Green Line Extension to Medford & Union Sq

Brattle Loop

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Kudos to the article for continuing to remind us that 25 MPH itself is a speed restriction.
Is it, though? I thought so, though page 5 of this NTSB report on the 2021 B-line rear-ending says that 25 is the Green Line's maximum speed. (Though the NTSB could have got that wrong, the document they cite that figure to is not available online.)
 

737900er

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Is it, though? I thought so, though page 5 of this NTSB report on the 2021 B-line rear-ending says that 25 is the Green Line's maximum speed. (Though the NTSB could have got that wrong, the document they cite that figure to is not available online.)
I noticed that too. I'm pretty sure it's an error and just refers to the B-Branch. I believe the whole Central Subway is 25, so it's likely the entire B does in fact max out at 25.
Yesterday Woodland to Waban, which is about 0.8 miles was operated in about 1.4 minutes, or 35mph. Similarly, Magoun Sq to Ball Sq which is about 0.5 miles was operated in 0.9 minutes, or 33 mph.
 

Brattle Loop

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I assume you know this, but the referred track chart with speed limits for the B is available in the supplemental files, although the operators manual isn't in its entirety.
I did not know that. I overlooked the docket...again. (My experiences with the prior version of the interface might have had something to do with that.)

I noticed that too. I'm pretty sure it's an error and just refers to the B-Branch. I believe the whole Central Subway is 25, so it's likely the entire B does in fact max out at 25.
Yesterday Woodland to Waban, which is about 0.8 miles was operated in about 1.4 minutes, or 35mph. Similarly, Magoun Sq to Ball Sq which is about 0.5 miles was operated in 0.9 minutes, or 33 mph.
Makes sense that they meant the B-line, given that's the portion of the system they were focusing on. Not the first time they've been sloppy on the details with respect to the Green Line.

Still leaves us without an answer on how the specified 50 mph design speed on the viaduct got cut in half (not that they've managed even that the whole way...), unfortunately.
 

The EGE

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Attaching the track chart here for reference.

With all the focus on the DPU's failure's to ensure actual safety at the MBTA, I hope someone will take aim at how they've been needlessly constraining operations for years for a wholly misguided idea of "safety". Not only does it waste a great deal of the public's time, it enforces slow and unreliable operation that induces mode shift away from transit to far more dangerous automobiles.

The B Branch is a perfect example of this, as the track chart illustrates. It operates entirely on a private median, the vast majority of which* has between-track fencing to prevent pedestrians crossing. The majority of both road** and pedestrian*** crossings are at signalized intersections. Yet the line is restricted to 10 mph or less through crossings and platforms, and 25 mph on the short stretches between.

It stinks worse considering that there's no rhyme or reason to why these are necessary, yet much more likely hazards are ignored. Can't go faster than 10 mph next to platforms, but autos can go 25 mph (and often go much faster) separated from those platforms with nothing but a thin painted line.

*There's no fence at the crossover locations at Naples Road, Washington Street, and east of Lake Street. Fences on the outside, as seen at the Blandford Street pocket track, would be easy to add.
**There are non-signalized road crossings at Chestnut Hill Driveway, Strathmore Road, and Linden Street; none have marked crosswalks. The first two are low traffic and could be easily eliminated; Linden is a cut-through and would be outright good to close.
*** All but one signalized intersection (Summit Ave, due to the split carriage lane) have marked crosswalks. There are additional pedestrian crossings at the west end of Sutherland Road station, at Griggs Street station, at Spofford Road, and at Fordham Road; none have train signals, though the latter three have traffic signals to cross Comm Ave. Spofford is less than 550 feet from two other crosswalks; it could probably be closed like Mount Hood Road was in 2019.
 

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sneijder

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Attaching the track chart here for reference.

With all the focus on the DPU's failure's to ensure actual safety at the MBTA, I hope someone will take aim at how they've been needlessly constraining operations for years for a wholly misguided idea of "safety". Not only does it waste a great deal of the public's time, it enforces slow and unreliable operation that induces mode shift away from transit to far more dangerous automobiles.

The B Branch is a perfect example of this, as the track chart illustrates. It operates entirely on a private median, the vast majority of which* has between-track fencing to prevent pedestrians crossing. The majority of both road** and pedestrian*** crossings are at signalized intersections. Yet the line is restricted to 10 mph or less through crossings and platforms, and 25 mph on the short stretches between.

It stinks worse considering that there's no rhyme or reason to why these are necessary, yet much more likely hazards are ignored. Can't go faster than 10 mph next to platforms, but autos can go 25 mph (and often go much faster) separated from those platforms with nothing but a thin painted line.
Not to mention, the trains are operated by a trained professional, while private vehicles are driven by joe schmoe while looking at their phone.

I always wondered why the entire green line was limited to 10mph near platforms and crossings. At stations with long platforms (i.e. park st, new GLX stations, Copley) this is a sizeable delay rather than allowing the train to enter the station at full track speed. Especially in the central subway where we have 20+tph during peak - removing these means no only your train will travel faster, but it will clear the signal blocks much more quickly for the trains behind it (meaning less time stopped/waiting in between stations). I always thought this was some sort of FRA rule for light rail - but then I saw that Seattle's Link light rail does not have the same restriction and operates on much more consistent headways and speeds.
 

Brattle Loop

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I always wondered why the entire green line was limited to 10mph near platforms and crossings. At stations with long platforms (i.e. park st, new GLX stations, Copley) this is a sizeable delay rather than allowing the train to enter the station at full track speed. Especially in the central subway where we have 20+tph during peak - removing these means no only your train will travel faster, but it will clear the signal blocks much more quickly for the trains behind it (meaning less time stopped/waiting in between stations). I always thought this was some sort of FRA rule for light rail - but then I saw that Seattle's Link light rail does not have the same restriction and operates on much more consistent headways and speeds.
Probably something to do with all the rear-endings they've had over the years. They've allowed multiple trains in a station at a time, so in that circumstance you probably don't want operators having a "muscle memory" of being able to go 25+ in station areas when there might be another train in close proximity, uncontrolled even by signals.
 

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Slightly off-topic, but:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Subways/comments/10mdo2o Average elevated subway station in India >> Lechmere
Not really a fair comparison. I really wish the transit sphere would stop using China, India, and other exploitive countries for their cost estimates and delivery speed models. Yes, these countries have had explosive growth but at a similar cost to our explosive rail growth in the 19th century where we sacrificed workers for it. We shouldn't aspire to their model because its primary financial cornerstone is based on the exploitation of human rights.
 

Charlie_mta

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Not really a fair comparison. I really wish the transit sphere would stop using China, India, and other exploitive countries for their cost estimates and delivery speed models. Yes, these countries have had explosive growth but at a similar cost to our explosive rail growth in the 19th century where we sacrificed workers for it. We shouldn't aspire to their model because its primary financial cornerstone is based on the exploitation of human rights.
The exploitation of workers part I agree with. But the clunky bureaucracy and extreme NIMBYism that overcomplicates and delays planning and design of transportation projects still needs to be addressed.
 

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The exploitation of workers part I agree with. But the clunky bureaucracy and extreme NIMBYism that overcomplicates and delays planning and design of transportation projects still needs to be addressed.
Agreed, but we can compare to Europe for that. It's pretty well established that many of our cost differentials are because we do not have a dedicated apparatus for building transit infrastructure. We've talked about it here on AB how the T needs a dedicated construction/project oriented unit instead of developing one every time at a higher cost.
 

jass

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Not really a fair comparison. I really wish the transit sphere would stop using China, India, and other exploitive countries for their cost estimates and delivery speed models. Yes, these countries have had explosive growth but at a similar cost to our explosive rail growth in the 19th century where we sacrificed workers for it. We shouldn't aspire to their model because its primary financial cornerstone is based on the exploitation of human rights.
Can you explain how adding guideways for the blind, as visible in the India picture but found nowhere in the MBTA system, requires the exploitation of human rights?
 

Ruairi

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Not really a fair comparison. I really wish the transit sphere would stop using China, India, and other exploitive countries for their cost estimates and delivery speed models. Yes, these countries have had explosive growth but at a similar cost to our explosive rail growth in the 19th century where we sacrificed workers for it. We shouldn't aspire to their model because its primary financial cornerstone is based on the exploitation of human rights.
Eh, India had a rail boom at the same time as the US.
India has had subway systems in its major cities for a generation.
The problem here in the states is insane bureaucracy.
If it's a government job it's slowed down to a crawl just so everyone can have a bite.
Look at the lowering McGrath project. 20 years of planning and 4 years to complete.
There's no reason this shouldn't take 2 years of planning and 6 months to complete.
 

RandomWalk

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The bike path lease is still stuck in the Somerville finance committee, so we are stuck with the fences padlock to prevent scofflaws from using the path.
 

jbray

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Can you explain how adding guideways for the blind, as visible in the India picture but found nowhere in the MBTA system, requires the exploitation of human rights?
You're familiar with Cheap/Fast/Good? GLX is prime cheap/good and then lost good (by NA standards) to cheap alone. If you have a building model that sidesteps cheap and fast by explointing migrant workers outside of a union by making them work for low wages AND long hours you can achieve good with much more ease.
Eh, India had a rail boom at the same time as the US.
India has had subway systems in its major cities for a generation.
The problem here in the states is insane bureaucracy.
If it's a government job it's slowed down to a crawl just so everyone can have a bite.
Look at the lowering McGrath project. 20 years of planning and 4 years to complete.
There's no reason this shouldn't take 2 years of planning and 6 months to complete.
I never said it wasn't and my reply above to Charlie shows that I agree with that. I just don't think we should be comparing our process to developing countries when our problems have more to do with the grift that exploits poor organization. It's not even that we cannot compare to these countries at all, but our political problems are more in line with the rest of the west as to why we can't have nice things so a closer apples to apples comparison would be more effective.
 

Ruairi

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You're familiar with Cheap/Fast/Good? GLX is prime cheap/good and then lost good (by NA standards) to cheap alone. If you have a building model that sidesteps cheap and fast by explointing migrant workers outside of a union by making them work for low wages AND long hours you can achieve good with much more ease.

I never said it wasn't and my reply above to Charlie shows that I agree with that. I just don't think we should be comparing our process to developing countries when our problems have more to do with the grift that exploits poor organization. It's not even that we cannot compare to these countries at all, but our political problems are more in line with the rest of the west as to why we can't have nice things so a closer apples to apples comparison would be more effective.
You can use union labor and still get projects done in a reasonable time.
I'm making an assumption here but you really have to live elsewhere to see how bogged down public projects get here.
Look at the Wynn casino v the mystic footbridge.
Look at the new buildings going up in assembly v the kensington underpass.

While I love the service, the East Somerville station is expensive/slow/bad.
People need to figure out why this happens and it's not because of unions.
 

jbray

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You can use union labor and still get projects done in a reasonable time.
I'm making an assumption here but you really have to live elsewhere to see how bogged down public projects get here.
Look at the Wynn casino v the mystic footbridge.
Look at the new buildings going up in assembly v the kensington underpass.

While I love the service, the East Somerville station is expensive/slow/bad.
People need to figure out why this happens and it's not because of unions.
I can see why you made the assumption but that's not what my point is. I'm pointing out that here in Massachusetts, taxpayers as a monolith are reluctant to spend a single dollar on transit so the only way we get them through the legislature is through lawsuits and shortchanging the outcome (see CNR->CRRC Contract and the proposal to battery hybrid the commuter rail electrification). Because "cheap" out of the cheap/fast/good is a politically required piece and North American transit standards are poor so we don't even get "good" we get "fair", we get stuck in this feedback loop when the transit building bureaucracy inevitably hits cost overruns and the government slashes parts off the project to save face for an angry electorate who didn't want to spend that money in the first place.

Like I said to Charlie, we don't have a continuous apparatus for transit-centered construction so unfamiliar bureaucrats have to start fresh or quasi-fresh in establishing best practices, setting up a supply chains, and knowing enough to not get fleeced by contractors, etc. John Fish can go into his projects with the upper hand because of years of experience and the MBTA is green every time they put out an RFI.

So with those two pieces, the problem isn't union labor, its comparing a build process where they can subvert worker protections to acquire savings and faster delivery times. It's a lot cheaper to underpay your workforce, make them work constant overtime, and not compensate that overtime than it is to treat your workers with respect. How much trash do you see on the internet of people complaining about MBTA unions stealing money from taxpayers? We don't have the political clout to move beyond that conversation to get adequate funding for what we need so holding up a system that used exploitive labor to cut corners that allow them to deliver a better product is bullshit. We can't and shouldn't use that model to get over the political hump of taxpayer hand-wringing. So we should be comparing to western and Japanese best practices in establishing how to reduce up front costs by creating a better capital procurement and construction process to stick it to taxpayers that their assumptions of taxpayer waste are due to lack of funding, not the inverse. Look at how much John Dalton saved on the project while being the highest paid MBTA employee and brining in ~50 other hires for the department.
Japan too perhaps?
Yes
 

JeffDowntown

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Even against other developed economies, our cost per mile of transit construction is way out of whack.

GLX for 4.3 miles, 7 new stations, cost $2.28 Billion.

CrossRail (Elizabeth Line) in London for 13.7 miles, 10 new stations, cost 1.3 Billion BPS ($1.6 Billion USD)
 

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