As shown on this Google map
, I would connect a a two-track revenue service LRV surface line on the RKG to the existing GL at its portal on Martha Rd. Each track of the new 2-track surface LRV line would straddle the portal to connect to the GL. As I measured it on Google Earth, I think there's enough room to fit in the westbound leg of the new LRV line between the existing WB portal wall and the Expressway ramp. Then the surface LRV 2-track line would continue on a reservation carved out of the overly wide Merrimac St, and tie into the RKG as shown on the map. It would then continue to South Station, ideally dipping down into a portal somewhere north of S Station to tie into the existing Silverline tunnel (in which LRV would continue south and west as discussed on other threads here on AB),
Here's a screenshot of the Google map also, showing the route:
Some bigger picture comment below, but I want to briefly highlight how this route indirectly highlights the difficulties of surface transit accessing North Station. Whether LRT or BRT, it's not as straightforward to get to North Station's front door as it at first seems. I think I drew up a sketch of some modifications to Canal and Friend Streets, which were a bit kludgey but also the best I could come up with. (And that was why my "Washington-to-Waterfront" LRT Line terminated at Haymarket rather than dealing with getting to North Station.)
A few comments in no particular order:
In general, I am not inclined to interline new downtown surface routes with the Green Line proper. A parallel surface LRT network (or one using a new subway) has more potential, but introducing additional variability to the Green Line doesn't seem useful.
Also in general, I think a Greenway trolley is less viable than it appears on a map. One of the reasons I've felt my "Rose Line" proposal could work was because it explicitly targets an audience where slow travel is less of a drawback (compared to convenience). But for commuting/general travel purposes, I think it presents a lot of downsides. (And @Brattle Loop
to your point about crossing Dewey Square, in my latest sketches, I just have the Rose Line terminate at a loop around the Federal Reserve building, coming down Congress, turning on to Dorchester, stopping on Summer across from South Station, and turning back north on Atlantic -- avoiding Dewey as much as possible).
So, I like the attempt to create a second LRV trunk line, and this is not the first time such an idea has been proposed on this board. @Riverside
suggested a "Rose Line" that also uses the Greenway, and later on, as a way to connect to the surface Washington St-Nubian branch in a world where a Nubian subway to Park St is built (diverting the "duplicate" surface LRT out of the Green Line system). He also showed "Washington to Greenway" may have greater benefits for CBD commutes, both in travel time and coverage, than "Washignton to Park St".
I probably should amend my posts about "Washington to Greenway" to clarify that I consider them to be more exploratory rather than an out-and-out "proposal", to be clear. (And, FWIW, on my current sketches, I just said screw it, and have a F Line to Nubian via Washington and a G Line to Nubian via BUMC -- it's just not worth the trouble.) Though yes, I do stand by my analysis insofar as "landing" a radial service near South Station rather than Park Street has underestimated benefits.
- I'm not sure if the Greenway is the best route. My own preference would be the downtown transit corridor that has been proposed for the T7 bus, running from North Station to South Station largely via Pearl-Congress. While this route has less utility for tourists, it significantly enhances connectivity to the Financial District, and has better transfers to the Orange Line. This alignment also allows you to build a subway if you really want to.
- I don't see much of a need to connect such a surface LRV trunk (regardless of route) to the northside Green Line branches. In any kind of Green Line transformation, northside branches will always have more capacity than southside branches, even with a Chelsea branch included. Instead, a better use of this additional trunk line may be to absorb bus routes such as the T7/93, the T111, etc.
- To the south, instead of figuring out how to tie it to the Transitway, you can instead run down Summer St, which already has bus lanes in the planning. Then keep the Transitway for other LRT service pattens that interact with subway systems.
I agree with all of this. Regardless of mode -- whether surface BRT, surface LRT, subway LRT, or subway HRT -- I think the strongest candidate for a new corridor through downtown is along Congress St. (And yes, all the more so because you could eventually replace a surface corridor with a subway.)
I don't see a good way to connect a northside service into the Transitway, unless you are willing to sacrifice a connection to South Station altogether. I think Summer St is much more effective.
The end result of this seems terribly similar to "LRT-ifying T7 and maybe other buses"... But I think it will still have better utility and practicality than as an alternative route for the Green Line.
On a grand time scale, yes, I think LRT'ing the T7 and similar routes is the predictable endgame of the process underway right now. The T7, the T111, and SL4/5 are the last few corridors where a surface transit route should run into downtown as a one-seat journey. (I also argue for some service from Everett, though I know that's highly debatable. One could also mayyyyybe be argue that a re-extended 55 belongs in this club.) Building a proper BRT core along Congress St will make a big difference for the T7 and will I think significantly change the conversation; with successful BRT in place, it will hopefully seem more justifiable to invest in creating a small set of modern streetcar lines to cover that network. (It's fun to imagine a small "subway streetcar" network running through a Congress St Subway, fanning out to Washington St, Summer St, Charlestown, Chelsea, and Everett. <--- There's your Crazy Transit Pitch.)