Crazy Transit Pitches

Riverside

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Thanks @F-Line to Dudley and @JeffDowntown, you covered the tunneling stuff much better than I could.

EDIT: Forget to add, @Stlin, regarding the GLX VMF, my understanding is that it won't be enough to replace the Riverside Yard, but I could be wrong! It's a good question. I think the problem of the Needham branch still creates significant challenges for Blue to Riverside.
 

KCasiglio

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There's no indication of some big overlooked demand signal here.
I entirely agree, which is why I said at the outset this whole exercise of HRT to Mattapan via BB was a solution in search of a problem and that improving bus connections would likely be sufficient.

The only thing I took issue with is that branching before FH (or Malden) should be an absolutely non-starter on any proposal.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^ Great questions. I'm not an expert, so don't take this as gospel, but here's my understanding...

Blue to Riverside
Don't think Riverside Yard's necessarily a blocker. If the system's going to expand to elsewhere like absorbing the entirety of the north-half Urban Ring, you've got plenty of heavy-repair options elsewhere. Recall that back in the 1945 expansion plan they were going to dual up Riverside with an HRT line (of TBD affinity) on the B&A through Newton meeting the streetcar D at Riverside at a massive dual-mode yard complex. The yard wouldn't have been any bigger than today's. It simply would've been augmented by other sites (Watertown, Arborway, Reservoir...and GLX since that was on the same '45 map) reflecting the more cramped portioning.

For example, there's no shortage of industrial sites for fashioning a heavy-repair carhouse on the Everett/Chelsea side of the Mystic on Urban Ring NE quadrant or on a Massport parcel somewhere outbound of Silver Line Way.

The other problem, ironically, is the very extension to Needham you propose. Converting Needham Junction-Needham Heights to LRT and connecting to the Green Line at Newton Highlands has been on the books for 80 years, and has been a serious proposal for most of the last twenty years. In fact, if I had to put money on it, I would bet that Green to Needham will be the next rapid transit extension to open after the current Green Line Extension project to Union Square and Medford Hillside finishes. It's still a good ways off, but it's easily the most reasonable rail extension we ever discuss on here.
Yes...this one. The 7 grade crossings work spot-on with LRT, but would all be required eliminations with HRT. There's little compelling reason to eliminate: Upper Falls, Gould/TV Place, Needham Heights, and Needham Center stations can all flank their platforms on opposite ends of the crossings with graft-on signals for transit priority and crosswalks. The others--Webster, Rosemary, May, Oak St.'s--simply aren't bad enough for traffic on a pretty well-distributed downtown grid for going all heroic with the grade separation. The only crossing here that *may* be worth eliminating is Gould because of the burgeoning TOD up the street that's likely to sharply increase traffic volumes over the crossing (the actual 128 Pn'R lot here wouldn't factor, being fashioned on the Muzi Ford lots well south of the crossing).

The price difference is stratospheric enough to throw a monkey wrench in an otherwise straightforward conversion from Commuter Rail...which needs to happen sooner because of the NEC SW Corridor traffic pinch's effects on RUR implementation and Amtrak growth. Put it this way: the Rail Vision is cranking this one up fast as a burning priority, so you simply won't have enough time to figure out a way to get Blue to Kenmore before the Needham Branch has already gone Green out of Rail Vision expediency. So the value proposition becomes "Why Blue after it's already gone Green?" and trying to tally up the above-and-beyonds for the later HRT mode change. That'll be hard when Green is plenty improvement by itself.


Infill for Route 9
Yeah...adjust the Eliot stop spacing if this is a thing. But I also agree this really isn't a thing. It's not like there's anywhere along 9 to put a park-and-ride. These are all thoroughly neighborhood stops.

The fact that the D stop selection is so very baked-in from 19th c. re-use of old Boston & Albany branchline stops also means you have trouble with the utilization scale-up to 6-car HRT trains (which, mind you, can get longer with higher seating capacity much closer...if not guaranteed exact...to Orange Line specs once dimension-stunting Bowdoin curve is eliminated) vs. Type 10 supertrains. The only big TOD growers are the Upper Falls/New England Business Center/TV Place trio on the Needham Branch where the capacity "increase" is getting first-time transit at all. All of the D stops are what they are, and Riverside TOD growth will be counterbalanced significantly by park-and-ride volumes diffusing more to Highland Ave. @ TV Place to the south and Fitchburg Line urban rail @ Polaroid/128 to the north. Hence, the coming-attraction parking reductions at Riverside with the full TOD buildout. So you're not really looking at ridership increases to fill a lot of those king-size HRT consists. Arguably, 6 mins. each to Riverside and Needham is going to clear out tons of crowding between Kenmore and Newton Highlands on the heaviest-use portion and fix whatever glitch may exist today. The capacity argument for conversion is weak at best because trains that large are going to run that empty through unchanging village stops.

In short...you could swallow the D to say you swallowed the D. But the relatively tame use of per-train capacity plus all the extra expense for 7 Needham grade separations begs to ask "Why?" Keep in mind, if you get BLX to Kenmore in the first place you are geographically unlimited in where you can go...including Allston/West, a kooky bend-back to Downtown, or alt-spining up Brookline Ave. There's no gun to anyone's head saying they have to have an immediate answer as to where to take it next...and "oh well the D is just sitting there". If you've got a way higher-leverage westbound extension but can't fundraise for it for another 30 years...just sit at Kenmore. The routings will always be there. Make your ultimate choice count to the max.


Blue to Huntington
Put it this way...your highest-leverage touch of Huntington is going to be alt-spining the Central Subway with a dig extension under the reservation then some sort of link-up to the D in the Brookline Village vicinity. Then of course replacing malformed Copley Jct. with a Back Bay stop that ties in via Marginal Rd. (urban renewal nuke zone easier-dig) to the South End tunnel @ Boylston and choose-your-adventure routings therein. Because that's where a radial-distributed Green Line with north-half Urban Ring, Harvard Spur, Porter/Route 16, Seaport, and Nubian can all blend as cogs.

You do have potential HRT crossings...but they're crossings. Like, for example if you took that Kenmore BLX up Brookline Ave. to Longwood and diverted down Fenway + Ruggles or something. But that's different than a straight-on Huntington Subway extension, which very clearly goes in direct service of Green-as-routing-'blender'.

Still would caution against overrating BBY too much. Because if you envision that E relocation as the first step in the eventual alt-circuiting of the Central Subway the Green side of BBY is going to one day be seeing way, way denser than 6-min. headways. With a max-cranking Orange, all manner of RUR'd Purple Line service, and hopefully NSRL taking linking Purple north I can't fathom what would still be lacking at that node meriting an HRT triple-up.

Downtown Capacity
There is a thread called Green Line Reconfiguration that goes through a lot of these ideas, but basically there are two main proposals.


Bingo. Central Subway has a higher native capacity than right now when all the signal/vehicle/dwell cruft gets solved by the ongoing GLT effort. Then it's simply adding better distributing cogs. Take for example how much less-overloaded Park St. would be if there was a one-seat via Boylston to the SS/Seaport, and Red-Blue ended the DTX/Park double-transfer. How many fewer people make the mad upstairs/downstairs scramble? How much quicker do the doors close? 15%? 20%? It might be carrying exactly as many passengers as today from other forms of growth, but it would SEEM like a Green Line station only half as busy because the cloggingest/time-consumingest of ped movements slowing the whole works down would be reshaped far away from there.

Also...since straight-on repeat of the failed Silver Line Phase III routing down Essex St. is wildly impractical and a physically difficult tie-in to the GL level vs. recycling the abandoned Tremont tunnel @ Eliot Norton Park, we probably are looking at a South End jog of some sort. (There are a couple different trajectories so your tastes may vary, but Tremont to the Marginal Rd. traffic island well-studied by the SL III Washington St. tunnel portal looks sanest). So you also have potentially rich multi-routing potential from a 4-track junction at the Pike that includes the E's new Copley Jct.-replacement hook-in. Meaning...if you had E-to-D surface trackage you could right away do a Kenmore-Design Ctr. or Kenmore-Nubian one-seat alt pattern through that junction. You can either/or any of the northern branches--Medford, Union/Porter, Urban Ring NW to Kenmore, Urban Ring NW to Harvard, Urban Ring NE to Chelsea/Logan--to Seaport, Nubian, or Huntington. And that's where the upside of eventually burying the full E to Brookline Village really shows its bona fides. Because then you have multi-directional junctions at Brookline Village, South End, Brickbottom, and BU Bridge to enormously blur services at distributed capacity that dwarfs anything we've ever seen.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The only thing I took issue with is that branching before FH (or Malden) should be an absolutely non-starter on any proposal.
Well...but unfortunately that is the truth. The bus shares are so system-high humongous at FH that grave harm would be done if Orange frequencies were divided at all prior to that stop. As is, FH is barely wheezing along at peak overcrowding hours waiting for the OLT upgrades and expanded car supply to densify the headways and clear that platform overwhelmed by the transfer swells.

Malden is proportionally a much smaller bus terminal than FH...but also proportionally much larger a transfer than any not- bus terminal stop that it similarly breaks an entire bus district to halve the potential frequencies there. (MC does more boardings than Sullivan and Haymarket, believe it or not.) This is something you can absolutely quantify with numbers, and reams of explainers have been written on transpo blogs distinguishing "bad" branching practice from "good".

It's not an eye-of-beholder thing. It's pretty much universal law of functional transit to use the big transfer dumps as guiding measuring sticks for a build. This is the enduring gruesome lesson 33 years later for the El get torn out from Dudley; the taffy-stretch bus mess to Ruggles and Rox Xing does not replace the single terminal that was lost. Ditto 35 years after the E's truncation and throwing various shit at the wall to try to paper over the 39 bus's shortcomings. And also to some extent a lesson we're still feeling 111 years later when the El's Sullivan-Malden Extension got truncated to 66 years of purgatory at the nowhere end stop in Everett after the NIMBY's fought back the El structure up Main St. to Malden Center. Thou shalt never divide-and-conquer before the big transfer terminal has been affirmed over and over and over again by real-world results. It's way beyond mere opinion.
 

KCasiglio

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I understand that, but if existing frequencies at a major transfer station could be maintained by increasing frequencies on the trunk (such as with the orange line's 6 minute frequencies that the T is aiming to cut down to 3) then a branch could theoretically be done without impacting existing service, no?
 

Blackbird

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I think for this one you first have to answer the "Why?" question.

Blue Hill Ave., however, has never ever been a one-seat ride at any point in its 120-year history as a later-growth trolley suburb.
If Beacon Street and Comm Ave in Brookline and Allston deserve one-seat rides, the Blue Hill Ave definitely does. I always thought that Blue Hill Ave could be an incredible urban corridor with the right planning and investment. Franklin Park would have to become a lot better, too, if a quick one-seat connection to downtown existed. But that’s a conversation for another thread.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I understand that, but if existing frequencies at a major transfer station could be maintained by increasing frequencies on the trunk (such as with the orange line's 6 minute frequencies that the T is aiming to cut down to 3) then a branch could theoretically be done without impacting existing service, no?
In the case of Forest Hills...no, absolutely not. Because it needs every bit of the 3 mins. headways coming and then some to tame the overload when the terminal takes an oversized transfer dump onto an overcrowded platform. The "...then some" being the Rozzie/W. Rox extension prying off some of the route-duplication overload on Lower Washington to Rozzie Sq. to cull the herd against a stiff future growth curve. 3 min. OLT headways might buy you a decade or more to get one's house in order on +1'ing to Rozzie or further, but the over-capacity situation is so extreme there you need the kitchen's sink. Any vulturing of headways is lethal vs. projected growth.


Malden Center? Only in a universe where you project flat-as-board growth across the whole north-region bus network in spite of:
  1. the x2 headway improvement on Orange on the transfer supply-side
  2. GLX setting up new high-frequency spanning opportunities to the west
  3. Chelsea superstation setting up new high-frequency spanning opportunities to the east (to be deepened substantially when the Urban Ring is implanted there)
  4. the T bus master plan's eventual build of Charlestown+Wellington bus garage super-campus addressing the vehicle supply anemia that keeps some North-region bus routes artificially low-frequency
#1-3 are coming up fast as opportunities for Malden terminal. A North-region route redraw is going to be in order from the GLX outflow, with similar effort working the gears around Chelsea. MC's existing roster is ripe for a some-new, some-borrowed redraw that establishes new Key Route spanning buses to the new attractions east & west. Major this-decade growth vector unto itself, even though the Better Bus community meetings for the GLX-outflow network revamp are still 1-2 years away. But that will be a sea change in deepening ridership heft @ MC terminal that you will see develop in as little as the span between Blue Book editions. For #4 there are multiple routes out of MC...particularly the due-north ones to Melrose and due-east to Saugus...that are running lower frequencies than true demand because of equipment supply limitations. The recalibration of garages (closure of Fellsway, West region relief in a full-time Watertown garage, Charlestown/Wellington "super-campus") direct-addresses this. Some routes that have been pigeonholed in >15 years of MPO studies for better frequencies will gain the equipment to do just that, adding a little further heft to that deepening MC gravity well that's seeing its primary growth from the new radial opportunities.

Any way you slice it...it's a moving target where the bus demand is shape-shifting to backfill almost as soon as the first 3 min. headways even run on Orange. The odds that things are going to be 2020-static in 2 decades able to suffice on branched frequencies of straight-up 3 min. ÷ 2 = 6 min. are...extremely, extremely poor with ^all^ that's cooking in #1-4. It may not be the outright apocalypse of cutting Forest Hills' frequencies in half...but it's pretty bad, and very likely worse than the additional haul the Mystic Working Group's Everett Branch would bring in since that does not touch any bus hubbage of its own after forking off Sullivan/Assembly. The Mystic Working Group's wing-it job on the Everett fork seems predicated on wishful thinking of a forever-flat MC gravity well where things are static enough that some TBD offsets can mitigate things good enough. That doesn't pass the smell test when the actual number-studied demand borne through multiple studies of this bus region says MC terminal is going to spike high AND soon as a consequence of other North-region transit builds of consequence and the immediate needs for improved linkage between them. The moving target thus projects to move way too fast to hedge against re: branching.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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If Beacon Street and Comm Ave in Brookline and Allston deserve one-seat rides, the Blue Hill Ave definitely does. I always thought that Blue Hill Ave could be an incredible urban corridor with the right planning and investment. Franklin Park would have to become a lot better, too, if a quick one-seat connection to downtown existed. But that’s a conversation for another thread.
Well...okay, but first put study inquiry behind that. Because for all its history as a trolley suburb the BHA corridor has been dense as a shuttle between nodes...but then Nubian and Mattapan spray the transfers in all directions like a sprinkler head. And if downtown has been the top ridership share out of many fling-out directions on that sprinkler head...history hasn't signaled a clear-cut plurality there. That's very very different on-spec from the equal 120-year balance of trolley 'burb history on Beacon & Comm. where the orientation has been straight-on continuation to downtown all along at extreme dwarfing of any other patterns.

Job #1 here is thus deep-diving into a lot of statistical noise around that Nubian sprinkler head and trying to see if there's a latch-on signal in there compelling a corridor study. Including which trajectory through Downtown that signal corresponds most strongly to...because there are multiple to choose from and assumptions that it's Back Bay out of convenience do not necessarily jibe with "strength-of-signal". In essence, you can't mount a good-faith study effort at the BHA corridor without approaching it from the best practices that they SHOULD'VE but didn't follow when cooking up the Silver Line for that neighborhood. Shotgun-marriage convenience to somebody's preconceived routing notion and some other neighborhood's transit spoils led that one by the nose, and of course the result was anything but "equal or better". If that was the eternal lesson for Dudley/Nubian...then the BHA corridor strung through Nubian has got to be doubly on-point about letting the demand numbers speak for themselves without force-fitting.


The end result can by stars alignment be exactly the build you thought it would be...but only if that demand-plurality signal studies out to trace the same lines on a map. The sins of "equal or better" in the same project area require triple...quadruple...the self-restraint vigilance from letting the self-concept line on map drag the presentation of reality in-tow. If force-fits have the established history of breaking transit in the neighborhood, one has to refrain from forcing it if the demand doesn't point to a strong Downtown-plurality signal in the draw from Nubian. If the sprinkler head actually studies out to be a sprinkler head and they much prefer better spread of all-direction radial distribution more than one supremely overbuilt thru-the-gut pipe that casts itself to exclusion of "building a better sprinkler head"...then you've kind of got to heed the neighborhood on that call. Overruling because one individually sees a juicier redev canvas along BHA repopulated by outsiders than the BHA incumbents see grown organically from within isn't the right way to go about it. Too much of the policy sausage-making around "equal or better" in the first place was done with similar supposedly good-intention redev forward-thinking that simply ran roughshod over the Roxbury by failing to understand it on its own terms. Hence the need for triplicate vigilance in avoiding that trap on...really...anything "vision-thing" that touches Nubian's DNA.
 

Blackbird

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Hence the need for triplicate vigilance in avoiding that trap on...really...anything "vision-thing" that touches Nubian's DNA.
I’m not sure I understand. I think it’d be great to have direct transit between BHA and downtown. I still imagine it going through Nubian and meeting ring transit there as well as buses.

I just don’t think that someone riding into the city from Franklin Park should have to get off and walk within Nubian in order to continue onto downtown. Nubian should be to BHA as Kenmore is to Beacon and Comm.

Or maybe you’re saying that Warren Street isn’t a good route to take to BHA? Or that the Fairmount Line kinda sorta takes care of BHA?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I’m not sure I understand. I think it’d be great to have direct transit between BHA and downtown. I still imagine it going through Nubian and meeting ring transit there as well as buses.

I just don’t think that someone riding into the city from Franklin Park should have to get off and walk within Nubian in order to continue onto downtown. Nubian should be to BHA as Kenmore is to Beacon and Comm.

Or maybe you’re saying that Warren Street isn’t a good route to take to BHA? Or that the Fairmount Line kinda sorta takes care of BHA?
No...I'm saying the appetite for transit resources points overwhelmingly to umpteen investments into quenching the "sprinkler head's" thirst at both ends of the BHA corridor for better all-directions transfer linkage before you ever get far enough down the priority pile to load up for a thru-and-thru corridor. That means not just the obvious ones like Washington St. LRT and south/BRT Urban Ring but also many multiples of spanning routes to Forest Hills, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Readville, etc. getting the same 28X road treatment. It's pretty resolute in both neighborhood attitudes and decades of study metrics that there's no "wouldn't it be great if. . ." bandwidth to start entertaining until you've aggressively tamed that bucket list. Be it a bucket of modest-cost projects or not, it's still a deep bucket of projects that gets to the core of what "equal or better" truly means here.

In a perfect world the El decision would've been the time for cashing in the demands for better all-directions radial transit since that was the missing ingredient at the time. Instead they were fed false choices and belatedly given a shit sandwich build because that build happened to be more convenient shotgunned with somebody else's priorities for a far wealthier most-favored neighborhood. Being told from the outside what's good for them is the proverbial third rail that sparks to this day...because so often it's involved "good" to outsiders built on top of their sacrifices. That's why the very mission statement'ing for a transit build here has to check itself in triplicate. Something like "Nubian should be to BHA as Kenmore is to Beacon and Comm" sounds perfectly logical to an outsider. Within Roxbury it's interpreted as: "Real estate devs are licking their chops at flipping our main streets to price us out and repopulate by outsiders, and this is the transit build being prioritized to kick us out." Now...whether that's wholly rational or not, it is understandable after that many decades of being used and abused by the City and state. The innocent Beacon/Comm Ave. comparison would definitely get taken a certain way fed through all that loaded history. Things like transit inequity, narrowly-averted urban renewal annihilation, institutional racism...they're all required understanding when trying to crack the nut of what makes Roxbury tick or what would make it tick better.


I understand that's heavy-loading for typical Crazy Transit Pitches abstractia...but we've got a couple threads going on this weekend delving into those political battles in the neighborhood, what scars they left, and what ties they bind. It's pervasive enough history of suffering and suspicion to have to be a dimension accounted for when attempting to address their transit needs. Basically it's why you have to try harder than in any other neighborhood to not approach the pitch with any leading bent. Such as something that could be misconstrued as another attempt (however honestly formulated) at recolonization by outsiders. Since the bucket list in service of building better sprinkler heads is already hella deep enough, I think if there's a compelling case to make it's going to come from inside-out signaling in the numbers and demographics that premier thru-and-thru Downtown one-seat is a plurality pattern with juice. Not from outside-in on what anyone would hope that Roxbury's demographics get remade into from a pipe sourced elsewhere. Subtle distinction, but we've already got several decades of history saying that correct reading of intent is indeed a life-or-death matter there for all politics and public service.
 

Blackbird

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No...I'm saying the appetite for transit resources points overwhelmingly to umpteen investments into quenching the "sprinkler head's" thirst at both ends of the BHA corridor for better all-directions transfer linkage before you ever get far enough down the priority pile to load up for a thru-and-thru corridor. That means not just the obvious ones like Washington St. LRT and south/BRT Urban Ring
Why does Washington Street light rail makes sense? Like just through the South End or all the way down to Westie? Cuz most of Washington (except in the South End and the back side of Fort Hill) is paralleled closely by the orange line.

but also many multiples of spanning routes to Forest Hills, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Readville, etc. getting the same 28X road treatment.
What do Rozzi and Hyde Park have to do with transit on BHA?

Being told from the outside what's good for them is the proverbial third rail that sparks to this day...because so often it's involved "good" to outsiders built on top of their sacrifices. That's why the very mission statement'ing for a transit build here has to check itself in triplicate. Something like "Nubian should be to BHA as Kenmore is to Beacon and Comm" sounds perfectly logical to an outsider. Within Roxbury it's interpreted as: "Real estate devs are licking their chops at flipping our main streets to price us out and repopulate by outsiders, and this is the transit build being prioritized to kick us out."
You can't just...not invest in the neighborhood. That's clearly not the correct, long-term solution to Roxbury's transit problems.

Basically it's why you have to try harder than in any other neighborhood to not approach the pitch with any leading bent.
Spoken like a politician..

think if there's a compelling case to make it's going to come from inside-out signaling in the numbers and demographics that premier thru-and-thru Downtown one-seat is a plurality pattern with juice.
How can you get inside-out signaling when transit in Roxbury is so abysmal to begin with?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Why does Washington Street light rail makes sense? Like just through the South End or all the way down to Westie? Cuz most of Washington (except in the South End and the back side of Fort Hill) is paralleled closely by the orange line.
Refer to this thread (and the namechecked documentary) for the explainer. The "close" paralleling is all crow-flies...walkshed to Orange is abysmal once you get past the immediate South End start and is at its singular worst at Nubian.

What do Rozzi and Hyde Park have to do with transit on BHA?
30, 31 33, 24 radial buses out of Mattapan and high ridership therein. Explained at length a few posts up. This is a TWO-node corridor. Nubian isn't the only end needing improvements.

You can't just...not invest in the neighborhood. That's clearly not the correct, long-term solution to Roxbury's transit problems.
Binary-choice fallacy. Not picking X transit plan ≠ not investing in the neighborhood. Sorry...this isn't an honest retort.

What I'm saying is that Roxbury has a firm idea on what Roxbury's transit issues are. But the last half-century of treating Roxbury's transit issues are has involved outside parties dictating to Roxbury choices that were not fashioned by neighborhood need but by other neighborhoods' projects being shotgunned on Roxbury's back and Roxbury being told a vat of half-truths about what is/isn't in their best interests. The end result is that transit shares in the neighborhood are LOWER than they were 3-1/2 decades ago prior to the breakage.

Roxbury is...generationally...D-O-N-E being talked down to about what is/isn't good for them. To the extent that's going to make beneficial transit improvements more difficult is all a matter of approach. Anything foisted on them from the outside is likely to get spat on with suspicion. We saw that with the original 28X in 2009 when utterly mangled public comment period artificially compressed and hostilly carried out sent the neighborhood into auto-shutdown mode. Reject. We are now, in 2020, seeing the unveiling of 28X v2.0...same basic project with little beyond cosmetic tweaks, but achieved through years of slow-cook workshopping between neighborhood and City. There wasn't even any state involvement until 11th hour when they were pretty much done and ready to unveil. The lighter touch and inside-out collection of actionable data was the sum total difference between the 28X that was violently rejected last decade and the 28X that was just proposed to broad consensus now.

Yes...you do have to mind the dialogue to get results here. And as I duly noted in last post...the end result can indeed match 1:1 to what you're proposing, because it did so precisely here. But it's got to be pitched as a proposal born 'of' the neighborhood, or they shut it down. No leading questions...you flat-out won't convince them to adopt an idea by saying BHA "needs to act more like Beacon St." In Roxbury psychology that's button-pushing an us vs. them trigger. Find the inside-out data that foretells the action plan. 28X did that between v1.0 and v2.0 attempts. It's not optics; it's the sum-total difference between results and no-results.

Spoken like a politician..
Now you're getting salty, and there is zero reason for that. Again...read the history ^linkied up^ from the other thread and remarked on by multiple other posters. Roxbury transit is impossible to parse without that primer.

How can you get inside-out signaling when transit in Roxbury is so abysmal to begin with?
Again...read the history. It was not always abysmal. Transit shares pre-1987 were WAY higher than today. They were purposefully and arbitrarily broken by a series of outside-in decisions, and things have never been the same. The El isn't coming back, but the neighborhood is ABUNDANTLY clear what transit bucket list would actually constitute equal-or-better if applied with sufficient priority:
  1. Restoration of a rapid transit-capacity trip to the downtown transfers behind fare control.
  2. Robust implementation of the Kenmore-Nubian and Nubian-Southie Urban Ring quadrants as full-featured BRT.
  3. Enhancement of both rapid transit mode and Urban Ring mode through mutual system integration (e.g. Kenmore 'supernode' for changing Ring quadrants behind fare control, future E relocation to BBY/South End junction allowing Nubian LRT alt-routing).
  4. Mattapan node core enhancements via Fairmount Line Urban Rail @ Blue Hill Ave., getting "vision thing" sorted on future of High Speed Line.
  5. BHA corridor enhancements via a strong 28X pipe between the two biggest linked-trip terminals @ Nubian and Mattapan.
  6. Strengthen off-BHA transit crossroads via Fairmount Line Urban Rail scheduling (Morton, Talbot, Four Corners, Uphams Corner)
  7. Secondary Mattapan node core enhancements via BRT treatment of 30, 31, 24/33 radial corridors. Implementation of Urban Ring Nubian-JFK spur.

That's a long list of busywork. Now...if you want to pitch them on a stronger Downtown spine, having the inside-out conversation is going to mean reconciling this bucket list of ID'd priorities with teasing out some latent desire for a premier Downtown thru-and-thru that's some order of magnitude bigger breakaway effort than just the bucket list. Nobody's saying that's impossible. But it has to stem from something rooted in what they are demanding. Telling them their corridors need to be like Beacon/Comm or that their real estate is 'totes attractive...*BZZT!*, that's outside talk that makes enemies just like 28X v1.0's clumsiness made enemies. Who cares if that's a stupid reaction on its face; it is what it is, and is all readily explainable by the history if you want to learn up about it. The neighborhood has an all-world bad case of transit PTSD and urban renewal PTSD. The dialogue either mindfully treats that, or gets itself nowhere fast. The end.
 
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Blackbird

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Refer to this thread (and the namechecked documentary) for the explainer. The "close" paralleling is all crow-flies...walkshed to Orange is abysmal once you get past the immediate South End start and is at its singular worst at Nubian.
But Washington continues past Nubian to Egleston, Forest Hills, Rozzi Square, and eventually to Dedham Center. All this talk about Nubian as if it's meant to be a terminus, where Boston ends and Roxbury begins perpetuates the us vs them thing, when we should be worried about stitching the city together and thinking about it as one big thing rather than a tapestry of functionally separate places.

30, 31 33, 24 radial buses out of Mattapan and high ridership therein. Explained at length a few posts up. This is a TWO-node corridor.
I'd love dedicated bus lanes for the 30 and 31 and for the 30 to terminate in Rozzi after an OLX. Don't see what that has to do with transit on BHA, though. Rapid transit on BHA would make a lot of the 33's route redundant. The 24 is kind of a weird one.

We saw that with the original 28X in 2009 when utterly mangled public comment period artificially compressed and hostilly carried out sent the neighborhood into auto-shutdown mode. Reject. We are now, in 2020, seeing the unveiling of 28X v2.0...same basic project with little beyond cosmetic tweaks, but achieved through years of slow-cook workshopping between neighborhood and City. There wasn't even any state involvement until 11th hour when they were pretty much done and ready to unveil. The lighter touch and inside-out collection of actionable data was the sum total difference between the 28X that was violently rejected last decade and the 28X that was just proposed to broad consensus now.
Could it also be a change in the city and world between 2009 and 2020 that might make residents more accepting of 28X?

Now you're getting salty, and there is zero reason for that. Again...read the history ^linkied up^ from the other thread and remarked on by multiple other posters. Roxbury transit is impossible to parse without that primer.
Part of my saltiness is that I lived in Roslindale for my last 2 years of high school and Fort Hill for my last 2 years of undergrad. I have some experience with the lack of transit in the southern/southwestern neighborhoods and I feel like the rhetoric undermines how frustrating it can be to get around there.

Now...if you want to pitch them on a stronger Downtown spine
Isn't that what your "point #1" suggests? If you're connecting Nubian to downtown with LRT, why not just extend it further south through Nubian?
 
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roy_mustang76

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But Washington continues past Nubian to Egleston, Forest Hills, Rozzi Square, and eventually to Dedham Center. All this talk about Nubian as if it's meant to be a terminus, where Boston ends and Roxbury begins perpetuates the us vs them thing, when we should be worried about stitching the city together and thinking about it as one big thing rather than a tapestry of functionally separate places.
But Nubian is exactly that, for all intents and purposes. It's the strongest demand node in the neighborhood, and is a destination unto itself. Everything else gets fairly diffuse until you get to FH and Rozzie Square (and yes, Rozzie Square is the world's most obvious +1 for HRT, but that's got nothing to do with the Nubian/Egleston chunk of the corridor, which is the part that got shafted by OL relocation, unless you're arguing that it's somehow fun to hoof it over Fort Hill all the time)

I'd love dedicated bus lanes for the 30 and 31 and for the 30 to terminate in Rozzi after an OLX. Don't see what that has to do with transit on BHA, though. Rapid transit on BHA would make a lot of the 33's route redundant. The 24 is kind of a weird one.
The dedicated bus lanes make those routes a lot more predictable and valuable to the neighborhood. There's a fairly strong travel orientation to the west from BHA, especially the Mattapan Square end. It's not all going downtown, and the southern end of BHA has the MHSL for that.

Could it also be a change in the city and world between 2009 and 2020 that might make residents more accepting of 28X?
It could be, but as someone from Mattapan who was there when they were trying, they blew it on community engagement. Hell, they didn't even bother to loop in the local pols so that they'd be able to try to soak up some of the fire from the blindsided communities who kinda liked it as it was.


Part of my saltiness is that I lived in Roslindale for my last 2 years of high school and Fort Hill for my last 2 years of undergrad. I have some experience with the lack of transit in the southern/southwestern neighborhoods and I feel like the rhetoric undermines how frustrating it can be to get around there.
But getting the downtown connection along BHA only makes it easier to get downtown, and if you're pushing for a functional one-seat ride, it's gotta be HRT or LRT (SL-Washington shows us how useless BRT is for this mission because we're unable to secure a dedicated ROW downtown and unwilling to enforce the bus lanes we do have very well). So in a world with only so much money to go around, does it make more sense to try to get Franklin Park a one-seater to downtown, or make 2-seaters easier from Egleston, Franklin Park, Harambee Park, and Chez Vous all at once?

Isn't that what your "point #1" suggests? If you're connecting Nubian to downtown with LRT, why not just extend it further south through Nubian?
F-Line can speak for himself, but his point seems clear enough to me - going beyond Nubian on LRT nets you relatively diminishing returns because there's not one single point or corridor where the demand to downtown converges. Everyone is trying to get to Nubian because it's both a destination and a way to get somewhere else, but that "somewhere else" is more often than not, not Park or DTX. Downtown might be a plurality of demand, but I'd argue it's definitely not a majority.

EDIT to more accurately reflect gripes with SL-Washington, s/o to @JeffDowntown for the reminder that SL doesn't really qualify as true BRT.
 
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JeffDowntown

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I also want to point out (because we tend to forget), SL Washington (SL4, 5) is NOT BRT. It is shabbily glorified bus service.

Real BRT encompases:

Enforced, dedicated right-of-ways -- never getting stuck in traffic
Fare controlled stations (not stops, real stations, with fare controlled platforms, at transit-appropriate spacing)
Level, all door boarding (stations are elevated to match the bus level)
Strict schedule adherence (no bunching)

Because of those features, it can actually qualify as predictable, Rapid Transit.

I don't know if we have any real BRT in the US. I have seen it in South America and Southeast Asia.

Here is a video about TransJakarta for an example.
 
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Stlin

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Yes...this one. The 7 grade crossings work spot-on with LRT, but would all be required eliminations with HRT. There's little compelling reason to eliminate: Upper Falls, Gould/TV Place, Needham Heights, and Needham Center stations can all flank their platforms on opposite ends of the crossings with graft-on signals for transit priority and crosswalks. The others--Webster, Rosemary, May, Oak St.'s--simply aren't bad enough for traffic on a pretty well-distributed downtown grid for going all heroic with the grade separation. The only crossing here that *may* be worth eliminating is Gould because of the burgeoning TOD up the street that's likely to sharply increase traffic volumes over the crossing (the actual 128 Pn'R lot here wouldn't factor, being fashioned on the Muzi Ford lots well south of the crossing).

The price difference is stratospheric enough to throw a monkey wrench in an otherwise straightforward conversion from Commuter Rail...which needs to happen sooner because of the NEC SW Corridor traffic pinch's effects on RUR implementation and Amtrak growth. Put it this way: the Rail Vision is cranking this one up fast as a burning priority, so you simply won't have enough time to figure out a way to get Blue to Kenmore before the Needham Branch has already gone Green out of Rail Vision expediency. So the value proposition becomes "Why Blue after it's already gone Green?" and trying to tally up the above-and-beyonds for the later HRT mode change. That'll be hard when Green is plenty improvement by itself.
Wait, so I'm ever so slightly confused. You're not talking about greening all of the Needham line, right? Green would make sense from Newton Highlands to Needham Junction, but that would be slower than the CR, as Riverside to Boylston takes about ~50 minutes, compared to CR scheduled at 41. I don't know how that's interacts with frequency though. Given what you're saying about the Needham CR line's doomed future you seem to want to replace that service through Roslindale and West Roxbury with Orange, and that makes the most sense. But what about connecting the two? Needham Junction or Hersey? Up through Junction, it is grade separated. Orange running 0p*downtown is probably faster than an half frequency D. Even a Newton Highlands - Needham Heights - future Orange terminus light rail shuttle service, even as a 2 seat is probably faster.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Wait, so I'm ever so slightly confused. You're not talking about greening all of the Needham line, right? Green would make sense from Newton Highlands to Needham Junction, but that would be slower than the CR, as Riverside to Boylston takes about ~50 minutes, compared to CR scheduled at 41. I don't know how that's interacts with frequency though. Given what you're saying about the Needham CR line's doomed future you seem to want to replace that service through Roslindale and West Roxbury with Orange, and that makes the most sense. But what about connecting the two? Needham Junction or Hersey? Up through Junction, it is grade separated. Orange running 0p*downtown is probably faster than an half frequency D. Even a Newton Highlands - Needham Heights - future Orange terminus light rail shuttle service, even as a 2 seat is probably faster.
Yes...Orange eats to W. Rox (which is 100% grade separated), Green eats to Junction (where there are 5 active CR grade crossings and 3 inactive crossings). That's always been the plan, since until the 1970's Dedham Center was the intended Orange terminus, not Needham. There has never been any intention to connect them.

The W. Rox-Dedham ROW has been gone for a dozen years since the T stupidly sold it off to build new single-family homes on Belle Ave., so that's no longer an option. And since 128 and/or Hersey has never once been taken to study it wouldn't be lumped in with any CR/RUR-driven conversion. If desired OL-Needham/128 is a thing you can weigh later as a separate +1 project on its own merits, but since zero demand data has ever been crunched for it it's not worth slowing down the immaculately-well studied FH-W. Rox/VFW and Junction-Newton Highlands flips.

Raw speed isn't the driver here. Needham's traditional transit orientation is northeast to Newton where the density is unbroken, not due-east to Boston where the Cutler Park cavity and Dedham bus desert are inhibitors. The W. Rox-Needham Jct. ROW across Cutler Park, known as the Needham Cutoff, didn't exist at all until 1911; it was the very last all-new RR to get laid down in Eastern MA. For 65 years prior to that all service--including thru runs Millis and Woonsocket--ran via a pre- D Line Boston & Albany Highland Branch. After the Cutoff was constructed B&A ran 'circuit' service South Station-Newton Highlands-Needham Jct.-South Station until the circuit was cut in 1958 by the Highland trolley conversion. The B&A circuit service (and its accompanying NYNH&H SS-West Roxbury-Dedham-Readville-SS circuit service) was novel for being a 'proto-Urban Rail' stab at sustaining all-day densish frequencies on short consists. The 1945 rapid transit extensions map predicated itself on taking both the Highland and Needham Branches over to LRT to preserve the essentials of the 'circuit' service on its highest-demand segments. The empty jaunt across the Needham Cutoff was seen as tolerable empty calories running for allowing the B&A to schlep some additional profits in NYNH&H territory inbound of W. Rox by picking up some cheap frequencies on that other high-frequency circuit's territory.

When the D was cut in '58 then-profitable B&A handed CR service over to then-bankrupt NYNH&H to run as an Upper Falls short-turn. Frequencies were absolutely bludgeoned to the minimum allowable by the skint New Haven, and Upper Falls was quickly dropped from the stop roster for a truncation at Needham Heights. Service levels have been nearly static over the 56 years of MBTA subsidy, 9-5'er oriented and for probably 85%+ of that span no weekend service whatsoever. It was a huge dropoff from the all-day frequencies Needham used to enjoy, and with the Needham Branch conversion not being taken seriously by the state except for a couple blink-of-an-eye halfhearted look-sees the overstretched 59 bus became the only thing approximating Needham-Newton's traditional NE/SW orientation.


In a nutshell, the reason why Junction-W. Rox has never been given bigger study weight in any conversion studies is because the lion's share of transit shares in Needham followed the 59 corridor not the Needham Cutoff corridor back when frequencies were still worth a damn. And when the frequencies were broken beyond repair by the decision to build the D but not seriously take up the I.O.U. for immediate follow-on Needham Branch conversion, the in-town transit shares were simply broken and went away. Trans- Needham Cutoff travelers were itty-bitty share of the former circuit service, and the Cutoff was never given study attention since the OL's would-be Dedham Ctr. terminus was not blocked until literally 2008 when the T sold off the first of those Belle Ave. housing plots at Dedham's request and broke what was until then a contiguously-protected ROW. Way more of the 'lost' transit shares can now be counted as car congestion up Highland Ave./Needham St. and Kendrick. It's thus very much a Roxbury analogy (to dovetail with the other prevailing discussion on this thread). Needham had strong transit 'burb shares...arbitrary decision-making and shit-sandwich "equal of better" substitution broke those shares' back...then passage of time mis-remembered that shares weren't always this crappy and that the current shitty prevailing "equal or better" mode that never went to the highest-leverage endpoint isn't representative of what was lost-n'-latent.

The whole reason why the fully-modern advocacy for Needham GL doesn't call for any study of the Orange Line crossing Cutler now that the post-'08 salting over of Dedham has been done is because the CR schedules are so unbelievably shitty the end-to-end speed still doesn't carry any tangible mindshare in Needham over bringing back frequencies, frequencies, frequencies on the natural travel orientation that saves Highland/Needham from the coming carpocalypse fueled by all its ongoing corridor redev. They don't see any head-to-head Alts. competition between retained CR to Junction vs. Green Line pickups every 6 mins. on the dot because even for 9-5'ers CR trains are absolutely uselessly far apart at 50-minute rush-hour intervals, 60-70 minutes off-peak, a couple skipped slots of 2-hour gaps, early-evening shutdown, and bupkis weekend. With all the doom-and-gloom about NEC traffic modeling consigning them to a future of absolute zero improvement over system-worst. Every time they take a city poll, Green Line wins in a landslide and clock-timed CR barely rates.

It's exactly what you'd expect of locals who know their local orientation inside-out and know exactly what's missing in their current transit portfolio. I can understand why the CR one-seat gets overrated on casual outside look...but really, most of that concern goes away just by taking one eyeball at how unbelievably awful the schedule spread is. And then the rest gets backfilled by the history of where all the transit shares in Needham got artifically quashed.
 
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Riverside

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Raw speed isn't the driver here. Needham's traditional transit orientation is northeast to Newton where the density is unbroken, not due-east to Boston where the Cutler Park cavity and Dedham bus desert are inhibitors. The W. Rox-Needham Jct. ROW across Cutler Park, known as the Needham Cutoff, didn't exist at all until 1911; it was the very last all-new RR to get laid down in Eastern MA. For 65 years prior to that all service--including thru runs Millis and Woonsocket--ran via a pre- D Line Boston & Albany Highland Branch. After the Cutoff was constructed B&A ran 'circuit' service South Station-Newton Highlands-Needham Jct.-South Station until the circuit was cut in 1958 by the Highland trolley conversion. The B&A circuit service (and its accompanying NYNH&H SS-West Roxbury-Dedham-Readville-SS circuit service) was novel for being a 'proto-Urban Rail' stab at sustaining all-day densish frequencies on short consists. The 1945 rapid transit extensions map predicated itself on taking both the Highland and Needham Branches over to LRT to preserve the essentials of the 'circuit' service on its highest-demand segments. The empty jaunt across the Needham Cutoff was seen as tolerable empty calories running for allowing the B&A to schlep some additional profits in NYNH&H territory inbound of W. Rox by picking up some cheap frequencies on that other high-frequency circuit's territory.
This (highlighted), by the by, is the reason the Needham Line has that wonky L-shape and (uniquely) starts its inbound journeys by heading south away from Boston. Those stops in Needham would have been the end of a journey coming from Newton when the line was originally built.

And, again, not for nothing, but that path to Needham via Newton Highlands was the original route of the railroad (originally the Charles River Railroad) out from what is now Kenmore. The connection to Riverside didn't come for another 30 years.

So, both the Needham Cutoff and the segment from Riverside to the former Cook Junction south of Newton Highlands were later additions to the system. But of course now, both form integral segments of the network.

Speaking of crazy transit pitches -- and this is not so much a crazy pitch as an "alternate history pitch" -- but I do sometimes muse about what it would have been like if that entire quadrant has been rapid-transit-ified in a manner similar to the Highland Branch in the '50s (or using mainline service instead). Three overlapping circuits:
  • Back Bay-Allston-Newton Corner-Riverside-Newtown Highlands-Brookline-Back Bay
  • Back Bay-Brookline-Newton Highlands-Needham-West Roxbury-Forest Hills-Back Bay
  • Back Bay-Forest Hills-West Roxbury-Dedham Center-Readville-Forest Hills-Back Bay
For bonus points, you could go further and add service over the Fairmount Line into the mix, looping via Dedham.

It's crazy, but not as crazy as you might think. As I understand it, the New Haven was already running near-rapid transit frequencies to Forest Hills, but simply couldn't compete with the El.

If that circuit-happy system had survived to the modern day, we'd be right up there with SEPTA in terms of "weirdest legacy transit system" in North America!
 

Blackbird

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But Nubian is exactly that, for all intents and purposes. It's the strongest demand node in the neighborhood, and is a destination unto itself. Everything else gets fairly diffuse until you get to FH and Rozzie Square (and yes, Rozzie Square is the world's most obvious +1 for HRT, but that's got nothing to do with the Nubian/Egleston chunk of the corridor, which is the part that got shafted by OL relocation, unless you're arguing that it's somehow fun to hoof it over Fort Hill all the time)
My point was that Washington from Egleston south is still walking distance to the orange line. Nubian certainly got shafted, but Egleston is a 10min walk from Stony Brook.

Believe it or not, I always thought the old El ended at Nubian. Didn’t know it continued down through Egleston. So when people talk about Washington LRT, is the assumption that the LRT would go to Egleston?

The dedicated bus lanes make those routes a lot more predictable and valuable to the neighborhood. There's a fairly strong travel orientation to the west from BHA, especially the Mattapan Square end. It's not all going downtown, and the southern end of BHA has the MHSL for that.
Boston’s lack of cross-town transit and it’s lack of connectivity between downtown and the southern neighborhoods are two different problems, imo.

(SL-Washington shows us how useless BRT is for this mission because we're unable to secure a dedicated ROW downtown and unwilling to enforce the bus lanes we do have very well). So in a world with only so much money to go around, does it make more sense to try to get Franklin Park a one-seater to downtown, or make 2-seaters easier from Egleston, Franklin Park, Harambee Park, and Chez Vous all at once?
I just feel like running through Nubian shouldn't be leagues harder than running to and from Nubian. Why hasn't the city been able to do BRT successfully on Washington north of Nubian?

Everyone is trying to get to Nubian because it's both a destination and a way to get somewhere else, but that "somewhere else" is more often than not, not Park or DTX.
It doesn't need to be *the one* destination. If Nubian really is such a destination, then a connection to downtown should exist.
 

Stlin

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My point was that Washington from Egleston south is still walking distance to the orange line. Nubian certainly got shafted, but Egleston is a 10min walk from Stony Brook.

It doesn't need to be *the one* destination. If Nubian really is such a destination, then a connection to downtown should exist.
I mean... Egleston being that much closer to stony brook makes it harder to make a compelling ridership case. I don't think the catchment there is big enough to justify extending that far. In fact, it's almost definitely been hashed over thoroughly before in the early pages of this thread, but I would expect any south of Nubian to go via Warren and BHA, but then you run into the same problem competing with the Fairmont catchment.
 

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