North Station, under 99 to Everett square and beyond, turning at Eastern Ave and ending at the Northgate shopping center.

-And last, we take the new congress st alignment and the bus plan for the seaport, we put them together as a subway (or whatever works for the seaport), and we run it north out of North Station along route one into Chelsea hitting battleship cove on the way out, slide onto broadway, follow it the whole way down, turning left at Squire Rd, and ending, you guessed it, at the Northgate shopping center.

There are our linear routes. Outside of ring concepts and the dreamed Mass Ave subway, this would be all you could do. Pleasant street incline still goes to Nubian.

It's stupid crazy, probably infeasible for a multitude of reasons but it fixes certain problems:
-Two trains from opposite areas go to Kendall, heavy rail. People don't transfer for one stop, they transfer to get to different destinations further except for Harvard.
-Gets rid of the Harvard speed restriction allowing Red to have better headways.
-Watertown gets its one-seat ride to Cambridge and Boston.
-Alewife north Cambridge-side only loses Central square while picking up Inman. Loses South Station one seat, gains airport one-seat. Kendall gets both.
-Comm Ave has a better catchment than Storrow and is still close enough that walking to the River could be nice.
-Charlestown gets actual train service from, now, three trains.
-Everett and East Malden get service.
-Chelsea gets actual service and the train will be in the dry spot in the middle. Can't reach the train? Route 1 and route 60/1A on either side.
-The Seaport gets better service.
 

BostonBoy

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I propose a viaduct exclusively for buses between South Station and Back Bay, built over the existing Turnpike/ railroad right-of -way which would also connect with the Haul Road to the Sea Port and integrated into the Silver Line. It also could be part of a deck between Back Bay and Cove. Being a "bus" could simplify any conflicts with cross streets that span the existing cut. This could connect the Airport, Seaport, South Staition and the Back Bay. If the loop I propose can be "Light Railed" I would also propose passenger interchange at the Sea Port with buses from the airport. If successful, this concept could possibly be intergrated into a public transportation mode on the Greenway between North and South Station
 

dmdogs900

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A while ago someone (I forget who) mentioned the they had made a google map of a alternative history system where there were many companies building rapid transit lines (like the London Underground) but the link was not shared. Can whoever made it publish it please.
 
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Riverside

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A while ago someone (I forget who) mentioned the they had made a google map of a alternative history system where there were many companies
Oh damn, I think that is me. I'll try to dig it up, but fair warning... it's kinda... bad. Well, not exactly "bad", but, like --

In alt history circles, there's an acronym: "ASB". It stands for "Alien Space Bats" and describes an alternate history that is so incredibly implausible that the only way to make it believable is to say, "Alien space bats were involved." My map was definitely ASB, and really wasn't even alternate history. It was more an artistic exercise (I would say "thought experiment" but that makes it seem more thoughtful than it was) that looked at NYC and London where competition led to a legacy of high-density rail infrastructure (especially in NYC), and imagined what that might have looked like in Boston (if Boston had been significantly larger 100 years ago).

If memory serves, I did not go through an actual exercise of creating 2 or 3 competing companies and "playing it out" -- though that would be a fun exercise now.

One other idea I remember exploring was how legacy infrastructure/routes are subsequently sliced and diced in ways they were never designed to. Today's real-world Needham Line is a really good example of this, as a matter of fact; if you look at the different "legs" of the route and when they were built, it becomes obvious that no one ever intended for inbound Boston trains to start their journey by going south from Needham Heights. It's only because today's route is built from several old circuit routes that we get that bizarre topology. I know I justified some of the crazier routings on my map with that kind of thinking.

I'll see if I can dig it up (and decide if I'm willing to embarrass myself, ha).
 

Riverside

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Hoo boy, I found it. God save me now. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1X0jMoxMLl71me0nkItaclxa-NTezyaKD&usp=sharing

Wowzer some of these routes are out of hand. The 3 is a doozy -- Chelsea-Charlestown-Harvard-Watertown-Newtonville-Cleveland Circle-Longwood-Huntington-Back Bay-Seaport -- what?

And I do remember working on the 15, which was a classic case of "well, if it's gonna go here, it might as well go one stop further" being repeated ad absurdum: Airport-Eastie-Navy Yard-Sullivan-Union-Harvard-Allston-Coolidge Corner-Brookline Village-Jackson Square-Egleston-Ashmont-Milton-Mattapan-Roslindale Village-West Roxbury-Needham Junction-Newton Highlands. (Imagine how terrible that would be for tourists: "Hi hello, we're in Mission Hill and we want to get to Harvard. How do we get there?" "Oh yeah, you just want to take the 15 towards the Airport." "Wait, but isn't the airport in the other direction?" "Yup! Welcome to Boston!" On the other hand, how many tourists have been befuddled by our current inbound/outbound mess?)

I think one idea I was also playing around with was, "Our access to downtown is limited by our competitor, what is the closest we can get?", which I think is what contributed to the routes of the 7, 17 and possibly the 3, 9 and 10.

Ah yes, one other bit of context: this map did assume that the mainline railroads existed basically as they did in the real-world in the 1890s, which is why you see clusters at Back Bay and South Station, and why you see -- out in the suburbs -- some of the familiar ROWs being taken on by rapid transit. (I think a surviving mainline terminal in the Seaport was something I "handwaved" to explain the services there -- the New York and New England did run tracks out that way, so if you squint, you could kinda see it.) The 14 riffs on the idea of mainline networks that are converted wholecloth into rapid transit networks -- think of the Met in London. Just like the real-world Met, the 14 is a little different than the other modern-day lines -- more branching, terminates in the city, and extends "beyond" the traditional limits of the metropolis -- beyond 128 all the way to Brockton, just as Amersham actually sits in Buckinghamshire outside the M25.
 

dmdogs900

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Before BERY there were different companies with competing plans for elevated lines.
 
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KCasiglio

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So I've seen people (rightfully, imo) malign the congress street alignment for NSRL, and also seen it discussed for HRT, but what about to provide relief to the green line central subway? Using either the marginal road or the Essex Street connector (I'm partial to the Essex street alignment as my understanding is that the B/C/any potential West Station routing can't turn south at Boylston) trains can continue after Boylston to South Station and turn north, stopping at Post Office Square, State, Faneuil Hall, and connect back to the main system at Haymarket. This alignment maintains connections to all the other lines and allows for branches to, say, West Station, Needham, and Hyde Square to open up without absolutely choking the system.
Capture.PNG
 

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