Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

RandomWalk

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The Medford St bridge bi-directional bike lane is very narrow. I expect there will be a bunch of collisions in the first few weeks of use.
 

Ruairi

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The lack of street lights between cross and Washington seems crazy. It’s the darkest section of the path by some distance.
 

The EGE

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Moving on to Magoun Square, some of the signage is up. Out of frame to the left were the neighborhood maps ready for installation.
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The artistic entranceway lighting will look neat, but I fear it's going to create quite a bit of light pollution.
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That cinderblock wall is just begging for some green paint.
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The EGE

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At Ball Square.
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Again, I cannot fathom why the entrance was made into a deliberate bottleneck. While the original design process with iterative community meetings resulted in overbuilt stations, it also got rid of a lot of stupid design elements like this.
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The elevator art by Christine Vaillancourt is lovely - too bad the rest of the station is dull gray.
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The lollipop sign is also up.
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Bike cage:
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chrisbrat

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Was a little too far away to snap a good pic, so this is somethign of a tease, but I just caught a test-car passing through the Gilman Square station (slowly, as you'd imagine), coming from the Tufts direction and heading towards E Somerville. Been waiting forever to see that!
 

Ruairi

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Was a little too far away to snap a good pic, so this is somethign of a tease, but I just caught a test-car passing through the Gilman Square station (slowly, as you'd imagine), coming from the Tufts direction and heading towards E Somerville. Been waiting forever to see that!
thanks for the info, good to hear they're back testing straight away after the shut down.
 

bigpicture7

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But they are not consistent in height.
As someone obsessed with details, I too am weirdly annoyed by this. In response to kingofsheeba, this is not a difference-of-perspective issue; they indeed seem to be at a hodgepodge of different heights throughout the system. And there's no one obvious answer jumping out at me. I agree it would make sense that this could be future-proofing for electrifying commuter rail, but if that were the case, there are still a bunch of low ones where it would seem they should be high in various places. Then, it appears that some of the high ones have an extra cable or other item strung above the basic cat wires in certain places, so I thought that might explain it, but it still seems too random. Then I thought of pile driving: if these were installed via being driven to a "refusal depth" such as with pile driving, then indeed you'd get a bunch of random heights (& the tops would normally be sawed off to make them even later)...they could have been pile-driven in some places, but I am pretty sure they were not installed via pile driver everywhere we're seeing the weird heights. Sorry folks, but it could be as sad as a minimum (and max?) height being specified, and since the spec wasn't precise, they just used whatever pieces of stock they had however randomly it came out. : (
(Here's to hoping an aB poster with magical inside info can share a happier conclusion than mine)
 

Jake_Jarmel

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(Here's to hoping an aB poster with magical inside info can share a happier conclusion than mine)
There are something like 800+ OCS poles along both branches of the extension. A portion are mounted on top of foundations with a base plate, but the vast majority are set inside drilled shafts (you can see both in the photos above). The poles mounted on base plates should be pretty consistent. However, considering the variability in soil conditions along the length of the corridor, the drilled shafts extend down to varying depths (including the OCS poles set within them). It would be unreasonable to design and fabricate 800+ individual poles to exact lengths, so designs need to be grouped together based on soil conditions. Additionally, the poles would get fabricated in 5ft increments instead of an exact length for each. So their overall length would be determined by an absolute minimum length that they need to be on the low end - and then what ever is left over (less than 5ft) sticks up above that.

So imagine one pole may require a shaft with 17ft embedment, and 25ft extension - you would use a 45ft pole that has 3ft extra length at the top. Then the next pole has soil conditions requiring 15ft embedment.. a 40ft pole would be used with no extra length on top.

Then as you mentioned, some poles have additional AC distribution above the DC feeders, and that can cause an even larger disparity pole to pole.
 
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Ruairi

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There are something like 800+ OCS poles along both branches of the extension. A portion are mounted on top of foundations with a base plate, but the vast majority are set inside drilled shafts (you can see both in the photos above). The poles mounted on base plates should be pretty consistent. However, considering the variability in soil conditions along the length of the corridor, the drilled shafts extend down to varying depths (including the OCS poles set within them). It would be unreasonable to design and fabricate 800+ individual poles to exact lengths, so designs need to be grouped together based on soil conditions. Additionally, the poles would get fabricated in 5ft increments instead of an exact length for each. So their overall length would be determined by an absolute minimum length that they need to be on the low end - and then what ever is left over (less than 5ft) sticks up above that.

So imagine one pole may require a shaft with 17ft embedment, and 25ft extension - you would use a 45ft pole that has 3ft extra length at the top. Then the next pole has soil conditions requiring 15ft embedment.. a 40ft pole would be used with no extra length on top.

Then as you mentioned, some poles have additional AC distribution above the DC feeders, and that can cause an even larger disparity pole to pole.
so in layman's terms.
They're all different sizes because the ground they're in is different?
Why not put them in then top them off at the same height above ground?
Only the AC poles being higher but them also being uniform with each other?
 

chrisbrat

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so in layman's terms.
They're all different sizes because the ground they're in is different?
Why not put them in then top them off at the same height above ground?
Only the AC poles being higher but them also being uniform with each other?
Would doing that be for purely aesthetic reasons? Just curious, not trying to be snarky. I agree it'd "look nicer" if everything was more uniform, for sure, but given the massive amount of work and $$$ involved just to get things functional and reliable, I'd rather the T/the state/the Feds/whoever spend what money is available on actual service (and, who knows, someday maybe even grander aspirations like a N/S connector) than blowing cash on sawing off the tops of these things, just so that everything's more "pretty."
 

Ruairi

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Would doing that be for purely aesthetic reasons? Just curious, not trying to be snarky. I agree it'd "look nicer" if everything was more uniform, for sure, but given the massive amount of work and $$$ involved just to get things functional and reliable, I'd rather the T/the state/the Feds/whoever spend what money is available on actual service (and, who knows, someday maybe even grander aspirations like a N/S connector) than blowing cash on sawing off the tops of these things, just so that everything's more "pretty."
yea, I guess it would be aesthetic. I presumed it would be a given.
I don't get why we'd budget for art installations at the stations before it even looks finished.
This is not a slight on having art installations.
 

JeffDowntown

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There really are some pretty basic quality standards in construction that this violates.

If you had a fence installed around your home, and every post was a different height, you'd likely be pissed. Even if the fence was 'functional", it is still poor quality.
 

bigpicture7

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There really are some pretty basic quality standards in construction that this violates.

If you had a fence installed around your home, and every post was a different height, you'd likely be pissed. Even if the fence was 'functional", it is still poor quality.
I'd extend it even further: the poles could have been designed with separate foundations and separate bolt-on above-grade portions to facilitate modularity and interchangeability (which are marks of both better design and better quality). A few standard sized poles could be kept in storage; in case any one is damaged, it can quickly be replaced. Often our intuitive sense for quality based on aesthetics actually does tie back to some utilitarian consideration.
 

chrisbrat

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Those are all fair points, but I guess I just don't immediately see the differing heights to, in and of themselves, denote "poor quality." As an example, I live down the street from the Gilman Square station -- a part of Somerville which still has above-ground telephone/utility poles (off-topic, but I'd be ecstatic when all those wires get submerged, as in other parts of town).

ANYway... much like the poles being discussed relative to the GLX, these telephone/utility poles are not at all of the same (or, in some cases, even similar) heights. If you pick a stretch of fairly level-grade sidewalk (the side of the street with the poles) and look off into the distance, the heights to the top vary widely. To me, that's because neither the GLX poles nor the utility poles are there to "look pretty." Would both look a little better, if they were uniform? Sure. I guess I just think that if they're serving their pupose -- be it supplying power to Green Line trains or sending internet and cable tv to my apartment -- then: mission accomplished.

I think something like the "fence around a home's yard" analogy -- while fine and good at illustrating JeffDowntown's point -- is a little flawed from jump. The aesthetic demands applied to exterior viewponts of one's home, even when discussing features that are certainly "functional" (such as fences), are... I dunno: different. To me it'd be like beng upset that the intake manifold of a perfectly functional, high-powered BMW engine isn't designed with perfect symmetry in mind. If it gets the job done and is reliable and efficient, who cares?
 

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