General Infrastructure

Arlington

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Do curb colors work in winter?
I would say they do: just like it is your job to read the sign now it would be your job to ascertain the curb color.

Also it is completely possible that the current system of worded signs would be replaced with colored markers that would be visible above a snow pile
 

HelloBostonHi

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Do curb colors work in winter?
Britain manages to use solely road lines to distinguish parking. Not saying it's perfect (it's not) but they have winter there too. But in the UK you can park basically anywhere *unless* there are road markings saying otherwise.

Screenshot_20191121-182247_Chrome.jpg

 

stefal

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This gets into "Crazy Infrastructure Pitch" territory, but what's needed are centralized delivery points that serve larger sections of the city. You can then have internal deliveries via widgets or smaller electric vehicles to distribute within those zones, rather than having huge delivery trucks come through. Loading dock logistics writ large, essentially. You'd need to do a deep dive to figure out what points would work best, how big the zones are, and I'd have no idea how you'd choose a contractor for the internal logistics of those zones, but it would get the biggest and most lethargic vehicles off city streets.
More on Urban Consolidation Centers (UCC's): The future of last-mile delivery has arrived, in a small Dutch city (Medium.com)

Though its population is ~3-4x smaller than Boston and still just starting out, Nijmegen is the first city with a working UCC model.
 

FK4

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When talking about this as a thing in a widespread area of a city and not just a few specific streets/plazas, I'm curious as to how this actually works and all the impacts of it. As you mention, there's other cities in the world where I've heard of it being done.

-------

My initial reaction is:

- Night-time delivery operations are noisy and are going to disturb quality of life in any area with adjacent residential. If I'm the upstairs tenant, I don't want the restaurant on the ground floor of my building getting it's deliveries in the middle of the night even if that's optimal from a traffic/street flow perspective.

- Many small businesses are only open normal business hours and only receive deliveries during those times. Having to extend their staff hours substantially just to handle their deliveries seems like a significant burden, and product obviously can't just be piled up at the front door overnight.

- I'm not sure that it's societally optimal to make thousands of delivery drivers unnecessarily work in the middle of the night, and it seems likely it's going to lead to the dominant schedule being awful split shifts to maximize the edges of those delivery hours. Presumably few businesses beyond the largest want to receive their deliveries at 2:30AM, so you're going to have most deliveries packed into something like a 4-6AM window and a similar window on the PM side. Likely that means a 4 hour shift late in the evening and a 4 hour shift early in the morning, with dead time in the middle of the night.

Clearly other places have in some way answered those questions, and I'm wondering how and at what overhead costs.
Thinking about this, I agree. When I visit friends or family in Manhattan and the denser parts of Brooklyn, the nocturnal noise from trucks (rumbling on the street, unloading, and also the horrible reversing alarm) is just nightmarish. I am a big fan of cities and I've lived in some very urban parts of them in the past, but I also think it's important (and increasingly so) to not get complacent about the ills of urban quality of life. Noise is more than a nuisance, and something hopefully technology and political action can address over the course of this century. The levels of mental illness arising from cities are, likely, partially due to the stress from the noise and general chaos of high density urban environments. Lack of greenspace is another.
 

stefal

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this is cool but we have to think of boston as an area with a population of 4 or 5m not 700 or 800k
Well, isn't the argument that delivery trucks are taking up too much space and causing traffic in the downtown section? I think we'd want to tackle those issues over deliveries in the Greater Boston area, where traffic is still impacted but not nearly as bad as downtown.
 

Ruairi

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Well, isn't the argument that delivery trucks are taking up too much space and causing traffic in the downtown section? I think we'd want to tackle those issues over deliveries in the Greater Boston area, where traffic is still impacted but not nearly as bad as downtown.
yea but it's a downtown area that caters to an urban area of 4 million+, not 800,000.
If you're going to consider the population of Roslindale or West Roxbury, you have to consider the population of Cambridge, Somerville etc.
Either way, I like the idea and would be interested to see how scalable it is.
 

FK4

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Another thing this Spotlight series missed was the utter lack of signal coordination in the City of Boston... or the various traffic light disasters on DCF roadways. There's a number of small fixes that could be done now that would enhance flow quite a lot.
 

George_Apley

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Another thing this Spotlight series missed was the utter lack of signal coordination in the City of Boston... or the various traffic light disasters on DCF roadways. There's a number of small fixes that could be done now that would enhance flow quite a lot.
THIS. It's almost criminal the way certain intersections are sequenced.
 

KentXie

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Tbh, it's probably a lot more difficult to sequence traffic lights in a city like Boston compared to say a planned gridded city.

That being said, its situations like the one the city is currently in that I'm glad Boston did not win the Olympic bid. Imagine hosting that on top of the clusterfuck we currently have.
 

The EGE

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I recall Boston having rather fewer traffic engineers than similar-size cities, but I can't find any statistics to back that up.
 

whighlander

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I recall Boston having rather fewer traffic engineers than similar-size cities, but I can't find any statistics to back that up.
Willing to bet though that Boston has many more Traffic Bureaucrats than cities many times larger

What we seem to do best as a Politi is study, study, connect with neighbors and near-to-neighbors and then study some more

When it comes to actually implementing - -well that's another matter with NIMBYs rising and also various NGO's -- finally decades later something actually happens

Now of course we can contrast this with a city like -- Ah Boston a bit over a century ago which was growing much faster than today and managed to accommodate the growth [roughly doubling from 400k to 800k in about 40 years]*1
at the same time building an amazing legacy of parks, public library, quasi-public museums, parkways, and the T

So Why could it be done circa 1900 -- but it can't be done circa 2000> ????????



*1
Boston City Population
YearPop.±%
172210,567
176515,520+46.9%
179018,320+18.0%
180024,937+36.1%
Becomes a City officially ... geometric growth phase [doubling in 20 years] ...

182043,298+28.1%
183061,392+41.8%
184093,383+52.1%
1850136,881+46.6%
1860177,840+29.9%
1870250,526+40.9%
Modern City era begins -- Parks, Transit -- and sustained rapid growth [doubling in 40 years]

1880362,839+44.8%
1890448,477+23.6%
1900560,892+25.1%
1910670,585+19.6%
1920748,060+11.6%
1930781,188+4.4%
Stable or slow decline in population .... for next 40 years.....


1940770,816−1.3%
1950801,444+4.0%
1960697,197−13.0%
1970641,071−8.1%
1980562,994−12.2%

Turn-around & Modern population recovery phase as well a major construction boom
1980562,994−12.2%
1990574,283+2.0%
2000589,141+2.6%
2010617,594+4.8%
2018694,583+12.5%
 

Arlington

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In 1900 was it a young population that walked to school and church and work and not much else?
 

JeffDowntown

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In 1900 was it a young population that walked to school and church and work and not much else?
Actually not really. In 1890 to 1900 there were literally thousands of street cars on the streets of Boston, moving that population around (really slowly).

It took effective gridlock of the street car system to create the political will to start building the subway tunnels. It was not really "forward looking", it was absolutely essential. No one could get anywhere (including the Brahmins in their carriages, because they were stuck in the same gridlock). (It is important to realize that getting the street cars underground was not just about getting the street cars moving again, it was about clearing the way for the Brahmins' carriages up on the surface!).
 

whighlander

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Actually not really. In 1890 to 1900 there were literally thousands of street cars on the streets of Boston, moving that population around (really slowly).

It took effective gridlock of the street car system to create the political will to start building the subway tunnels. It was not really "forward looking", it was absolutely essential. No one could get anywhere (including the Brahmins in their carriages, because they were stuck in the same gridlock). (It is important to realize that getting the street cars underground was not just about getting the street cars moving again, it was about clearing the way for the Brahmins' carriages up on the surface!).
It is important to realize that getting the street cars underground was not just about getting the street cars moving again, it was about clearing the way for the Brahmins' carriages up on the surface!
JeffDwntown -- Not so much

By the time the Subway went underground circa 1900 and then expanded in the first decades of the 20th C -- many Brahmins had seen the handwriting in Gaelic on the Wall and they were moving out of Boston to the Northshore and a few other places. When they went to work they mostly too the train to North Station and then walked to State Street where one worked in a gentlemanly manner. Gentlemanly in Boston-speak meant no ostentatious displays of your family wealth -- you wore your tweeds until they had un-patchable holes, etc.

Famously circa 1920 -- Mrs. Senator Lodge [Henry Cabot Lodge Sr.] once met Mrs. Senator Leverett Salltenstall in Filene's Basement next to the Orange and Red Lines on Washington Street -- both women were initially embarrassed, and mumbled something about buying something for someone on the staff [not clear if it was household or office] -- but eventually they admitted that they were there buying shirts for the Senators in question.

Another famous anecdote about Godfrey Lowell Cabot*1 -- a Brahmin's Brahmin*2 who stepped off a curb downtown and into semi-frozen slush -- he didn't say anything just scowled. A junior associate suggested that Mr. Cabot should buy some galoshes -- Cabot replied that the Winter was to short to justify such a superfluous expense.

After all this is Boston -- not New York -- some died-in-the-wool Brahmins continued to live on Beacon Hill or the Back Bay -- but they mostly would have walked to work rather than take a carriage.

No --- the trolleys were mostly there for the middle class who began to populate places like Somerville -- aka a Streetcar Suburb and needed to get to downtown Boston to work for the Brahmins who owned the places of business.


*1
from wiki article
Godfrey Lowell Cabot was born in Boston, Massachusetts and attended Boston Latin School. His father was Dr. Samuel Cabot III, an eminent surgeon, and his mother was Hannah Lowell Jackson Cabot. He had seven siblings: three being, Lilla Cabot (b. 1848), among the first American impressionist artists, Samuel Cabot IV (b. 1850), chemist and founder of Cabot Stains, and Dr. Arthur Tracy Cabot (b. 1852), a progressive surgeon.[4]

Cabot attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a year, before graduating from Harvard College with a SB in Chemistry, in 1882. He was a famous aviation pioneer and World War I U.S. Navy pilot. He also founded the Aero Club of New England.

Cabot founded Godfrey L. Cabot, Inc. and its successor, Cabot Corporation, in 1882. It became an industrial empire which included carbon black plants and tens of thousands of acres of land rich in gas, oil, and other minerals; 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of pipeline; seven corporations with worldwide operations; three facilities for converting natural gas into gasoline; and a number of research laboratories.
*2
of the famous quote about the Cabots and the Lowells -- aka The widely known "Boston Toast"

by Holy Cross alumnus John Collins Bossidy features the Cabot family:

"And this is good old Boston,The home of the bean and the cod,Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots, And the Cabots talk only to God."
 
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kingofsheeba

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Not sure if this was posted...or even where to post this...

He's not wrong regarding the T but he's just proving how out of touch he can when he says that we shouldn't spend more on highways. That's too vague. What does he mean by that? Not spend to fix the highways that we have? Because there's been a moratorium on new highways since 1971.

Side note: I've worked with the former governor in my former life as a radio producer. Didn't come off too friendly when I met him but I might've caught him on a bad day. Other people have had him at Northeastern and they rave about him. So, it could be just me.

 

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