I-90 Interchange Improvement Project & West Station | Allston

shmessy

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There are a examples on the internet of pedestrians, cars, and trucks going around under and through crossing gates in front of, and (unbelievable but true) through the middle of moving trains, what kind of technology in Cambridge prevents this idiotic behavior?
Lemme repeat this….real sloooow:

The train enters an intersection. A guy jumps out from the train….. the guy directs traffic away from the train as is snails across the street…. The guy jumps back onto the train and it proceeds.
And that is happening in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the year 2021.
 

Brattle Loop

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Lemme repeat this….real sloooow:

The train enters an intersection. A guy jumps out from the train….. the guy directs traffic away from the train as is snails across the street…. The guy jumps back onto the train and it proceeds.
And that is happening in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the year 2021.
Stop and protect, yes, it's an established part of railroad operating procedures and, as I understand it, permitted (required, in fact, at crossings without or with broken gates) by the relevant operating rules.

It's perfectly fine to believe that it's ridiculous to use such a procedure in the 21st century, and it could very easily be obviated by installation of gates at the Grand Junction's crossings, just like the vast majority of the MBTA's grade crossings. I can only assume that the state has no interest in paying whatever that would cost, probably because, while distinctly low-technology and old-fashioned, the stop and protect procedure is not unduly detrimental to the tiny number of operations on an already-slow branch that is only used for equipment moves. If Cambridge and its residents find the traffic impacts burdensome, I imagine the T would happily accept a donation from the Cambridge city council to pay for installing gates.
 

shmessy

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Stop and protect, yes, it's an established part of railroad operating procedures and, as I understand it, permitted (required, in fact, at crossings without or with broken gates) by the relevant operating rules.

It's perfectly fine to believe that it's ridiculous to use such a procedure in the 21st century, and it could very easily be obviated by installation of gates at the Grand Junction's crossings, just like the vast majority of the MBTA's grade crossings. I can only assume that the state has no interest in paying whatever that would cost, probably because, while distinctly low-technology and old-fashioned, the stop and protect procedure is not unduly detrimental to the tiny number of operations on an already-slow branch that is only used for equipment moves. If Cambridge and its residents find the traffic impacts burdensome, I imagine the T would happily accept a donation from the Cambridge city council to pay for installing gates.
Exactly. The issue isn’t the PROCEDURE, but, as Bigpicture7 stated, the LOCATION it’s used.

“Stop and Protect” is, of course an established procedure - a very 19th century and rural one. One would be amused in 2021, but not overly surprised, to see it at some country road intersection in Ayer of Westfield. In downtown Cambridge? That’s just somebody in government being derelict (not necessarily the MBTA, for whom you seem slightly defensive, but, yes probably the local Cambridge authorities).

So yes, we’re in total agreement on the PROCEDURE. Where many of us find it ridiculous, however, is on the LOCATION. Downtown Cambridge is not Sturbridge Village or a damn “moose crossing” or “falling rock” zone.
 
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jklo

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I suppose the backup plan would be for more bus. The 64 might be a good guide; maybe a new route that starts at West Station and ends at Kendall going through the new development and then Central.
 

Brattle Loop

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Exactly. The issue isn’t the PROCEDURE, but, as Bigpicture7 stated, the LOCATION it’s used.

“Stop and Protect” is, of course an established procedure - a very 19th century and rural one. One would be amused in 2021, but not overly surprised, to see it at some country road intersection in Ayer of Westfield. In downtown Cambridge? That’s just somebody in government being derelict (not necessarily the MBTA, for whom you seem slightly defensive, but, yes probably the local Cambridge authorities).

So yes, we’re in total agreement on the PROCEDURE. Where many of us find it ridiculous, however, is on the LOCATION. Downtown Cambridge is not Sturbridge Village or a damn “moose crossing” or “falling rock” zone.
I assume that there is some kind of a rule somewhere about what level or type of traffic merits and/or requires that gates be installed (which would obviate the need to stop and protect). If so, then until and unless the Grand Junction reaches that threshold the gates are not required. There's nothing wrong with preferring a less "archaic" procedure (implicitly requiring gates), but I don't think that either Cambridge or the T are likely to change anything based on what is essentially aesthetic preference. Moves over the GJ with stop-and-protect are clearly not disruptive enough to Cambridge to motivate them to pay to install gates, and the T itself is unlikely to spend money it doesn't have to for extremely minor operational improvement on an already-slow, not-at-all-urgent work move.

I don't personally mind the procedure, I think it's mildly interesting (though I can count on one hand the number of times I've been held up in traffic by a GJ move), though I get why something so old-fashioned seems ridiculous today, especially in downtown Cambridge. I just don't see anything changing anytime soon because I don't think the powers that be care to spend money to change things based on the appearance of using archaic-seeming practices.
 

Charlie_mta

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The article is against the current at-grade proposal, because it places fill into the river. From the beginning I've felt that filling into the river would ultimately not be allowed, and it's still shaping up that way. In the early 1960s the not-yet-built Mass Pike was designed to be at-grade through the Throat area, with no viaduct. That final design was finally shot down by opposition groups in Cambridge, and the viaduct was built instead. History is repeating itself, with a Harvard professor in this article taking basically the same stance as the anti-fill people from Cambridge in the early 1960s. I really don't think fill into the river will ever happen.
 

BeyondRevenue

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JumboBuc

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"Through the throat area, I propose we take the westbound lanes of Storrow Drive and curve them down and underneath the at-grade eastbound lanes, curving them back up and out 1,200 feet later on the other side. [...] The change would not materially impact the cost of the roadways, it could be easily engineered, and it would offer the Charles at least the barest minimum of respect."

What? A new tunnel is not going to "materially impact to cost"? Okay...

That opinion piece is very heavy on the drama and light on the facts.
 

Charlie_mta

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"Through the throat area, I propose we take the westbound lanes of Storrow Drive and curve them down and underneath the at-grade eastbound lanes, curving them back up and out 1,200 feet later on the other side. [...] The change would not materially impact the cost of the roadways, it could be easily engineered, and it would offer the Charles at least the barest minimum of respect."

What? A new tunnel is not going to "materially impact to cost"? Okay...

That opinion piece is very heavy on the drama and light on the facts.
A tunnel through there would just be a flooded much of the time,
 

HenryAlan

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I may have lost track over the several different iterations, but I thought the current proposal did not involve any fill, but instead a raised pedestrian/bike shared use path above the river, which would then enable a natural river bank between the path and the roads. Is that not the case?
 

JumboBuc

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I may have lost track over the several different iterations, but I thought the current proposal did not involve any fill, but instead a raised pedestrian/bike shared use path above the river, which would then enable a natural river bank between the path and the roads. Is that not the case?
My understanding is that that new “natural river bank” will be planted on what is now water. Thus: fill. So basically the future SFR will go right about up to where the water ends now, and the slope down riverbank will be on a few feet of fill.

But we’re talking a couple feet of plantings here, not widespread fill or any fill with roadways on it.

And remember that the Charles River Esplanade itself is fill.
 

Charlie_mta

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BeyondRevenue

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Hey, Bob! We may be taking a 1x300 yard stretch of Charles frontage -- may -- to make a path because your Harvard cohort insists on driving to work. Simple.
And Bob, If you really care about her (The Charles) health, crack down on the string of phosphorus, fertilizer and insecticide belching golf courses near her in and around Weston and Newton (see below). Her toxic algae blooms start there. Or maybe go door to door in Auburndale and see who is really on municipal sewers and who takes a growler straight into her mouth. Or maybe find every industry with a grandfathered dumping permit and go hard.
In short. Get. Out. Of. The. Way.
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BeyondRevenue

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I don’t understand the recent tendency on this website to make everything so personal.
Sorry if I came off that way. Context is everything.
My post is one step removed from an actual personal exchange. Bob (Zimmerman) is not on this forum, but his article is. Mostly, I just wanted to editorialize on Mr. Zimmerman's obstructionist tilt that all but ignores the virtual street brawl surrounding the issue of 'The Throat'. I do take issue with the paternalistic tone in his article and I am pointing out where his efforts could be pointed to better affect the change we would all like to see.
Also, his moralistic stance will, if it gains traction in public, cost the Commonwealth time and money and may stop the project in its tracks!
If Bob were on this forum, I would show him the respect any aB poster deserves. And I would say what I've said above, albeit much more politely.
 

MjolnirMan

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A tunnel through there would just be a flooded much of the time,
Potential solution to this Gordian Knot: build his tunnel segment as requested, then in a few years when the tunnel is perpetually flooded and rising maintenance costs prevent repair and pumping, leave the tunnel flooded and reclaim all of Storrow & Soldier's Field as parkland since it'll be impassable by car in either direction.
 

stick n move

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MassDOT is still going with the modified at-grade option and will be issuing a DEIS/FEIS reflecting that option in Fall 2022. Construction is expected to begin in late 2023 or 2024. See the info on MassDOTs page at https://www.mass.gov/service-detail...next-steps-for-the-allston-multimodal-project
Whether this option will require any fill in the river, I don't know. The FEIS will describe that in detail.
Booo!! Fail. Weve gone over why this is crap a million times here, this sux to see. Just when it looked like they were coming around to reality. Theyre going to build a huge, walled off, hulking, billions of dollars spent for something no better than what was there before, project, all because theyre refusing to budge on a couple truely trivial things. Bunch of ass clowns.
 

Charlie_mta

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Booo!! Fail. Weve gone over why this is crap a million times here, this sux to see. Just when it looked like they were coming around to reality. Theyre going to build a huge, walled off, hulking, billions of dollars spent for something no better than what was there before, project, all because theyre refusing to budge on a couple truely trivial things. Bunch of ass clowns.
Wait a minute. What I read on the MassDOT link is that they're moving ahead with the at-grade alternative, not the viaduct alternative.
 

stick n move

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My bad I was at work distracted and replied to the wrong post. That commonwealth magazine post is just an opinion piece, so youre right nothing has changed here.
 

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