Fantasy T maps

F-Line to Dudley

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Yeah Rt2 from 128 to alewife is always going to be way too big because it was built at 8 lines with the expectation that it would tie into the inner belt etc.

So two of those four lanes could easily be repurposed as bus lanes. Throw a couple park and rides in between there and 128 and you have a good red-feeding BRT system. Could also be extended up 128 from Lexington to Burlington with a new BRT ROW along the powerlines. Then build a huge garage at the end of rt 3 and declare victory.
2 already has the empty frontage roads carrying buses. There isn't a need for separate bus lanes.
 

tysmith95

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2 already has the empty frontage roads carrying buses. There isn't a need for separate bus lanes.
Plus, very few people are going to park to take the bus when they can just drive down to the Alewife garage.

I don't see the point of additional transit on the Route 2 corridor. There are definitively more areas where additional transit would be cheaper and more beneficial.

If you did anything on that corridor, i'd make an underpass or overpass so people leaving the Alewife garage don't have to go through the big intersection. That would fix many of the backups leaving the garage.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Depending on who gets the Type 10 contract, perhaps a RL to the Heights and a single track (with passers at stations) LRT to Bedford with ultracapacitor chargers as to get rid of catenary wires? It might be considered unobtrusive enough but still get the passenger capacity from 128 P&R.
Ask NJ Transit RiverLINE riders whether their single-track w/passers service delivers real LRT-quality transit. The headways are a delay-prone 15+ minutes at rush, sparser most other times. So it sort of gets in reach of the Urban Rail commuter rail headway baseline for a few hours a day at most, then falls way off the table. All of which is a far cry from what LRT is supposed to sustain for a full service day. When it's a dedicated ROW and not a case of streetcars pairing off on separate single tracks a block apart, it's not good enough to attempt the build as a dictionary-definition rapid transit mode if you can't or won't do it as full double-track. NJT's unwillingness to fund all the required infill DT is the one and only reason why the RiverLine has underperformed ridership projectionsfor its first 15 years. The frequency ceiling imposed by all the single-track train meets and equipment rotation bottlenecks is freezing out all their latent demand.


Dinkies are not going to get it done. Either Red eventually Phase II's it out of an Arlington Heights beachhead to Lexington Ctr. and 128, or nothing ever moves past Arlington Heights for all of eternity and we work the bus angle out of AH terminal as best we can for Lexington, Hanscom, and Burlington.
 

odurandina

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Very nice map, George_Apley, am glad someone took the time to sketch out what F-Line outlined in the other thread.
this thread is fucking amazing.
incredible contributions and (demystifying) stuff.
 

Tallguy

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Ask NJ Transit RiverLINE riders whether their single-track w/passers service delivers real LRT-quality transit. The headways are a delay-prone 15+ minutes at rush, sparser most other times. So it sort of gets in reach of the Urban Rail commuter rail headway baseline for a few hours a day at most, then falls way off the table. All of which is a far cry from what LRT is supposed to sustain for a full service day. When it's a dedicated ROW and not a case of streetcars pairing off on separate single tracks a block apart, it's not good enough to attempt the build as a dictionary-definition rapid transit mode if you can't or won't do it as full double-track. NJT's unwillingness to fund all the required infill DT is the one and only reason why the RiverLine has underperformed ridership projectionsfor its first 15 years. The frequency ceiling imposed by all the single-track train meets and equipment rotation bottlenecks is freezing out all their latent demand.


Dinkies are not going to get it done. Either Red eventually Phase II's it out of an Arlington Heights beachhead to Lexington Ctr. and 128, or nothing ever moves past Arlington Heights for all of eternity and we work the bus angle out of AH terminal as best we can for Lexington, Hanscom, and Burlington.
So, you just have to go to the other end of the Red Line to find a dinky that's "getting it done"

So the Minuteman has several points where two tracks would preclude keeping the trail, which is politically problematic. The first is the segment from Arlington Lumber to Lexington Toyota...approximately one mile, with two grade crossings, one of which could be closed. Two tracks become easier through the Great Meadow. Another brief(.2 mile) single track section under Maple St, then two tracks should be possible until Woburn St. Single track for .4 mile brings you into a station in Depot Sq. Then a 1/2 mile to Parker Meadow where a double track is feasible to Revere St. Another .2 mile of single track gets you to Yamaha School. Double track until the Valley Rd Rec Area and single until Hartwell St. (.8 mile)
Six minute headways are tough, but 8-10 minute headways should be doable.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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So, you just have to go to the other end of the Red Line to find a dinky that's "getting it done"
Yes. Mattapan is complete double-track loop-to-loop. Single doesn't work well on rapid transit because the trains are not following a precise schedule to each stop. They have a starting schedule and an ending schedule, and it holds to a loosely predictable precession. But it's not like commuter rail where there's a per-stop schedule; HRT/LRT have a stop itinerary, but not an individual minute on the clock where a given run is scheduled to pull up to your stop. That's because at that level of service density there are enough chaos effects to keep such per-stop scheduling always within the margin of error. For example, even minor/non-problematic gapping and bunching can be the difference between getting on 30 seconds to a minute faster or slower by how much a platform has re-filled up in the few minutes since the last train. Gaps like that also grow and shrink through the duration of the run depending on what platforms are most crowded during that particular run.

The reason this makes single-tracking a bad idea is that when the mode has a built-in degree of ebb and flow in the train spacing, train meets at a passing siding can be nightmarishly hard to time. You've got tiny signal blocks for staging the meets, but even on a well-functioning day there's going to be +/- 1 or more minutes of fudge factor in where the trains involved in the meet will be. And so there end up being very frequent schedule adjustments when somebody arrives early or late and dispatch has to put a hold around the passer. It's not like commuter rail where meets on passing sidings happen on-the-button the same times each day because of the schedule predicated on arrivals/departures from the nearest station. In CR-land discrepancies vs. schedule clock get micro-adjusted at the stations. With HRT/LRT they'd have to happen out in the open at the signal block before a switch, because the much higher-density signaling blocks wouldn't allow for enough certainty trying to keep the doors open at the last station.

Ultimately this is a function of the frequency levels. 15 min. Urban Rail is close to the density limit you can schedule on RR infrastructure and still time the station stops with precision and without too much margin-of-error. And it's the limit because of the mixed traffic profile. For a line like the NEC that has extremely dense frequencies but not a single-file of every train going to the same place, traffic densities can reach higher...but only if the trains that are doing skip-stop runs know by the timetable exactly where the slower locals they need to leapfrog are going to be. But once you start getting sub- 10-minutes frequencies, meets get hard to stage and you really need either all traffic to be running single-file without track-switching, or for the express traffic to have extra tracks of their own.

NJT tried to build the RiverLINE to run on razor-thin meet margins for the sake of getting it launched, saying that it was no problem if the meets were too tight because they'd be backfilling more double-track as funds came available. Eminently defensible plan for the project starts...except they never ended up funding for any additional DT in the 15 years since. So it ends up this unsatisfying hybrid that feels like LRT, runs on a commuter rail-like schedule with outsized peak/off-peak spikes and dips, and has the schedule reliability of neither mode because it gets bottlenecked all-day/every-day at the passing sidings. At least it's a problem fixable for not-enormous $$$ where the line will perform worlds better with targeted elimination of the bottlenecks, but they have to get on with doing the double-tracking. If not all of it in one shot, then several miles more of it to stabilize the service.

So the Minuteman has several points where two tracks would preclude keeping the trail, which is politically problematic. The first is the segment from Arlington Lumber to Lexington Toyota...approximately one mile, with two grade crossings, one of which could be closed. Two tracks become easier through the Great Meadow. Another brief(.2 mile) single track section under Maple St, then two tracks should be possible until Woburn St. Single track for .4 mile brings you into a station in Depot Sq. Then a 1/2 mile to Parker Meadow where a double track is feasible to Revere St. Another .2 mile of single track gets you to Yamaha School. Double track until the Valley Rd Rec Area and single until Hartwell St. (.8 mile)
Six minute headways are tough, but 8-10 minute headways should be doable.
See, that's the problem. The RiverLINE was going for similar frequency target with similar economy, and it whiffed hard on that target. 15-minutes--when things are working well--with the max headways rationed to rush hour because overspacing at all non-critical hours became the relief for all the dispatching woes.

It doesn't matter if you can burnish something partway usable out of the single-tracking limitations; it's going to be very hard to generate any excitement in Lexington and Bedford with just that when the buses are going to be rolling out of Arlington Heights terminal at equal-or-better frequency clip. And unfortunately the RiverLINE comparison being the nearest available comparison to benchmark against in a scoping study doesn't offer an enthusiastic comparison to start with. If keeping the Minuteman on its footprint and not sparing a second track in the process is paramount to this build...that's another very low-enthusiasm sell for the folks in Lexington. If they won't support 2 tracks abutting the trail, they've kind of made up their mind already and won't support 1 either.
 

George_Apley

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I made a few modifications and additions to the "other transit concepts" layer of the map. Now it's mostly a lot of lower priority, not quite ripe, not quite necessary, or politically charged extension possibilities and filler stops that are feasible. Plus my boondoggle 128 LRV ;)

MBTA Build Concepts
 

Arlington

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I think that putting the Arlington Heights stop at the Arl-Lex border is not good politics:
- If Arlington is willing to have a stop, put it in their midst.
- If Lexington won't host a stop directly, don't let them push it just *barely* into Arlington (Too much like Melrose "getting" Oak Grove as a prize for having pushed the rest of Orange out of town)
- If Red might go to a Park and Ride on the Mass DOT / Cloverleaf site on Rt 2, it'd make sense to go deep under Appleton St in Arlington (so leave that option)


So I'd put the Arlington Terminus in this area of the Mirak Chevy/Hyundai Car Lots & Light Industrial stuff here: (https://www.google.com/maps/place/42°25'24.4"N+71°10'24.2"W/@42.423454,-71.1755787,435m/)

That'd put the station 1.3 miles from Arlington Center, and basically all of Arlington a 20 minute walk from the Red

From Arlignton Center to the Lexington Line is nearly 2.0 miles (and leaves Brattle St, a fairly dense area, a full mile from rail)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Arlington Heights needs to have a sizeable storage yard at least until some further extension is figured out, and the only suitable site for that is Arlington Lumber on Park Ave. since the entirety of the needed space can be acquired in one fell swoop. That means the station can only go on the Park Ave./Lowell St. triangle. The 1976 planning docs has the station entrance at-grade behind the bus depot with platform running alongside a Braintree-like stub-end yard. A modern reboot that scrapes off all the excess parking from the '76 plans would either go much slimmer-profile on the same site or slot east in the Park/Lowell cut and have a turning loop in the yard at Arlington Lumber.

But so long as plans for anything further are a jump-ball requiring too much extra thought to ever be tied into a single project phase with the generally agreed-upon AC+AH construction, you don't have much play with AH station positioning. It has to be able to flow into the yard, and there are no feasible alternatives for the yard other than Arlington Lumber. Lexington won't have a problem with this because that was understood 42 years ago, and that's the site their buses already go so it was always the most logical pick for station siting.
 

George_Apley

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I think that putting the Arlington Heights stop at the Arl-Lex border is not good politics:
- If Arlington is willing to have a stop, put it in their midst.
- If Lexington won't host a stop directly, don't let them push it just *barely* into Arlington (Too much like Melrose "getting" Oak Grove as a prize for having pushed the rest of Orange out of town)
- If Red might go to a Park and Ride on the Mass DOT / Cloverleaf site on Rt 2, it'd make sense to go deep under Appleton St in Arlington (so leave that option)


So I'd put the Arlington Terminus in this area of the Mirak Chevy/Hyundai Car Lots & Light Industrial stuff here: (https://www.google.com/maps/place/42°25'24.4"N+71°10'24.2"W/@42.423454,-71.1755787,435m/)

That'd put the station 1.3 miles from Arlington Center, and basically all of Arlington a 20 minute walk from the Red

From Arlignton Center to the Lexington Line is nearly 2.0 miles (and leaves Brattle St, a fairly dense area, a full mile from rail)
I agree with F-Line about yard access, and it's not so simple as putting the station further east and running tracks to yard space at the lumber yard site, because the whole track build is complicated and pricey to maintain Minuteman.

I think the trick to prevent Lexington freeloading is to minimize parking at AH. RLX is going to be very much based upon bus transfers and not drivers. If Lexingtonians want to take the Red Line into Boston, make them take the bus to Heights. This is also why I don't think there should be stops at Lake Street or between the Center and Heights. These stops are always going to be more dependant on bus transfers than just walk-ups. The Park Ave./Lowell St. triangle is also a good and established terminus for beefing up the Lexington/Bedford busses plus additional bus service being set up on Lowell Street to Burlington.

I also won't blame Lexington for opposing bringing Red through town. It doesn't really make sense from a transit perspective because the real goal is to get out to 128 and Hartwell Ave. Lexington is just in the way. Minuteman has become sacrosanct and the ROW is not easy to do rail+trail. There are several tricky grade-crossings around Lexington Center, and there are neighborhoods of $million+ homes all along the ROW between the Center and 128. Additionally just aren't any good catchments in town for stops except for Lexington Center itself. I just don't see that extension happening.

I theoretically like the idea of boring deep under the hill between Mass Ave and Route 2 (and I have it on some of my maps), but it's super speculative because the geography might make it a boondoggle. If the ground isn't solid enough (remember it's all glacial detritus around there) a DBM could disrupt the surface, or at least have a hard time safely building a tunnel. I'd love to see it studied someday, but I have doubts about its efficacy.
 
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George_Apley

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Mocked up a map for different Blue Line possibilities.
Discuss.

Layers for:
  • existing line plus transfer locations
  • existing stations
  • preferred extensions
  • preferred extension stations
  • other possibilities beyond the preferred routings
  • notes, questions, and musings

IMO, this shows how difficult it is to find good BLXs beyond Kenmore. Harvard would be the "easiest" route and would cannibalize the hypothetical Green UR branch there.
 
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George_Apley

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I love van's work and they got me into amateur transit planning years ago. But his ideas are often much "crazier" than the kinds of ideas I'm thinking about.
 

HenryAlan

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For a Blue Line extension, I've always liked the idea of crossing the river to hit Kendal, then swinging West to use the Grand Junction to hit BU, then follow the Worcester Line ROW to serve Brighton. A Brighton to downtown via BU and Cambridgeport would hit a lot of underserved population and job centers without duplicating too much of existing services.
 

Arlington

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My fave Blue is the preferred route shown (MGH-Back Bay-Kenmoreish-HBS-HSq). I'd like it to connect to West Station if it can.

If Back Bay freaks at the idea of going via cut-and-cover under Storrow as the best way to get to Kenmore (and I agree that is the best demand-capture), then Plan B could still be a sunken-tube in a Charles riverbottom trench going directly from MGH to Mass@Memorial.

Once under Memorial, it is a story similar to being under Storrow. And you have your pick:
1) Continue under Memorial for:
- BU Bridge @ Vassar St
- River-Western
- Harvard Square

or
2) Cross the river several times:
- BU Bridge @ Vassar
- West Station
- Harvard-HBS-Allston
- Harvard Sq

or
3) Continue to Kenmore via Sunken Tube #2 to Kenmore Under and out the D branch.
 

bigeman312

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Call me unimaginative, but I like Kenmore as a terminus for the Blue Line.

It would provide a necessary, higher-capacity, east-west route through the densest (job + tourist + resident + etc) section of Boston (Fenway - Back Bay - Beacon Hill - Downtown). It would also be well-fed via transfer by feeder routes from the west (57, B, C, D), and improvement to these routes would be more cost efficient than duplication or replacement with the Blue Line.

If I was to be imaginative/crazy and send the Blue Line west of Kenmore, I'm partial to sending it under Beacon Street, terminating at Cleveland Circle. It's straight, it's dense, and the stop-spacing writes itself: (Audubon Circle/St Mary's St, Coolidge Corner, Washington Square, Cleveland Circle). The C-branch reservation on Beacon Street would be a perfect multi-use path. The removal of the C-branch would enable further branching of the Green Line (A-branch to Watertown or F-branch to Dudley). Whatever your favorite option is, the capacity freed up would allow it to happen.

I don't like the idea of sending it to Harvard Square, because the more circuitous nature of that route (compared to Beacon Street), and the presence of the Red Line, diminishes the net gain of sending the Blue Line there.

I don't like the idea of Blue eats D because that ROW is already far faster than the C (so the net improvement is again diminished), and Newton does not have rapid transit density throughout. The density would support rapid transit to Reservoir, sure, but places like Waban or Eliot don't have the ridership or density to justify rapid transit. That leaves the following options for that ROW in Newton: convert rapid transit anyways, keeping all of the stations, which is a waste. Run the Blue Line to Riverside, but remove some of the existing Green Line stops, which is a transit loss for many people, and also, again, a waste of a high capacity line. Terminate the Blue Line at Reservoir, and run the D over the C ROW along Beacon. This would also be a net transit loss for riders in Newton, who would now have a transfer or longer ride to destinations in Brookline, Fenway, Back Bay, and points east.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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I caught this on the Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj episode about public transit. They are using some fantasy MBTA map in the background. It's not mine since it's of the more modern version of the map. Wondering if anyone knows what it is.

 

Shepard

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Call me unimaginative, but I like Kenmore as a terminus for the Blue Line.

It would provide a necessary, higher-capacity, east-west route through the densest (job + tourist + resident + etc) section of Boston (Fenway - Back Bay - Beacon Hill - Downtown). It would also be well-fed via transfer by feeder routes from the west (57, B, C, D), and improvement to these routes would be more cost efficient than duplication or replacement with the Blue Line.

If I was to be imaginative/crazy and send the Blue Line west of Kenmore, I'm partial to sending it under Beacon Street, terminating at Cleveland Circle. It's straight, it's dense, and the stop-spacing writes itself: (Audubon Circle/St Mary's St, Coolidge Corner, Washington Square, Cleveland Circle). The C-branch reservation on Beacon Street would be a perfect multi-use path. The removal of the C-branch would enable further branching of the Green Line (A-branch to Watertown or F-branch to Dudley). Whatever your favorite option is, the capacity freed up would allow it to happen.

I don't like the idea of sending it to Harvard Square, because the more circuitous nature of that route (compared to Beacon Street), and the presence of the Red Line, diminishes the net gain of sending the Blue Line there.

I don't like the idea of Blue eats D because that ROW is already far faster than the C (so the net improvement is again diminished), and Newton does not have rapid transit density throughout. The density would support rapid transit to Reservoir, sure, but places like Waban or Eliot don't have the ridership or density to justify rapid transit. That leaves the following options for that ROW in Newton: convert rapid transit anyways, keeping all of the stations, which is a waste. Run the Blue Line to Riverside, but remove some of the existing Green Line stops, which is a transit loss for many people, and also, again, a waste of a high capacity line. Terminate the Blue Line at Reservoir, and run the D over the C ROW along Beacon. This would also be a net transit loss for riders in Newton, who would now have a transfer or longer ride to destinations in Brookline, Fenway, Back Bay, and points east.
^ Yep! Another option: it eats the straight-shot Comm Ave B line to Packards Corner (like you've said on the C, the stop spacing is pretty clear) and the Comm Ave mall now extends down to Packards. From there, out under Brighton Ave and Cambridge St to Brighton Center and Oak Square. (Maybe there's a similar routing that could hit West Station as well along the way)
Existing B line from BC becomes a feeder to Packards.
 

Riverside

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I caught this on the Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj episode about public transit. They are using some fantasy MBTA map in the background. It's not mine since it's of the more modern version of the map. Wondering if anyone knows what it is.
Pretty sure that is the fantasy map that was posted to Reddit last year. Boy I hope the show gave the creator credit or royalties (though I doubt it).

It is a very pretty map. Some new ideas in there -- a fair number of the particulars are crazy (Green Line to North End, I'm looking at you) -- but I really like the overall vision. Am particularly keen on the way the Silver Line is envisioned -- basically as a proper class of BRT service, as opposed to a single/branching line.

I'm really partial to the idea of branding service to Framingham, Stoughton, Brockton and Lowell on the rapid transit map. Yes, there are a whole bunch of caveats here, but each of those cities is less than 25 miles away from downtown and would, under most proposals, have multiple trains an hour. There would need to be a marketing campaign to introduce this as a middle tier of service -- not quite walk-up rapid transit, but still worlds away from today's commuter rail, and a major convenience and access improvement. BART, for comparison, runs service as far as 30 miles out from downtown SF on 15-20 minute headways, which is not that far removed from what we are talking about here.
 

HenryAlan

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Boy I hope the show gave the creator credit or royalties (though I doubt it).
Did you watch it? He paid thousands of dollars in royalties to the Koch Brothers, I doubt very much he had money left in the budget for some anonymous guy on Redit.
 

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