If You Were God... Transit & Infrastructure Sandbox

George_Apley

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* I don't consider 40B a threat, but it seems like a majority of my fellow voters do.
School funding is the governor of most suburban NIMBYism. It's a structurally racist thing, but they will never view it that way. It's about preserving their $/student ratio.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Your Green line branch to Medford center is (currently) a waste of resources. Past Assembly, Mystic ave is barren outside of industrial, car dealerships, and some scant food establishments. I get it, because it's a wide open space that gets you to Medford center, but in my opinion, it's no better than the Northern Strand because 50% of its catchment is the river. In this case it would be the highway and the river. According to the better bus data on the 95 bus, there are just 400 riders Mystic ave down into Sullivan.

Now, could the area be redeveloped into a more functional (read: density) main road? Maybe? But that is squarely flood zone on both sides. One could argue that if Wollaston can get the red line, Mystic Ave should be approachable for the Green, but Wollaston was built years ago and the grade separation is above the flood zone. Street running trolley would be different as would developers willing to build into a flood zone given the discussions around climate change.

I would shore up bus service with lanes to boot and leave it at that in perpetuity. Given this is god mode, my solution for Medford center would be to take Fellsway north and then tunnel under the former right of way into Medford center (the branching orange line that people seem to favor).
The cavalry's coming for Medford Sq. after GLX begats the north-region Better Bus revamp. Those will be pretty exciting (if chaotic) community meetings hashing out the route possibilities.

As for that craptacular stretch of bad land-use Mystic northwest of Assembly, complete the 2 missing legs of the 93/16 interchange...like yesterday...and nuke dedicated Exit 30 that's dumping all the senseless extra volume onto Mystic. That vanishes the induced-demand traffic instantaneously and lets you do something more functional than a blighted used-car strip between Assembly & Medford Sq. McGrath/Fellsway taming out to Wellington Circle and some geometric reworking of the turn-lane spaghetti @ Mystic/Fellsway predicated on the lowered volumes takes care of the rest. The 93 frontage road portion between Sullivan and Fellsway may be ugly as sin, but is at least eminently fluid/functional as laid out.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Well-timed with the opening of this thread, I came across this announcement for a new game that looks like it would be right up our collective alley.
Appears to be a Train Sim type thing for LRT/HRT. You design your way straight into an ops bottleneck then figure out the mitigation strategies. Really useful for teaching about capacity management vs. demand.


This being the God thread and all, it won't truly live up to its namesake unless you can unlock "Local Politics Mode" and keep your MBA-degreed revolving-door contractor oversight dept. from walking down open elevator shafts. Like a combination of Lemmings meets Simcity 2000. . .
+

:unsure:
 
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Arenacale

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Didn't want to clog up the I-90/Allston thread with my uneducated ideas, so I'll post them here...

SFR ends just after Cambridge St., where it then becomes a direct connection to the Pike using a reconfigured Exit 18 interchange. That interchange becomes SFR WB south of Cambridge St., and the new 1 lane Storrow going east. This removes that nutso double-light situation at Cambridge St.. The Pike EB also gets a new right exit that starts at Linden St. and connects to Babcock St. at BU.

Storrow is then discontinued from Charles St. to Charlesgate, where the old Storrow is now a dedicated ramp to the Pike from Comm Ave. The Bowker is removed and replaced with a simpler bridge connecting Comm Ave and Boylston over the Pike and Ipswich. The revised onramp connects directly to Charlesgate W at grade.

Now you have some choices: more park space on the Esplanade, run the Worcester Line along the old Storrow to North Station, a Green Line spur that separates at Nashua St. and ends by BU, or extend the Blue Line. Anyway you slice it, you win.
 

Blackbird

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I just want a bike trail that follows the Merrimack from Newburyport to Lowell.

Since I’m God, maybe I’d even see the trail extended to Manchester or Concord with beautiful waterfronts and parks in all of the cities along the way.
 
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stefal

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I just want a bike trail that follows the Merrimack from Newburyport to Lowell.

Since I’m God, maybe I’d even see the trail extended to Manchester or Concord with beautiful waterfronts and parks in all of the cities along the way.
Lowell to the Tewksbury/Andover line would be a bit difficult but doable, but Tewksbury/Andover to Lawrence is pretty much already there and preserved (some steep hills but nothing a bike can't handle.) Lawrence to Haverhill looks pretty simple, and there are some signs of bike paths already in place. Haverhill to Newbury would be the biggest challenge, ROW-wise. You'd need to be God to get that portion done.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Lowell to the Tewksbury/Andover line would be a bit difficult but doable, but Tewksbury/Andover to Lawrence is pretty much already there and preserved (some steep hills but nothing a bike can't handle.) Lawrence to Haverhill looks pretty simple, and there are some signs of bike paths already in place. Haverhill to Newbury would be the biggest challenge, ROW-wise. You'd need to be God to get that portion done.
There's some movement afoot east-of-Bradford to finally infill the rail trail gap. Hinges on cleanup of a toxic factory site before they can continue east of MA 125 onto the power line ROW. That'll get you as far as Groveland on the riverbanks. Essex Rail Trail from there currently direct-connects straight to Newburyport, albeit at cost of a dip away from the river into Georgetown.
 

The EGE

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Just for entertainment value, I tried plotting out a trail between Haverhill and Newburyport. Surprisingly plausible land-wise to have half-trail, half-rural-roads without taking anyone's backyard. (Cost and political plausibility, much lower.)
 

ra84970

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Well, if we're playing god, I'd more honestly rather be emperor for about 20 years. As a non-engineer and a public policy person...I'd be focused on two policy areas: better streets and transit for the inner core and invest in transit on the regional radials.

Inner core -> This region doesn't work unless most people walk-bike-bus-subway around the core
Urban ring "heavy" BRT
"Light" BRT on the streets and arterials on the KBR+ network
Converting a substantial portion of non-arterials to a network of bicycle and local access-only streets to tame motorization and further keep household vehicle counts down
Boston's gotta develop a plan to push as much through traffic to the expressways and parkways and keep motorists waiting on the parkways and expressways before taking local streets --> I'm honestly thinking of a two-cordon system -- one that is roughly Stuart & Arlington and a second at Mass Ave. (perhaps stretching over the river to Vassar/Binney in Cambridge)
An all-day congestion price for travellers into the central cordon, and the outer cordon having a lower peak-only congestion but quite steep price for on-street parking

Regional radials -> This region doesn't work if you can't get to the core on transit
RUR (without NSRL)
BRT network on the primary regional arterials -- Routes 28, 16, 60 are ones that come to mind...
Regional arterial diets while constructing modern roundabouts (incl. turbo roundabouts) at major arterial intersections
 

Charlie_mta

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If I were God, I'd deep-bore a heavy rail east-west subway line from Watertown Square to South Station, then out to the South Boston Waterfront using the existing bus tunnel. A major stop would be at the proposed West Station. Boston is sadly lacking a true east-west heavy rail subway,
 

Tysons2

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If I were God, I would eliminate all the soil/water table/other underground obstacles to make tunneling cheaper and easier in Boston than anywhere else on earth.

With that out of the way, let's build some Crossrail lines:

Crossrail 1: Connects the Old Colony Lines to the Fitchburg Line via Widett Circle, Washington Street, Back Bay/Copley, Kendall/MIT, Inman Square and Porter. Quincy Adams, Wollaston, and North Quincy switch to Urban Rail service, and the Red Line is extended to Dedham via Milton, Mattapan, Wood Ave, Hyde Park, and Readville.

Crossrail 2: Connects the Worcester Line to the Rockburyport Lines via West Station, Kendall/MIT, West End/MGH (at Blossom Ct for redevelopment), Haymarket (for NSRL), Airport Station, and a North Revere stop that also serves as a new Blue Line terminus. Max East-West Rail/NNEIRI plan plus restored Eastern RR route to Portland could theoretically link into this service for the one-seat to Logan.

NSRL: One tube now exclusively serves Providence/NEC-New Hampshire and any thru Amtrak trains, while the other tube connects the Fairmount Line to Reading. Sullivan, Assembly, Wellington, and Oak Grove switch to the Urban Rail service, and the Orange Line is sent through Everett under Broadway to a Route 1 TOD terminus. The southern half of the Orange Line shifts to its old route in a tunnel under Washington Street. NEC tracks and Orange Line stations are reconfigured to support South Coast and Franklin Line branch service increases.

As with Crossrail, some trains will continue to terminate at the surface terminals.
 

Riverside

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If I were God, I would eliminate all the soil/water table/other underground obstacles to make tunneling cheaper and easier in Boston than anywhere else on earth.

With that out of the way, let's build some Crossrail lines:
This is truly "God-level", what with changing the physical properties of the earth -- love it.

One question would be how do you maintain service levels at the old Orange Line stations along the NEC? Would some of your Franklin/Providence/South Coast services really stop every half-mile? Would you institute short-turn Urban Rail service to 128 or something? Or just abandon some/all of the stations all together?

I assume your Washington Street subway would meet up with the NEC at Forest Hills and then consume the Needham Line from there?

If I were God, I'd deep-bore a heavy rail east-west subway line from Watertown Square to South Station, then out to the South Boston Waterfront using the existing bus tunnel. A major stop would be at the proposed West Station. Boston is sadly lacking a true east-west heavy rail subway,
To me, this is what the long-term vision for the Blue Line ought to be. It undeniably gets tricky to decide the best route (via Kendall, Central, MIT, Storrow, or even Stuart Street), and both the Mass Pike and the Charles River create some unusual "density canyons" as you head out west -- but the Blue Line hits MGH, the Financial District, and the Airport, and obviously as the only stub-ended heavy rail line left, is the only one that could have capacity for this, anyway.
 

meddlepal

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This is truly "God-level", what with changing the physical properties of the earth -- love it.
It just gets silly though... why constrain yourself to physics if you're a god?

If I were a god, people could just teleport themselves wherever they wanted to be and communication would be instantaneous and capable of being processed and acted upon immediately.

Don't need any of this fancy infrastructure if you can just warp from A to B.
 

Riverside

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^ I mean, I see the value of the exercise being that it allows us to focus -- hypothetically -- on particular factors that normally would not get discussed due to overriding limitations. In this example, we get to focus on the impact a more distributed main line rail network across Boston would look like.
 

Tysons2

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Bingo, I am trying to think about useful mainline rail connections beyond NSRL, including moving subway service away from mainline rail corridors. Is that a more efficient use of the right of way? Would the perils of reverse branching make this a complete disaster from the get-go? Does Fairmount-Reading demand merit its own dedicated NSRL tunnel tracks? Does a Greenbush-Plymouth diesel service with forced/timed transfer at Braintree alleviate the track pinch issues? At what point does the Salem Tunnel become a mega-project? Things of this nature.

This is truly "God-level", what with changing the physical properties of the earth -- love it.

One question would be how do you maintain service levels at the old Orange Line stations along the NEC? Would some of your Franklin/Providence/South Coast services really stop every half-mile? Would you institute short-turn Urban Rail service to 128 or something? Or just abandon some/all of the stations all together?

I assume your Washington Street subway would meet up with the NEC at Forest Hills and then consume the Needham Line from there?
I was planning to punt on that question, but since you bring it up... I'd keep Jackson Square as a spacer between Ruggles and Forest Hills. Green, Egleston, Dudley, and Northampton are equal or better close enough/hit similar bus connections to the stations they replace, imho.

I haven't thought through the stopping patterns, safe to say there's lots to choose from on this line with expansions and branching. But if the Worcester Line can handle Boston Landing-West Station-Lansdowne, then at least some trains (10 per hour at peak, if you want full replacement here) should be able to make Forest Hills-Jackson Square-Ruggles tolerable before hitting Back Bay. Hyde Park is off the NEC, moved to the Red Line in my sandbox scenario fwiw, so you only net +1 stop with Forest Hills flipped onto the NEC for the OL transfer. Standard eat-your-peas CR Vision projects still apply with the Needham Line, Wildcat Branch, etc.
 

George_Apley

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If I were God, I would eliminate all the soil/water table/other underground obstacles to make tunneling cheaper and easier in Boston than anywhere else on earth.
Get ready for all those wooden pylons supporting the Back Bay to rot out [/s]
 

tysmith95

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Build a 267 mph maglev train system from Portland ME to Atlanta GA, stopping in Boston, Providence, NYC, Newark, Philly, Wilmington, Baltimore, DC, Richmond, Ralegh Durham and Charlotte.

Could include future extension to Miami with a Florida maglev network.

Include some passing tracks for non stop options. Averaging 240mph you could get to DC from Boston in around 2 hours.
 

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