General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Tallguy

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Yeah I heard that and I'd accept that in a a mixed traffic area but since it's an exclusive busway they could use literally any basic object detection to make it happen if they really wanted. Ideally yes there is specific TSP hardware that can communicate when a bus is approaching and when it's cleared but here since it's all buses you could literally just mount an infrared beam on either side if you wanted.
So, every supermarket in America can open the door for me, but.......
 

chmeeee

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Somehow they plead that their bus detectors weren't always detecting their buses. I'm not saying it makes sense, but their claim to be unable to Transit Signal Priority was that they couldn't reliably detect the transit.
Yeah this is technology that was perfected in the 90s. If what they have isn't working, replace it for a 4 digit number of dollars.
 

The EGE

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TSP can't replace physical separation in a situation like this. To take it to the extreme, as mentioned above, putting it on preempt would allow buses to interrupt the cycle, rather than shortening red/lengthening green as TSP does. Buses are so frequent that D Street (including pedestrians) would almost never get served. Even then, you still wouldn't get every bus through without delay. Travel time from SLW and WTC to D Street is so short that if a D Street green begins shortly before a bus departs one of them, it's probably still going to be in the pedestrian countdown when the buses arrives. You cannot preempt the flashing red hand and all-red phases - not even SF cable car preempts, probably the most aggressive in the US, are allowed to do that.
 

chmeeee

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TSP can't replace physical separation in a situation like this. To take it to the extreme, as mentioned above, putting it on preempt would allow buses to interrupt the cycle, rather than shortening red/lengthening green as TSP does. Buses are so frequent that D Street (including pedestrians) would almost never get served. Even then, you still wouldn't get every bus through without delay. Travel time from SLW and WTC to D Street is so short that if a D Street green begins shortly before a bus departs one of them, it's probably still going to be in the pedestrian countdown when the buses arrives. You cannot preempt the flashing red hand and all-red phases - not even SF cable car preempts, probably the most aggressive in the US, are allowed to do that.
This isn't TSP. TSP is a feature you use when buses are mixed with general traffic. You set the signal to rest on D Street green with a low minimum time. Put the detectors far enough down (or the zone if it's a video system) the busway to detect a bus 100' before it gets to the intersection. Ped clearance is 8 seconds for a crosswalk that size. Bus is moving at say 30 feet per second. So if you give it hard priority, the absolute max it waits at the intersection is 15 seconds. I don't think a tunnel is worth saving 15 seconds.

The problem is right now the bus sits there for 60+ seconds if it arrives at the wrong time in the cycle. The SL1/2/3 is running 4 buses every 10 minutes in each direction. This is NOT a lot of vehicles in the scale of a signal. It would hurt D street to give the Silver Line maximum priority, but it would not break it. Shut off D Street with the pedestrian minimums every time a bus arrives and it would be fine.
 

JeffDowntown

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Solid editorial in the Boston Globe by Transit Matters promoting the Regional Rail concept.


"A key to a better Boston, hiding in plain sight
Want a cleaner, more prosperous, more equitable region? Upgrading commuter rail would unlock all those benefits."
 

bigeman312

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The week's data update at https://mobility-massdot.hub.arcgis.com/ is in.

Last week was the highest ridership in the bus system since the stay-at-home order was given last March!

MBTA_Bus_Ridership_Data_4_5_21.png


This comes at a time when Massachusetts is rapidly vaccinating the adult population.

Last week (week of 4/5), the highest ridership route in the entire MBTA bus system was the 28. I want to focus on the 28 for this post. The 28 averages 7,075 riders/day last week. This is the first week a bus route has averaged 7,000+ riders per day since "The Before Times."

The 28, unsurprisingly, has shown relatively strong ridership throughout the pandemic:

MBTA_28_Ridership.png


In fact, last week the 28 had a ridership of 63% of the baseline week (2/24/20).

The 28 is the highest ridership mass transit route in Mattapan, serving Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury en route to Ruggles via Dudley. The strong ridership throughout the pandemic is unsurprising given that this route serves a lower-income, transit-dependent population less likely to be able to do their jobs remotely compared to more affluent neighborhoods. COVID has further illustrated the need to invest in the 28 and mass transit to/from Mattapan in general. So, let's look at what's being and has been done:

The Blue Hill Ave corridor has long been a high-ridership corridor. Streetcars served this corridor for much of the 20th century. The modern version of the 28 was introduced in 1987, when the Southwest Corridor portion of the Orange Line opened.

BRT elements have been close to becoming a reality on this corridor on a few occasions.

In 2003, the 'Program for Mass Transportation' highlighted a 'Silver Line South Extension to Ashmont and Mattapan.'
This project would extend Silver Line bus rapid transit service beyond Dudley station to Ashmont and Mattapan. Service would follow Warren Street from Dudley to Grove Hall, and would then split into two branches. ... These branches would replace present MBTA bus Routes 23 and 28. ... This is a high priority rapid transit expansion project. ... Reducing the number of stops, installing signal priority systems for buses, and installing bus-only lanes would however improve travel time compared to existing local bus service. The larger articulated vehicles used on this service would reduce crowding. ... Direct service to Downtown Boston would be available without transferring at Dudley or Ruggles as required now.
In 2006, as part of a possible Phase III of the Silver Line, this was explored again:
Cogliano's plan would also extend Silver Line service south along Warren Street from Dudley station into Grove Hall, Mattapan, and Ashmont, with connections to the new Fairmount commuter rail line, which runs through Mattapan and Dorchester. This extension of the Silver Line, which could replace the Route 23 and 28 bus routes, goes through neighborhoods where many residents depend on buses.
In 2009, MassDOT applied for a TIGER Grant for the 28X:
The essential feature of the new service is dedicated bus lanes, which remove buses from general-traffic lanes and the unanticipated delays that can occur in them. Combined with traffic signal improvements that grant priority to buses in the dedicated lanes and reduce the delay caused by red lights, this will permit buses to operate at a higher speed and with greater reliability in travel times. Travel speed and reliability will also be improved by two other means: consolidating some existing stops, thus reducing the number of times a bus may be required to stop; and creating a system enabling passengers to pay their fares before boarding, thus reducing the length of the dwell time for buses per stop. Finally, new stations, with amenities including heaters and fare-prepayment machines.
The MBTA added 60-foot buses to the route in 2010 and made some improvements as part of the Key Bus Route Improvement Program in the mid-2010s.

More recently, Boston applied for federal funds again in 2020 for BRT elements along Blue Hill Ave, but again it did not come to fruition.

Blue Hill Ave is considered a "high priority corridor" as part of the ongoing Bus Transformation Project.

If we are to build back better, Blue Hill Ave is ripe for some BRT elements. This project has been top of mind for 20 years, and just keeps missing getting called up to the big leagues. Throughout COVID, the 28 has maintained relatively strong ridership and I hope we see some investment in bus infrastructure along this corridor in the coming years.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Stumbled across on Twitter, it would seem the refurb of the Mattapan vehicles which was expected to be complete by 2019 is horrendously behind schedule and the first two cars arent even close to done yet. https://www.nbcboston.com/investiga...hedule/2374136/?osource=sm_npd_nbc_bos_twt_mn
Lead paint remediation, primarily. They found way more of the stuff than expected as they were stripping the vehicles down (and boy are they stripped to the bone based on the pics from Everett in that story). The 2 out-of-service cars should be back in a few months, but this doesn't bode too well for pace of overhaul on the 6 in-service cars when they rotate in.

How did they not know there was lead in there? These things were extensively rebuilt in the mid-70's and circa-2000. Lead remediation was a thing during both of those periods. Did they not keep records???
 

millerm277

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Stumbled across on Twitter, it would seem the refurb of the Mattapan vehicles which was expected to be complete by 2019 is horrendously behind schedule and the first two cars arent even close to done yet. https://www.nbcboston.com/investiga...hedule/2374136/?osource=sm_npd_nbc_bos_twt_mn
To me this seems like as much of an example of poor communication and inconsistent updates out of the T as anything else.

To date, the project page: https://www.mbta.com/projects/mattapan-line-transformation, has received no updates since 2019 (and the documents there still list the 2020 completion schedule).

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If they'd actually published a basic slide deck with the explanation for the delay and new schedule, people would probably be a lot less pissed off and legislators wouldn't be writing letters.

It shouldn't take a NBC story (or following this site) to get a project update, especially when there is a significant change to the schedule.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It shouldn't take a NBC story (or following this site) to get a project update, especially when there is a significant change to the schedule.
The NBC10/NECN story is also written as sensationalist trash out of what's...awfully dry/weak source material. It's overtly trying to condition an outrage reaction, and that isn't helping either. Then again, T's own fault that the lack of updates left the door wide open for yellow journalism to fill in the narrative gaps. Pesaturo comes off particularly limp trying to bat it away in there.
 

shmessy

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Seriously, this is all on the MBTA and their mindset. It all comes down to poor communication.

Most every war, divorce, lawsuit, accident etc. in human history goes back to poor communication.

What's so FUKKING hard about being communicative????? It's so much less expensive than the alternatives.

If they want to be stiff-necked about this, this circular repetition will only continue. It's time to evolve for the sake of human progress. Boston has made much progress away from the overall flat-footed parachialism of the pre-1990's. The T needs to catch up to this evolution. Honestly, the population of voters (and business interests) has evolved to the point where the T won't be able to get away with it much longer. Pesaturo better get the message soon or get out of the way.
 
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bakgwailo

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The NBC10/NECN story is also written as sensationalist trash out of what's...awfully dry/weak source material. It's overtly trying to condition an outrage reaction, and that isn't helping either. Then again, T's own fault that the lack of updates left the door wide open for yellow journalism to fill in the narrative gaps. Pesaturo comes off particularly limp trying to bat it away in there.
So, it is pretty sensationalist, but, the T desires to get flamed for this, especially after the community meetings promising the moon and stars and timelines with seemingly little having been done years later and absolutely no updates or communication on the project. That includes not only the trolley rehabs but all of the other promised station work and upgrades.
 

RandomWalk

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The T should practice some radical transparency, but the T being a political body makes that impossible. At the T it really is the case that success has many parents, while failure is an orphan.
 

ra84970

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The T should be forced to publish up-to-date Gantt charts for all their projects no less frequently than monthly.
That just means some of the project managers are not going to be managing their projects. I don't see how this is going to actually be helpful with making the projects happen any faster.

Crikey, the Safety report even called out the over abundance of meetings of the FMCB as complicating factors in the lack of a safety culture at the T. This will be basically the same thing.
 

Arlington

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However project managers report internally “how things went and are going”...or how that report looks two levels up (concrete went slow due to weather, steel is on schedule), would be the kind of gantt-overview/ two-liner feedback that reassures that a project is actually being worked
 

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