Crazy Transit Pitches

Charlie_mta

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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 would not want the "undesirables" sneaking into their pristine little hamlet on an LRT "crime train". Watertown would be much more welcoming of an LRT line. Also, way more TOD potential in Watertown.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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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
Bemis Branch (west half of H2O Branch) also isn't landbanked at all, with completely reverted property lines. It lasted at half-mile rump length to the second Charles crossing for customers on River St. in the 80's, but everything on the 1.3 miles east of there to Main St./US 20 was expunged ~4 decades ago before landbanking came about. The 1960 abandonment mid-Square between Main and Patten St. oddly got better attempted preservation than the next wave. So other than couple discrete block-length chunks property reversions have made it functionally impossible to fashion any additional path segments despite about 80% of it being intact in the form of telltale linear parking lots. They've never ever been able to get enough consecutive property owners willing to play ball with trail easements, so DCR long ago gave up and went all-in on the Charles paths instead. Because of the functional impossibility of stitching it all back landbanking was not pursued when the last rump was abandoned second Charles crossing early-90's, first Charles crossing mid-00's.

Take a look at this bad boy now utterly nuking the ROW on Elm immediately across the first Charles crossing in literal eyeshot of Waltham Ctr. Yeah...ain't ever happening. Add the other encroachment going up elsewhere and you're in the God-mode Transit Pitches thread long ago having left Crazy. Though I hesitate to say there was any missed opportunity here not going for toothier preservation. The odds of successfully nailing down enough easements for full corridor preservation is too many decimal places out rounded to zero, and the path connectivity is duplicated by the Charles paths so pursuit of hacked-to-pieces rail trail that's a block-to-block wayfinding nightmare would've been outright transit-counterproductive. The ROW, for all the reasons you cite, was of such lousy historical design to begin with due to formless meander and grade crossing hell that passenger service was deep-sixed in 1938 despite being the HEAVIER-patronage line than the less-dense main through Belmont. Full-on double-tracking, kind of Urban Rail-ish schedule density, and insane Wartime freight volumes to boot for the Arsenal (in other words not your prototypical Depression-era service cutback). It was too much of an OTP and crossing safety freakshow for B&M's insurance rates and late-tix discounts; they just threw up their hands and said "take the frickin' trolley; we're done."


So any rapid transit here must be a forked-branch out of Porter splitting @ Danehy Park running separate to Watertown on the '96+'08 landbanked branch, and Waltham via Fitchburg Main glom-on. You can safely call a time-of-death on the H2O Branch being any sort of contiguous corridor because of the impossible property reversion situation on the Bemis end. And, much like when B&M said "nuts to this!"...that end would've been an absolute traffic/schedule mgt. horror show on its own merits so was always a mirage as a transit corridor. Put it this way...all the Crazy Saugus Branch Pitches with the offset grade crossing hell in Malden are comparably sane compared to the Bemis Branch because Saugus at least traces a straight-line corridor out to US 1. Bemis is a total drunk's-walk of an anti-efficient meander.

We've discussed at length feasibility before for twin-fork H2O v. Waltham. Straightforward stuff o' builds, nothing of any average-or-higher difficulty. For the H2O Sq. branch, Cambridge DPW has swapped easements along Fresh Pond Pkwy. with the DCR bike path for the new reservoir-protecting earthen berms. That's all properly I.O.U.'d in the land-swap legalese with MassDOT that any 99-year reactivation considerations take the parkway path and shift the bikeway to the (functionally better) reservoir path...no issue there. Obviously assume a duck-under of the parkway grade crossing. Waterworks driveway to School St. on the Greenway extension is all cookie-cutter landbank...and you'll see from the path work and completed section how enormously wide it all is compared to the tree-choked single track that used to be there. Property line-wise this is all rail-with-trailable easy. School to Irving is 1980-ish abandonment caught in the pre-landbank era...shredded property lines and new encroachment. So last half-mile is:
  • (A) streetscaping Arsenal for a reservation to a Cleveland Circle-esque transit platform remake of the Arsenal/N. Beacon traffic island that can take in-situ short-turns or run-thrus across the river to the Carhouse. At most 1 street-platforming spacer stop before the spacious terminal median.
  • (B) flipping the lone Lexus of Watertown property to extend the ROW 1750 more feet to Gables Arsenal (Beechwood Ave. intersection) for an extra off-street intermediate then a shorter sub-1/3 mile of reservation'd Arsenal to same traffic island terminal and no in-street intermediates
  • (C...let's get Crazy!)...something way high-concept like plowing a hole + indoor transit station straight through the glass facade of Arsenal across the School intersection and running via disconnected south end of School and more weapons-grade reservation separation on N. Beacon to the Square. Does this buy you any bona fides over boring street-running on Arsenal? No idea, but it's kewl as fuck in concept to work in an office building that's got a full weather-protected train station through the ground floor so I'm gonna daydream!
  • Or...("+" suffixed to any of the above)...run-thru to Newton Corner RUR station loop if Galen can be transit-laned. That would be more traffic-amenable if you had a new set of Pike WB on/offramps @ Birmingham Pkwy. to direct thru-to-Watertown traffic along underutilized Nonantum instead of slamming Exit 17 into oblivion. Galen clears out nicely if it only has to be load-bearing for Pike EB travelers. YMMV.
Any which way it's doable, there's latent advocacy in Watertown, and it's probably something that'll become a front-page debate sooner or later that formally graduates off the "Crazy" page one day when a formal study (cursory or otherwise) spends a few bucks of real appropriated budget to give it a look.


For Waltham the Fitchburg Line was quad-track width through Belmont Ctr. for the West Cambridge Yard leads, tri-track to Beaver St. because competing Boston & Lowell payola'd itself a separate mainline track from the Fitchburg RR for running the Central Mass mainline out of Somerville Jct. + Fitchburg Cutoff when it leased that road. Only the 1955 B&M grade separation of Waverley pinches the dimensions inside the modern cut...so Waverley is the only place you have to sculpt a little extra width (and let's assume the LRT station just eats the CR station there). After Beaver St. split the Fitchburg ROW through Brandeis is only 2-track. Therefore you must reactivate the 1988-abandonment/T-landbanked Central Mass to 128 as the Fitchburg Line's re-route so LRT can take up the denser environs in Waltham Ctr. They meet back up at the 128 superstation next to New York Life HQ in Weston nice-n'-easy. Rail trail on the CM must go. However...the LRT ROW can trade on/off the Charles River and Riverview Cemetery paths between Center and Brandeis, easily rail-with-trail it Center-Beaver St. + Brandis-128. So the trail flippage is probably higher-utilization to begin with. Relocated Fitchburg Main (let's assume stationless--or at most one North Waltham spacer--since there's little transferrage you can accomplish here that can't be done at much higher frequency from a 128 superstation backtrack) will need some non-trivial $$$ sunk into grade separation because the Central Mass had 8 crossings between private Middlesex Circle and 117, some with very poor sightlines. And the NIMBY's will be bellyaching a bit about soundwall provision because it is snugly-fitting around abutters.

Belmont...yeah, NIMBY-town. But they have fuckall to complain about with how overbuilt/overbuffered the ROW is, so I honestly don't think if push comes to shove that they have the juice to turf it by their lonesome. I'm honestly a little more worried about the Central Mass abutters and what cost bloat comes there in all the concessions over crossing elimination and sound-proofing, though if City of Waltham at-large is gung-ho the citywide municipal support should override. Just make sure you're properly rating this one as one of the last of the linear-to-128 extension priorities, because :15 Urban Rail to 128 should be worth >25 years of rejuvenation at minimum before demand grows big enough to risk serious overtop of what new utility the RR can provide. Think of Waltham as a moving target with a high-speed overtake staged far down the line.
 
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HenryAlan

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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.
No argument from me on any of this. I was simply pointing out that the bus lane had helped, compared to the total disaster that preceded it.
 

Wash

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What if we build a tunnel on the Congress St. alignment of NSRL, and then hook it up to the Braintree branch of the red line?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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What if we build a tunnel on the Congress St. alignment of NSRL, and then hook it up to the Braintree branch of the red line?
The "Red X"...I've written about that at length before. More distant-future the ability to use that alignment for another cross-downtown HRT line may be the saving grace of the state expending so much tankapalooza energy studying that for a gimp NSRL routing.

String together as such:
  1. North from Columbia Jct. on the Cabot Yard leads. Filet service in alternating directions across all 4 legs of the "X"...Alewife-Braintree, (new spine)-Ashmont, Alewife-Ashmont, (new spine)-Braintree. Both downtown legs and both branches net equal 3 min. headways from the trading-off at Columbia, which is worth an enormous amount of Quincy growth and growth + extension of Ashmont/Mattapan in addition to the downtown double-up.
  2. Divert off the Cabot leads right before the yard-proper by the bridge that overpasses Track 61, portal-under into tunnel underneath Southie Haul Rd. Join into the upper-level Broadway tunnel at A St. that's been mostly disused since 1919, graft on "Broadway Upper" station above the current RL level.
  3. Exit the 1919 alignment near Foundry St., tunnel under Cabot Loop on proper alignment to South Station (Atlantic side if NSRL CA/T alignment is taking Dot Ave. side??? I need a map here). Graft "South Station Upper" onto the Dewey Sq. fare lobby. Things will be very spread out here with Silver/Green + existing Red below, NSRL grafted on in very deep cavern towards Dot Ave., this TBD intersect, and the existing surface station + bus terminal...but all behind the same set of Charlie gates. Multiple intersects is why the fare lobby takes up the entirety of the under-street Dewey footprint and has the obvious expansion room that it does.
  4. Onto Congress alignment. Intermediate stop at Post Office Square, which has been begging for its own home stop ever since the Green Line reverse-branch from Copley was canceled 105+ years ago.
  5. State St. w/ Orange + Blue transfer. Structurally offset on the Congress side of the block, so this already labyrinthine station will get a little bit moreso.
  6. Haymarket w/ Orange + Green + NSRL secondary entance transfers. Under the same overhang, but structurally offset. This will be a longer walk to transfers (GL/OL and NSRL concourse) than North Station, so primarily serves local on/offs while being a secondary on transfers.
  7. North Station Superstation...graft-on to 2nd level above Orange platforms, across from GL outbound. Instant up/down/across transfers to rapid transit, longish (but shorter than Haymarket) NSRL concourse connector.
  8. Double-up OL Charles River tunnel, portal-up by Community College. Can likely add an *excuse-me* "Community College Under" just for being in the neighborhood. Terminate for now on tail tracks underneath the 93 decks, figure out further trajectories later.
  9. Further extension is a total choose-your-adventure to any northside ROW simply by quickly ducking under Boston Sand & Gravel and a bunch of BET trackage and choosing which of the 4 mainlines to continue on (may be worth trenching the RL level of CC in a cut below ground-level Orange to facilitate). Some paths will be higher-leverage than others, some will be easier than others when things like grade crossings have to be taken into account...so let's not speculate and just say that for now it's all Phase II and you're stubbing out @ CC Under in the interim.

Final config of the "X":

¹NORTHWEST BRANCH
[Arlington Heights]
[Arlington Center]

Alewife
Davis
Porter ( + )
Harvard ()
Central
Kendall
Charles/MGH ()
Park St. ( + >)
Downtown Crossing ( + >)
South Station (² + / + + /Am)
Broadway (²)
Andrew
JFK/UMASS (²/³/⁴ + + )

²NORTHEAST BRANCH
[TBD's!]
Community College ()
North Station ( + +ⁿ + /Am)
Haymarket ( + + ⁿ)
State Street ( + )
Post Office Square
South Station (¹ + / + + /Am)
Broadway (¹)
JFK/UMASS (¹/³/⁴ + + )

³SOUTHWEST BRANCH
JFK/UMASS (¹/²/⁴ + + )
Savin Hill
Fields Corner
Shawmut
Ashmont
[Milton]
[Mattapan]


⁴SOUTHEAST BRANCH
JFK/UMASS (¹/²/³ + + )
[Neponset]
North Quincy
Wollaston
Quincy Center ()
Quincy Adams
Braintree ()
 

Riverside

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^ This, by the way, is probably the best proposal I've read during my time on this board -- certainly the most original. I actually mocked up some maps of this, but can't lay my hands on them right now.

If memory serves, I believe the last time we discussed, the conclusion was that running up the NH Main Line to Woburn was probably the best bet, I think particularly in terms of ease-of-conversion of the ROW to something grade-separated. Aesthetically, I find the idea of running out the Fitchburg to Waltham appealing, particularly given the opportunity to have another transfer at Porter, but there were good reasons why that would be less feasible.

The advantage of what F-Line describes is that hooking in via Cabot and JFK/UMass provides the best-of-both-worlds because you can hook both branches into the Congress Street Subway. As a result, Ashmont and Braintree riders both get maximum frequencies to Downtown, and both maintain the flexible access to Kendall and Harvard.

@Wash I highly recommend reading through the old discussions on this idea -- some great stuff in there.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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^ This, by the way, is probably the best proposal I've read during my time on this board -- certainly the most original. I actually mocked up some maps of this, but can't lay my hands on them right now.

If memory serves, I believe the last time we discussed, the conclusion was that running up the NH Main Line to Woburn was probably the best bet, I think particularly in terms of ease-of-conversion of the ROW to something grade-separated. Aesthetically, I find the idea of running out the Fitchburg to Waltham appealing, particularly given the opportunity to have another transfer at Porter, but there were good reasons why that would be less feasible.
I kind of go on default assumption that the NH Main is going to be easiest because:
  1. the incumbent grade separation
  2. the monster ridership projections in Somerville (and echo effects into Medford/Winchester after the North region bus reboot)
  3. giving the Green Line a load assist when the Lechmere end projects to host Urban Ring NW off the same alignment as the Union Branch split...Urban Ring NE...Union-Porter and Porter-Watertown extension off the Union Branch...and possibly the branch to Waltham distinct from the branch to Watertown.
  4. geographical alignment that fits like a glove with the other legs of the "X" and doesn't introduce pronounced skew like some of the other northside routing options would.
I wouldn't say I personally feel superduper strongly about this. I actually think with how nearly unlimited the options are you need to look at taking a rather long pause at Community College after Phase I to study these potential combos out given that there's a whole lot of demographic noise to sift through...and more than a few potential unintended consequences if you make the wrong pick without accounting for every detail. Rather, on big-picture survey of the northside there's just too many logical line-ups with a Medford/NH Main trajectory that are anywhere from a little bit to a lot messier with any other route, such that any other route has more 'splaining to do as to why its topline bona fides overpower some greater degree of kludging. When all is said and done and studied out that one just looks/sounds/smells a saner prospect to mount than the rest. Figure West Medford crossing pair will be ancient history by this point...zero premium for HRT conversion. Most of the Somerville stations are set up for non-difficult platform lengthening because the ultimate >25-year GLX ridership projections still hedge that it could all go mega- blow out. Medford--unlike Union with both Urban Ring NW and the Watertown/Waltham split--has no future branching opportunities to hedge on forever-LRT and could get bumped at no ill effects to the others...esp. since reverse-transferring is the only way to get from Medford to the other branches anyway (that just takes place 2 stops earlier at North Station in a conversion scenario instead of at Lechmere). And the way the GLX Brickbottom flyover split with Union + carhouse "upstairs" from an underpassing Medford creates grade separation you could thread HRT under/across BET to that spot and slip it right in with minimal changes to the existing environment. Everything just kind of lines up more elegantly that way.

Conversely, going west on the Fitchburg creates major problems for the Union + Urban Ring split onto the Grand Junction, and forces you to choose Waltham or Watertown but never both (Watertown requiring some manner of street-running makes the mode switch lethal...plus the similar "Why?" question we posed re: the Needham Branch's grade crossings with various "Blue-Kenmore swallows D" schemes for making life harder. Fitchburg is probably least appealing. Fitchburg Cutoff? Nope...the branching for two-thirds of GLX then a forking for the trench job to Davis would be hideous. Eastern Route has significant ridership bona fides with Encore/Everett, Chelsea superstation, and Logan as an HRT alternative to the Urban Ring NE. However, that's going to get very dicey at Chelsea River where you have to build rapid transit's first movable span since the Charlestown Bridge stopped swinging on the El instead of shoving the trolleys in a few hundred feet of mixed traffic on the current road bridge to pretty much the same daily schedules. And if HRT they must practically pass up any opportunity to do a Logan Terminals loop because Massport (for all this talk of an APM) has too many resource-pooling reasons to shoot for dual-mode Transitway instead. That's two big feathers in LRT's cap for that routing. Lastly...double-up with Orange to Malden Center if commuter rail goes away? Sure..get rid of the express track and shiv in 1 more track north of Medford St. and you can dual-mode it to MC, one color continues north to Reading, one turns east under the Square to meet up with the Saugus Branch ROW. I actually quite like that one on build feasibility, and because it obeys the "golden rule of branching" in doing it after the last big bus terminal. But...fuuuuuuck...the Saugus Branch. Fat chance convincing the city that killed the Main St. El 100 years ago to take an El build through dense residential backyards all the way to Route 1.
 
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Riverside

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[last paragraph]
And those there are the reasons that I couldn't quite recall from last time.

And I don't disagree. As I said, my reasons for liking the Waltham alignment are largely aesthetic -- there is something nice about the idea of mirroring crossovers at JFK/UMass on one end and Porter on the other. But, for one thing, it's not like Porter, or the surrounding area, is begging for a combined total of trains to Downtown every 90 seconds across the 2 branches... the Medford alignment obviously is much more balanced. And of course I've always been a bit skeptical about the long-term viability of running service all the way to Woburn using the Green Line -- that's a long way and would replace more than half of the Lowell Commuter Rail line, so an HRT option has its appeal.

I mean, if we're really talking crazy crazy transit pitches, you could use this as an excuse to displace the Orange Line north of Community College all together. Send it up to Everett through a subway under Main Street or over the Tobin to Chelsea and beyond. But at that point, we've moved past way crazy pitches into insane pitches -- really only useful for prompting us to consider things from a different perspective (and barely useful even at that).
 

The EGE

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For a Red X, I much prefer either going to Chelsea and/or Everett. If this is the last change to create a new trunk line through downtown, it doesn't make sense to exclude them. Here's my crayon sketch of a potential route:

1600233102293.png


Stations at City Square, Bunker Hill/Medford Street, Chelsea, Bellingham Square (GL), [option for Revere Beach Parkway], Everett, Glendale Square, then a couple possibilities for the northern end. You could also do a straighter shot across the Mystic to hit the potential power station redevelopment instead, trading a shorter alignment for missing Chelsea.
 

Charlie_mta

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View attachment 7176

You could also do a straighter shot across the Mystic to hit the potential power station redevelopment instead, trading a shorter alignment for missing Chelsea.
I'm a big fan of HRT accessing the traditional cores of cities, so I'd vote for the alignment as shown thru downtown Chelsea, which also links to the MBTA commuter rail station.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I'm a big fan of HRT accessing the traditional cores of cities, so I'd vote for the alignment as shown thru downtown Chelsea, which also links to the MBTA commuter rail station.
As a "go big" move you could replace the Tobin with a combo road + transit tunnel, but you've definitely got to make up your mind between Chelsea and Everett/Malden. That Urban Ring-duping route switcheroo mid-swing isn't going to work at any functional level.


As before, [something warm-colored] eats CR to Reading + some average-invasiveness Orange 3rd track reconfigs in Medford (way less than if you were trying to reclaim for CR double-track) + 2700 ft. of very mild embankment widening w/ 4th track decks slapped on two bridges lets you side-by-side OL and the Northeast leg of the "X" into Malden Center bus terminal at cut-rate price and guaranteed feasibility. One of the two colors takes on Oak Grove and Reading...the other goes via lower level of MC just underpinning the roadway, then circuits around the block in eastward subway for 3000 ft. under Florence or Pleasant to portal-up onto the Saugus Branch. Run at least as far as US 1 on an El build that goes tall at crossings, minimal/stubby height between close-spaced crossings, and ground-level between long-spaced crossings. Accommodate rail-with-trail below and alongside.

In absolute dollars and sense that checks out superbly on cost, risership catchments, straightforward engineering, and making its double-ups of the OL corridor headways count between the Sullivan/Assembly/Wellington/MC murderer's row bookended by the 2 big bus terminals. The only part that's batshit crazy is expecting residential Malden to swallow a Saugus Branch El that will legit peek into many, many 2nd floor bedroom windows along the way. All-sound build feasibility aside, I just don't have an answer for that local stopper other than forcibly transplanting the most active voting population of Malden. As a Transit Pitch...not Crazy at all. As a Political Pitch?...nope, not 100 years ago and not 100 years from now in that particular city.
 
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Vagabond

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For a Red X, I much prefer either going to Chelsea and/or Everett. If this is the last change to create a new trunk line through downtown, it doesn't make sense to exclude them. Here's my crayon sketch of a potential route:

View attachment 7176
Chelsea and Everett both have the density for HRT. If we know we're crossing water bodies, what is restricting Blue from splitting and following the current SLX route, then following overbuilt Rt 1? Say to https://goo.gl/maps/pL6rA7yUurdxnynf9
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Chelsea and Everett both have the density for HRT. If we know we're crossing water bodies, what is restricting Blue from splitting and following the current SLX route, then following overbuilt Rt 1? Say to https://goo.gl/maps/pL6rA7yUurdxnynf9
(1) If going by golden rule of branching, never a good idea to be halving frequencies before the biggest bus terminal on the line. Granted, in this case that terminal is unbuilt Lynn, but the logic holds. Lynn was supposed to be included in the Revere Extension build from Day 1 as the capstone; the fact that they've made generations of excuses for not doing it doesn't mean the demand never existed. With that being the entirety of the North Shore's bus supply (and unnaturally choked off of headway for 49 years by the distended Wonderland + 1A/downtown running) true demand will quench 3 min. tippy-top headways in a way that no other service fork possibly could. Because no other potential service fork has the density of terminal transfers...or the exponential higher service gear uncorked by enabling denser last-mile service.

So even in a battle of unbuilt 'hypotheticals', you can't find a branching pair match for Lynn anywhere on the map. Not even Chelsea. The deck stacks too high for full-on mainline frequencies to the North Shore's mega bus terminal, or a punitive apportionment of two-thirds frequencies to the mega terminal and paltry one-third on the comparatively transfer-poor branch which starts aggressively undercutting the value proposition of forking at all.


(2) Environmental practicalities. Now...even while talking some megaproject tag-team of underwater Tobin replacement tube'd out next to an underwater HRT transit berth, there's not a lot of new--or newly scary--climate change considerations with sinking another set of tubes across the Harbor. There's terra firma to anchor to on both the Charlestown and Chelsea ends, and the basic build is not a whole lot different than what's already been done 4 times prior with East Boston Tunnel, Sumner, Callahan, and Ted. It's fucking expensive because it's fucking expensive at baseline...not because it's any order-of-magnitude more difficult to do than it was those 4 other times. You could bring the Northeast "X" through the City Square + Navy Yard alongside 1 and take the flying leap at the new Tobin combo-replacement underwater crossing to implement the biggest unique-routed leg in EGE's map. Figure the scruples behind that big build are all tied up in the greater Tobin Next debate and won't be a solo effort in the slightest.

But you can't really say the same (i.e. "big $$$ isn't a commentary on feasibility") about crossing the marsh when the pants-shitting terrifying flood profile looms as a brand new impediment never before tackled to such severe degree before. As is, BLX-Lynn is going to have to make some hard choices because the "skip everything" Alt. that cuts straight from Revere St. right past Wonderland on a 2000 ft. long trestle across Diamond Creek, over 1A, then over the first slab of marshland to the Eastern Route figures to be an EIS'ing cost meltdown. It's quite likely that the "split the difference" Alt. to Oak Island + curbing along the Little League outfield fence to the scaffolding supply lot is going to be such enormously lower-impact that engaging the kinda-close abutters at the Satter House overrules the all-NIMBY's avoidance "skip everything" because that swamp trestle vs. 50-year flood drainage risk assessment makes it a neutron-bomb level blowout.

I think you're looking at very nearly the same no-practical-go environmental assessment if crossing any of the wider swath of swamp between the Eastern and MA 107. If it's not on the Route 1 ghost ramp grading that whole basin is a practical no-go. And of course...avoiding the basin as no-go means likely forking the branch earlier. In absolute terms that's a bad idea because of #1...but if you have to jump at, say, Suffolk Downs, that's really going to weaken things a ton because the 110, 117, 119 all hit Revere Beach and Beachmont as trans-Revere/Chelsea routes which weakens the ecosystem around a Chelsea-leaning branch.


Now...say that "Reddish-Orange" sideloading to Malden Ctr. does succeed at threading something onto the Saugus Branch and opposite-world Malden history isn't that of an El killer. Between Saugus Branch to 1 and the ghost-ramp grading to Saugus River you might be able to supernode 'em both at Lynn Terminal without incurring an EIS'ing blowout because the berm's already built up by the ancient I-95 extension grading. So for crayon-draw purposes your general route still has an intact trajectory free from sinking under the weight of its own EPA permit via the MC/Saugus Br. tie-in, and with cut-rate construction costs on the Sullivan-MC double-up. Just...again...how many abutters do you have to knife-fight for a variable-height El across Malden grade crossing hell? Build-feasible verily...politically doable narily.
 
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George_Apley

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^ This, by the way, is probably the best proposal I've read during my time on this board -- certainly the most original. I actually mocked up some maps of this, but can't lay my hands on them right now.
Here's a visualization for the 'Red X' I made a while ago.

Red X.png
 

Charlie_mta

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Here's a visualization for the 'Red X' I made a while ago.

View attachment 7184
I really like that: convert the GLX branch to Medford into a Red Line HRT. I would also extend that HRT line along the existing rail corridor all the way to Woburn Anderson TC. The one huge NIMBY blockage would be Winchester, which may not welcome a Red Line "crime train" (just like Arlington didn't).
 

George_Apley

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I really like that: convert the GLX branch to Medford into a Red Line HRT. I would also extend that HRT line along the existing rail corridor all the way to Woburn Anderson TC. The one huge NIMBY blockage would be Winchester, which may not welcome a Red Line "crime train" (just like Arlington didn't).
Yeah. Arlington would likely welcome an RLX with open arms in 2020s compared to 1980s. Winchester will probably be happy with RUR frequencies and potentially a GLX that eats Wedgemere and stubs out before the overpass in the town center.
 

Charlie_mta

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Looking at Google Maps, the ROW narrows to 2 tracks as it approaches the Winchester town line, so HRT conversion would only work through Winchester if freight rail and AMTRAK were rerouted to other rail lines.
 

George_Apley

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Looking at Google Maps, the ROW narrows to 2 tracks as it approaches the Winchester town line, so HRT conversion would only work through Winchester if freight rail and AMTRAK were rerouted to other rail lines.
The rapid transit tracks would need to duck into a short tunnel under Winchester Center to get past it. No way to widen the viaduct or reroute the locomotive ROW.
 

Wash

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Yeah. Arlington would likely welcome an RLX with open arms in 2020s compared to 1980s.
In Arlington. Can confirm.

My crazy transit pitch is that the only extension that's really in the cards in the near future is a fully underground one to Arlington Center. The parking situation at Arlington Heights was never really resolved, and the Minuteman Bikeway is too valuable to convert into a transitway without significant (if technically meaningless) community opposition.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Looking at Google Maps, the ROW narrows to 2 tracks as it approaches the Winchester town line, so HRT conversion would only work through Winchester if freight rail and AMTRAK were rerouted to other rail lines.
That's from the 1955 grade separation that created the viaducted station (and separated Wedgemere in the process). The line harrowingly used to split smack through the center of the rotary on grade crossings prior to that (see Historic Aerials).

The rapid transit tracks would need to duck into a short tunnel under Winchester Center to get past it. No way to widen the viaduct or reroute the locomotive ROW.
You also have to switch sides because GLX comes up on the westerly side, and north of Winch. Ctr. the freight sidings are all on the west side (but none on the east). So basically when the viaduct starts rapid transit would ramp down into the parking lot, temp-close Laraway Rd. while they cut-and-covered for the rapid transit station site, then slip under the rotary piers to Shore Rd. and incline back up. As you can see by the ped underpass between the high school and the football field it's back to quad-width after the '55 grade separation zone.

On the '45 BTC expansion plan, GLX was supposed to take the Woburn Branch from here...but that's obliterated. The mainline is wide because it used to have crazy quantity of freight customers through Woburn.
 

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