Fantasy T maps

Charlie_mta

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1. Extend Blue line to Red Line at Charles
2. Extend Blue line to Lynn
3. Extend Orange line to West Roxbury
4. Create Green line branch to Needham Heights and eliminate Commuter Rail line to Needham
I would add as a very high priority a Green Line Branch from Lechmere to Everett via Sullivan, I would prioritize it right after BLX to Charles and BLX to Lynn. The casinos and other developments in Everett, plus the fact that Everett is a dense, lower income community not well served by transit puts it high on the list of future transit projects.
 

Urban_Hermit

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Does Electrification and increased frequency on the Newburyport/Rockport line make Blue line extension to Lynn a lower priority or even redundant?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Does Electrification and increased frequency on the Newburyport/Rockport line make Blue line extension to Lynn a lower priority or even redundant?
No, it arguably makes it higher priority. For primarily bus reasons. Right now there's a pronounced equipment cycling anemia on the 4xx routes because of the overlap between Lynn Terminal and Wonderland (and Downtown via 1A and the tunnels in pre-COVID times) for making the rapid transit connections. Frequencies across the board generally suck because the equipment can't cycle back to Lynn Terminal efficiently after getting bogged down in traffic. Demand on the North Shore is and always has been baked-in far greater through the coastal density of Revere in the Blue Line direction than it is through the largely empty swamp to Chelsea, so the additional one-seat frequencies in the Chelsea/North Station direction...while helpful...still aren't hitting the biggest slice of demand pie and still require the buses to cover the rapid transit gap. The worse the roads get congested, the more that excess bus running deprives the entire North Shore up to Peabody/Danvers/Beverly of bus headways. So full Regional Rail-ification of the Eastern is going to have blunted effects on transit shares to the last mile across the North Shore if the outlying bus frequencies cannot scale up in tandem. And...they can't scale up in tandem at all unless you build BLX to make Lynn bus terminal a real 1:1 cycled terminal again.

If anything, Regional Rail is a heat-seeking missile that significantly ups BLX's build priority...which is why you're seeing a revival in BLX advocacy coincident with the Regional Rail advocacy.
 

JeffDowntown

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Does Electrification and increased frequency on the Newburyport/Rockport line make Blue line extension to Lynn a lower priority or even redundant?
Lynn and Salem have population densities that deserve heavy rail, subway frequency service into Boston. We are talking about high concentrations of essential hourly workers who deserve access directly into the heavy rail transit system, not a commuter rail band-aide.

Why did Quincy, population density 6,133.74/sq mi, get heavy rail access to Boston decades ago, but we still argue about Lynn, population density 8,776.90/sq mi ?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Lynn and Salem have population densities that deserve heavy rail, subway frequency service into Boston. We are talking about high concentrations of essential hourly workers who deserve access directly into the heavy rail transit system, not a commuter rail band-aide.

Why did Quincy, population density 6,133.74/sq mi, get heavy rail access to Boston decades ago, but we still argue about Lynn, population density 8,776.90/sq mi ?
Quincy is an apt analogy. How much less-functional would Quincy bus terminal be for last-mile transit shares if the rail frequencies were once-every-15 instead of once-every-6? If Red weren't built you'd probably have to have a mirror-image of Lynn--namely, a lot of bus routes being super-extended to Ashmont--to cover the demand shortfall. Which would make a royal mess of bus cycling ops and likely deprive the whole region of outlying frequencies. It's not a *perfect* analogy because the North Shore's geography and road routings squeeze the buses at enormous time losses on the Wonderland overlap, but it would definitely be a much more poorly transit-served South Shore if you only had the Old Colony (even a double-tracked one with all routes stopping in Quincy) in lieu of Red.
 

Urban_Hermit

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Thank you F-Line and JeffDowntown! I admittedly am quite ignorant about the blue line and the north shore generally, so this is interesting and helpful.
 

Riverside

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Quincy is an apt analogy. How much less-functional would Quincy bus terminal be for last-mile transit shares if the rail frequencies were once-every-15 instead of once-every-6? If Red weren't built you'd probably have to have a mirror-image of Lynn--namely, a lot of bus routes being super-extended to Ashmont--to cover the demand shortfall. Which would make a royal mess of bus cycling ops and likely deprive the whole region of outlying frequencies. It's not a *perfect* analogy because the North Shore's geography and road routings squeeze the buses at enormous time losses on the Wonderland overlap, but it would definitely be a much more poorly transit-served South Shore if you only had the Old Colony (even a double-tracked one with all routes stopping in Quincy) in lieu of Red.
I can't remember which report it was in (I can go looking if anyone is dying to know), but there was a visualization of commuter steam railroad ridership into Boston circa, I dunno, 1910? Anyway -- the ridership from what is now the Braintree Branch was wildly high, even back then.

You know what else had wildly high ridership (until the Depression)? The Boston, Revere Beach & Lynn Railroad, which at one point ran 24 hour service (!), and at, I believe, peak headways of 10 minutes, on electrified rolling stock.

Here's a rebranding idea for us: it isn't the Blue Line Extension -- it's the Blue Line Restoration of service that was wildly popular for over 60 years, interrupted only by the Great Depression and then some (apparently rather transient) political opposition in the mid-20th century, in efforts to stymie what then was a restoration of service still in recent (living) memory.
 

Riverside

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Is it a Reasonable Transit Pitch? Is it a Crazy Transit Pitch? No -- it's an absolute Rule-Of-Cool Fever-Dream Transit Crayon Map™. I present: Project Blue Lace.

1642736491218.png


Imgur link for full map and full ridiculousness.

("Project Blue Lace" -- rhymes with "shoe lace". Get it? I really should be banned from making puns...)

This grew out of my Extending the Blue Line West series, in particular my discussion of where you could go after an extension to Kenmore. If you were willing to spend exorbitant sums of money on tunneling (and probably some environmental mitigation as you pass through the Fens), you could extend the Blue Line down into Longwood Medical Area... and then why not over to the Orange Line? And why not over to Nubian? And if you've made it to Nubian, well, why not use Melnea Cass and the Track 61 ROW to hop up to the Seaport? And since we're spending exorbitant sums of money, why not build the third bore of the Ted Williams Tunnel to bring heavy rail to the airport? And then why not take over that branch to Chelsea that everyone wants to add to the Blue Line when they're first making crayon maps? And since you're there, why not go over to Wellington? (But clearly that is the place to stop -- obviously an extension to Davis would be a bridge too far? Right? I mean, obviously, right?)

The extension into Longwood maybe could be justified as a moonshot investment in some super-transit-friendly political environment... maaaaaybe. But the rest of this is just pretty silly. It's the southern half of the Urban Ring, most of which has never been proposed as heavy rail, instead preferring LRT or BRT.

But it makes for a fun map.

I used this occasion to sketch out a few other ideas that I've been playing with more seriously elsewhere. Most of these are Green Line extensions.

Usual stuff:
  • Orange Line to Roslindale Village
  • Blue Line to Lynn
  • GLX completed
  • Green Line to Needham
  • Indigo Line
  • Green Line to Nubian
  • Green Line to Porter
  • Green Line D-E Connector
  • Green Line to Grand Junction
More unusual stuff:
  • Green Line to Seaport
    • Pretty commonly discussed in the Green Line Reconfiguration thread. I think technically I'm presenting a slight variant here that hasn't been discussed as much there, but that's neither here nor there. (Again with the puns.)
  • Green Line to Back Bay
    • Also pretty commonly discussed here on Arch Boston
  • Green Line to Jackson Square via Hyde Square
    • E Line to Hyde Square is actually a pretty mainstream proposal that you see in official documents every now and then. Given that Jackson Square is a bus transfer point (that now has center-running bus lanes on the approach), I think a short Green extension further has merit
  • Green Line to Sullivan and Everett
    • Sullivan is a more reasonable idea. Everett would be more complicated. But looks cool on the map.
  • Green Line subway to Allston
    • This is a bit of a variant on previous ideas that have been discussed here. We have a three-way junction with the Grand Junction, and then a branch-off after West Station, with one branch taking the pretty commonly discussed path to Harvard, and then the other taking a trip down Cambridge St, eventually terminating at Oak Square, resurrecting the A Line in part, but feeding it into West Station instead of Kenmore. (Which means, by the by, that this new Allston Line could be fed both from the Central Subway and from the Grand Junction.)
  • Silver Line "X" from Nubian & Jackson to Ashmont & Mattapan
    • Most of this corridor already has bus lanes in use or in planning, so I think it makes sense to formally "placemake" into a dedicated "line" in the MBTA family. Each northern terminal would have a pair of routes to each southern terminal.
Some of these ideas I like and will develop out further elsewhere.

But for now, enjoy the map!
 
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Riverside

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Noob question: How do people make maps?
Ah, so I've found my next blog post topic!

@KCasiglio is spot on: Google Maps is a great place to get started. You can zoom in and zoom out so that you can plan out very detailed, fiddly precise alignments ("Can I fit a 2 track ROW between these buildings?"), you can use the satellite view to eyeball the build-up density (which can be a helpful reality check on overeager fantasy maps), and you can use the terrain feature to find out where you've got hills and valleys. You can also use layers to make the map a little more manageable -- put your stop labels in one layer, your commuter rail lines in another -- turning off different layers depending on what you want to focus on.

When you make your own map on Google Maps, you're actually creating .kml files, which means you can export your maps -- useful for backing up your maps, sharing with other people, or importing features from one map into another. You also can import your map into Google Earth and view it in 3D, which can be super useful.

You will find limits with Google Maps -- there is a reason it is free. If you put a lot of work into a map, I definitely recommend backing up the .kml files offline.

When posting the map here, I recommend inserting a screenshot of either the whole map or a specific section that you want to draw attention to. Google Maps are great for highlighting details, but can be overwhelming (especially with lots of layers) when trying to get an overall sense of the map.

Beyond Google Maps, you're moving into the realm of Adobe Illustrator and the (open-source) GNU Image Manipulator Program. These are what you'd use to make diagrams, and what you'd use if you want to make more static/stable maps. I myself actually use Paint.NET and find it to be a really useful happy medium between the too-basic Microsoft Paint and the somewhat-intimidating proper vector graphic editors mentioned above (which I will eventually "graduate" into).

I use OpenStreetMap screenshots or tiles as my basemap, importing them into a layer in Paint.NET and drawing in layers above. Though I haven't actually gone to confirm, I assume that Google's map layers and satellite imagery are copyright.

Also -- not gonna lie -- I will also make maps/diagrams freehand with markers and paper (sometimes graphpaper, sometimes with a ruler). This is useful for sketching out concepts and getting a feel for how the different pieces fit together. It also sometimes is useful to get the idea down on paper quicker than you can on a computer.
 

Riverside

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At some point, I think you'd want to start giving some of the "green line" branches their own colors..
Another blog post in the making! But yes, my preference is to take a page out of New York’s book and color based on route through the core (Back Bay, Park St, Grand Junction etc).
 

kingofsheeba

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Assuming someone already did this, but Seacoast Rail. Dream would be to extend it up to Portland but I’ll settle for Salisbury. I don’t care how many years in court it takes to move some of those homes by the community path. Let’s do it.

Also if it shall expand, have it stop at Hampton Beach. Portsmouth, Seashore Trolley Museum, South Portland, and then Downtown Portland near the old Time and Temp building.

What I have this far. We can stand to lose Ten’s Show Club and those awful smells. Eeeeeeek.

50B0AABD-847A-4962-9FF8-A045FD90A587.jpeg
168F55F9-B724-46A7-AE49-73BE34979A4D.jpeg
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The Eastern Route ROW is landbanked to Portsmouth, and could be reactivated at a fraction of the cost of doing a Crazy Marshland Pitches along the beach. The ROW is easily visible to the left side of your map. It was even given a cursory official study about 20 years ago.

Just run a shuttle bus to the beach in-season like they do quite successfully in Ipswich. The primary use of the line is going to be Boston commutes, not beachgoer reverse-commutes.
 

kingofsheeba

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The Eastern Route ROW is landbanked to Portsmouth, and could be reactivated at a fraction of the cost of doing a Crazy Marshland Pitches along the beach. The ROW is easily visible to the left side of your map. It was even given a cursory official study about 20 years ago.

Just run a shuttle bus to the beach in-season like they do quite successfully in Ipswich. The primary use of the line is going to be Boston commutes, not beachgoer reverse-commutes.
81E96566-5298-4131-9DE9-E08E6B3326A3.jpeg


In all seriousness, F-Line, you’re probably right. It’s probably more feasible to do the Seacoast Rail alongside the Downeaster.
 
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NoShJFK

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I know generally rapid transit rail doesn’t extend deep into suburbs unless you’re talking about parts of Queens, PATH in NJ (although I consider that still to be very urban) or the complete DISASTER in Los Angeles.

But there isn’t an area in this state in more desperate need of rapid transit lines than the North Shore. I think ridership would be unusually high for the suburbs if it ever happened which I know it wouldn’t.


A look at some Eastern MA cities with and without RT

Chelsea (18,455/sq mi)
Everett (13,582/sq mi)
Malden (13,147/sq mi)
Lynn (8,777/sq mi)
Melrose (6,371/sq mi)
Salem (5,212/sq mi)
Newton (4,987/sq mi)
Swampscott (4,874/sq mi)
Peabody (3,357/sq mi)
Quincy (3,453/sq mi)
Braintree (2,844/sq mi)

Doesn’t seem to be equitable or logical … at all.


So here are a few ideas. The first one is really the main one and the most important one and the least far fetched

Wonderland
———(Revere/Lynn)———
Lynnway
Central Square
Western Ave

———(Lynn/Swampscott)———
Vinnin Square
———(Swampscott/Salem)———
Salem State
Downtown Salem

———(Salem/Peabody)———
Peabody Square
Route 128


This second one seems like low hanging fruit. A second branch of the Blue line that covers the other side of Easter, badly underserved Chelsea and other parts of Revere away

Maverick
Meredian St

———(EB/Chelsea)———
Broadway
——(Chelsea/Revere)——
Park Ave
North Point
Route 1



Then this is really in fantasy land but would complete full coverage of the southern portion of the North Shore area. Many many pitfalls to this idea - like how you would get from Route 1 near the old Showcase cinemas *OR* Mix Lounge area to Market Square without awakening NIMBY madness in Saugus.


Casino
Broadway (Everett)
——-(Everett/Malden)———-
Salem St
——-(Malden/Revere)——-
Route 1 (BL)
———(Revere/Saugus)——-
Saugus
——-(Saugus/Lynn)——-
Market Square
Central Square
 

JeffDowntown

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I know generally rapid transit rail doesn’t extend deep into suburbs unless you’re talking about parts of Queens, PATH in NJ (although I consider that still to be very urban) or the complete DISASTER in Los Angeles.

But there isn’t an area in this state in more desperate need of rapid transit lines than the North Shore. I think ridership would be unusually high for the suburbs if it ever happened which I know it wouldn’t.


A look at some Eastern MA cities with and without RT

Chelsea (18,455/sq mi)
Everett (13,582/sq mi)
Malden (13,147/sq mi)
Lynn (8,777/sq mi)
Melrose (6,371/sq mi)
Salem (5,212/sq mi)
Newton (4,987/sq mi)
Swampscott (4,874/sq mi)
Peabody (3,357/sq mi)
Quincy (3,453/sq mi)
Braintree (2,844/sq mi)

Doesn’t seem to be equitable or logical … at all.


So here are a few ideas. The first one is really the main one and the most important one and the least far fetched

Wonderland
———(Revere/Lynn)———
Lynnway
Central Square
Western Ave

———(Lynn/Swampscott)———
Vinnin Square
———(Swampscott/Salem)———
Salem State
Downtown Salem

———(Salem/Peabody)———
Peabody Square
Route 128


This second one seems like low hanging fruit. A second branch of the Blue line that covers the other side of Easter, badly underserved Chelsea and other parts of Revere away

Maverick
Meredian St

———(EB/Chelsea)———
Broadway
——(Chelsea/Revere)——
Park Ave
North Point
Route 1



Then this is really in fantasy land but would complete full coverage of the southern portion of the North Shore area. Many many pitfalls to this idea - like how you would get from Route 1 near the old Showcase cinemas *OR* Mix Lounge area to Market Square without awakening NIMBY madness in Saugus.


Casino
Broadway (Everett)
——-(Everett/Malden)———-
Salem St
——-(Malden/Revere)——-
Route 1 (BL)
———(Revere/Saugus)——-
Saugus
——-(Saugus/Lynn)——-
Market Square
Central Square
Your first routing isn't really crazy. It is in the general Transit and Infrastructure discussion:
Much studied at least as far as Salem, with available right-of-way.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Your first routing isn't really crazy. It is in the general Transit and Infrastructure discussion:
No...it's pretty crazy. It's a rehash of this Crazy Transit Pitches post from last year that went off-roading in a tunnel under Western Ave. on a circuitous route through most of Lynn at dubious benefit (the supposed big ridership catchments on the detour don't really exist). None of the official proposals ever strayed from the Eastern Route ROW, which is graded for 4 tracks throughout Lynn + Swampscott.

It's basically a God-mode pitch.
 

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