Crazy Transit Pitches

F-Line to Dudley

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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
Keep in mind this was the second rapid transit flavor proposed by the BTC in '45, only it was to be hooked to some HRT line to be determined instead of interlining with Green. I don't know if the B&A era did any heavy circuiting of Highland Branch vs. mainline. There was always an engine facility at Riverside Yard, so it was probably not done all the time due to mainline congestion. Some of the time, though, there probably were real SS-Riverside-SS circuits.

The HRT line of course became impossible when the Pike gobbled B&A Tracks 3 & 4 in '65 after much infighting about whether the Pike Extension was going to glom directly to the B&A or take a more destructive path through Newton.

  • Back Bay-Brookline-Newton Highlands-Needham-West Roxbury-Forest Hills-Back Bay
This was indeed the B&A circuit. Split-jurisdiction running because NYNH&H was owner to W. Roxbury Jct., and after the Needham Cutoff was constructed the New Haven took over the long-haul runs to Woonsocket so the B&A could concentrate on the way more profitable circuit runs.
  • Back Bay-Forest Hills-West Roxbury-Dedham Center-Readville-Forest Hills-Back Bay
This was the New Haven's 'circuit'. Ran almost as frequent as the B&A circuit, so the service density thru W. Roxbury Station was absolutely incredible. Needham circuit, Dedham circuit, a sparser slate of Medfield-Bellingham-Woonsocket runs, and some sparse alt-routed Franklin Line trains as the Dedham Line was the original NY&NE mainline to Islington (the Midland from Islington to South Boston was built much later when the NY&NE got sick of getting gouged by Boston & Providence for trackage rights and built its own independent terminal in the Seaport).

Dedham Ctr.-Islington was cut in the mid-40's to widen Route 1 to 4 lanes (tracks were right to the side of the curb). Cash-strapped New Haven ended the Dedham 'circuit in '58 same year it half-assed took over the Upper Falls short-turns from B&A when the D truncated the Needham circuit. The remaining Dedham short-turn via Readville lasted into the MBTA subsidy era till '67 but was one of those pathetic 1 rush-hour trip only per peak phantom jobs. Dedham Line south of W. Rox was immediately abandoned by the New Haven and bought by the MTA as landbanking for the OL extension. That landbanking lasted until the T's 2008 decision at request of Town of Dedham to sell the Belle Ave. ROW for housing...an absolutely horrible, senseless decision after 60 years of proper landbanking practice. Yeah...it's established that Dedham is bizarro anti-transit world, but nobody put a gun to the agency's head to actually listen to them. Arrrrgh!!! Dedham Branch out of Readville remained active for freight till '93-95 to a small transload yard where the athletic fields next to the highway are, then abandonment + state landbanking was processed right about the time CSX swallowed Conrail in '99-00. Speaking of bizarro anti-transit world...Dedham this winter voted down--again--the latest trail proposal for the Dedham Branch. So that 100% grade-separated jaunt Readville-Dedham Ctr. is just going to sit there collecting weeds for another generation because they're the most transpo ass-backward municipality bar none inside Route 128.

For bonus points, you could go further and add service over the Fairmount Line into the mix, looping via Dedham.
Not quite...the Dedham Branch's junction (still active for T work equipment) was NEC-only, being a level below where Fairmount is. It framed one side of an island platform with the current Franklin-connector platform @ Readville. As ^above^ Fairmount-Franklin didn't exist through here till relatively late in history because the original mainline to Islington went via W. Rox/Dedham and Forest Hills. What today is Track 61 + Fairmount + Endicott/Dedham Corporate was the "new" grade-separated mainline to NY&NE's home terminal at the Seaport bypassing all the NEC trackage rights the then- Boston & Providence was nickel-and-diming them for.


Since Dedham is the land of "No!", however, and that trail isn't coming anytime soon...you *could* if Urban Rail takes off hot enough very easily fashion a service fork to Dedham Ctr. by laying a new bridge over the NEC and diving under Sprague St. on correct angle for the Dedham Branch. There will be room for that with the pending relocation of the current Fairmount-side Readville platform 200+ ft. north to a 2-track island. Dedham Branch is missing one overpass deck @ River St. (torn out approx. 5 years ago because it was in weak condition), and 1 overpass deck + abutment @ East St. into the former yard area by the athletic fields. The high school has taken out a revokable easement on the ROW for the driveway around the football field. You could either fight with them on revoking the easement (probably not advisable...too many kids really need the at-grade access), or dig about 800 ft. of capped box underpass (i.e. Wellington tunnel...not "tunnel-tunnel", so no ventilation considerations). Mt. Vernon and Walnut St.'s are already a road overpasses of the track cut (which was filled in a little for the school easement), so the inclines on both sides would be negligible. Just provision it to double-track width for future-proofing, because this has *slight*/minimal-priority future potential of absorbing a Red Line extension out of Mattapan via new River St. subway + Fairmount Tks. 3 & 4 berths to Readville. Intermediate stops till '67 used to be East Dedham @ River St., Stone Haven by Mt. Vernon, and Dedham Ctr. abutting the highway and High St./East St. intersection.

(And expect Dedham townies to shit all over it regardless of what a good and reasonably sane/easy-implementation idea it may be.)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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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.
Egleston is a tortured example. It's close as crow-flies, but the walkshed from Stony Brook sucks balls. Absolutely none of the side streets align directly and it requires going 2+ blocks out of your way to make a transit connection. They arguably goofed by placing Stony Brook under Boylston St. instead of Atherton 2 blocks up, the straightest shot to Egleston of any street on the grid. Egleston is badly transit-isolated as a result. Stony Brook's ridership is second-lowest on all of Orange (a smidge below Green St.) and an outsized crater compared to adjacent Jackson Sq.'s 38% higher boardings. Given how large Egleston used to be on the El...that's another case where mobility was wrecked and the neighborhood transit shares simply disappeared.

What makes this one painful is that it didn't have to be so bad a whiff if they modified the SB placement to Atherton and didn't fret so overly much about it being close to Jackson. Then you're at least 1700 ft. straight-line to dead-center Egleston...not a great walk, but heaploads better than minimum 1-1/2 times that distance from present-day SB and a wayfinding nightmare of multiple turns. And more amenable to bus accommodation of some of Egleston's 4 rapid transit-orphaned routes via loop-shooting down the Atherton/W. Walnut Park one-way pair than the fat lot of zero Yellow Line transfers SB accommodates today for its meager boardings. Blame it on arbitary decisions. Stony Brook was the traditional NEC RR station back in the days when heavy Urban Rail-ish frequencies were rotating out to Forest Hills on the "Dedham Circuit" and "Needham Circuit". All of today's Orange SW Corridor stops excluding Ruggles were hyper-local commuter rail stops on the 'circuits' until the 40's-50's, but the 'circuits' were a completely different travel market vs. the El it worked alongside. SW Corridor planners kvetched excessively about moving SB from its RR location to the Atherton block over closeness to Jackson Sq...but in the process they totally ignored the screams of the neighborhood that it had to be done to keep Egleston from getting orphaned. They went with the stet RR location misreading the need to bend for a different purpose, and the rest is history. Egleston got sacked with way more severe transit loss than crow-flies distance should've ever allowed, and Stony Brook ended up Orange's single biggest underperforming station hosting zero bus routes and cannibalizing Green St. ridership from excessive closeness instead of the overblown fears about Jackson intrusion.

Theoretically this is still a fixable problem. Do the Atherton relocation, rope in a loop-shoot pick 'em of 2 of Egleston's 4 bus routes and flat-out stiffen the bus frequencies in the Square via some of those Nubian-outflow bucket list upgrades, and don't worry about Jackson duplication because that's now well-entrenched as a destination in its own right. Has this ever been proposed? No...of course not. Outside-in voices still get all concern-trolly about stop spacing when it's all about the alignment of the street grid and messed-up walksheds therein.

The mostly fixable problems with Egleston end up their own tale of woe fully intertwined with "equal or better" because the outreach to the neighborhood is still generationally fucked. That's how you have "one of these is not like the other" on a 2D map read of relative-distance urgencies...become a functional real-world "both of these senselessly suffered the same fate" for transit access denied. Egleston is practically just as transit-fucked as Nubian so long as there's complete outside-in unwillingness to give it a second look for all its supposedly easier fixes.
 

nick

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I'm enjoying this back and forth, so thank you all. I find this topic of what to do with the Needham Line interesting. I agree with the general framework: Green Line branch in Needham and Orange Line extension through Roslindale and West Roxbury. I've always wondered a few things:
  1. Phasing. How would this realistically be built? Both lines at the same time in one clean swoop ($$$)? Needham Branch Green Line first and then and Orange Line extension later (since presumably CR service could still be provided through WR/Roslindale)? Cut off Needham entirely for some period of time by extending the Orange Line first?
  2. Bus Terminal. I've always read that the ability to terminate some or all bus routes from the south heading toward Forest Hills at some other place is a big benefit of an Orange Line extension. After all, why have so many buses running along Washington Street to the Forest Hills upper busway if they parallel the Orange Line and could stop at Roslindale Village? In the abstract, I get it--I'm sure most bus riders are trying to get the Orange Line, not necessarily Forest Hills, and shorter routes means you could reinvest that saved time back into the routes to improve frequencies (or reinvest operational funds on other routes). But is that really a wise move, even with an Orange Line extension? A mega-transfer station like Forest Hills allows a rider to transfer once for a lot of route flexibility. Truncating routes elsewhere breaks that relationship and rider convenience, unless the other routes coming from the north (or Hyde Park Ave...?) are extended or rerouted to the new terminal to compensate. Breaking the link between all these routes and the 39 would be a bad move, I think.
  3. Bus Routing. The most interesting piece, I think, is how the MBTA would modify bus routes should the Orange Line extension pan out. Do they all still survive? In particular, what happens to the 35, 36, 37? Are the 30 and 51 combined into a cross-town-through-Roslindale-Village route? Are there feeder corridors in West Roxbury and Roslindale begging for new bus routes in a post-Orange Line extension world?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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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.

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?
1901-10 it terminated at Dudley. 1910 was the Forest Hills extension. The debate about El teardown and "equal or better" was all about Nubian-inbound.

See last post re: Egleston. It was not thought that Egleston transit would be more than moderately inconvenienced by the loss of the El so long as stop selection on the SW Corridor was mindful about picking the right street-grid pairings. Distance-wise, Egleston-NEC via Atherton St. was within rounding error's sameness of the difference between Thompson Sq. and Community College stations on the old vs. new Charlestown alignments, where the 1975 service relocation went off without a hitch and did not unduly punish the 92 which didn't make the trip down the street from Thompson. Egleston had more bus routes and thus somewhat higher stakes, but it was thought that with some already originating from Jackson Sq. that filet options could equitably cover the non-Jackson routes with quick shoot down the street.

SW Corridor planners didn't listen to the neighborhood on station siting. They went with the rote RR-era Stony Brook station site that served a completely alien audience (i.e. dense 1950's & prior Dedham/Needham 'circuit' service) than what the El used on grounds that moving it 2 blocks to center on street grid access would mess up stop spacing to Jackson. Debate cut off cold...no alternative sitings considered. Egleston was thus hard-cut off from the walkshed which now involves getting dragged minimum 2 blocks off-center from either the Square or SB station on one end, and is hard wayfinding because of the multiple turns required and multitude of different street choices for making the turns. SB ended up hosting zero buses...which cratered its ridership. And the adherence to traditional NEC RR station siting applied to an El replacement era ended up backfiring, as for all the overblown concerns about excessive closeness to Jackson Sq. it was Green St. that Stony Brook ended up partially cannibalizing...making the pair of them the lowest-utilized Orange Line stations by far.


Well-executed by listening to the damn neighborhood, Egleston transit didn't have to become a wipeout. But that's exactly what happened. Sure, it's more easily fixable than the breakage at Nubian which is why the "equal or better" debate today hasn't really expanded upon its base. But do you ever hear anything but crickets about improving Egleston transit? Or troubleshooting the ridership wipeout at Stony Brook by studying repositioning of the station closer to a known walkshed? No. Once fucked up thou shalt never be unfucked by the Planning Gods. So we get useless peans like "oh, suck it up it's close on a map" when map ≠ functional walkshed, and writ-large accessibility is a sliding scale vs. a healthy individual's walkshed. It could be different at modest cost, but there's no signs anyone on the outside cares enough to listen. And that in turn rolls up into the whole world-of-hurt suspicion that underlies "equal or better" politics.

Boston’s lack of cross-town transit and it’s lack of connectivity between downtown and the southern neighborhoods are two different problems, imo.
You'll get no argument from this thread on that point. So why, then, is there such persistent apparent animus that downtown pipe vs. the radial bucket list are at odds with each other? Was it not duly explained that if you study the neighborhood for what its priorities are, you can establish strength-of-signal for whether a downtown pipe is significant enough plurality demand to line up the megabucks resources for? And maybe it IS a consensus win-win??? Why, then, is so much shade getting cast at the neighborhood at the possibility that they wouldn't see as strong a majority/plurality demand as you might and thus it must be forced on them outside-in?

It belies a sense that a neighborhood expressing its own self-determination to name its priorities is only useful when those priorities just so happen to line up with outside Planning God's. Maybe Planning God is being utterly benevolent and attempted-helpful here, but when that same exact set of circumstances smote their transit with generations of ruination when it broke in a most very malevolent way is exactly why they have PTSD about trusting outside voices. If you'd rather not be bothered with saddling up and dialogue around those PTSD triggers, perhaps a change in approach to that dialogue is first order of business.

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?
This was explained over and over in the history Cliffs Notes. The Silver Line is not BRT. Lack of any enforced protection for its so-called bus lanes makes it bullshit on its face as branded BRT. They knew it was an expensively restickered 49 bus all along and that the only goal was to get SL Phase III and the Seaport pipe funded through shotgun marriage. The earliest proposals for it had better traffic lane separation than what actually got built. Even straight-on benchmarked LRT vs. TT modes. Once the shotgun marriage for Seaport juvenation became the all-encompassing focus, they started kicking planks out from under Washington St.'s basic functioning. They knew years before it was ever formally announced as such that it would never be a run-thru transit line to South Station with the Orange & Red transfers because of the shit-sandwich ops....that Washington would be a forced-loop transfer in a cavern under Boylston with just a Green Line transfer, nothing else. Once that was settled there was no point to even trying to enforce the sanctity of bus lanes via parking reconfigs or pay more than lip service to transit signal priority. It was broken by design to shit all over what was left of the "equal or better" commitment because everybody was green with envy over the Seaport.


It doesn't need to be *the one* destination. If Nubian really is such a destination, then a connection to downtown should exist.
Which...would exactly be the case if they *honestly* built the Silver Line with real traffic separation instead of using it as a set-up to shovel money at the Seaport. But this was a wholly planned breakage of transit. And that's why the neighborhood is so suspicious of being told by outsiders what's good for them. They got shit on again and again and again to further someone else's pet projects.

This is why we keep imploring on this thread to read up on the history. Planning God isn't going to be listened to telling them from on-high what they should be doing. It's got to be embedded from a springboard within the neighborhood's priorities to get anywhere. Exactly how Take Two of the 28X hit paydirt with this new proposal slow-cooked through a decade of careful City-cum-neighborhood workshopping instead of 2009 where--as many posters have attested from personal memory--the state just showed up one day and started dictating at them how things would be (again!) without making any honest effort at dialogue.

I can say it till I'm blue in the face...you *might* find real juice for a stronger downtown pipe that's very much in agreement with what you propose. It hasn't been studied so we of course don't know. There are an awful lot of wavelengths to explore in their transit priority bucket list. But it has zero chance of gaining traction is it isn't going to be a full-on mind meld born within those neighborhood priorities and workshopped to the nines with the neighborhood. The second there's a glint of "I know what's better for you than you think you do" it's...fucking...over, because that's an immediate trigger for Roxbury's PTSD.

This inquiry ain't getting anywhere if first act is anything other than immersing with interest in the history to refine the approach. Asking again and again why things just can't be so doesn't advance it to a point of usefulness. The reply (not just from me...we've got a whole chorus now) is going to be "because the history...read up."
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'm enjoying this back and forth, so thank you all. I find this topic of what to do with the Needham Line interesting. I agree with the general framework: Green Line branch in Needham and Orange Line extension through Roslindale and West Roxbury. I've always wondered a few things:
  1. Phasing. How would this realistically be built? Both lines at the same time in one clean swoop ($$$)? Needham Branch Green Line first and then and Orange Line extension later (since presumably CR service could still be provided through WR/Roslindale)? Cut off Needham entirely for some period of time by extending the Orange Line first?
If the RUR traffic noose is the driver, then they have to be planned in-tandem. Now...for phasing, GLX from Newton Highlands to New England Business Ctr. and/or TV Place on the other side of 128 is the ideal down payment because that's the all-new transit portion that doesn't impact any existing ops. Indeed, City of Newton is advocating for just that as a down-payment build before the rest for sole purposes of value capture on those $billions$ in TOD they're constructing along Needham St. The City of Newton presentation is linkied in the Dev Forum thread on Needham/Newton, specifically how through-the-moon YUUUUUGE the economic impact of a fully built-out NEBC is.

I suppose then finishing the job to Needham Jct. is the easiest Step 2. The new Green Line station & yard would live inside the footprint of the Needham Jct. wye and not wrap around to the historic train station on the Needham Cutoff...i.e. a flip across the street. So you could triage by running CR schedules to Junction with shuttle buses to Heights + GLX @ TV Place in the interim while the 1.5 miles of track downtown is out-of-service for quick conversion. The Millis tail storage to High Rock St. and an ad-hoc siding extension can easily serve as homeless-man's layover for what crap passes as the weekday schedule here. Since none of the grade crossings really need to go and the stations are all open-access/at-grade like the D's and not prepayment in a pit like Somerville you're not talking an enormous construction period for doing the conversion. Possibly could even get some starter chores done like re-grading/fencing the ROW and pouring trolley pole abutments while CR is still running normally to Heights. If CR is still taking the weekends off here the work windows for useful prep will be wiiiiiiide open.

After GLX initiates to Junction then you obviously pull back CR across the river immediately. Presumably the same work windows are in effect bookending full CR schedules for prepping the Boston corridor for conversion to shorten the outage as much as possible. If they aren't ready to pull the immediate plug and start blitzing away, then I guess there'd be an interregnum of W. Rox CR short-turns and the VFW Pkwy. double-track used as makeshift layover (in the meantime they'd be pulling up the rails through Cutler & Hersey for the rail trail linking Medfield with Boston). The bigger proliferation of buses out here makes propping up transit levels during the conversion shutdown quite a bit easier than in Needham where only the 59 runs.

  1. Bus Terminal. I've always read that the ability to terminate some or all bus routes from the south heading toward Forest Hills at some other place is a big benefit of an Orange Line extension. After all, why have so many buses running along Washington Street to the Forest Hills upper busway if they parallel the Orange Line and could stop at Roslindale Village? In the abstract, I get it--I'm sure most bus riders are trying to get the Orange Line, not necessarily Forest Hills, and shorter routes means you could reinvest that saved time back into the routes to improve frequencies (or reinvest operational funds on other routes). But is that really a wise move, even with an Orange Line extension? A mega-transfer station like Forest Hills allows a rider to transfer once for a lot of route flexibility. Truncating routes elsewhere breaks that relationship and rider convenience, unless the other routes coming from the north (or Hyde Park Ave...?) are extended or rerouted to the new terminal to compensate. Breaking the link between all these routes and the 39 would be a bad move, I think.
It's a sliding scale of practicality. Mega terminals are nice...but Forest Hills is cosmically overloaded today as a mega-terminal and that limits the useful improvements you could make to frequencies of any route that touches it because the core terminal is so far over-capacity. So thinning the herd on Lower Washington's route-duplication by sending some routes to Rozzie Sq. isn't just about emptying FH in lateral trade. It's about diverting surplus from FH so you can re-fill it back up with service enhancements elsewhere. So big-picture wise it's not a lateral at all...it is BIGTIME service expansion to the mega-terminal itself.

Which routes you choose to cull @ Rozzie is also going to be subject to further study. Right now there's 9 that dupe each other down Lower Washington. Clearly about 2x too many, where Washington would flow a lot better if there were only like 4 routes instead. All of them, including the ones that stay on Washington after the Belgrade split, are able to loop at Rozzie Station busway. So it'll take some deep-diving of numbers to determine which ones have unique thru-to-FH catchments vs. there being no functional difference whether they dump @ Rozzie or FH. In-the-weeds stuff like staffers with counters on each route surveying who's getting off on Washington between the two Squares on which route vs. who isn't. All you can say is that in the universe of surveyed routes...there's probably clear enough decisions to whittle the Lower Washington route duplication down to a more manageable 3-4 routes or so that allow FH terminal to re-load for more. Similarly there'd be a lot of surveying on who's transferring to the 39 or 31; it's going to be a different slice of the pie on any given route.

The good news is by forcing a fresh set of comprehensive data collection for FH terminal the first time...ever?...some of the improvements for re-backfilling FH Terminal will become screamingly obvious and immediately actionable where today they're either lost in uncounted statistical noise or guesstimates that haven't been means-tested.

  1. Bus Routing. The most interesting piece, I think, is how the MBTA would modify bus routes should the Orange Line extension pan out. Do they all still survive? In particular, what happens to the 35, 36, 37? Are the 30 and 51 combined into a cross-town-through-Roslindale-Village route? Are there feeder corridors in West Roxbury and Roslindale begging for new bus routes in a post-Orange Line extension world?
As with GLX and the whole North-region bus route reboot that's to come after College Ave. and/or Route 16 is substantially complete...you're going to see a major route map re-draw out west anyway. 35/36/37 all doubling-up each other across the OL extension corridors means 3 routes are easily going to collapse to 1 on the overlap portion and where those get re-drawn instead (from a W. Rox or Rozzie terminus) is going to be way different than today. Golden opportunity to infill the Dedham bus desert at long last with generous extension of those routes from a W. Rox base if the Dedham NIMBY's are ever willing. Possibly also some love thrown at the homeless-man's radial 52 pinging between the D Line @ Newton Centre and OL @ W. Rox; whole new level of demand uncorked there. Ditto the meandering 51 out of Reservoir. This portion of the fold-out system map is largely unchanged from its BERy streetcar days, so some of these routings are very long-in-tooth and have not evolved nearly enough with the times. As blank-ish canvases go there is a LOT to do out here.

Also...because the OL storage yard would be out by Millennium Park where land is plentiful and huge power grid facility is there for plugging in an end-of-line 600V DC substation, tail tracks will be crossing over VFW Parkway any which way. That serves up ready opportunity for an "excuse-me" final infill station @ VFW that can offer a little bit of non-overkill parking via the Home Depot lot. As long as it's a cheapie add seems like a no-brainer if the trains are going to be deadheading-to-yard there anyway. So VFW is also fair-game as a bus corridor unto itself, which it really doesn't do very much of now except for the short Dedham-terminating rump end of 52. Maybe 51/52 or augmentation therein become parkway-goer radials spanning OL with D & D/C to the north and Dedham Mall + :15 Urban Rail-ified Dedham Corporate to the south?
 

Riverside

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The other thing to bear in mind is that I can't see any Orange Line extension beyond Roslindale Village happening until and unless a proper Orange Line Transformation project is well under way. Full replacement and expansion of the fleet, infrastructure improvements to improve reliability and headways... I think all of that needs to be well underway before an extension to West Roxbury will be taken seriously. And, if I had to bet, I'd say that things will be ready to go on the Green Line significantly before the Orange. So, yes, Green will almost certainly happen first, Orange might take a lot longer.

(@nick, if nothing else, the current Orange Line fleet doesn't have enough trains to support an effective extension to West Roxbury -- in theory, they currently have enough trainsets to support ~6-minute headways during rush hour, but the reality is that those headways often stretch to 10-minutes, and that problem would just get worse if you added another 3 miles to the running distance -- an increase of over 27%.)

As I think I alluded to in my post a few weeks back, honestly I think what will actually prompt the Orange Line extension is if/when the commuter rail ops team announces that Needham Commuter Rail trains will start terminating at Roslindale Village/Forest Hills, due to a need for expanded capacity on the NEC to support South Coast Rail, or Amtrak expansion, or what have you. That would be my bet as to when push will come to shove, as it were.
 

JeffDowntown

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The other thing to bear in mind is that I can't see any Orange Line extension beyond Roslindale Village happening until and unless a proper Orange Line Transformation project is well under way. Full replacement and expansion of the fleet, infrastructure improvements to improve reliability and headways... I think all of that needs to be well underway before an extension to West Roxbury will be taken seriously. And, if I had to bet, I'd say that things will be ready to go on the Green Line significantly before the Orange. So, yes, Green will almost certainly happen first, Orange might take a lot longer.

(@nick, if nothing else, the current Orange Line fleet doesn't have enough trains to support an effective extension to West Roxbury -- in theory, they currently have enough trainsets to support ~6-minute headways during rush hour, but the reality is that those headways often stretch to 10-minutes, and that problem would just get worse if you added another 3 miles to the running distance -- an increase of over 27%.)

As I think I alluded to in my post a few weeks back, honestly I think what will actually prompt the Orange Line extension is if/when the commuter rail ops team announces that Needham Commuter Rail trains will start terminating at Roslindale Village/Forest Hills, due to a need for expanded capacity on the NEC to support South Coast Rail, or Amtrak expansion, or what have you. That would be my bet as to when push will come to shove, as it were.
I think you are overly optimistic about Green Line Transformation timing, and underestimating the changes the current scheduled work on the Orange Line will bring about.

The CRRC fleet replacement for the Orange Line will be accompanied with the complete signal overhaul of the line. That signal overhaul will be completed by the time the final CRRC train sets enter service (no reason to do it before, because only the new train sets can use the new signals). That is all going to be completed well before Green Line Transformation has any real impact on service. And it would be easy to add more CRRC train sets, if that were a priority.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I think you are overly optimistic about Green Line Transformation timing, and underestimating the changes the current scheduled work on the Orange Line will bring about.

The CRRC fleet replacement for the Orange Line will be accompanied with the complete signal overhaul of the line. That signal overhaul will be completed by the time the final CRRC train sets enter service (no reason to do it before, because only the new train sets can use the new signals). That is all going to be completed well before Green Line Transformation has any real impact on service. And it would be easy to add more CRRC train sets, if that were a priority.
Kind of doesn't matter. For what we're talking about here with the OL/GL swallow of Needham you still need to put the project through design-build no matter how immaculately-studied it is and how set-it/forget-it the station sitings may be. If the Rail Vision commitment pulls the ripcord on Purple-Needham replacement, you're still looking at 10 years at hurry-up pace to enact the conversion. The _LT projects will be well finished by then. The respective timeframes are in no way conflicting.
 

roy_mustang76

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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.
This is one of the statements that bugs me and outs you as someone unfamiliar with the area we're trying to plan for. Which is fine, we aren't all familiar with every area of the city. But it's the sort of statement that gets dander up in the community, which is the main point F-Line and I are trying to get across. It's easy to Google Maps and say "yeah Egleston is 10 min from the Orange Line, that ought to be fine", whereas it's really just advisable to go to Stony Brook (if you are game) and try to make your way to Egleston on foot. It's doable, but the issue of the station siting vs what it looks like on a map becomes immediately apparent. For bonus points, keep walking to White Stadium (which would have been part of the El's walkshed), and you'll see that although it's not a terrible walk for a young able-bodied person, it starts getting a lot tougher for lower mobility passengers (the sort that could probably hack a quarter mile, but not 3 times that).

I've never seen F-Line's proposal of moving the station siting to Atherton before, that would help simplify matters quite a bit for wayfinding and is a good idea. It would also slightly shorten the route, and if you had some routes terminate there, you'd strengthen the buses that can cover the lost portion of the walkshed. Do you see the difference between that and some of the proposals over in the Gondola thread of "make improvements to pedestrian and bike infrastructure", whatever that is supposed to mean on those streets?

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 old El ran all the way to Forest Hills along Washington Street. Phase I of the El ran to Nubian (nee Dudley), and is arguably the more impactful of the two segments. You could run LRT to Egleston, but if you're going past Nubian, Warren is a better corridor because it is further from the Orange Line, and you can then use buses to strengthen the overall network in the area. (At a guess, it's probably the direction out of Nubian with the most straight line demand too, but you'd need a study for that.) A radial bus linking Orange at Jackson/Stony Brook, Green at Grove Hall (Warren, BHA, and other Washington), and Red at Fields Corner via Geneva, for example, would allow for more convenient crosstown trips to/from Grove Hall (which is one of those sprinkler head O/D pairs from Nubian right now)

Boston’s lack of cross-town transit and it’s lack of connectivity between downtown and the southern neighborhoods are two different problems, imo.
No argument there, but given that there's only one funding pot, the community tends to prioritize cross-town transit over a killshot to downtown.

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?
Again, a trip to the area if you can swing it successfully will prove extremely instructive. SL-Washington isn't really BRT, it's got pretty red bus lanes with zero enforcement. Cars impinge upon the bus lanes at will, double park, use the lanes for turn lanes and generally make it no better than any other bus other than some bells and whistles at the stops themselves. On top of that, it has no infrastructure at the critical terminal ends Downtown or Nubian, which is of course where the worst traffic of any given trip is.

It doesn't need to be *the one* destination. If Nubian really is such a destination, then a connection to downtown should exist.
Agreed! That connection does not inherently need to extend past Nubian, however, if you think carefully about Nubian's role as a collecting and distributing node. There might not be adequate demand to extend LRT past Nubian, maybe there are other touches you can use to ameliorate the rest of the Washington corridor (like F-Line's Stony Brook relocation). It does need to be something other than the Silver Line though, as we've discussed that's not an adequate Downtown pipe for Nubian as it stands.
 
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jbray

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This is one of the statements that bugs me and outs you as someone unfamiliar with the area we're trying to plan for. Which is fine, we aren't all familiar with every area of the city. But it's the sort of statement that gets dander up in the community, which is the main point F-Line and I are trying to get across.
You and F-Line are doing the same thing in reverse. This is a total pot kettle black scenario. Because Arborway is gone and is not coming back, Stony Brook is a compromise pick that lines up well enough with BOTH sides that lost their direct transit. Emphasis on the well enough. Your arguments for change are so central Egelston specific that it overlooks everything else to favor your view. I lived off of Lamartine street for years, the Atherton move would have messed up transit connections for the other side of the walkshed (which lines up well enough) to move Stony Brook too close to Jackson Square station just for Egelston Square proper. You don't seem to care that Boylston is the tributary road for that side and that ridership can't just easily move to Green Street due to the road network and elevation. You're not even talking about south Egelston which is what they were pointing out that "outed" them. Maybe you haven't noticed that Egelston proper stayed stagnant and the Boylston section of Washington has redeveloped given the new proximity to the station. "Outed' indeed.

In a future world, the E Line will/could go to the end of South Huntington and make this more moot. In the current day in age, Stony Brook is a compromise station that had the space to be there where the geography of the park space doesn't exist for Atherton (due to the historic station on the same spot).

Apologies for being riled up here, genuinely. I was just going to comment on the lack of looking at the holistic picture before, then I read the commentary about insider knowledge vs outsider knowledge and it was too rich in irony.
 

roy_mustang76

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You and F-Line are doing the same thing in reverse. This is a total pot kettle black scenario. Because Arborway is gone and is not coming back, Stony Brook is a compromise pick that lines up well enough with BOTH sides that lost their direct transit. Emphasis on the well enough. Your arguments for change are so central Egelston specific that it overlooks everything else to favor your view. I lived off of Lamartine street for years, the Atherton move would have messed up transit connections for the other side of the walkshed (which lines up well enough) to move Stony Brook too close to Jackson Square station just for Egelston Square proper. You don't seem to care that Boylston is the tributary road for that side and that ridership can't just easily move to Green Street due to the road network and elevation. You're not even talking about south Egelston which is what they were pointing out that "outed" them. Maybe you haven't noticed that Egelston proper stayed stagnant and the Boylston section of Washington has redeveloped given the new proximity to the station. "Outed' indeed.

In a future world, the E Line will/could go to the end of South Huntington and make this more moot. In the current day in age, Stony Brook is a compromise station that had the space to be there where the geography of the park space doesn't exist for Atherton (due to the historic station on the same spot).

Apologies for being riled up here, genuinely. I was just going to comment on the lack of looking at the holistic picture before, then I read the commentary about insider knowledge vs outsider knowledge and it was too rich in irony.
I'd argue in response that the other side of the walkshed was harmed most by the temporary-to-permanent suspension of Arborway service. In fact my entire stance is that putting the OL in the cut and taking away the two flanking transit modes (Arborway and the El) put the transit in a shitty spot for both Centre and Washington corridors. There's room for everyone to be annoyed with station placement here. The E going to the end of South Huntington is asking a lot less than building a new RT line from Downtown to Nubian to Egleston/Grove Hall/Mattapan (take your pick), and doing that plus flipping Stony Brook to Atherton (you and F-Line can duke it out as to whether that's spatially feasible) helps BOTH sides of the walkshed. And even if that's a non-starter, it's something concrete that can be debated. A handwaving "well it's not that far, we can make some improvements to make the walk nicer" isn't even that.

I have a really hard time buying that they couldn't have figured out a way to squeeze in a station at Atherton instead of Boylston at the time though. The whole point was that they were reusing a highway corridor! Might not be feasible here in 2020 though, and that is a fair objection.

I have noticed where the development has happened, and that's great! But I've also noticed where the stagnation has happened, and there's a pretty bright line correlation to proximity to transit there.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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You and F-Line are doing the same thing in reverse. This is a total pot kettle black scenario. Because Arborway is gone and is not coming back, Stony Brook is a compromise pick that lines up well enough with BOTH sides that lost their direct transit.
Who's bringing up Arborway? ^This post^ is the first anyone has spoken of that. Don't get all pissy at an ongoing discussion that never once cast any aspersions there. :rolleyes:


Second...I don't know how much more succinct an explainer is necessary for why Stony Brook sputters and misfires as the arse-end misfit of the entire line. The walkshed is overlong and very obtuse because of the street grid orientation going all slanted at that one and only spot. When the stop was proposed the neighborhood was given NO choice in the matter. The state said "Either take the rote-retread RR station placement, or we skip straight from Jackson to Green." All the neighborhood said was that the RR stop...being a former complement of the El when it was a faceless spacer on the Dedham/Needham 'circuit' patterns...needed a placement tweak vs. the grid to shape-shift to the role of replacement. Atherton (save for a slight curve and some trees) is almost in eyeshot of Egleston...the same walkshed distance as replacement CC is to old Thompson Square. They got told to pound sand. Stony Brook today is a ridership crater that goofed in the wrong direction on the state's pound-sand stance that moving it would cannibalize Jackson Sq. ridership. The rote RR station placement in a non-adjusted El-replacement universe meant Green St. was the one that got its ridership cannibalized from being too close. They're both off-scale loss leaders because the state didn't want to listen. Thanks to Nubian transit still being broken 16 years into troubleshooting the Silver Line and the neighborhood perennially being bent back in a defensive posture over there...there have been no viable opportunities to expand the transit fixes map to pitch any practical fixes for what ails Egleston.

But sure...can't be arsed to pay attention to the discussion of the history and mechanics at work here, and it's all a brush-off "compromise pick that lines up well enough with BOTH sides that lost their transit" because you said so. Way to prove a point about outside-in attitudes not giving a crap except for their pet causes. If this discussion bores you, nobody's putting a gun to your head to partake in it much less shit all over the participants. Jesus Christ.

Emphasis on the well enough. Your arguments for change are so central Egelston specific that it overlooks everything else to favor your view. I lived off of Lamartine street for years, the Atherton move would have messed up transit connections for the other side of the walkshed (which lines up well enough) to move Stony Brook too close to Jackson Square station just for Egelston Square proper. You don't seem to care that Boylston is the tributary road for that side and that ridership can't just easily move to Green Street due to the road network and elevation. You're not even talking about south Egelston which is what they were pointing out that "outed" them. Maybe you haven't noticed that Egelston proper stayed stagnant and the Boylston section of Washington has redeveloped given the new proximity to the station. "Outed' indeed.
How? You have one contrary opinion about personal-experience transit orientation so the whole weight of the actual 4 decade debate is meaningless and anyone who cites it is moving goalposts? Nobody's pulling this shit out of their own asses. This was the debate in the 70's and 80's about stop spacing. Jackson over-spacing was a concern, yes. The state also said "take our station siting as it is or we don't build shit at all here and skip straight-on Jackson-Green" to shut down the discussion. How's that for messing up people's transit connections? Toe the line or hoof it to Green all the same WHILE suffering the same Square-centered breakage? What a bargain! The go-pound-sand mandate was no more than antagonism for antagonism's sake.

And...really...comparing the Boylston block to an established square like Egleston??? There's 5000 Census residents living on the single block-radius defined by the Square. How many live on the Boylston block fronting Amory St.? Did the standard of living increase for a similar population density in the not-square-with-no-name fronting Stony Brook as much as it declined from broken transit in populous Egleston in the years since the breakage? Don't lob the cherry-picking accusation if that's the weak-sauce being held up as proof of rigged discussion.

In a future world, the E Line will/could go to the end of South Huntington and make this more moot. In the current day in age, Stony Brook is a compromise station that had the space to be there where the geography of the park space doesn't exist for Atherton (due to the historic station on the same spot).
1) Who's having the imaginary Arborway shouting match again here?

2) Stony Brook of same 2D coordinates of old RR station is not the old RR station site. Cue Historic Aerials 1978 view, please. The NEC used to run on a gigantic viaduct OVER the street grid. It's now 50 feet deeper in the cut, the street grid re-aligned, and SW Corridor Park at the top of the wall + the air rights cover over more than doubling the amount of park acreage between '79 and '87. The old 30-years-abandoned SB platform is readily visible on the '78 HA view abutting the claustrophobic Boylston overpass. Lamartine Gardens park on the west was covered in shadows from the adjacent viaduct, and there was industrial crapola flotsam abutting the whole east side.

Apologies for being riled up here, genuinely. I was just going to comment on the lack of looking at the holistic picture before, then I read the commentary about insider knowledge vs outsider knowledge and it was too rich in irony.
Irony...yeah, we're dripping in it alright. The sidebar didn't take an antagonistic tone because somebody threw the first mud wad; it was always that way. Strawmen? Look at this house of straw these guys are building, says the first person to fling Arborway as an epithet. And so on and so on.

This was (hopefully still is) an engrossing, civil discussion. Get your aggro out somewhere else if you're in a filthy mood today. There is no need for this behavior.
 
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Blackbird

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This is why we keep imploring on this thread to read up on the history. Planning God isn't going to be listened to telling them from on-high what they should be doing. It's got to be embedded from a springboard within the neighborhood's priorities to get anywhere. Exactly how Take Two of the 28X hit paydirt with this new proposal slow-cooked through a decade of careful City-cum-neighborhood workshopping instead of 2009 where--as many posters have attested from personal memory--the state just showed up one day and started dictating at them how things would be (again!) without making any honest effort at dialogue.

I can say it till I'm blue in the face...you *might* find real juice for a stronger downtown pipe that's very much in agreement with what you propose. It hasn't been studied so we of course don't know. There are an awful lot of wavelengths to explore in their transit priority bucket list. But it has zero chance of gaining traction is it isn't going to be a full-on mind meld born within those neighborhood priorities and workshopped to the nines with the neighborhood.
So every transit project from now on will need 11 years of workshopping before logistics can be planned? Both the needs of the neighborhood and the available technology can change a ton in the span of 11 years!

This is one of the statements that bugs me and outs you as someone unfamiliar with the area we're trying to plan for. Which is fine, we aren't all familiar with every area of the city. But it's the sort of statement that gets dander up in the community, which is the main point F-Line and I are trying to get across. It's easy to Google Maps and say "yeah Egleston is 10 min from the Orange Line, that ought to be fine", whereas it's really just advisable to go to Stony Brook (if you are game) and try to make your way to Egleston on foot. It's doable, but the issue of the station siting vs what it looks like on a map becomes immediately apparent. For bonus points, keep walking to White Stadium (which would have been part of the El's walkshed), and you'll see that although it's not a terrible walk for a young able-bodied person, it starts getting a lot tougher for lower mobility passengers (the sort that could probably hack a quarter mile, but not 3 times that).

Again, a trip to the area if you can swing it successfully will prove extremely instructive.
You and F-Line could both cool it with the condescension, Colonel. :cautious:

I'll admit that Roxbury and Mattapan aren't exactly my stomping grounds. However, my best friend from high school lives in Fields Corner near Savin Hill, and the drive from Rozzi would bring me down American Legion to BHA to Columbia Road. From my place on Fort Hill, I'd go Circuit to Warren, cross BHA, then take Dudley down through Uphams. I worked in JP, and the drive home to Fort Hill could take me down Amory to Columbus to Washington in order to avoid traffic on Center to Jackson. Had a co-worker who lived on BHA near Seaver, and I drove him home a few times. I'm not some ignoramus in Saugus, whose only familiarity with the area is Google Maps. I don't know the bus networks that well, but I know the streets enough to navigate them.

I'll admit though that in high school, when I had to get to White Stadium for a football game, I'd take the orange line to Green then walk up Glen and through the park. If the walk from Stony was faster, no one ever bothered to tell me.

The old El ran all the way to Forest Hills along Washington Street. Phase I of the El ran to Nubian (nee Dudley), and is arguably the more impactful of the two segments. You could run LRT to Egleston, but if you're going past Nubian, Warren is a better corridor because it is further from the Orange Line, and you can then use buses to strengthen the overall network in the area. (At a guess, it's probably the direction out of Nubian with the most straight line demand too, but you'd need a study for that.) A radial bus linking Orange at Jackson/Stony Brook, Green at Grove Hall (Warren, BHA, and other Washington), and Red at Fields Corner via Geneva, for example, would allow for more convenient crosstown trips to/from Grove Hall (which is one of those sprinkler head O/D pairs from Nubian right now)
Yes.

SL-Washington isn't really BRT, it's got pretty red bus lanes with zero enforcement. Cars impinge upon the bus lanes at will, double park, use the lanes for turn lanes and generally make it no better than any other bus other than some bells and whistles at the stops themselves.
Nubian and DT aside, what's stopping the city from putting up barriers and banning on-street parking on Washington in the South End tomorrow? Just political will?

That connection does not inherently need to extend past Nubian, however, if you think carefully about Nubian's role as a collecting and distributing node. There might not be adequate demand to extend LRT past Nubian
Some more about my background: before I moved to Rozzi, I lived in Brighton, walking distance from the B-line. While the B-line is unacceptably slow, it was great because I could get on and doze off, or listen to music, or read a book. Then, bam!, I was downtown and I could go to the movies, walk around the common, get a cannoli, go to a food court. It was great!

When I moved to Rozzi, going downtown became way more of a chore, because my one seat ride got turned into a 2 seat ride. My go-to buses were the 34 and the 51. They only came ever so often, then I'd have to sit through the Washington Street bottleneck north of Rozzi Square, and then transfer at Forest Hills.

The trip downtown from much of Mattapan and Roxbury seems even worse than mine from Roslindale. What: you're going to take a bus to Mattapan Square, then the Mattapan High Speed to Ashmont, then Ashmont to the city center? That's way more trouble than it's worth and way more difficult than it should be!
 

roy_mustang76

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You and F-Line could both cool it with the condescension, Colonel. :cautious:

I'll admit that Roxbury and Mattapan aren't exactly my stomping grounds. -snip-
I'm truly not trying to be condescending, and apologize if I've come off that way. But, at the risk of stating the obvious, being familiar with the streets as a driver isn't the same as being familiar with the travel flows of an area as a pedestrian or transit rider. This is why I truly do recommend a short field trip if you're so inclined - both areas feel a lot different on transit than as a driver, esp Egleston which you could be forgiven for seeing as a high-speed passthrough going from Columbus to Seaver (because damn, Columbus really is a drag strip)

Nubian and DT aside, what's stopping the city from putting up barriers and banning on-street parking on Washington in the South End tomorrow? Just political will?
It is political will, but it will be stiff opposition. If memory serves, there would have been a loss of something like 11 spots to extend the bus lanes to Nubian in the first place, and they didn't get that done. I'd be shocked if that happened without an all-out revolt from the South End, though a shiny new service might make that loss of parking easier to swallow.


The trip downtown from much of Mattapan and Roxbury seems even worse than mine from Roslindale. What: you're going to take a bus to Mattapan Square, then the Mattapan High Speed to Ashmont, then Ashmont to the city center? That's way more trouble than it's worth and way more difficult than it should be!
From below Morton St, you take the 31 to Forest Hills and then Orange from there. From River St and adjacent streets, yes, either the 27 or MHSL to Ashmont, and then Red from there. It's about 30 minutes in each case of vehicles actually moving, factoring in waits at the transfer points both are comparable to the one-seat ride from BC to Park. It would help immensely to extend Red-proper to Mattapan because the ROW is already there, but Milton has other ideas about that. There's also the Morton St and BHA stations on the Fairmount line, providing an easy one-seat ride to SS if show-and-go isn't a must for your commute. RUR should enhance those frequencies as well.

A one-seat LRT ride on that corridor is going to be BC-esque, which definitely has value in a budgetless world, but the southern part of the corridor already has respectable flanking options to downtown. A fourth option to get downtown isn't what is being hankered for, but being able to move crosstown. Make it less of a pain to get to Brookline, make the 30 bus not suck if I am trying to get to Rozzie so it's not literally easier for me to do a two-seat trip via FH from Blue Hill Ave... Rejigger the 28 so it can terminate properly at Nubian and be less likely to bunch, making it easier for me to scoot up to Grove Hall. I'd be looking for all of those things before another B branch running the length of Blue Hill, even though the one-seat would be nice to have.

EDIT after sleeping on it: Your two-seat ride from Rozzie immediately gets much MUCH better if you're not sitting in that infernal hell that is Lower Washington, and I feel your pain on that. The 31 and 27 don't face quite the same traffic conundrum, and neither is lashed to a much longer route (the 34E probably should be it's own standalone route from a relocated W. Rox/VFW OL terminus, with regular 34 frequencies backfilled from Rozzie Square to the Mall to fortify headways).
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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So every transit project from now on will need 11 years of workshopping before logistics can be planned? Both the needs of the neighborhood and the available technology can change a ton in the span of 11 years!
Where, oh where, did the requirement of an over-long gestation period come from in order to have a productive dialogue about the transit needs of the neighborhood? Point exactly to where it was stated that understanding the neighborhood required chewing torturous clock cycles to state their case.

You and F-Line could both cool it with the condescension, Colonel. :cautious:
And the other pair here can cool it already with the shoving mudpies into other people's mouths with this dishonest turfing of the discussion. If it is too tedious an expenditure of energy to engage a still-living history of neighborhood transit engagement documented through decades of independent sourcing, it does not mean Bizarro World automatically reigns and any whole-cloth made-up shit is fair game to tar the messengers with. You aren't binary-choice forced to take anyone's word for it in this thread; the sourcing is there to the nines if you want to explore it and you think somebody here is fulla crap. But it doesn't follow that because you personally find it tedious to discuss these issues, the issues themselves are illegitimate and a waste of valuable SimCity'ing time. We're still Transit Pitching here, right? This a factor that's real, big, and multi-generational...and nothing gets pitched without engaging it. It's still going to be there as the giant-weighted prevailing factor long after one has run out of aB'ers to satisfactorily ad hominem for pointing it out.

I'll admit though that in high school, when I had to get to White Stadium for a football game, I'd take the orange line to Green then walk up Glen and through the park. If the walk from Stony was faster, no one ever bothered to tell me.
This is basically the story that's been told a million times: "No one ever told me the walkshed was ____." That's exactly what you get when the station placement is askew from the grid and wayfinding is forced to become this secret cottage industry of which selection of side streets to cut-n'-turn on to save a minute's footsteps. See the Street View linky from my previous post on the difference between Community College and Thompson Square when the Charlestown El was replaced: eyeshot visibility. That's basically what you'd have if Stony Brook were placed anywhere that acknowledged what the street grid was. Atherton is visually obstructed by trees such that you couldn't see the respective "T" signs from either end of the block like you could with CC/Thompson in 1975...but it's within ~100 ft. of the same walk you see clear-as-bell on that Street View linky from Charlestown. Instead you've got the grid that goes from fairly straightforward E-W orientation...but very suddenly corkscrews to 45-degree angle for a 6-block span between Porter St. and Bragdon St. before E-W order is restored at Dimock. That 6-block span is the entirety of the spanning to the Egleston vicinity, but Stony Brook opted to reshape Boylston St. from a diagonal to an E-W orientation when the NEC was sunk making an already confusing walkshed all the moreso. Now it's an isoceles-triangle shaped 2600 ft. to get between the SB headhouse and Egleston at "easiest" wayfinding. But the cottage-industry of directions-giving will tell you that you can pare that to 2350 ft. by going 1 block up Amory, 2 blocks down School, 2 blocks up Arcadia, and 2 blocks down Atherton to the Square. Or...psst!...cut through the Darlymple/Mendell Way alleyway a block down Boylston or the school parking lot and you'll save yourself another 100 ft.

Who's going to mount that kind of wayfinding? Hardly anyone...which is why SB is a ridership crater whose positioning 2 crosswalks down the SW Corridor grade separated path to Green ends up eating into Green's ridership rather than carving out any bandwidth of its own. If it was going to seek any bandwidth of its own it would've treated the heart of the grid disruption where the cross streets all angle 45-degrees. It could get away being agnostic to that back in the old days as a RR when it was a faceless spacer station on completely/totally different travel patterns and the old elevated NEC was a much more imposing Chinese wall dividing the Centre-oriented west from the Washington-oriented east. In that role it didn't infringe on Green's catchment because RR Green and El Green were sipping from totally different cups.

Something had to bend, however, when they brought back that siting on El replacement grounds. Not only did they guess wrong...cannibalizing Jackson wasn't half the risk the state assumed because their respectively mis-aligned street grids as Green was the one that ended up functionally being undercut. But there was no "debate" presented. It was no choice at all: "It goes on the map coordinates of the old RR station or go pound sand we'll skip straight from Jackson to Green." Not "upon careful consideration we think the walksheds are adequately-accommodated"....straight to "Fuck you, that's why" and blinders welded shut. It was very much the same attitude that led to the intentional slew-footing of the Silver Line from its early design 70's-80's concepts that had way more stringently enforced bus lanes (not to mention real electricity propelling the buses) to the sick joke it became after everyone stopped pretending there was anything to it but a Seaport empire-building scheme.

History's tended to repeat itself in spades here. If "Fuck your walkshed, either take this station or get nothing at all" mentality draws a dashed line straight to how did the Silver Line become so watered down and where do we begin at fixing it...understanding WTF went awry is verily key to figuring out any sane way forward. That's it in a nutshell. It traces back to everyone trying to game the walkshed with the latest insidery crazy-quilt of cross-street hop/skip tricks that only the directionally superior can master...then that same story of trying to game the walkshed ending with an exasperated "Jeez! Why did this have to be so nonsensically hard?!?!" and getting curious about the backstory.

Nubian and DT aside, what's stopping the city from putting up barriers and banning on-street parking on Washington in the South End tomorrow? Just political will?
Yep. And BTD being the multi-generational unanswerable fiefdom that wags the Mayor. Why does the city enforcement agency not enforce double-parkers on some thoroughfares in some neighborhoods? Same reason why it's ensconded in the Constitution of Southie's wild imagination that space savers are a gift from God Himself's spare attic furniture stash. BTD district patrols are 'of' their neighborhoods...they bow to the mob. Why no one thought to put a bunch of Allston-born meter maids on-duty in JP Center when the delivery trucks are blocking the 39 all fucking day long or why Lower Dot patrols aren't swapped with South Enders who think those red-paint Silver Line lanes are an adorable optional suggestion is beyond me. Neither White nor Flynn nor Menino nor Walsh ever dared raise that possibility, so I guess they've all decided in 5 consecutive decades who really butters City Hall's bread.

In the absence of any multi-generational hint of change there it's probably safe to assume that bus lane layout is an easier change order than the enforcement politics around an anything-goes curb. Look to the 28X...center-median bus lanes, not curbside. Look to the Hyde Sq. E extension proposals which treat South Huntington with dual-mode center stops and are rumored to be doing the same for the past-Brigham E+39 stops on Huntington-proper. Look at the "San Fran-style" transit platforming that's been oft-namechecked here...rote center-running transit with no turning out (in the case of SF Market St. triple-mode streetcar + TT + diesel bus), and when the center is occupied by a station-stopping transit vehicle traffic bears right around the platform in traffic-calmed fashion. Just get the hell off the mob-ruled curbside entirely and jurisdictions are clear-cut enough to be BTD proof.

Boston probably has to do this as a matter of survival on any thoroughfare design-amenable enough to take transit to the left lane instead of the curb. It's enormously better-performing on a schedule anyway because the lack of turnouts, but instead of wishing that the mob didn't exist as it rules the curbside anarchy for another decade changing the sets of questions looks like the better deal. Just sidestep the curb mob entirely by cutting out the middleman, let design truths like "ADA sez platform must be minimum X ft. wide, universal fleet compatibility sez they have to be right-hand boarding for an any-bus, and there's no such thing as a quantum superposition where you get to hold 4 precious corner parking spaces hostage on both sides of the intersection so fork 'em over on the offset-platform sides." Seems to result in way less tortured sausage-making in cities that have adopted that standard of transit prioritization on their premier (any-mode) corridors. And...look at those 28X renders that are locked/loaded/red-to-go doing exactly this. Can you really say whatever workshopping time--short-duration, long-duration, excess-duration--they did was poorly spent when that's very much the template that might be able to fish the Silver Line out of the gutter and get Washington transit carrying its weight at long last?

I'd call that a learning moment for sure in the still-evolving history here. So how can we not continue to pay very close attention to the neighborhood's pulse?
 
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Vagabond

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Question for the transit nerds - how do we use "rule of thumb" density thresholds for BRT vs LRT vs HRT?

5-Second google says "according to our model, average-cost, average-performance heavy-rail investments need surrounding densities of approximately 45 residents per gross acre within a half mile of stations to meet the cost-effectiveness threshold. Light rail needs about 30 residents per gross acre."

A quick density review shows that the corridors for expansion without service are:
1. Lynn
2. Nubian/Dudley
3. Chelsea
4. Mattapan
5. Watertown-Waltham
6. Roslindale/Dedham

Using purely that logic, and NOT EXISTING ROWs, (because when you're spending billions, who cares?), what are the recommended modes for these corridors?
1599659295303.png

(PS- this census will show some interesting population and demographic shifts - I wish it was in 2 years because there is a LOT of large scale new residential construction going on right now)
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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And we're back to destroying the concept of a Crazy Transit Pitch insisting it be shovel ready...

Question for the transit nerds - how do we use "rule of thumb" density thresholds for BRT vs LRT vs HRT?

5-Second google says "according to our model, average-cost, average-performance heavy-rail investments need surrounding densities of approximately 45 residents per gross acre within a half mile of stations to meet the cost-effectiveness threshold. Light rail needs about 30 residents per gross acre."

A quick density review shows that the corridors for expansion without service are:

Using purely that logic, and NOT EXISTING ROWs, (because when you're spending billions, who cares?), what are the recommended modes for these corridors?

(PS- this census will show some interesting population and demographic shifts - I wish it was in 2 years because there is a LOT of large scale new residential construction going on right now)
Unfortunately there's not much challenge here because they all do have ROW's.

1. Lynn -- HRT (BL) + RUR
2. Nubian/Dudley -- LRT (GL) + BRT (UR SW/SE+JFK) + BRT (28X)
3. Chelsea -- LRT (UR NE) + BRT (TBD from other direction) + RUR
4. Mattapan -- HRT (RL) + BRT (28X) + BRT (30X/31X) + RUR (offset)
5. Watertown-Waltham -- Watertown: LRT (GL) + BRT (71X) / Waltham: RUR (now) + BRT (TBD) + (LRT later)
6. Roslindale/Dedham -- HRT (OL) + fuck whoever decided 12 years ago to build single-family houses over the HRT ROW so I guess it's RUR + BRT (TBD) @ Dedham Corporate
 

HenryAlan

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EDIT after sleeping on it: Your two-seat ride from Rozzie immediately gets much MUCH better if you're not sitting in that infernal hell that is Lower Washington, and I feel your pain on that. The 31 and 27 don't face quite the same traffic conundrum, and neither is lashed to a much longer route (the 34E probably should be it's own standalone route from a relocated W. Rox/VFW OL terminus, with regular 34 frequencies backfilled from Rozzie Square to the Mall to fortify headways).
I think this has become much better since the morning inbound bus lane was created. It's still insufficient due to ridership numbers and the easily convertible to HRT parallel train tracks. But still, much better than a couple of years ago.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I think this has become much better since the morning inbound bus lane was created. It's still insufficient due to ridership numbers and the easily convertible to HRT parallel train tracks. But still, much better than a couple of years ago.
But think how much better it'll be still if those bus lanes are carrying only 3-4 most-wanted routes thru to FH for spiked-% radial-transfer shares while the other 5 are culled at Rozzie? That's where extension as far as Rozzie as reliever for FH bus terminal ends up the exponential service increaser for FH bus terminal. In addition to being able to surge more frequencies in any other direction from the load relief, the long overdue Lower Washington route re-draw can prioritize via taking out the excess any surge frequencies @ precision OTP on the load-bearing routes who are taking outside dumps to the 39, 31, etc. @ FH vs. rapid transiting straight into Downtown. And/or lead the region's route-redraw by the nose to 'spine' some stiff thru-Washington options in specific enablement of easier radial transfer while a bunch of the pure-local routes diffuse to Rozzie, W. Rox, and/or the VFW 'extra' OL stop.

No way no how once the OL extension opens do you say "Well, that's enough bus laneage...tar the paint over so it goes back to cars & parking." Hell no. Those Lower Washington lanes become ever-more valuable once you can plan direct-targeted transit that stands on its own two feet playing pure offense instead of being backed onto its heels playing defense like the 9-route-overlap congestion conditions that got the lanes striped in the first place. They've very much a permanent cog in the works.
 

Riverside

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Shifting gears for a moment: all other things (cost, political will) being equal, what is the better route for an LRT extension from Porter to Waltham -- via Belmont or via Watertown?

Belmont:
  • Pros
    • More direct route -- shorter by .75 miles and more straightaways for higher speed
    • Extant ROW
    • Largely grade-separated
  • Cons
    • Avoids higher density in Watertown
    • Needs to share ROW with mainline rail, a bit tight in places
Watertown:
  • Pros
    • Denser community
    • Comes close to (though doesn't quite hit) future transit node at Newton Corner
    • ROW runs along major roads (Arsenal, River)
    • ROW largely extant along eastern half
  • Cons
    • More roundabout route
    • Longer route, through denser neighborhoods
    • Lots and lots of grade-crossing, massive cost to grade separate
    • ROW has major encroachments in western half, and would almost certainly need to be mixed-traffic street-running in places
 

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