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Riverside

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It is interesting -- I think (though am not sure) that the redesign is supposed to be rollingstock-neutral, but it definitely isn't capital project-neutral (though, granted, a lot of the capital projects would be bus lanes, some of which could be relatively simple).
 

737900er

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It is interesting -- I think (though am not sure) that the redesign is supposed to be rollingstock-neutral, but it definitely isn't capital project-neutral (though, granted, a lot of the capital projects would be bus lanes, some of which could be relatively simple).
I have a hard time seeing how both T28 and T39 can be extended and retain 60 footers with just the savings from consolidating SL4+5. However, some back-of-the-napkin math suggests the 60 footers may be underutilized today.
 

lainpimicaja

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I have a hard time seeing how both T28 and T39 can be extended and retain 60 footers with just the savings from consolidating SL4+5. However, some back-of-the-napkin math suggests the 60 footers may be underutilized today.
If you check the Bus Modernization webpage, they say they're trying to increase the number of 60-ft buses (doesn't seem to be a number or target included).
 

as02143

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I have a hard time seeing how both T28 and T39 can be extended and retain 60 footers with just the savings from consolidating SL4+5. However, some back-of-the-napkin math suggests the 60 footers may be underutilized today.
I'm pretty sure Cambridgeport ain't gonna be too happy about the 60' buses running on their streets. Especially, oh my god, why don't we think of the children who attend that school on Memorial Drive.
 

as02143

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I'm not sure that this is a bad thing. Having ridden buses into and out of Alewife to the NW suburbs, the final 0.5 miles into/and out of the station can take over 30 minutes. When I lived in East Arlington, taking the 77 to/from Porter was generally much faster than the 350 or 79 to Alewife. In the updated proposal, it looks like the missing routes are the confusing 62/76 and the 67 which is now covered by the 87 (and probably better for the people taking it).
The 87 taking over the turkey hill loop is interesting. But, I'm not sure if those folks who take the bus there today aren't also trying to go to the Alewife area. The other missing routes are the ones that remain cancelled -- the 84 to Arlmont, the 79 Mass Ave and Alewife Brook Parkway, and 351 reverse-peak express.
 

as02143

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That 87 is weird, especially considering the outbound trip will stop right in front of the busway, then loop into the busway, then turn right onto College Ave.
That's because that left is banned right now and looks to be banned for the forseeable future until they make Elm St as a pedestrian or shared street with two-way Highland.

86 will work in the convoluted way it does now: trips from Reservoir will unload at the upper busway. Trips to Reservoir will board on the street.
T109 will work in the reverse. Trips to Harvard will not use the busway, and trips from Harvard will use the upper busway.
But, where is there space to lay these busses over? Is Cambridge going to give space somewhere for the 86, especially since the T is getting rid of the trolleybusses? And for the T109, what's going to happen there? There's such little space near the Charles Hotel and there's not a lot of extra space at Bennet Alley when I've been by.
 

jass

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Referring to the bus redesign...

MBTA to Burlington, Woburn, and Lexington: Fuck you
 

Arlington

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Re: Quincy garage. When two bids come in crazy high but within 100K it can also suggest that they are working from some common source that the T was unaware of or straight up collusion. As with GLX, It was good to cancel and investigate what happened
 

Riverside

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Not unnoticed, but I don’t actually see any quotes or specific concerns directly attributed to town officials or residents. So that’s not necessarily negative feedback from the community.

I know there has been strong feedback from Somerville; has there been any vocal criticism from other communities yet? I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t yet seen complaints from Everett & Malden over the Ferry St corridor becoming circumferential rather than radial. (I guess the thinking is that riders will have frequent buses to Malden Center?)
 

The EGE

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Summer 2022 service changes are up. Nothing much exciting for rapid transit; Orange Line gets a rush hour service bump. A couple interesting bus changes:
  • All route 26 trips operate counter-clockwise
  • All route 34 trips terminate at Dedham Mall - a reversal of the March change that extended them to Dedham Square
  • Routing of the 500-series routes on Maple and Crescent (to avoid pedestrianized Moody) is made permanent
  • SL2 resumes serving 88 Black Falcon for the first time since April 2019
 

737900er

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71: Outbound trip to Aberdeen Ave starts at Mt Auburn St @ Story St instead of departing from the Harvard Lower Busway
What is this? Is there some weird short-turn 71 service that still leaves from the Lower busway?
 

TrolleybusFoaming

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What is this? Is there some weird short-turn 71 service that still leaves from the Lower busway?
That'd be the everyone's favorite peak-direction-only 72 trips that return as reverse peak 71s. Combined with the notice below that (actually labelled for the 75, because the 72 "doesn't exist anymore"), it sounds like these trips will loop around the block at Bennett, probably allowing for a layover before departing onto Mt. Auburn.

Interestingly, that service pattern is exactly what's shown currently on the website, so not sure what the "change" actually is...
 

Riverside

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I did a deep dive into Somerville's buses. I wanted to visualize the system features which I saw underlying the themes arising from initial critiques of the Redesign from the community. This produced a map (details and full-size in linked blog post):



I then reviewed (and mapped) the specific ways the Redesign impacts the system above, in particular its disruption of long-running services that have bound the city together for over a century.

Finally, I suggested (and mapped) some revisions to the Redesign to address the concerns raised by the community, while maintaining the design philosophy of the Redesign, still providing enhanced services to riders, and with a net-zero impact on the Redesign network overall. (In a first for me, this post has an appendix where I lay out my suggestions in additional detail.)

The core of my suggestion is “swapping” the proposed T39 and proposed 90; this provides an increase in service to most riders, but is a more conservative change that does not disrupt existing travel patterns. This extension can be “paid for” by a dramatic shortening of the proposed 87 to its core service area, a reroute of the 90 to a shorter well-established corridor, and the use of a lower-freq crosstown route and a shuttle service to address connectivity gaps to Sullivan and Assembly.

Extending the T39 even further than its currently proposed Porter-Forest Hills route is ambitious, but I would argue not much more ambitious than the current proposal -- the problems you need to solve to run the T39 to Davis/Clarendon Hill are the same ones you need to solve to run it to Porter. Ultimately, I suspect it will be necessary to break the T39 into a pair of routes:
  • Forest Hills - Huntington Ave - Mass Ave - Central Sq or Kendall Sq
  • Somerville - Central Sq - LMA
Too much of the current 39's ridership needs to go to the eastern end of Huntington, and a route as long as the proposed T39 needs bus lanes, and too many of the streets on the currently proposed T39's alignment would be challenging to add bus lanes to. So I think there are challenges with the current T39 proposal, but, again, whatever solutions would make a Porter-Forest Hills route feasible would also enable a Davis/Clarendon Hill-Forest Hills route -- whether that's splitting the route into two, adding aggressive bus lanes, or something else entirely.

But for my discussion on the Somerville network specifically, the ultimate form of the T39 is less important: what's been proposed is a high-freq corridor from Somerville to Union Sq to Central Sq (and ideally beyond), and my suggested revision is that the corridor travel via Davis Sq and Highland Ave, rather than via Porter Sq and Somerville Ave.
 

Teban54

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I did a deep dive into Somerville's buses. I wanted to visualize the system features which I saw underlying the themes arising from initial critiques of the Redesign from the community. This produced a map (details and full-size in linked blog post):



I then reviewed (and mapped) the specific ways the Redesign impacts the system above, in particular its disruption of long-running services that have bound the city together for over a century.

Finally, I suggested (and mapped) some revisions to the Redesign to address the concerns raised by the community, while maintaining the design philosophy of the Redesign, still providing enhanced services to riders, and with a net-zero impact on the Redesign network overall. (In a first for me, this post has an appendix where I lay out my suggestions in additional detail.)

The core of my suggestion is “swapping” the proposed T39 and proposed 90; this provides an increase in service to most riders, but is a more conservative change that does not disrupt existing travel patterns. This extension can be “paid for” by a dramatic shortening of the proposed 87 to its core service area, a reroute of the 90 to a shorter well-established corridor, and the use of a lower-freq crosstown route and a shuttle service to address connectivity gaps to Sullivan and Assembly.

Extending the T39 even further than its currently proposed Porter-Forest Hills route is ambitious, but I would argue not much more ambitious than the current proposal -- the problems you need to solve to run the T39 to Davis/Clarendon Hill are the same ones you need to solve to run it to Porter. Ultimately, I suspect it will be necessary to break the T39 into a pair of routes:
  • Forest Hills - Huntington Ave - Mass Ave - Central Sq or Kendall Sq
  • Somerville - Central Sq - LMA
Too much of the current 39's ridership needs to go to the eastern end of Huntington, and a route as long as the proposed T39 needs bus lanes, and too many of the streets on the currently proposed T39's alignment would be challenging to add bus lanes to. So I think there are challenges with the current T39 proposal, but, again, whatever solutions would make a Porter-Forest Hills route feasible would also enable a Davis/Clarendon Hill-Forest Hills route -- whether that's splitting the route into two, adding aggressive bus lanes, or something else entirely.

But for my discussion on the Somerville network specifically, the ultimate form of the T39 is less important: what's been proposed is a high-freq corridor from Somerville to Union Sq to Central Sq (and ideally beyond), and my suggested revision is that the corridor travel via Davis Sq and Highland Ave, rather than via Porter Sq and Somerville Ave.
I'm finally reading this post after almost a full week. Excellent work!

A few questions and comments:
  1. The redesign extends the 90 further east from Assembly to Wellington and Chelsea, likely to replace the Wellington-Chelsea link currently achieved by 112 and providing one-seat ride from Chelsea to Assembly Row. With your suggestion moving the 90 to Union Sq, how would this link be maintained? Perhaps a new route that runs Chelsea-Wellington-Assembly-Sullivan, at 30 mins or better?
  2. If you're cutting the 87 to Sullivan-Mystic Ave, how would you serve Turkey Hill, which is currently served by 67 (to be withdrawn) and 87 in the redesign? Extending your 90 from Arlington Center to Turkey Hill might be feasible, but creates a deficit again.
  3. One additional benefit of amending T101 to Ball Sq is that it almost recreates the Powder House Sq-Sullivan high-frequency corridor, especially for the Orange Line riders from Powder House Sq (OSR via 87 in the redesign, eliminated in your proposal).
  4. Your proposed 87 has nothing in common with the current 87. In fact, your proposed 90 is basically the current 87 but cut back to Union Sq. For aesthetic purposes, I would call the (Turkey Hill?)-Arlington-Union route 87 and give the Mystic Ave route another number, maybe 82?
  5. I still wonder what's the best use of T39. The current 39 is a beast in both frequency (6-7 mins at peak) and capacity, which is definitely overkill for Somerville Ave (assuming T39 keeps the current 39's frequency and fleet), but might be overkill even for Highland Ave and Clarendon Hill. But to avoid adding too much complexity, the best option might be to simply short-turn some trips at Union Sq during peak hours.
 

Riverside

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I'm finally reading this post after almost a full week. Excellent work!
Thanks, @Teban54! Great feedback, thoughts below:
1. The redesign extends the 90 further east from Assembly to Wellington and Chelsea, likely to replace the Wellington-Chelsea link currently achieved by 112 and providing one-seat ride from Chelsea to Assembly Row. With your suggestion moving the 90 to Union Sq, how would this link be maintained? Perhaps a new route that runs Chelsea-Wellington-Assembly-Sullivan, at 30 mins or better?
Candidly, this was an oversight on my part, an artifact of the particular method I used for this project. The good news is that the method I used to calculate the savings from cutting back the 90 from Wellington to Sullivan does not count the mileage from Wellington to Chelsea. So if we wanted to just leave in place a Chelsea-Wellington 30-min-or-better route, that'd be no problem.

Now, as for Chelsea-Assembly, Chelsea-Sullivan, and Chelsea-Somerville...

(Need to hold myself back from diving too far down the rabbit hole here.)

In my opinion, the simplest solution is to reroute from Chelsea-Wellington to Chelsea-Sullivan via Alford Street. That requires filling a deficit of 0.6 route-miles (at thirty-min freqs). I'm optimistic that mild frequency adjustments across the system could fill this deficit, but if not, it could be filled via shortening the T96. I'd also note that this restores a connection between Chelsea and Sullivan, which is lost in the Redesign and is definitely not rectified by the Redesign's 90.

I'm wavering in my conviction here, but I still ultimately feel that the best way to serve Assembly is via high-freq shuttles from Sullivan. Shuttles would offer door-to-door service to stores, and can connect to a vastly greater number of destinations via a transfer at Sullivan. I'd argue that this is superior to a one-seat-ride 30-min-or-better along a single corridor.

(Case in point, transfer via a high-freq shuttle at Sullivan would make a journey from Mystic Ave to Assembly much more feasible than the Redesign's strategy; under the Redesign, you need to coordinate a transfer between two mid-freq schedules, while a shuttle would allow you to focus on the one mid-freq schedule and be confident that there will be a shuttle waiting for you.)

But... (he says, teetering on the edge of the rabbit hole.)

The Redesign's 90 is -- I guess? -- an attempt to provide Chelsea a link to the Orange Line and to the northeast quadrant. This seemed odd to me; they have high-freq corridors radiating out from Everett to Glendale, Ferry St, Wellington, Sullivan, Chelsea, and Revere -- surely one of those would link Chelsea with the Orange Line? The answer, of course, is no: the T104 runs from Malden to Ferry St to Chelsea to Wood Island. This makes some sense, because Malden - Everett - Chelsea/Wood Island more or less forms a straight line, as do the other high-freq corridors: Wellington - Everett - Revere on the T110, Sullivan - Everett - Glendale on the T109.

This trio of services centered on Everett consists of one radial service and two criss-crossing circumferential services; that's why the Chelsea high-freq corridor ends up being routed away from its nearest Orange Line connections, and why (I suspect) the Redesign's 90 was included.

I modified their map to highlight the radial vs circumferential routes:

Northeast Sextant.png


(Climbing out of the rabbit hole...)

Blah blah blah, the point I'm faffing around here is that I think there are a few things worth reconsidering in this segment of the network. I'm skeptical about converting the Ferry St corridor into a circumferential, and likewise Beach St in Revere. I'm skeptical about the lack of connection between Chelsea and Sullivan, though I do note that (I believe) every transfer opportunity that would be available at Sullivan is still served elsewhere by the Redesign's 90. A more systematic rework might be able to address the general issue of what to do with this half of the Redesigned 90.

Coming back to the most straightforward solution: keeping the Chelsea-Wellington segment in place. This still leaves out connectivity to Assembly... but honestly if we can swing a shuttle system from Sullivan, it wouldn't be that much more difficult to run it to Wellington as well. And, as mentioned, there's at least one way to generate the 0.6 route-miles needed to shift the destination from Wellington to Sullivan, which I maintain would be a viable (if not better) solution.
2. If you're cutting the 87 to Sullivan-Mystic Ave, how would you serve Turkey Hill, which is currently served by 67 (to be withdrawn) and 87 in the redesign? Extending your 90 from Arlington Center to Turkey Hill might be feasible, but creates a deficit again.
Though I did not make it explicit (and did indeed omit it from my map), my intention was to have the Turkey Hill segment reassigned from the 87 to the 90, which would ultimately run Turkey Hill - Arlington Center - Clarendon Hill - Davis - Highland Ave - Union Sq. Because the Turkey Hill segment would need to be reassigned anyway, I did not include it in the 3.3 route-miles surplus gained from shortening the 87.
3. One additional benefit of amending T101 to Ball Sq is that it almost recreates the Powder House Sq-Sullivan high-frequency corridor, especially for the Orange Line riders from Powder House Sq (OSR via 87 in the redesign, eliminated in your proposal).
Yes -- in an earlier version of this post, I also advocated rerouting the T101 in this manner; I relocated it into the appendix as an "additional option" in order to keep focus on the major changes. But I definitely think it would be a good idea. As mentioned above, shortening the T96 to Davis frees up about 1.3 route-miles -- half of that could go to creating the Chelsea-Sullivan route I described above, and the other half could support this reroute.
4. Your proposed 87 has nothing in common with the current 87. In fact, your proposed 90 is basically the current 87 but cut back to Union Sq. For aesthetic purposes, I would call the (Turkey Hill?)-Arlington-Union route 87 and give the Mystic Ave route another number, maybe 82?
The numbering is a mess at this point, haha. The "current" 87 vs the "redesigned 87/proposed 87" vs Riverside's "suggested 87/revised 87"... it's real mess! For the purposes of this discussion, I've just tried to keep the designations used by the Redesign as much as possible; in some cases, because I've basically swapped entire routes, it creates the disconnect you're describing here. I figure the whole numbering system will be reviewed and tweaked prior to deployment, but I didn't want to create yet more confusion here by getting into that now.
5. I still wonder what's the best use of T39. The current 39 is a beast in both frequency (6-7 mins at peak) and capacity, which is definitely overkill for Somerville Ave (assuming T39 keeps the current 39's frequency and fleet), but might be overkill even for Highland Ave and Clarendon Hill. But to avoid adding too much complexity, the best option might be to simply short-turn some trips at Union Sq during peak hours.
Yeah, this is a real problem, and one I intentionally maintained as "out-of-scope" for this endeavor. (I actually drafted a section on the T39, but excised it for the final draft -- could be a post on its own.) There are a number of issues and open questions around the T39; maintaining the idea of a "full frequency" T39 all the way to Clarendon Hill seemed like a "maximum possible build", so I figured I'd just go with that to be conservative in my estimates, and simplify the whole analysis.

But the point you raise gets at something I briefly mention in my appendix: the Redesign avoids using short-turns at all, so blatantly and consistently that it clearly was an intentional design choice. But there are legitimate uses for them, and I think you've outlined one possible example. As I noted in my appendix, there are a number of stretches where a few extra buses made available by short-turns on the T39 would be useful.

But I think there's a larger conversation that needs to be had about the T39; it's probably the boldest proposal in the Redesign, and I think is emblematic of many of the exciting elements of the Redesign. But I also think it presents downsides and challenges, and really needs to be examined wholistically.

Thanks again for the feedback! I will try to update the post soon to clarify the points you've raised here.
 

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What is the future of the bus lane in front of the Museum of Science? Are there enough corporate shuttles Kendall-North Station (and Green Line line outages) to keep it busy? How about school.buses at the museum?
 

greenlinetobrooklyn

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What is the future of the bus lane in front of the Museum of Science? Are there enough corporate shuttles Kendall-North Station (and Green Line line outages) to keep it busy? How about school.buses at the museum?
I really hope its removed soon. It's not enforced in any way and considering the bustitution they were made for is over, they're not serving any purpose any more.
 

bakgwailo

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What is the future of the bus lane in front of the Museum of Science? Are there enough corporate shuttles Kendall-North Station (and Green Line line outages) to keep it busy? How about school.buses at the museum?
I recall the T saying they were temporary and would go away with the GLX opening.
 

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