General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

Wash

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So the E Line is being totally rebuilt on Huntington/South Huntington Ave.

Upgrade report: https://www.mbta.com/projects/green-line-track-and-intersection-upgrades-2021

The tracks are being rebuilt in place although there have been proposals to run the tracks along the curb as shown below:

View attachment 15785

I know there are many actual and perceived issues with the concept but other cities seem to have been successful with the design and when I saw what they did on Brighton Avenue, where they took the entire right lane for buses, I wonder if it actually could work on Huntington Ave. If you are going to make such drastic changes on Brighton Avenue for buses, then you can probably justify similar changes on Huntington Avenue for LRVs and buses. The ADA requirements alone are probably enough to hang your hat on.

View attachment 15786
T officials have stated publically that the curb-running rendering is ancient and got used in a presentation recently for lack of a better option. They recognize that keeping the transit in the center of South Huntington is a better solution and want to make it very clear that that's the plan.
 
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BostonTrainGuy

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T officials have stated publically that the curb-running rendering is ancient and got used in a presentation recently for lack of a better option. They recognize that keeping the transit in the center of South Huntington is a better solution and want to make it very clear that that's the plan.
I know but after seeing what they did on Brighton Avenue, I thought I'd bring up the possibility. Huntington Avenue as it is now is a bit of a operational challenge. At the very least they should eliminate Fenwood and Back-of-the-Hill and build a station in a new median at Mission Park. I was told that they setback Mission Park's buildings just for that reason when it was built. The remaining issue would be Riverway which would require land taking to make it a fully functioning median station or curb running at that one point.

I sometimes wonder how the street running has even survived this long. There are frequent accidents and potential for serious injury loading and unloading passengers in the street. I have seen incidents where cars have come very close to hitting people who were alighting the cars. Also of course there is the ADA situation. I have a feeling the VA Medical Center is the only reason it survived. But then on the other hand, I'd love to see it extended to Centre Street Hyde Square :)
 
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Jahvon09

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Don't be too surprised if the C Line (Cleveland Circle) also joins the party. Like Comm Ave, its tracks are also in the middle of the street, so a similar design plan will also be in the works. Seems that the MBTA is on a tear to do a rebuild of the main streets & traffic. It DOES look cool!! :)
 

Brattle Loop

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Don't be too surprised if the C Line (Cleveland Circle) also joins the party. Like Comm Ave, its tracks are also in the middle of the street, so a similar design plan will also be in the works. Seems that the MBTA is on a tear to do a rebuild of the main streets & traffic. It DOES look cool!! :)
The C-Line runs in a reservation in Beacon Street, not street running, so I'm confused as to what you're suggesting.
 

Jahvon09

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The C-Line runs in a reservation in Beacon Street, not street running, so I'm confused as to what you're suggesting.
Will they redo some of the stations on that line? Will they make a few of them longer, to which I think they will? There's no rendering of the new stations yet.
 

The EGE

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The Southwest Corridor is flooded somewhere near Roxbury Crossing. The Orange Line is split into two parts (FH-Jackson Square and Ruggles-Oak Grove), Needham Line service is only operating to Forest Hills, and Providence/Stoughton and Franklin service is operating over the Fairmount Line. (Amtrak NEC service is suspended entirely.)
 

AndrewOnTheMBTA

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I was riding down the Providence line from South Station to PVD for a Labor Day Weekend adventure and I noticed a few of things:

1. It seems like there's cleared ROW at Route 128 for a third track on the platform closer to the garage. Was that in original plans?

2. South Attleboro is still closed. Is that permanent due to station conditions?

3. There's some decent progress on the Pawtucket station. Elevator steel structure in place. Didn't take any pics unfortunately. Will that be a stop on most trips? Its close enough to South Attleboro that it can replace it.

4. It would really be nice to increase number of trips and some express trips between Boston and PVD on weekends because it's a short trip that would have enough demand.

5. It's a shame that the Providence line doesn't run to TF Green 7 days a week, although ridership probably isn't there.
 

The EGE

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1. Yes, both platforms at Route 128 have space to be converted to islands. The 2010 Master Plan called for a third track on the west side, next to the garage.

2. Permanent until it's rebuilt. Design should be complete later this year, and I would expect it will be a priority to get bid and under construction.

3. I would assume that it will be served by all trips. Pawtucket/Central Falls and South Attleboro will coexist nicely - SA is the park-and-ride sink, while P/CF serves the dense downtown core (P/CF has a combined population of 100k) and the RIPTA buses.
 
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I was riding down the Providence line from South Station to PVD for a Labor Day Weekend adventure and I noticed a few of things:

1. It seems like there's cleared ROW at Route 128 for a third track on the platform closer to the garage. Was that in original plans?

2. South Attleboro is still closed. Is that permanent due to station conditions?

3. There's some decent progress on the Pawtucket station. Elevator steel structure in place. Didn't take any pics unfortunately. Will that be a stop on most trips? Its close enough to South Attleboro that it can replace it.

4. It would really be nice to increase number of trips and some express trips between Boston and PVD on weekends because it's a short trip that would have enough demand.

5. It's a shame that the Providence line doesn't run to TF Green 7 days a week, although ridership probably isn't there.


Pawtucket Construction update photo
20210902_135738.jpg
 

BostonTrainGuy

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I just can't understand how Boston is strangling itself with all of these new bus lanes on major roadways like Brighton Ave and Columbus Ave that reduce auto travel to a single lane. I love the idea on one hand but in reality the traffic in Boston is horrendous now and reducing lanes is only going to make things worse. We will soon be number one in the country for traffic congestion no question.

There are lots of pros and cons to these projects and of course we are talking Boston drivers who will ignore the bus lanes anyway when the traffic gets ridiculous as it will. If you take the bus to work it's great. If you drive a car to work it sucks.

I don't know the statistics that they are using to decide where to do this. Washington Street between Forest Hills and Roslindale Square is a no-brainer if you are trying to get the buses through no matter what, but what do you do with the residents who end up having no place to park their cars which are needed for getting to work? Not everyone can take the T to work you know. Is the goal to make the City carless? Certain neighborhoods carless?

I am just surprised to see these happening so fast without waiting to see the consequences. Where is all this traffic going to go? Will alternative routes come to a stand still? How will that affect emergency response vehicles on these other roadways? What happens when a car breaks down in the single lane? How will snow removal be effected? Should these lanes be rush-hour only?

And if you are going to do something this radical on certain routes, why not do it on Huntington Avenue where it is badly needed for the operation of the E line? Probably needed there more than anywhere.

overhead-view-columbus-ave.png
 

Riverside

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Adding lanes does not reduce traffic. It may be counterintuitive, but it's been demonstrated again and again, both in research studies and in the lived realities of the traffic hells that are, for example, Los Angeles and Houston. The only thing that reduces traffic is reducing the number of cars on the road. The only way to reduce cars is to improve and expand mass transit. Bus lanes mean the buses run faster, which means they complete their routes faster, which means the same number of buses can traverse the same route with higher frequency (without buying more buses), which means that more people can be transported by the buses and can do so with greater reliability, which also encourages more people to use the bus instead of their car.

Yes, obviously there will still be people whose commutes cannot be completed via mass transit. All the more reason for the bus lanes: reserve the auto lanes for the commuters who have no alternative (and while I wouldn't be able to hazard a guess at the numbers, I feel pretty confident -- given the varying density levels of commercial and employment areas -- that those no-alternative commutes are a fraction of those that could be completed via state-of-the-art public transit).

As for the choice of where these lanes are being "built" -- and it's worth putting that in quote marks because for the most part these bus lanes are just paint on the ground, Columbus Ave being the exception --, it's pretty clear that those choices are being made by comparing the severity of need (e.g. Washington south of Forest Hills) against the ease of building (i.e. where can they effectively create lanes using paint rather than concrete).

That all being said, I strongly agree that Huntington is well-worth the redesign, especially if the LRT ROW can be converted to support the 39 bus in addition. But, like I said, they're clearly focusing on the low-hanging fruit first. And Huntington will be anything but low-hanging fruit.
 

HelloBostonHi

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In addition to above, many of the two lane -> one lane moves have been driven by safety concerns. Two lanes of traffic greatly increases speeding and unsafe lane weaving compared to one. The only place two lanes is needed on most roads is at the intersections, and most of the bus lane projects have maintained some extra turn lanes at intersections.
 

RandomWalk

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In Boston, two lane roads are really 2.75 lane roads because Boston drivers will completely ignore the faded pavement markings to create the most convenient lane for themselves.
 

stick n move

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I just can't understand how Boston is strangling itself with all of these new bus lanes on major roadways like Brighton Ave and Columbus Ave that reduce auto travel to a single lane. I love the idea on one hand but in reality the traffic in Boston is horrendous now and reducing lanes is only going to make things worse. We will soon be number one in the country for traffic congestion no question.

There are lots of pros and cons to these projects and of course we are talking Boston drivers who will ignore the bus lanes anyway when the traffic gets ridiculous as it will. If you take the bus to work it's great. If you drive a car to work it sucks.

I don't know the statistics that they are using to decide where to do this. Washington Street between Forest Hills and Roslindale Square is a no-brainer if you are trying to get the buses through no matter what, but what do you do with the residents who end up having no place to park their cars which are needed for getting to work? Not everyone can take the T to work you know. Is the goal to make the City carless? Certain neighborhoods carless?

I am just surprised to see these happening so fast without waiting to see the consequences. Where is all this traffic going to go? Will alternative routes come to a stand still? How will that affect emergency response vehicles on these other roadways? What happens when a car breaks down in the single lane? How will snow removal be effected? Should these lanes be rush-hour only?

And if you are going to do something this radical on certain routes, why not do it on Huntington Avenue where it is badly needed for the operation of the E line? Probably needed there more than anywhere.

View attachment 16719
Heres your answer


Giving busses faster travel time is moving many times more people per stretch of road. This means the efficiency of our infrastructure is going up. Even bicycles take up much less space allowing higher throughput given the same size stretch of roadway.

The existing roads we already have are being made many times more efficient with these changes, thats a great deal. It seems counter intuitive but thats why we dont make these changes off of intuition and have sophisticated modeling and years of experience to go off. You can have 2 car lanes and have 2 lanes of people sitting in traffic, or have 1 car and 1 bus lane and 50x more throughput, easy choice.
 
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BostonTrainGuy

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Don't know if it matters in this case, but Huntington Avenue is State Route 9 so the rules of what they can do might be different. I remember the problems years ago when the State wanted to cut down trees in the median of Route 9 through Brookline to put in guard rails. The Town fought them and a compromise solution was worked out.
 

bigeman312

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we are talking Boston drivers who will ignore the bus lanes anyway when the traffic gets ridiculous as it will.
This is the best point you made. Bus lanes require enforcement. One of the biggest missed opportunities (unless it’s been recently rectified) would be for buses to have cameras on the front with the ability to take a snapshot of a car blocking a bus lane or bus stop. I’ve talked to multiple bus drivers who would happily support that system.
 

Charlie_mta

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Don't know if it matters in this case, but Huntington Avenue is State Route 9 so the rules of what they can do might be different.
I don't know the jurisdiction of this particular route, but often times a city-owned street is given a state route number, even though the street remains controlled by the city. The route number is simply to mark the route, and doesn't transfer jurisdiction to the State.
 

as02143

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Also, Brookline voted to put bus lanes on Route 9 in the area near Brookline Village to give priority to bus routes 65 and 66.
 

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