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.
 

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