MBTA Bus & BRT

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,768
Reaction score
1,680
I REALLY want them to consider that for the Belmont St project in Cambridge: https://www.cambridgema.gov/Departm...jects/2019/belmontstreetreconstructionproject
If anyone with some knowledge in that arena wants to send them some feedback...

Other than "gee, but who will replace a knockdown", I have no idea why it's not something they are willing to consider. No problem putting city-owned light fixtures on Verizon-owned utility poles, but apparently doing the same on MBTA-owned poles is off the table. There was talk about the wires eventually going away, and this would make that so much easier: no poles to remove!
The convoluted utility ownership played a role. Standard arrangement for longest time in most New England municipalities was that the utility owned the street lights and charged the towns flat rate per head...but that jurisdictionally made the poles a kind of battleground and for the T's separate 600V DC infrastructure sharing across paper barriers was simply too hard to bother with. This is markedly different, from, say...San Francisco...where it was never a big deal to lump infrastructure on combo poles in LRT/TT territory. Other than a couple squares in Belmont along the 73 where regular pole-strung utilities are buried and they indeed do hang streetlights on the TT poles for short stretches (or Aberdeen St., Cambridge on the 72) it's pretty much a separate-but-equal universe. Makes a real mess on Mt. Auburn in Watertown, for instance, where you've got triple the duplication: telephone pole utilities, separate 1980's-install metal-pole/underground-feed streetlights, AND the TT poles.

It's changing now. Tons of towns spent the last 15 years buying back their streetlights from Eversource after realizing the per-head fees were a giant ripoff. When the towns went from less-efficient mercury vapor lights to high pressure sodium that's 2x the light for the same wattage, the utilities never adjusted their per-head rates. They either installed way-overpowered bulbs at same wattage as their dimmer predecessors and created giant glarebombs every 50 feet, of simply pocketed the savings. Once LED's came under evaluation and they refused again to adjust per-head rates--this time at pants-on-fire 1/10th the electricity usage--the towns finally had enough and started the buybacks so they could actually pay the going rate for actual energy usage.

That'll make it much easier to consolidate infrastructure. Plus fact that LED's are so much longer lasting means you can have them hung over the TT wires without need for the muni bulb-change crew to have special training for working around the live traction power wire.


Golden opportunity for the interminably vaporware North Cambridge Mass Ave. reconstruction to do combo streetlight/TT poles, since reducing the number of sidewalk pole obstructions is going to be crucial for the enhanced ped/bike accommodations envisioned for the rebuild. Cambridge was one of the cities that did a streetlight buyback from NStar in the last 20 years. The spaghetti mess on the 71 also screams for it...at least getting rid of the streetlight poles that are wholly extra modern-install sidewalk clutter.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,653
Reaction score
795
Somerville Washington Street
Hmm, this is actually a continuous bike lane, and just 3 queue jumps for the 86. Think that will be enough?
Washington St.png
 

sm89

Active Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
944
Reaction score
67
Somerville Washington Street
Hmm, this is actually a continuous bike lane, and just 3 queue jumps for the 86. Think that will be enough?
View attachment 7649
I live on one of the side streets in this segment. The backups are mostly at the signals, so the queue jumps might be just enough to speed up the buses. There is a "need" for a left turn lane onto Dane St during rush hour and I wonder how they plan to address that? Signal timing? Split phases? Extended green?
 

George_Apley

Not a Brahmin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,746
Reaction score
1,171
That stretch isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. It should be fine.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,768
Reaction score
1,680
Per NETransit...

Down to the final 5 acceptances for the base order of the New Flyer hybrid 40-footers. As per sighting on 10/4 the +60 option order is already arriving at Everett for testing, so they are moving right along.

The retirement & reassignment shuffle between garages has changed this month now that Charlestown garage has run out of older straight-diesel New Flyer D40LF's to send to Albany garage in 1:1 exchange for retiring Neoplans. The Neoplan retirements have temporarily paused with 15 malingers still at Albany while they triage to pry loose more D40LF straight-diesels from elsewhere. Lynn garage has just received its first-ever hybrids assignment in the form of 15 XDE-40's from the first-gen 2015 batch from Charlestown. Lynn garage is not yet equipped to home-service the hybrids, but is close enough driving distance to Charlestown that the interim plan is to simply triage maint between garages. So they'll be padding out that initial Lynn number a little bit more up to the limit of that temp triage, then sending a couple dozen or more D40LF straight diesels from Lynn to Albany to purge Albany of its last Neoplans.

The reassignments for outright fleet expansion have also began, as Charlestown has also shipped out some of its older '15-batch hybrids to pad out Cabot garage (currently a 75/25 split hybrid & CNG facility) to the max...also backfilling those trades with brand-new acceptances at Charlestown. That means once we get off these COVID recovery schedules the routes in the CBD most in need of service increases will be the first capable of taking advantage of the expanded fleet.

Still no clue how they're going to handle Neoplan retirements at Fellsway garage, which is also un-equipped for hybrids. Lynn and Quincy are the only other garages stocked with enough straight-diesels to bump Fellsway's 84 Neoplans into retirement. Whether Lynn is on-tap for any renovations in FY21 or not (can't find any docs saying so), there's definitely nothing that can be blitzed for rest of 2020 that'll let them substantially increase their hybrid shares beyond the delicate triage with Charlestown going on now. So Bus Ops is already up against the wall for means of flipping Fellsway's to-be-retired roster. And the new Quincy garage still being in tortured approvals with the city means no possibility of shovels-in-ground before Summer '21 at earliest and no facility down there capable of taking hybrids until '22 at the earliest. Will be interesting to see how they handle getting out of this stuck spot clearing out the retirement line while simultaneously accepting +60 wholly gravy fleet-expansion bodies. It's worth an FCMB PowerPoint explainer next time Bus Ops gets an agenda item, because this is a immediate/temporary space crunch of potentially big enough magnitude to cause problems. Problems as mundane as, say, overcomplicating snow removal logistics this winter while every slack space in the garage lots is stuffed full with extra bodies.


Other misc. . .

2 of North Cambridge's 3 high-floor RTS work buses with dummy trolley poles for sleet-cutter duty have been retired, with 2 D40LF low-floors yanked from the revenue roster to be converted into new sleet cutters in time for winter. The last RTS work bus still active for TT territory is, I think, the quasi- wire car equipped with extra telemetry sensors on its dummy poles. Unclear if that one is also up for replacement once the 2 other new converts are finished, or if it's going to stay for the interim. With the sleet-cutter RTS's going to the scrap line the roster of operable high-floors is down to 3 active work units--the remaining sleet-cutter/wire bus, the new-conversion "historic" exhibit bus @ Everett, and the 'new' staff Training Bus--plus 2 stored/inactive work units of TBD status--the Transit Police Command Post Bus and the 'old' (scrap?) Training Bus. If they're intent on doing more work conversions in 2021 of displaced low-floors, a year from now the '94 RTS and '57 GM Historic buses may be the only high-floors left.
 

Top