Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

Charlie_mta

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You do realize that making people feel perennially uncomfortable, unsatisfied, and angry is a particularly prevalent form of activism these days (especially among younger generations)? I do respect where it is coming from, but at the same time, don't actually agree it is optimally effective in most cases. And it has the unfortunate side effect of making all people on all sides of an issue miserable all the time. Certain 'revolutionary' situations demand that feeling comfortable be set aside. But being a revolutionary means feeling so strongly about an issue that one is willing to accept profound personal sacrifices for one's cause. I don't think many young activists (and my current role introduces me to many of such folks) even know what profound personal sacrifice is. So if we can agree that GLX is a very important, but not quite revolution-inducing, context, then I prefer a much more grounded form of activism: formulate an 80% solution, and absolutely kick butt with execution/implementation to the point where detractors and critics melt away, and the general public (95%+ of stakeholders) engage with that 80% solution and subconsciously say to themselves: "wow, this works. I am good with this. I want more of this." I think the latter is exactly what we have here. Well done.
It's a minor miracle that GLX was built at all. Yes, it is a spartan and minimalist facility, but at least it's there. Over time, if Somerville and Cambridge exert their political will, additional funding will be allocated to fill in the missing pieces (escalators, etc.).
 

Badusername

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It's a minor miracle that GLX was built at all. Yes, it is a spartan and minimalist facility, but at least it's there. Over time, if Somerville and Cambridge exert their political will, additional funding will be allocated to fill in the missing pieces (escalators, etc.).
I’m surprised the cities aren’t using the money that was returned to them for these improvements. A simple heated shelter like this would go a long way to make the stations more comfortable during inclement weather.
 

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Arlington

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the point about GLX and parking: no matter if you try to read the other termini as having a pattern (either in favor of park and ride or opposed) , you aren’t going to be able to apply it to GLX from “because logic” or “because justice” or “because fairness”

Each terminus reflects a mix of its era, its freeway access, its local mode choices, its urban planning, and its politics.

for GLX and all contemplated extensions the answer is “all modes except SOV” and the era, politics, and planning agreed, opinions here notwithstanding.

(for the GL Reconfiguration thread, if Union Sq ever went all the way out past Waverly and Brandies to 128, most can picture structured parking there)
 

Teban54

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The ticket machines at Union Square can no longer validate fares today, likely because they ran out of paper (no receipts available). I'm now onboard a train waiting for the operator to turn on the machines here.
 

Arlington

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Yes, All GLX should be free to board and so should the Medford branch.

Maybe by October have fare inspectors with mobile collection just hitting between Lechmere and Science Park.
 

stick n move

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Someone already pointed out that they considered making it free, but people felt that giving a wealthier neighborhood free transit access while the less wealthy neighborhoods dont get this benefit brings up problems of equity they arent willing to open the can of worms on right now.
 

JumboBuc

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There's a whole book of FTA Title VI regulations related to equity in transit fares. The T would likely be able to introduce temporary free fares on the GLX if structured as a pilot program, but it wouldn't stand up to Federal scrutiny in the long run if Somerville stops were free and other stops weren't.
 

Highwayguy

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The other stop sign, right by the Union emergency exit path, might be permanent. I wonder if thats why trains seemed to favor the southern track.
Took my first ride today. Snagged the “railfan” seat both ways. Came in to Union via the left hand track (no path crossing) and noticed a stop sign on that track too prior to the station. Also chatted to the motorman and asked about the speeds over the viaduct; 10 MPH limit and said it may or may not be permanent due to structural concerns if two trains passed each other at speed. Inbound we waited for 3-4 minutes at the red signal next to the (diverging) vehicle maintenance switch until the motorman called dispatch to pass it. Also noticed a LOT of restrictive signal aspects even though headways were 10+ mins. Maxed out at 20 on the rest sans the flyover.

Overall torturously slow. Over 15 mins easily to N Station (not counting delays for wrong way running at N. Station due to the tragedy at the garage). Two stop signs on a brand new, grade separated rapid transit line is farcical. 5 million for a busway next to Fitchburg ROW and keeping the bus lanes over the Dam bridge probably would have net about the same/ better travel time even during the pre pandemic rush.

I’m still hopeful most of these are teething issues due to a rushed opening; the track looked immaculate to my layman’s eyes. However, if travel times don’t significantly improve, then l might have to agree with Alon; we should feel bad.
 
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737900er

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There's a whole book of FTA Title VI regulations related to equity in transit fares. The T would likely be able to introduce temporary free fares on the GLX if structured as a pilot program, but it wouldn't stand up to Federal scrutiny in the long run if Somerville stops were free and other stops weren't.
How would that be any different than the pre-Charlie free outbound boarding at surface stops fare structure?
 

Highwayguy

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I thought I recalled reading that the Lechmere Viaduct had been rebuilt/refurbished/improved and we were going to be able to expect "ooh wow" speeds on it?
I also thought stop signs were only for cars ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The motorman said the limit at first was 3(!??) MPH. Assuming he meant for testing. Again, Im hopeful they will at least permit 20 MPH (annoying but relatively minor travel time impacts). I’m doubtful trains will ever cruise at 40 though.

On the inbound trip it was actually funny how the motorman gunned it to 20 leaving Leachmere then immediately threw on the brakes at the end of the new viaduct.

On a positive note, the motorman said all the drivers are genuinely very excited about the extension and kept gushing over how good the track was.
 
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stefal

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I believe the stated purpose of the Viaduct rehab project was to bring it up to a level that can handle GLX traffic.

What the hell did they do instead?

ETA:
From the MBTA project website itself:

The completed project will extend service life, reduce maintenance costs, and allow the viaduct to handle heavier loads—while also preserving the aesthetics of the historical structure.

While construction on this project is substantially complete, crews will continue to update to Science Park Station and the façade. The bridge is safe, able to sustain heavy loads and ready for train travel across the river .
Why We Did This Work
These upgrades allow more trains to pass over the bridge, ultimately serving a completely new Lechmere Station and the six new stations constructed as part of the Green Line Extension
 
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stick n move

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Anyone know how to contact apple maps about a fix so the glx doesnt disappear at random zoom intervals? This is more than an annoyance it could lead ppl to not knowing the green line goes to these parts of somerville. I havent seen this happen to any line in any other city, its annoying as hell!
 

ant8904

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I took the train back on Thursday. I actually took the train for to commute to my company office for the first time since last fall. I also noticed it was slow and the stop signs bothers me. I told myself during the ride that it was teething stuff -and the stop sign is because it's the emergency exit.

But now reading other saying it, I think I was just rationalizing.

This is brand new tracks and the viaduct is stated as a major overhaul. Why can't we get some decent speed? Not as in the structural reasons. As in why nobody fixing it? Who/why produce plans that trades years of closure to complete with the same fears as before? Like if it's money, what's the price difference? If it's time, how long does closure has to be get it truly sound enough for respectable speeds? If it politics, then Alon is right that we should feel bad that our decision makers spend millions to be slower than a bus.
 
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Texasian

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GLX, even in its imperfect, gimped state, is still a huge improvement and I think it's important to recognize that. In the before times, I'd be spending 15 minutes waiting for a damned bus at Lechmere to get into Somerville. Whatever furnishes schedules to the Transit app says to expect ~10 minutes for Union to North Station and I feel like I've had at least one ride that has kept that promise.

I'm assuming that the reasons for slow running trains are the same ones that have an entire army of T employees in hi-viz hanging out near the starter's booth in Union.

Changing subjects, does anybody else kinda love the ringing bell and big red "START" sign at Union when trains are meant to depart? Still feels like a little ceremony every time (but also I've literally never seen ANYTHING like it on any other transit system I've been on).
 

kingofsheeba

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GLX, even in its imperfect, gimped state, is still a huge improvement and I think it's important to recognize that.
Go off. I get it, but incrementalism isn’t something to be lauded. It’s a dangerous narrative that allows for bad things to happen in the planet.

In the case of the T, this should’ve a no brainer to build years ago. Twenty years shouldn’t be the bare minimum.
 

bigpicture7

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The T should be better at communicating which of these annoying measures are temporary vs. permanent. I've ridden this a couple of times now. Those stop signs at inclines(declines) are reminiscent of old brake-check measures. The viaduct is painfully slow. If travel time to North Station is now X, but the T is committed to transforming it to be Y, then there should be a public narrative about that. I do hope (and want to believe) they're temporary. I'm still so excited this got done.
 

Highwayguy

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N. Station to Union is almost exactly 2 miles. 10 minute trip is 12 MPH average. I think 12 MPH should be the floor rather than the ceiling on brand new/heavily rehabbed grade separated rapid transit. Is there an overzealous safety culture at the T (honest question)?

EDIT. From page 1-4 of the GLX Technical Provisions:

Travel time, inclusive of on-Station dwell time, not including turn-back operation at each end-of- line Station to turn LRVs from outbound to inbound direction of service shall be:
(i) Not greater than 4.75 minutes from Union Square Station to Lechmere Station;
(ii) Not greater than 14.0 minutes from College Station to Science Park;
(iii) Not greater than 14.0 from Science Park Station to College Avenue Station; and
(iv) Not greater than 4.75 minutes between Lechmere Station and Union Square Station.

Maximum Authorized Speed
DB Entity shall design the System based on the following maximum speeds:

(a) Between Science Park and the Red Bridge Interlocking outbound and inbound:50mph;
(b) Medford Branch between the RedBridge Interlocking and the end-of-line at College inbound and outbound: 50 mph;
(c) Union Square Branch between the Red Bridge Interlocking and end-of-line at Union Square Station inbound and outbound: 50 mph;
(d) ThroughtheRedBridgeInterlocking:
(i) Eastbound to Union Square: 10 mph; and
(ii) Westbound to Lechmere: 20 mph

This somewhat restores my faith that the speed restrictions/ stop signs are temporary.
 
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Texasian

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Coming from the GLX technical provisions directly, the system is designed for:
(c) Travel time, inclusive of on-Station dwell time, [...] of service shall be:
(i) Not greater than 4.75 minutes from Union Square Station to Lechmere Station;
(ii) Not greater than 14.0 minutes from College Station to Science Park;
(iii) Not greater than 14.0 from Science Park Station to College Avenue Station; and
(iv) Not greater than 4.75 minutes between Lechmere Station and Union Square Station.
Another interesting call out, while the vast majority of Science Park to both terminals is designed for 50mph operations, the interlocking is a big ole slow zone:
(d) Through the Red Bridge Interlocking:
(i) Eastbound to Union Square: 10 mph; and
(ii) Westbound to Lechmere: 20 mph.
So, with the exception of the interlocking, any current slowness is not baked in. I think the T was in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation (at least in terms of appeasing transit nerds): either you open it all at once and folks grumble about delay or you open a piece and folks grumble about it not being done.
 

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