Downtown Lynn

Smuttynose

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I went to Downtown Lynn for the first time this week and it was interesting.

Definitely a Gateway Cities vibe - lots of parking lots, vacant lots, and just weird uses (gas stations, etc.), and the sidewalks were pretty empty. But cool architecture, commuter rail is right in the middle of it, and I was impressed by how large the Downtown area is. You could probably solve 10 percent of the state's housing shortage just by redeveloping it. The road network is a bit of a cluster and I had a hard time getting my bearings, so I'm not sure how much I covered, but here are some photos:

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F-Line to Dudley

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I hear it's already starting to gentrify.
The proliferation of murals is an enormous aesthetic upgrade the last 2-4 years to be roundly celebrated...but trust me, there's still more than enough stank to go around throughout Downtown to make declaration of the "g"-word about a half-generation or more premature. Oh, it'll be the nü-hipster mecca for sure if the Blue Line ever comes...but probably not before then. Still quite very thick coating of grit on most proceedings there, though the dodginess is in consistent (if sluggish) retreat and it's becoming all-around more livable with each passing year.
 

Arlington

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Won't Nport/Rport electrification on 10minute headways be enough to bring the Gentry running?
 

Seanflynn78

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The proliferation of murals is an enormous aesthetic upgrade the last 2-4 years to be roundly celebrated...but trust me, there's still more than enough stank to go around throughout Downtown to make declaration of the "g"-word about a half-generation or more premature. Oh, it'll be the nü-hipster mecca for sure if the Blue Line ever comes...but probably not before then. Still quite very thick coating of grit on most proceedings there, though the dodginess is in consistent (if sluggish) retreat and it's becoming all-around more livable with each passing year.


F-Line to Dudley, Lynn is such an interesting, densely populated coastal city. I worked for a nonprofit in Lynn from 2005-2010, and is run by cheap version of the Irish Mob. Back in 2005 I could not find affordable rent, but lucked out and found a gem for $500 a month with two roommates in Woburn. The city has been banking on the blue line coming into Central Square since the 1970's. The city made an outdoor mall in downtown back in the mid to late 1970's but was a disaster as it attracted homeless and gang related activity to an area that was already in rough shape. The above video shows the area that was an outdoor mall in Lynn, at 23 seconds you can actually see where the McDonald's was on the left, a local myth claims it was the first McDonald's to close, but I think they built a new one in the early 80s on either Boston Street or the Lynnway, and closed this one on Union Street. There is no "Main Street" in Lynn, but Union street is the one I would consider Main street in Lynn. Another fun fact is the city government considered changing the name of Lynn to "Ocean Park" back in the 1990's, as the limerick "Lynn, Lynn, city of Sin, you never come out the way you came in, they ask you for water they give you gin, it is the damnedest city I ever been in" but then people started stating "Ocean Park, Ocean Park, the girls only come out after dark...." so that was squashed pretty quickly. I really have a soft spot for this city as it has some charm, and is located in a great spot. It does take forever to get into Lynn (I would take the Walnut street exit off of Route 128, and would take me nearly 20 minutes to get into downtown/Central Square). I do believe with all the skilled labor spilling out of the Boston Metro area, that Lynn will finally get the upgrade it deserves, even if that means luxury condos/apartments on the water, and a scenic waterfront boardwalk/path. I think Lynn has many parellels with it's urban charm to Worcester, Providence, and Hartford, but is right next to Boston so it gets overlooked. Plus Salem is right next door, and is much more of a hip area. It has been ten years and the city is finally learning how to utilize it's waterfront and show Bostonian's that a diverse, little urban city can be a fun alternative to pricey beantown.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Won't Nport/Rport electrification on 10minute headways be enough to bring the Gentry running?
No. For the 8,947¾th time: RUR is not going to un-fuck the fucked Lynn Terminal bus frequencies that since 1970 have been forced at gunpoint to go to die in 1A traffic on the Wonderland + Downtown siphon so there is never enough balance in equipment cycles to give the 4xx routes frequencies worth their population density's demand. And that equipment anemia gets WORSE with each year of worsening 1A traffic into the CBD, so we're starting to run backwards on that solution as more time and attrition pass by. RUR primes the pump a little, but does nothing to address the real mobility problem--last-mile mobility in Yellow-paint livery--that's holding back the North Shore. The perma-fix only happens with BLX ending the bus-siphon insanity so the North Shore can get immediately reinvested with new last-mile frequencies on balanced cycling out of Lynn. Those frequencies all bullseye on Lynn, so THAT'S the moment it becomes a bona-fide gateway city of real breakaway heft.

RUR doesn't address the bus anemia. To considerable degree Rockburyport service increases have to swim against and overpower that baked-in last-mile problem that doesn't have a non-BLX mechanism for fixing itself. If Rockburyport RUR isn't going to truly blow sky high until the last-mile 4xx feeders are pulling their weight, then the whole shebang is still singularly dependent on BLX fixing the glitch. Every dodge-n'-deke and name-check of D.O.A. "Zombie Wonderland" CR station is just ignoring the core question. This is primarily a bus-mode problem, but the bus-mode problem needs the rapid transit-mode spine as means of fixing itself because all the hacky routing substitutes go straight down the 1A drain to anemic equipment cycling that projects worse over time.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Since when do gentry want buses?
I'm sorry...I thought we were talking real North Shore citizens, not 14th-century period upper castes.

Yellow-painted Chariot Of The Serfs makes excellent clock time from such posh environs as Marblehead, Nahant, and coastal Swampscott where the only other patrons are similarly posh neighborfolk of those towns...not prop-character "undesireables" imported from out of town to occupy seats. But the frequencies are nothing to write home about...>30 mins. in most cases. Historic Marblehead way out on the penninsula to Lynn Terminal is a taut 25 minutes on the clock for a 6.25 mile route with representatively dense stop spacing...pretty good! But simply getting between Lynn and Wonderland on the sub- 4-mile and stop-few Lynnway jog duplicated by half the routes takes 17 more minutes. That's horrific. You chew 40% of the 441's rotation solely on the ugly hack tack-on job to rapid transit. The Callahan/Sumner long runs to Haymarket & SS are all suspended for COVID, but lump that extra hack on top of a hack and the 'hacks' take longer to run than the 'native' route itself. When you are chewing more cycles running ten-times-over route-duplicated splice jobs over broken connections...you've got an enormous problem trying to provide baseline-anything service for the core constituency.

How many posh Marbleheaders would be leaving their Volvos parked at home if the 411 could run every 15 minutes on the dot all day, 25 mins. end-to-end? Because when >50% of the route's duty cycles are nuthin' but hack-splice empty calories leaping over broken connections, healing the broken connection quite literally returns the savings back in 2x the frequencies for the same equipment duty cycles. Project all around the North Shore, the posh and less-posh. Including now enough returned Yellow Line resources to fund a breakaway bus hub at Salem that can extend further afield without being tied to Lynn thru-running. How much do North Shore transit shares--which are garbage-low compared to South Shore transit shares from a non-broken Quincy hub--increase across the board from all that?

Not to mention, how stratospherically high is Lynn's--and especially Downtown + Waterfront Lynn's--ceiling if all that hack-route waste can be fully returned to the complete slate of 4xx's in the form of add'l frequencies? Nearly any one of those routes can default double its runs within the same duty cycle. That's enough heft to make Downtown Lynn a shit-hawt prospective employment center unto itself...never mind the linked-trip kingmaker of half the system. It's not simply the lack of BLX and 4-minute Blue Line frequencies to the CBD that are holding Lynn back right now. It's the fact that the last-mile feeders are so broken by the self-defeating routing hacks in the absence of BLX that half-or-fewer as many North Shorers who should (by native demand and native layout of the bus terminal) be streaming into Central Square...are simply absent because the frequencies don't exist and have no ops source to exist. Artificially repressed. It can't be understated how huge the stakes are. Healing the bus breakage with BLX is a gateway city kingmaker...full-stop.
 

bolehboleh

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I have always found Lynn to be very frustrating. At the very least, Lynn should have a reasonably interesting and dense downtown like Lowell, yet it seems to be full of parking lots and vacant storefronts. I don't get it. It's very close to Boston and it's on the train line with the most frequent trips to Boston, right on the water and has some decent bones downtown, yet all of its potential seems squandered. Why is that? How is it that lowell can still be a working class immigrant city with okay nightlife, yet Lynn can't seem to reach that very attainable goal?
 

Massachoicetts

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I have always found Lynn to be very frustrating. At the very least, Lynn should have a reasonably interesting and dense downtown like Lowell, yet it seems to be full of parking lots and vacant storefronts. I don't get it. It's very close to Boston and it's on the train line with the most frequent trips to Boston, right on the water and has some decent bones downtown, yet all of its potential seems squandered. Why is that? How is it that lowell can still be a working class immigrant city with okay nightlife, yet Lynn can't seem to reach that very attainable goal?
One thing Lowell has over Lynn is a university. That definitely helps it out a little more.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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One thing Lowell has over Lynn is a university. That definitely helps it out a little more.
Helps, sure. But North Shore Community College right smack downtown is a large presence with 16,000 students...and Associates degrees are rebounding in importance these days. That ain't chopped liver; the right ingredients are still very much there.
 

bolehboleh

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Maybe part of the reason is that they require the bars to close at 1am instead of 2. Maybe they could improve their nightlife and come a draw for people on the North Shore if they add more venues. Plus, there has to be some sort of incentive to build on or over the large parking lots.

If I had a choice to move to Lowell or Lynn, I'd move to Lynn just because it's close to Boston. I'd move to Lowell because it's a pretty nice city.
 

Benson

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No. For the 8,947¾th time: RUR is not going to un-fuck the fucked Lynn Terminal bus frequencies that since 1970 have been forced at gunpoint to go to die in 1A traffic on the Wonderland + Downtown siphon so there is never enough balance in equipment cycles to give the 4xx routes frequencies worth their population density's demand. And that equipment anemia gets WORSE with each year of worsening 1A traffic into the CBD, so we're starting to run backwards on that solution as more time and attrition pass by. RUR primes the pump a little, but does nothing to address the real mobility problem--last-mile mobility in Yellow-paint livery--that's holding back the North Shore. The perma-fix only happens with BLX ending the bus-siphon insanity so the North Shore can get immediately reinvested with new last-mile frequencies on balanced cycling out of Lynn. Those frequencies all bullseye on Lynn, so THAT'S the moment it becomes a bona-fide gateway city of real breakaway heft.

RUR doesn't address the bus anemia. To considerable degree Rockburyport service increases have to swim against and overpower that baked-in last-mile problem that doesn't have a non-BLX mechanism for fixing itself. If Rockburyport RUR isn't going to truly blow sky high until the last-mile 4xx feeders are pulling their weight, then the whole shebang is still singularly dependent on BLX fixing the glitch. Every dodge-n'-deke and name-check of D.O.A. "Zombie Wonderland" CR station is just ignoring the core question. This is primarily a bus-mode problem, but the bus-mode problem needs the rapid transit-mode spine as means of fixing itself because all the hacky routing substitutes go straight down the 1A drain to anemic equipment cycling that projects worse over time.
Yeah, but what if they, like, just sort of electrified the commuter rail or something? Do you think that would work?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Yeah, but what if they, like, just sort of electrified the commuter rail or something? Do you think that would work?
8498...
8499...
8500...

[Cue "Yeah, but wouldn't a Commuter Rail station across the zombie parking moonscape of Wonderland 20 minute's freezing-ass-cold walk from a line transfer, like, do something?"]

8501...

And so on and beat head against desk and "¡BUS TERMINALS! HOW DO THEY WORK?!?!" needs translation from Klingon or something.



I get the need to search under every rock for easier answers...but, literally, there are no more straws to grasp here. No BLX = no un-fucked last-mile transit = forever-fucked North Shore transit shares. The problem with the hosed bus cycles is a direct and unavoidable consequence of the missing rapid transit connection from the color-change Downtown transfers. RUR...is not by function or definition a rapid transit build hitting all the color-change Downtown transfers. Ergo, RUR is not a drop-in substitute nor any form of tarted-up partial substitute that ameliorates the problem. Google Translate's Klingon-to-English setting will clear up any residual confusion in reading that statement.

So when literally nothing else direct-addresses the core problem that's icing transit shares on the North Shore, every new (but...mostly many-times-retread) attempt at throwing some new "Yeah, but..." at the wall is just excuse-making for not wanting to solve any part of the big core problem. Only because the core problem so happens to be big. RUR, to the extent that it helps, is itself boxed-in by the inability to expand last-mile feeder frequencies for the boundless growth of its own ridership. And the fact that 1A congestion to Wonderland & Downtown gets continually worse with time ends up making those feeders more ragged in the future, such that RUR is basically forced to set sail in a stiffening headwind to grow against the drag effect of gradual Yellow Line ops attrition & network decay. Not exactly the stuff of achieving blowout ridership with happy days forever. You still have to fix the Lynn Terminal problem that's clobbering the frequency ceiling in that whole bus district to put RUR on its best growth footing. To total anti-surprise, that still involves building BLX...because BLX is the only thing running rapid-transit headways to all the biggie Downtown color-line transfers allowing bus cycling to snap back to the terminal.


I mean...the 8,502⅞th re-re-re-explainer³ bottom-lining of this very basic rock+hard place is not suddenly going to pry open the next magical-thinking deke that frees us from the generational responsibility of building BLX. BLX is the only bloody thing that fixes the fucked bus terminal, and fixing the fucked bus terminal is the only bloody thing that uncaps North Shore transit shares by making the feeders to rail (all rail, including RUR) functional. The end...Finis.
 
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George_Apley

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I like this thread. Bounced it to the Boston area forum since Lynn is firmly within Boston's orbit, rather than beyond the 128 belt that "Outside Boston Metro" is good for.
 

Charlie_mta

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I have always found Lynn to be very frustrating. At the very least, Lynn should have a reasonably interesting and dense downtown like Lowell, yet it seems to be full of parking lots and vacant storefronts. I don't get it. It's very close to Boston and it's on the train line with the most frequent trips to Boston, right on the water and has some decent bones downtown, yet all of its potential seems squandered. Why is that? How is it that lowell can still be a working class immigrant city with okay nightlife, yet Lynn can't seem to reach that very attainable goal?
Lowell is its own hub city, but Lynn is just a satellite of Boston. Some places in a metro area, such as Boston, need to be a place for poor people, and Lynn just happens to be that place for now. If the Blue line ever makes to to Lynn, it will become gentrified and the poor people will move on to somewhere else.
 

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