Green Line extension Newton to Needham

Brattle Loop

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I approve of this proposal. Because it makes the most sense, has great opportunities for growth, and it'll likely take a few dozen cars out of my town. That said, it may fail to get traction despite all logic.

I have always been of the opinion that there is a general bias against public transportation, mostly because of the perception or reality of cash-fights with auto-centric interests for a limited budget slice. The unfortunate hacks and wonks approving new public transportation routes get their ears knuckle-punched by Pioneer Institute goblins and their short-sighted budget cutting ilk. They also take flak from every construction company with a pending onramp or bridge contract. Oh, and the general gearhead zealots who see no other religion other than the Cult of The Piston.
This nation and this region does not have rail-centric industry nearly as formidable as the Auto Industrial Complex and its many tentacles. I would hypothesize that those same Auto Erotocists use their weight and influence to make rail construction estimates much higher than they really are. I'd offer Arup's pegging NSRL estimates at $20B as an example -- discounting many other independent studies that brought it in much cheaper. That $20B whopper gave the Baker Admin all the cover it needed to say no.

Building rails has been hard since the passenger rail industry was hunted to near extinction. We need to carve out a new preserve so rail creatures can flourish. Needham has room... so there's that.
Not entirely disagreeing with you, though there's a bit of a conspiratorial tone (for lack of a better description) that makes it seem like there's something actually deliberately nefarious behind underinvestment in rail infrastructure. While I'm quite sure that the auto industry and related entities' lobbying is a good part of why things can get bogged down and why there's a lack of funding, I would push back somewhat on the idea that it's necessarily Big Highway that overinflates the cost estimates of rail projects. With respect to the NSRL and a number of other projects around MA lately, the absurd numbers have come directly from the state, and it's fairly obvious where they've come from (e.g. picking a suboptimal NSRL route on Congress Street with an 'optional' second tunnel to get to the proper capacity under the Artery, doubling the costs; see also their rather blatant sandbagging on East-West Rail and Red-Blue). There's no meaningful evidence to suggest that any of that is anything more than Baker and company hating taxes and spending and not caring about the value in these rail projects.

The basic point is that while I agree that transit is not prioritized, I think it has more to do with general public preference (especially outside urban centers) for cars combined with public and institutional distaste for spending (particularly on things "they" won't use, or won't use as much) rather than necessarily resulting from malign influence from road interests (though their lobbying certainly plays a role).
 

AndrewOnTheMBTA

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I don't think the OL extension to West Roxbury can hold up its end of the bargain for this to happen. The ROW from Forest Hills to Roslindale goes through sensitive land as well as a narrow space. Right now, there is little room for a two track platform at Roslindale Village and I'm pretty doubtful about Highland too (it's a narrow station be behind Roche Bros). This brings up a huge budget with an area with limited transit ridership. Maybe it will just be a bus line and we can do a GLX to Needham.
 

Equilibria

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I don't think the OL extension to West Roxbury can hold up its end of the bargain for this to happen. The ROW from Forest Hills to Roslindale goes through sensitive land as well as a narrow space. Right now, there is little room for a two track platform at Roslindale Village and I'm pretty doubtful about Highland too (it's a narrow station be behind Roche Bros). This brings up a huge budget with an area with limited transit ridership. Maybe it will just be a bus line and we can do a GLX to Needham.
There's been a substantial amount of discussion on this board of the geometry of OL-WRox. I believe F-Line has actually done drawings, but I can't find them now.
 

Brattle Loop

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I don't think the OL extension to West Roxbury can hold up its end of the bargain for this to happen. The ROW from Forest Hills to Roslindale goes through sensitive land as well as a narrow space. Right now, there is little room for a two track platform at Roslindale Village and I'm pretty doubtful about Highland too (it's a narrow station be behind Roche Bros). This brings up a huge budget with an area with limited transit ridership. Maybe it will just be a bus line and we can do a GLX to Needham.
My understanding from previous posts in this and other threads is that the Needham Line ROW (at least as far as W. Rox) is double-track width the entire way even though a lot of it is single track (a number of bridges were built as single-track only but the abutments are still there for adding second spans). The ROW between Forest Hills and Roslindale is triple-track width, easily enough room for two OL tracks and one Needham CR track, and the only thing bordering the Roslindale station directly is parking (some of which would be sacrificed for a one-stop OL extension that otherwise does not extend beyond the existing ROW).

Past Roslindale the ROW is only two tracks, so Needham CR has to go away to extend the OL, but the ROW is spacious enough for two tracks. I don't get the concern about Highland in particular, the only thing bordering the entire northwest side of the ROW at that station is a parking lot that can easily be cannibalized if there's not enough space in the ROW for an island platform.

As Equilibria said, there's been considerable discussion about the geometry of the ROW and the feasibility of conversion from a technical standpoint.
 

Tallguy

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I don't think the OL extension to West Roxbury can hold up its end of the bargain for this to happen. The ROW from Forest Hills to Roslindale goes through sensitive land as well as a narrow space. Right now, there is little room for a two track platform at Roslindale Village and I'm pretty doubtful about Highland too (it's a narrow station be behind Roche Bros). This brings up a huge budget with an area with limited transit ridership. Maybe it will just be a bus line and we can do a GLX to Needham.
So.....Rozzie has 50ft between a 70ft deep parking lot and a 120ft deep parking lot. Not sure how that's "little room"
And since W Rox and Bellevue are only .75 miles apart, many advocates have suggested eliminating it anyways.(although there is more than enough depth)
As far as "sensitive land" the present already double tracked ROW is only 200ft from the Arborough Rd to the west, and the east side is residential all the way from FH
 

BeyondRevenue

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Not entirely disagreeing with you, though there's a bit of a conspiratorial tone (for lack of a better description) that makes it seem like there's something actually deliberately nefarious behind underinvestment in rail infrastructure. While I'm quite sure that the auto industry and related entities' lobbying is a good part of why things can get bogged down and why there's a lack of funding, I would push back somewhat on the idea that it's necessarily Big Highway that overinflates the cost estimates of rail projects. With respect to the NSRL and a number of other projects around MA lately, the absurd numbers have come directly from the state, and it's fairly obvious where they've come from (e.g. picking a suboptimal NSRL route on Congress Street with an 'optional' second tunnel to get to the proper capacity under the Artery, doubling the costs; see also their rather blatant sandbagging on East-West Rail and Red-Blue). There's no meaningful evidence to suggest that any of that is anything more than Baker and company hating taxes and spending and not caring about the value in these rail projects.

The basic point is that while I agree that transit is not prioritized, I think it has more to do with general public preference (especially outside urban centers) for cars combined with public and institutional distaste for spending (particularly on things "they" won't use, or won't use as much) rather than necessarily resulting from malign influence from road interests (though their lobbying certainly plays a role).
Nah. There's no conspiracy. Rail and roads are at odds. People spaces and parking lots are at odds. Towns and TOD policies are at odds because of the first two. Have been since GM killed streetcars.

It's only natural behavior...
- for Pioneer Instituters to try to kill any public spending they deem unworthy.
- for contractors to want road contracts that they can historically get without learning new skills.
- to keep suburban voters happy by not focusing on more urban needs.
- to keep those same voters at odds with ideas that would benefit them by using the 'oooooh! higher taxes' or 'change is bad' coded language.
- for AAA to lobby against transit. (yes, every dollar spent for AAA's tow truck perk is a dollar against transit)
- for company leaders who sometimes have conflicting interests in scoping highway, airports, big buildings, power plants and rail construction to sacrifice real numbers on the latter to stay paid on all of the former.

We should all change our personal perspective on taxes and talk about why. If we all haven't done it yet, we should ditch our AAA memberships. Next time a governors race comes up, we should vote for candidates with real transit goals, not placative language. Push for accountability. Bitch more to those in power -- like the car crazies do. Call bullshit. Walk the walk.
 

The EGE

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These are my off-the-cuff drawings of stations with minimal/no takings. Ideally you'd want all island platforms for operational flexibility.
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Combining Bellevue and Highland would probably be more trouble than it's worth. You have to build a station on a curve, and it's a more constrained section of ROW - no way you're not modifying some bridges.
 

Tallguy

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These are my off-the-cuff drawings of stations with minimal/no takings. Ideally you'd want all island platforms for operational flexibility.
View attachment 18783
View attachment 18784
View attachment 18785
View attachment 18786
View attachment 18787

Combining Bellevue and Highland would probably be more trouble than it's worth. You have to build a station on a curve, and it's a more constrained section of ROW - no way you're not modifying some bridges.
Center Islands would be great, except you'd need to have about 200ft between the platform and the bridges. And not suggesting that Bellevue move, but you could move WRox a little east, get it closer to the commercial area.
 

bakgwailo

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If I recall from F-Line's proposals, he moved Bellevue west to line up more with the Parkway (and possibly Belgrade?) which I always though made sense - closer to Center the better with all the restaurants/etc there. I think he also propsed moving Highland west towards Bellevue St (not confusing at all) and Park St, which also pushes that much closer to Centre St. I think West Roxbury stayed in the same general place - I forget if he pushed it more towards Temple St or not. I think all generally good moves to try to center stops more around Centre St and business/commerce. I would hope if the OL is extended they don't eliminate any, as I think they all serve pretty decent catchments, and I would imagine policitally would be a tough sell to take stops away (on the already uphill sell of taking a one stop ride to South Station away).
 

Tallguy

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If I recall from F-Line's proposals, he moved Bellevue west to line up more with the Parkway (and possibly Belgrade?) which I always though made sense - closer to Center the better with all the restaurants/etc there. I think he also propsed moving Highland west towards Bellevue St (not confusing at all) and Park St, which also pushes that much closer to Centre St. I think West Roxbury stayed in the same general place - I forget if he pushed it more towards Temple St or not. I think all generally good moves to try to center stops more around Centre St and business/commerce. I would hope if the OL is extended they don't eliminate any, as I think they all serve pretty decent catchments, and I would imagine policitally would be a tough sell to take stops away (on the already uphill sell of taking a one stop ride to South Station away).
That is ridiculously close spacing for OL. Plus dropping Highland and moving W Rox a little east helps the spacing for a possible Millennial Park terminus
 

Tallguy

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And Bellevue and Rozzie already have vertical circulation, saving significant cash
 

dhawkins

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Green Line to Needham and terminate at the Needham Junction station. Then extend the commuter rail to Dover center. Dover is growing like crazy. The Central Ave / Centre Street route from route 9 into Dover is crazy busy more and more these days. The rail basically runs along Centre St. I'm sure it would be a fight to get Dover citizens to except diesel engine fumes and rumbles but it may be worth it in the long run.
 

KCasiglio

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Green Line to Needham and terminate at the Needham Junction station. Then extend the commuter rail to Dover center. Dover is growing like crazy. The Central Ave / Centre Street route from route 9 into Dover is crazy busy more and more these days. The rail basically runs along Centre St. I'm sure it would be a fight to get Dover citizens to except diesel engine fumes and rumbles but it may be worth it in the long run.
Still runs into the problem of frequency limitations due to NEC traffic.
 

themissinglink

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Green Line to Needham and terminate at the Needham Junction station. Then extend the commuter rail to Dover center. Dover is growing like crazy. The Central Ave / Centre Street route from route 9 into Dover is crazy busy more and more these days. The rail basically runs along Centre St. I'm sure it would be a fight to get Dover citizens to except diesel engine fumes and rumbles but it may be worth it in the long run.
IIRC Dover was vehemently against Millis line commuter rail reactivation in the early 2000's and was the reason why it never progressed past the early planning stages, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find much support from Dover residents for commuter rail reactivation.

Besides, I'd consider OLX to West Roxbury/VFW Parkway to be more important of a project than Commuter Rail to Dover/Millis.
 

guitarguynboston

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OL to Ros & WRox definitely needs to happen. But doesn't GL to Needham add more congestion to the central subway. So shouldn't we be discussing more seriously extending Blue to Riverbank and swallowing the D line? With that could we branch the blue, 1 to Needham and 1 to Riverside? Thinking with that you could then have very frequent service to Lynn if extended that way too or a branch to Chelsea swallowing the SL or just have 1 branch to the Airport. Anyways just some thoughts and it's sorta crazy transit topic but also involves a Needham option.
 

Brattle Loop

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OL to Ros & WRox definitely needs to happen. But doesn't GL to Needham add more congestion to the central subway. So shouldn't we be discussing more seriously extending Blue to Riverbank and swallowing the D line? With that could we branch the blue, 1 to Needham and 1 to Riverside? Thinking with that you could then have very frequent service to Lynn if extended that way too or a branch to Chelsea swallowing the SL or just have 1 branch to the Airport. Anyways just some thoughts and it's sorta crazy transit topic but also involves a Needham option.
I'd have to go back and look through F-Line's discussion to see if there's an answer to the congestion issue, but Needham wouldn't be adding a whole branch's worth of trains, necessarily, so much as taking some of Riverside's (with some backfilling to keep frequencies acceptable on both branches). In a vacuum where we're not talking about additional branches added to the Central Subway as project requirements, it's presumably got sufficient capacity (though the Park Street loop might see more short-turns as needed).

Blue to Kenmore and beyond is its own project; if we tie it in as a project requirement for replacing the Needham Line, it won't happen for decades if ever. Green is available now, with options available for dealing with potential subway capacity issues down the line. (BLX to Kenmore thence to Needham would be an interesting topic for the Crazy Transit Pitches thread, though. It's intriguing as a thought exercise, just somewhat out of scope for this particular thread.)
 

Tallguy

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Loop the C trains back at Kenmore for plenty of capacity.
 

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