Crazy Transit Pitches

citylover94

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So what do you want to cut for service or maintenance for other services the T runs to be able to run the acelas?

It's a fun thought experiment to imagine some type of EMU or electric train in service I get that, but what does imagining this with the Acelas do. I can understand looking at that to get an idea of the cost difference of something like the Bombardier Aventra or the Siemens Mirio that are EMUs specifically developed for commuter/regional train service and have reasonable maintanence costs. I just don't see the fun in imagining how to use one of the most expensive difficult to maintain trains to run commuter service.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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"Repurpose the Acelas" is one of the most beaten-to-death foamer topics of all-time. Read the long ago mod-locked hundred-page RR.net thread if you want to hear this exact idea spelled out in almost the same words 10 times over by 10 different overenthusiastic people who refuse to take any counterargument. Really, truly...just stop. There isn't a more inappropriate-cost trainset in the world for ANY application, let alone commuter service. This is so out of the realm of feasibility and the exact same thing has been argued ad infinitum so many times it's not even an entertaining Internet argument anymore.
 

Vagabond

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F-Line: recognize you're in the Crazy Pitches thread and you need to stop being such a hard-ass. This clearly isn't your neighborhood. This thread is EXACTLY where this topic is meant to be. This whole "get off my lawn" approach is tiresome - LET THE KIDS PLAY IN THE PARK.

If anything, for all your functional wisdom, you probably shouldn't even post here until the glorious day that a topic comes up that you would recommend moving to the Reasonable Transit Pitches thread!

PS- Where did that guy go who wanted a gondola from Back Bay Station down the Pike, across Gillete's parking lot, and straight to the Convention Center? Give me more of that in here!
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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F-Line: recognize you're in the Crazy Pitches thread and you need to stop being such a hard-ass. This clearly isn't your neighborhood. This thread is EXACTLY where this topic is meant to be. This whole "get off my lawn" approach is tiresome.

If anything, for all your functional wisdom, you probably shouldn't even post here until the glorious day that a topic comes up that you would recommend moving to the Reasonable Transit Pitches thread!
No...there needs to be an actual "Transit Pitch" involved. That's the only thing this thread binds itself to: some sort of logic to why that's a net-positive transit application that could be useful under assumption of greater someday-resources...even when we can't afford it now and it's 238th on the priority pile. Without minimal mooring like that we'd just be wanking off about Hyperloop PRT replacing our cars or some nonsense like that. Where this Acela re-use dead horse gets *specifically* and especially tiresome, and has burnt itself out on 2 or 3 major message boards (including the ones without totalitarian moderation), is that the end justification always comes down to "well, why not?" as pitch + counterpoint + last word in its own vacuum.

#1. We have the RFI for actual, factual sevice-appropriate Purple Line EMU's out now and orderable before the Aveilas even displace the Acelas from service, so the timing isn't a match.​
Rebuttal: "Why not? The Acelas eventually won't be used, so we could double-dip."
#2. They're the most expensive trains in the world to operate. How do you square that with a T operating budget?​
Rebuttal: "Why not? No future plans = must-be automatic scrap value when all is said and done. I'm sure the lessors will be reasonable because their top [self-assumed] priority is making sure the trains run."
#3. The acceleration profile doesn't fit a commuter rail application for the added cost. Integrated trainset doesn't come out from a dead stop like every-car-powered EMU's, and stop spacing is too close for the top speedometer reading. The RFI for EMU's direct-targets our service profile at appropriate cost. What's the performance hook?​
Rebuttal: "Why not? Something could go wrong with the RFI, where we need something sooner. But nothing could surely go wrong here!"


And it goes on and on like that down the wormhole until it gets mod-locked for being completely circular, the "why not's" getting ever more strident and reductionist against the evidence stacked like cordwood that the application isn't a fit in for any place or time, and the personal attacks start flinging for harshing on someone's fantasy. Nothing productive comes out of it because it never reaches a point where there's an actual pitch...just a wish. Thank fuck we haven't had many "Purple-paint Acela" donnybrooks on aB...but that's mainly because most folks with any passing curiosity about the subject have previously checked out the smoking ruins of the last RR.net or amtraktrains.com flare-up as pre-reading and couldn't close their browser tab fast enough in "DO NOT WANT" aversion.
 
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Vagabond

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Its freaking awesome to be able to go outside. I always hate getting on a train on a nice day. I would love the choice to either take the crowded Orange line from Wellington... or to hop on an "extended" Encore Ferry all the way into downtown Boston to work.

The Amelia Earhardt Dam locks: "The largest is 325 feet long, and 45 feet wide; the two smaller locks are 120 feet long and, 22 feet wide."
1590079874676.png
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Its freaking awesome to be able to go outside. I always hate getting on a train on a nice day. I would love the choice to either take the crowded Orange line from Wellington... or to hop on an "extended" Encore Ferry all the way into downtown Boston to work.

The Amelia Earhardt Dam locks: "The largest is 325 feet long, and 45 feet wide; the two smaller locks are 120 feet long and, 22 feet wide."
View attachment 5264
For strictly speedboat-y type excursion runs that's not a far reach at all if Wynn fun bux were floating the cost. The only reason we don't see something like that already is that nobody local retains a fleet with the performance profile for a short-hop like that. Extant carriers are either too big (T/Massport ferries, Aquarium) or too small (duckboats). All those proposals for more Ft. Point Channel boating that paint themselves onto SSX & the re-knitting of Dot Ave. are predicated on bringing in some of those midsize craft with the performance profile for making multiple stops, so it's not at all unreasonable to see that being a decently-utilized thing (so long as we don't go all NYC/de Blasio "FERRIES EVERYWHERE!" insane with the subsidizing). The Seaport-centric forces pushing for better public utilization of the Channel just need to put their heads together with Wynn and Massport so both sides of the Inner Harbor have equal-weight utilization hooks.


Only thing I'd caveat is that the Assembly riverbank is way too silty for that to be included in the route. The boat landings are all north of the dam because the runoff profile immediate-south doesn't leave depth for much more than a dinghy dock at Draw 7 State Park. And that's not a thing that dredging's going to perma-fix because the runoff profile of the dam is predicated on directing it to that shore so it's directed away from the other bargeworthy shores. Sullivan, on the other hand, should be able to rake on that utilization with the barely-used ship docks behind Schraffts. The whole Little League field next to Alford St. used to be an aggregates (dirt, road salt, etc.) barge-loading dockyard about 50 years ago. And while Encore probably has to do some substantial dredging in its narrowed channel to be able to get a midsize ferry in there at non-restricted speed, the sandbar-choked Alford side of the inlet used to be totally clear and host more docks in its industrial past so that's not a hard place to buff back out.
 

ulrichomega

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F-Line: recognize you're in the Crazy Pitches thread and you need to stop being such a hard-ass. This clearly isn't your neighborhood. This thread is EXACTLY where this topic is meant to be. This whole "get off my lawn" approach is tiresome - LET THE KIDS PLAY IN THE PARK.

If anything, for all your functional wisdom, you probably shouldn't even post here until the glorious day that a topic comes up that you would recommend moving to the Reasonable Transit Pitches thread!

PS- Where did that guy go who wanted a gondola from Back Bay Station down the Pike, across Gillete's parking lot, and straight to the Convention Center? Give me more of that in here!
I think part of the issue is that this thread has a very narrow path to walk. Too simply and the pitch might as well go in Reasonable Transit Pitches. Too crazy and F-Line is fully justified in his criticisms. And in the middle ground is a bunch of ideas that have already been thought of and therefore discussed. The best solution seems to be a simple paring-back of limits, and a broadening of discussion topics without instantly shutting down anyone who proposes sending the Green Line to Malden.
 

Tysons2

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#2. They're the most expensive trains in the world to operate. How do you square that with a T operating budget?​
Rebuttal: "Why not? No future plans = must-be automatic scrap value when all is said and done. I'm sure the lessors will be reasonable because their top [self-assumed] priority is making sure the trains run."

F-Line I appreciate all of your contributions, but I think the T operating budget should be considered off topic for Crazy Transit Pitches :)

If the NEC slots existed (my sense is they don't) my pitch here would be to pilot commuter service to New London using Acela sets for the 1.5hr travel time. Let's say 4 sets for service plus a couple extras for backup and spare parts? Could help get a sense of what effect higher speed + better timed trips have on long distance commuter ridership in larger corridors like Springfield, Manchester/Concord, Portland, and Hyannis. If only any of them were electrified.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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#2. They're the most expensive trains in the world to operate. How do you square that with a T operating budget?​
Rebuttal: "Why not? No future plans = must-be automatic scrap value when all is said and done. I'm sure the lessors will be reasonable because their top [self-assumed] priority is making sure the trains run."

F-Line I appreciate all of your contributions, but I think the T operating budget should be considered off topic for Crazy Transit Pitches :)

If the NEC slots existed (my sense is they don't) my pitch here would be to pilot commuter service to New London using Acela sets for the 1.5hr travel time. Let's say 4 sets for service plus a couple extras for backup and spare parts? Could help get a sense of what effect higher speed + better timed trips have on long distance commuter ridership in larger corridors like Springfield, Manchester/Concord, Portland, and Hyannis. If only any of them were electrified.
Well, Bombardier did float the JetTrain prototype around turn of the century for non-electrified territory.


Jet turbine engine much like the Turboliners, coupled to standard Acela carriages. Jet turbines have incredible efficiency at cruising speeds, with the earlier 1960's TurboTrain still holding the U.S. rail speed record. However, turbines' acceleration out of a dead stop is hideously slow. Bombardier tried to correct that limitation by designing its diesel HEP generator for coach power to double as an acceleration helper engine to the first 30 MPH, and then the jet turbine engine took over from 31 MPH to 149 MPH. Also did some neat tricks to reduce the generally hideous fuel consumption profile of jet turbines. At cruising speed it would've pumped out 30% of the emissions of an equivalent high-speed diesel.

They marketed the shit out of it to New York for the Empire Corridor...NYSDOT instead embarking on the disastrous Turboliner rebuilds that were such a money pit they never ran. Then turned their attention to the proto- predecessors of Brightline early on in that project's incubation. Nothing came of it.

Ultimately post-9/11 fuel prices pretty much drove the final stake in turbine trains anywhere in the world. Too fucking expensive per gallon...and maintained at too expensive for too many years...while diesel prices came out of the Iraq War on a long-term stability track that left everything else fossil-fueled in the dust for all trains. Today there's not much to recommend with the JetTrain over a standard Siemens Charger. The Charger beats the snot out of the turbine + helper engine on acceleration, enough that the JetTrain wouldn't be any tangible improvement improvement on Brightline or the Empire Corridor given their stop spacing and fact that best attempts at opening up longer stretches of 110+ MPH territory isn't going to meaningfully lift cruising time above the start/stop penalty. Diesels have made quantum leaps in fuel efficiency via regenerative braking, worsening the contrast in fuel prices. And a Charger is rated for 125 MPH. Though it still does take the diesel a little longer to get between 60-125 MPH than the turbine...factored against starts/stops and limited triple-digit territory the modern diesel is still going to fare better.

The other thing that killed it was simply the reliance on Acela technology. Once it became obvious what a maint loss leader the Acela (which only preceded the JT prototype by ~3 years) had become there was no way forward for the JetTrain. The active-tilt in the carriages is some of the most finicky, expensive, overcomplicated hardware on the planet. Immediately the JT wouldn't have been viable combining the pros/cons of a jet turbine with such unicorn carriages. BBD would have had to substitute something more conventional than another Acela carriage production run (which AMTK laughed out of the room a few years later when it was proposed to lengthen all Acela sets to 8 cars and re-purpose the HHP-8 locos as 6-car max Acela power cars for a new carriage run). And it had nothing else available to substitute for FRA compliance. The power cars, despite the innovative turbine engine, electronically still borrowed too heavily from the hot-mess Acela and HHP-8 electronics & systems designs that were proving so hugely unreliable.

Last-gasp sales pitch for the concept was a Mexican tourist train proposal for a straight shot from Meridia to Cancun about 8 or 9 years ago. The prototype power cars are still sitting in a shed at the USDOT training facility in Pueblo, probably no longer operable because of lack of parts but not disposed of yet. BBD hasn't paid it any mind in years. Jet trains were a very of-their-time hedge, the earliest 2000's with JT and the ill-fated Turboliner rebuild being the last time it was attempted. Nowadays you simply get equal-or-better Corridor performance running a stock Charger at the head of a bunch of Siemens Viaggio Comfort coaches so likely to replace the Amfleets. It's similar with any local corridor route. No one would choose the Acela for a sub-HSR intercity run on the Shoreline when the minimum requirements to intermediate-stop at a Mansfield, Attleboro, T.F. Green, or Kingston means you ain't ever exceeding 125 between New London and Boston on a schedule to begin with. Maintain the piece-o'-shit power cars and problematic unicorn-design active-tilt mechanisms and not be able to tap the only thing they do above-and-beyond conventional electric equipment because you aren't running a compatible schedule? Nope. That's going to get thumbs-downed for the same reason the Empire and Brightline couldn't draw any schedule-serving value out of the equivalent jet turbine product. There's no there there. Really no there there when simply buying the commuter EMU's they already plan to serves the local commuter schedule environment much better with superior starts/stops performance vs. anyone's HSR power car set. It's a total mis-application.
 

Wash

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Could we restore the A branch as far as Oak Square? It could run in its own dedicated lane down the middle of Brighton Avenue and Washington Street (Problem: for busses to serve the green line stations, they'd need left-hand doors) with space for the terminal conveniently allocated where Cambridge street bulges out around the Franciscan Children's hospital.
 

George_Apley

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Could we restore the A branch as far as Oak Square? It could run in its own dedicated lane down the middle of Brighton Avenue and Washington Street (Problem: for busses to serve the green line stations, they'd need left-hand doors) with space for the terminal conveniently allocated where Cambridge street bulges out around the Franciscan Children's hospital.
EDIT: Oh you mean for island platforms.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Could we restore the A branch as far as Oak Square? It could run in its own dedicated lane down the middle of Brighton Avenue and Washington Street (Problem: for busses to serve the green line stations, they'd need left-hand doors) with space for the terminal conveniently allocated where Cambridge street bulges out around the Franciscan Children's hospital.
Not hard, as that's exactly what the restoration advocates were demanding in the decades-long restoration lawsuit that was finally defeated in 1994. City of Newton was always against restoration, so the suit was exclusive to Oak Square revenue service + keeping the Newton trackage as legally-mandated non-revenue connection to Watertown Carhouse (then hoping they could woo Newton into eventual agreement).

The entire Brighton Ave. portion of the corridor has the existing median, with most of what used to be the median in Union Sq. now re-packed from the road lanes to the absurdly over-wide side plazas. Menino himself specced that the 1998-99 re-streetscaping of Brighton be done with that useless raised granite rump with plantings to salt the earth against further re-attempts at transit use and wage war on jaywalking, but it's easily replaceable. Rather than a reservation (still too narrow), you'd simply stripe the streetcar tracks to the LEFT of the yellow line in traffic separation with a slimmer running median (more like Mass Ave. N. Cambridge than the current crabgrass strip). At intersections (which are fewer in curb cuts than pre-'98) you would then accommodate the trolley traffic separation from the protected turn lanes by taking a parking row at the corner and 'lane-shifting' so the given carriageway went (L-R): trolley lane, protected left, travel lane/straight, travel lane/right). Today parking runs immediately to the corner at every intersection, so they aren't using the whole roadway's traffic distribution capacity.

At stops you don't even need to do left-handed door hacks on a very narrow median. You can simply install San Francisco-style bus ramps, as shown here on Market St. on the combo F trolley + bus lane: https://goo.gl/maps/4dyup3hEXwN2PSBP6. Transit vehicles all stay straight-on LEFT when pulling up to the offset platforms, while car traffic bears RIGHT at the platform bulb-out. From the linked Street View example you see the ADA platform ramp for front-door boarding of the F Market's historic PCC's, so this even works with our incumbent LRV fleet and high-floor buses. Future such Boston applications like the Hyde Sq. extension of the E can do it just with the low platform, and accommodate E + 39 buses on the overlap. Market St. manages to do this just splendidly despite a curb-to-curb street width in the central-most Frisco CBD of only 55 ft., same as S. Huntington in Hyde Sq. and a few feet less than S. Huntington on the Riverway-Heath section. And the forced bear-right for car traffic has the added unintentional effect of additional traffic-calming around transit stops and shorter-hop crosswalks from the centered platforms than you get on reservation-running lines. Market accomplishes it in tight spaces by being fairly judicious about parking across the corridor; there's none whatsoever anywhere close to the vicinity of the station bulb-outs. Brighton Ave. by contrast is 80 ft. curb-to-curb, so you could really do some un-cramped platforms there with the median replacement, lane-shifting of protected turn lanes, and relatively inocuous number of parking space deletions that can be counterpointed when the NIMBY's start screaming. I've seen the Market platforms in extensive action on prior trips to the Bay Area; it's extremely fluid and elegant in execution despite the maximally crowded surroundings, and a neverending line of multiple bus routes co-using it between tightish trolley frequencies. Made a believer out of me.

About the only thing subpar about the Frisco-style multipurpose street-running platforms are that they'd be a little awkward for snow removal the way they divide the pavement in offset fashion like that. But how many of those are you actually going to have total? Just re-doing the existing E street-running + Hyde Sq. extension for ADA (assume Fenwood + Back of Hill get dropped in the name of stop consolidation) that's 5 or 6 E/39 center-lane platformlet pairs total. You really think that's going to paralyze BPW snow plowing if the T gets out there 15 minutes earlier with a few guys in shovels and a snow-blower? Nothingburger.

So, for the Oak corridor the Packards Corner-Union Sq. segment has idealized traffic separation: 100% trolleys left of the yellow stripe with no autos ever getting in front of them, ample space for the Frisco offset platforms @ Harvard Ave. + Union, and complete co-running compatibility with the 57 for cross-Newton service (though I imagine the thru 57 becomes more of a CTx in this scenario being able to shed the local stops). The streetcar would then have no choice but to do mixed-running on narrower Cambridge & Washington St.'s for the last 1.7 miles (comparison: Brigham Circle-Hyde Sq. = 1.3 mi), but at narrowest width of 50 ft. the Frisco platforms would still be fully implementable if they were directionally offset on opposite sides of the intersection and parking were taken for traffic to bear right around them. The median also makes brief reappearances in front of St. Joseph Prep (intermediate stop between Union @ St. Elizabeth's), in front of St. Elizabeth's, and at former Oak Sq. Loop.

So figure a stop selection of:
  • Packards Corner ("union" A/B station flipped to opposite side of intersection)
  • Harvard Ave.
  • Union Sq.
  • St. Joseph's Academy (Warren & Gordon St.'s block)
  • St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
  • Chestnut Hill Ave.
  • Rogers Park (Foster & Lake St.'s block)
  • Fairbanks St./Langeley Rd. (spacer to Oak)
  • Oak Square
...and a CTx replacing the 57 with a very limited-stop thru route to Watertown, and possibly extended Crosstown leg to Waltham Ctr. from a Kenmore starting point. Let's say it stops at BU Bridge, co-uses the Frisco-style platforms at Harvard Ave. + Union + St. Elizabeth's + Oak, and then goes its merry way.


Now...I do not think that's a high-priority LRT appendage right now. We've got way bigger fish to fry first with the Urban Ring and LRT'ing Silver Line Washington St. However, if/when the Urban Ring buries the B out to BU Bridge you have so enormously traffic-tamed the B by eliminating the utter worst of the reservation prior to St. Paul St. that there's ample slack for fitting this in. Even amongst heavy UR traffic that's going to be splitting for Kendall and Harvard with multiple service patterns. B service used to be much more diffuse up the hill as A/B took even shares of the headways past-Packards. The latter-day restoration lawsuits sketched out the Oak restoration as being doable inside of much-increased B congestion by dropping headways up the hill on the B but strengthening the Boston College endpoint with run-thru C's via Chestnut Hill Ave. With Harvard Ave. duplicated on both routings with more overall service variety and Chestnut Hill Ave. (platforms flipped to opposite side of intersection) + South St. (or re-spaced equivalent) + BC seeing outright increases, the only stops seeing any reductions are Griggs, Allston, Warren, Washington, Sutherland, Chiswick. Which as-is are probably looking to be consolidated into -2 stops vs. today because of overly-close spacing on a few of them. Griggs/Allston/Warren or re-spaced consolidated replacements get eaten into by presence of Union/St. Joseph's/St. Elizabeth's in <2000 ft. walkshed. Washington stands most firmly on its own, but C Washington Sq. + A St. Elizabeth's are each flanking it in 2500 ft. walkshed. Sutherland and Chiswick already are misfits. So I don't think a reduction to 8-10 min. headways up the hill is necessarily "OMG! Transit loss! You monster!" if the aggregate frequencies are flushed higher to the surrounding walksheds. It's more like the pre-1969 demand distribution was when the frequences were outright divided at Packards, even though that's admittedly a very rough comparison to try to apply to Upper Comm Ave. characteristics that have changed a lot since.

Not an unreasonable pitch if we start clearing away other five-alarm priorities, especially because of the station compatbility with an interlaid-and-Crosstown'ed 57. Just regard the minimum prereq as building that BU Bridge subway extension for the UR so the garbage has been taken out with B reservation traffic conflicts first.
 
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KCasiglio

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Screenshot_20200522-135746_My Maps.jpg


So given that the Btunnel, GJ conversion, and West Station would all be preceding this, would this routing (the one in yellow) potentially make more sense for the A? I worry about congestion in the central subway by adding this and the Harvard extension, but I'm not sure about crossing the cambridge street bridge over the pike. Also just having more connections running through West Station as opposed to Packard's corner seems preferable.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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View attachment 5290

So given that the Btunnel, GJ conversion, and West Station would all be preceding this, would this routing (the one in yellow) potentially make more sense for the A? I worry about congestion in the central subway by adding this and the Harvard extension, but I'm not sure about crossing the cambridge street bridge over the pike. Also just having more connections running through West Station as opposed to Packard's corner seems preferable.
At an absolute level it's doable just like the A is doable after the BU Bridge subway takes out the garbage. Only reason I'd be leery of that one vs. the Packards split is # and intensity of traffic lights. Assuming the St. Paul combo station is first one out the B portal the only traffic lights between there and Union Sq. are:
  1. Comm Ave. (5 lanes) @ St. Paul St./Buick St. (2 lanes ea.) + protected turn cycles
  2. Comm Ave. (5 lanes) @ Pleasant/Agganis Way (2 lanes ea.) + protected turn cycles (unless the curb cut is deleted in favor of uey reverses @ Babcock for Comm Ave. WB and Armory--before the new subway portal--for Comm Ave. EB)
  3. Comm Ave. (5 lanes) @ Babcock St. (2 lanes) + protected turn cycles
  4. Packards Corner (4 travel lanes ea. direction + semi-permissive turns)
  5. Brighton Ave. (5 lanes) @ Harvard Ave. (2 lanes) + protected turn cycles
Via West Station (via latest MassDOT render) it's:
  1. Cambridge St. South (5 lanes) @ Seattle St. (4 lanes) + protected turn cycles
  2. Cambridge St. South (4 lanes) / N Harvard St. (3 lanes) @ Cambridge St. (6 lanes) + protected turn cycles
  3. Cambridge St. (5 lanes) @ Lincoln St. (3 lanes) / Lincoln St. Connector (4 lanes) + protected turn cycles
  4. Cambridge St. (5 lanes) @ Harvard Ave. (3 lanes). Existing signal w/ protected turn cycles.
  5. Cambridge St. (2 lanes) @ Derby Rd. Existing.
Same number...possibly less for Comm Ave. if you uey-laned your way into a Pleasant/Agganis curb cut elimination after the subway extension sets up the easy uey pocket east of the portal. And the MassDOT renders around West are subject to further wild changes (we've already cast suspicion on whether those superblocks will even work on-spec). But in head-to-head comparison virtually all those signals up Cambridge St. from West rate absolutely brutal. Potentially even worse than today if that new grid about Cambridge St. South over-encourages the induced demand. On Comm Ave. the directional bias for the mainline vs. the side streets renders St. Paul/Buick extremely minor, Pleasant/Agganis and Babcock (NOTE: which bafflingly isn't connected as a Beacon Park cross street in the latest render) pretty minor. So it's just Packards and Harvard Ave. with any sort of heavy diverging volumes, while damn near everything on the Cambridge St. grid is a major all-directions distributing intersection in the New World Order, hence the proliferation of extra protected-turn lanes on the cross streets to lengthen up cycles.

Should also note that there's no median from the Cambridge St. trajectory at Union Sq. proper, and all that over-generous side plaza-packing that could widen a median is stacked to the south (Brighton Ave.<==>Cambridge St.) side of the Square and not the north (Cambridge<==>Cambridge)...because that's the space re-claimed when the Union trolley loop was deleted from the active non-revenue trackage in a 1980 track rebuild. So you're going to be harder-up for space for making an outbound platform on that side of the square.


Can't make any sweeping conclusions today because that Beacon Park grid looks so fundamentally messed up this can't possibly be the final major do-over of the street config. It needs desperate levels of further troubleshooting. But if you're banking on odds, Comm & Brighton Aves. default to not-bad at all with the portal west of the BU Bridge clusterfuck while Cambridge St. has to hail-mary itself on fairly radical improvements from current plans for those 5 West-to-Union lights not being a soul-destroying carpocalypse. Odds are going to overwhelmingly favor the traditional Packards split, since Cambridge St. simply has too much ground to make up to achieve non-dysfunctional layout.

As for subway congestion...I doubt that's going to be a major issue. It can't be understated just how bad the BU Bridge lights and overcrowding at the BU surface stations are for throughput. Replaced with the subway + a BU East subway stop the rest of the B is a dispatching piece of cake. Moreover, movement on the UR is also going to encourage movement on things like relocating the E split off Copley Jct. to grade separated environs via Boylston/South End. The extreme west-weighting orientation of Central Subway service...which was NOT an original feature until the north & south branches got mass-pruned...starts trending back to geographical balance over time. And the needs of the south-half Ring, which of course doesn't have its dedicated ROW to be anything other than on-street BRT, puts weight on 'alt-spining' the Huntington subway and Transitway connector as load-bearing pipes to help balance the spread of growth. Such that the Green Line you eventually re-spur Oak Sq. off of (because we aren't treating Oak as a top-heap priority today) is going to be well on its way to trending to a very different type of system than currently laid out. It's hard to picture in-full, but treat a relatively minor appendage as this as catching the wave mid-evolution...not having its tail pinned on any current species of transit donkey we're currently familiar with. GLT is starting that evolution with the new ops practices, but the endpoints and how an eventual 'Ringed' and 'alt-spined' Green Line circulates people means it's going to be a whole different higher-level species altogether. With entirely different scalability, despite that 1897 downtown tunnel segment still being the linchpin amidst (not-its-first) service reinvention.
 

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