MBTA "Transformation" (Green Line, Red Line, & Orange Line Transformation Projects)

Jahvon09

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2011
Messages
1,874
Reaction score
131
Valuable info!! I was wondering why the D line was always closed for seemingly no reason. I stay away from there on weekends when the shuttle bus service is in effect. :eek:
 

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,944
Reaction score
458
Good to see them move quickly. Looks like the platform will be very well lit

Wonder why theyre not taking advantage of the closure to fix up the power poles
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
Wonder why theyre not taking advantage of the closure to fix up the power poles
No need to. The poles are so extremely overbuilt they can rust 10x harder than that without any compromised integrity whatsoever. Most of them on that section of the B aren't super-old, either. The wire hangers also shouldn't need replacement; they date no earlier than the early-2000's Type 8 resiliency improvements.

If the tracks aren't physically barricaded they may also still be using the line on the overnight shift for non-revenue moves or construction staging. The ballast regulator and tie-changer track critters (from earlier photos) working the site are diesel-powered, but if they need to bring something in on a flatcar to unload at the site they'll tow it in lashed to an off-duty train.
 
Last edited:

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
359
Reaction score
578
No need to. The poles are so extremely overbuilt they can rust 10x harder than that without any compromised integrity whatsoever. Most of them on that section of the B aren't super-old, either. The wire hangers also shouldn't need replacement; they date no earlier than the early-2000's Type 8 resiliency improvements.

If the tracks aren't physically barricaded they may also still be using the line on the overnight shift for non-revenue moves or construction staging. The ballast regulator and tie-changer track critters (from earlier photos) working the site are diesel-powered, but if they need to bring something in on a flatcar to unload at the site they'll tow it in lashed to an off-duty train.
I think it'd be nice if our infrastructure didn't look like it was crumbling and rusting away. Even if it is totally fine structurally.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
I think it'd be nice if our infrastructure didn't look like it was crumbling and rusting away. Even if it is totally fine structurally.
You think. How many other people actually think that?

99% of the time the public doesn't ever notice the trolley poles because their gaze is fixed on literally anything more interesting than that while they're waiting for their train, walking on the sidewalk, driving, etc. They're painted that shade of green instead of a gray matching the stainless steel or concrete of streetlight poles because that dull green is largely indistinguishable from the rust spots.

Are you also going to complain that the railhead rusts around the tie clips? No...of course not; the gaze doesn't wander there, either.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
YOu could really dress those poles up with 2 coats of paint. A "rust conversion" basecoat and then a new green.
How many of them need that, though? That particular photo a few posts up happened to sample one of the rustiest single poles in all of West Campus. Scroll on Street View; most of them are perfectly fine.

If we're gonna start caring about aesthetics with something as banal as this, they better be dual-use poles that host roadway light fixtures so the sidewalks can get cleaned up of their pole-every-40-feet clutter. "Dressing up" infrastructure hardly anyone bothers to look at doesn't really rate as a priority. This is nitpicking something only 0.001% of the street-using population ever consciously notices is there.
 

mass88

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
2,099
Reaction score
92
Not sure if this is the right thread to ask this in but....

What are 4-5 things the MBTA can do to make service faster and more reliable? I am not talking about drastic changes, or large capital investments/projects. What would be 4-5 reasonable and relatively quick and easy things they could do?

How can they make the commuter rail faster and more reliable? This would be different from my above question, where large scale projects and investments would be included.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
Not sure if this is the right thread to ask this in but....

What are 4-5 things the MBTA can do to make service faster and more reliable? I am not talking about drastic changes, or large capital investments/projects. What would be 4-5 reasonable and relatively quick and easy things they could do?
That's a bit broad. I mean...they're already doing extremely lots of those things collected under the GLT/OLT/RLT umbrella in line-wide improvements to vehicle performance, signaling, frequencies, and dwell-taming. With the "BLT" recs package still yet to come after they finish the Eastie-Revere climate resiliency report. That's pretty substantial unto itself.

Second far-end Red-only egress at Park St. to Boston Common would rate really high on common-sense and general noninvasiveness for its large dwell-taming benefits, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "quick" or even all that cheap since it takes a considerable amount of utility plant to shaft new elevators/escalators + small upstairs mezzanine connecting the 3 platform egresses into one surface egress. So would trying to upgrade the egress(es) situation at Downtown Crossing for the sake of clearing the platforms much faster, as that's probably going to be a large financial undertaking given the sensitive areas involved.
 

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
359
Reaction score
578
You think. How many other people actually think that?

99% of the time the public doesn't ever notice the trolley poles because their gaze is fixed on literally anything more interesting than that while they're waiting for their train, walking on the sidewalk, driving, etc. They're painted that shade of green instead of a gray matching the stainless steel or concrete of streetlight poles because that dull green is largely indistinguishable from the rust spots.

Are you also going to complain that the railhead rusts around the tie clips? No...of course not; the gaze doesn't wander there, either.
Are you trying to tell me you don't? Or that you don't think anyone else does?

I think 90% of people would tell you the pole is ugly and looks like it's falling apart. I'm sure it's not issue #1 on their mind, but the accumulation of these things (tracks/poles looking decrepit, train cars covered in dirt with stains of who-knows-what leaking down their sides, paint peeling off ceilings and walls at stations, wheels squealing like a banshee at every stop, etc.) make our transit system feel poorly maintained and an afterthought.

I'd love a source on that green paint explanation. It seems if they wanted to hide rust spots they'd paint them rust/brown/red color to begin with instead of green. Green doesn't hide the rust at all.

Railheads are rusty iron all the time. In my mind at least they're suppose to be rusty. It doesn't look like they were once some pristine painted element that fell into disrepair.
 

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
1,520
Aesthetics improve regular people's perception of the infrastructure. Most people don't know that pole could rust 10x and still be structurally sound - most people don't have a clue how infrastructure ages and the limits of building materials at all. I get asked all the time, even by engineers from other industries/focuses. They do look at something, see it rusting, and think it's going downhill, especially if its next to a bunch of new shiny stuff, as we're seeing here.

That said, I don't think the T has aesthetics at the top of the list on their maintenance backlog. It might very well not even be on the list at all. In a perfect world, these would have been maintained from the beginning and kept on the list along with everything else, but we didn't fund infrastructure like that when these (and most of the system) were constructed. I imagine this sort of thing would have to be a collaboration between the City and MBTA, where the City takes on a good amount of the participation, if you want it to be done any time soon.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
4,976
Reaction score
1,231
What are 4-5 things the MBTA can do to make service faster and more reliable? I am not talking about drastic changes, or large capital investments/projects. What would be 4-5 reasonable and relatively quick and easy things they could do?
This seems a good thread for the Red/Green/Orange (the lines being transformed) for which the T's own Transformation projects are really a collection of small projects.
Call the whole Transformation the pick-list, I think you're asking where are the quickest easiest?
(Let's not answer the commuter rail questions here. How about Commuter Rail Operations (stressing the short term focus of that thread)

But (corrected!) from Post 1 of this thread, we have:
GLT Green Line Transformation (https://www.mbta.com/projects/green-line-transformation)
RLT Red Line Transformation (https://www.mbta.com/projects/red-line-transformation-program)
OLT Orange Line Transformation (https://www.mbta.com/projects/orange-line-transformation-program)


On the Green line, it is a little hard because there'd be a natural bias for ignoring any one branch (even though B stop consolidation is kind of a big deal),
but there isn't much clever in the main subway, but one they're looking at is a new crossover at Park Street, which seems like a good way of eliminating congestion.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
Are you trying to tell me you don't? Or that you don't think anyone else does?

I think 90% of people would tell you the pole is ugly and looks like it's falling apart. I'm sure it's not issue #1 on their mind, but the accumulation of these things (tracks/poles looking decrepit, train cars covered in dirt with stains of who-knows-what leaking down their sides, paint peeling off ceilings and walls at stations, wheels squealing like a banshee at every stop, etc.) make our transit system feel poorly maintained and an afterthought.
Sure, if you point and exclaim "LOOK AT THIS!!! ISN'T THAT UGLY?!?!?" with a totally choke-leash leading question, you might get some nods. Otherwise...no, not at all. You would be hard pressed to find 1 out of every 1000 riders finding *an* opinion--any opinion--about wire poles. Much less any opinion stronger than: "Yes...that is a thing that must exist, I guess? What was the question again???" Please do not conflate a topic of passing interest on a set of arch-urb forums wholly dedicated to the fervent obsessing over aesthetic matters obscure and/or trivial as a pervasive wavelength for the general public. It's not. If you posted that question on Reddit r/boston instead of aB you'd be starving for pageviews, much less replies, much less strident opinions in the replies. This take is individualistic in the extreme.

The T does shitloads of rider surveying about appearances. That was actionable data they used for the station 'Brightening' program, and exactly which parts of stations needed the most brightening. "Trolley poles iz ugly-ass" did not rate anywhere high enough to command bucks spent. And even if it did, it's more likely that "I don't like the excess quantity of cabling youze guys got up on them D poles...can you bury some of that it uglifies the Emerald Necklace?" is probably going to outrank what color the B's comparably minimalist reservation poles are painted.

I'd love a source on that green paint explanation. It seems if they wanted to hide rust spots they'd paint them rust/brown/red color to begin with instead of green. Green doesn't hide the rust at all.
Some RR.net explainer thread eons ago. No, I'm not going to pull my hair out for an hour struggling with that board's 1994's-Internet anti-useful forum search to try to find the exact mention. It's both so tarnishing doesn't stick out like sore thumb, and also so at eye level they blend in with the tree line and/or adjacent wood telephone poles. And it went into general adoption that way on the order of 125 years ago, so we are not going to attempt to psychoanalyze the retro-Pantone aesthetic of 1890's populations. We're not going to have a Pantone swatch-war at all here, because that isn't the point. "Do enough people care at all to have any opinion?" is the point.

Railheads are rusty iron all the time. In my mind at least they're suppose to be rusty. It doesn't look like they were once some pristine painted element that fell into disrepair.
Now let's flip this question on its head: Do you now have a source on the "supposed to be rusty" take? Of course you don't; that take is as individual as a snowflake. Maybe this other guy over here thinks railheads are innately ugly, should not be seen, and we should be planting grass inside of all of our above-ground flanges. That is, after all, a thing that is done for ground treatments on some LRT systems. Is there any citizen polling in Greater Boston that you could possibly amass together that would turn up strong opinions about something as obscure as that? Extremely unlikely. For every 1 who has any opinion, even a weak one, there are 500 who have no opinion whatsoever. Because so extremely few citizens have formed an opinion about what a railhead should look like. They don't spend much time looking at it. They know that it exists, and that's about the extent of it.


Acknowledge when a personal take is purely personal, please, and acknowledge that some of the aesthetic opinioneering that rises to the top in a typical archBoston thread is very stridently askew from what and how much a typical citizen audience that cares about MBTA aesthetics. Or aesthetics in general, given some of the discourse we get hung up on in the Dev thread. And don't attempt speak in broad strokes for public sentiment unless you can point to a means of quantifying the sentiment.

The Station Brightening program happened because of popular demand quantified through very deep and very extensive rider surveying about aesthetic P's-and-Q's. If the appearance of wire poles truly rated in the public consciousness, they'd already have some responses on that through decades of surveying. They'd already have some responses percolating through the low levels of the rider surveys because there are multiple corridors where wire poles are more visually conspicuous against their surroundings than they are on the B Line (or C/E, for that matter). We'd be seeing opinions about whether the new GLX poles should be painted, and what color; there hasn't been much. We'd be seeing opinions on whether the comm cable clutter on Blue's and D's respective overheads should be pared back; there hasn't been much. We'd be seeing comments about the Mass Ave. TT poles, which are much more frequently-occurring and MUCH individually rustier than the newer and reservation-consolidated ones on the B. There not only hasn't been much aesthetic pigeonholing there despite a tortured 15 years of comment on how exactly to re-streetscape Mass Ave. throughout North Cambridge, but since any focus on the poles ends up crossing the streams with the T's perenial quest to rip down every Cambridge TT wire and dieselize the joint there ends up being ferocious local pushback to touching anything about the poles in any way/shape/form. We also saw shitloads of comments when NIMBY-hellhole Belmont was planning the rebuild of Belmont St./Trapelo Rd. on the 73 TT, because early on consolidating TT poles and streetlight poles while burying the above-ground utilities underground was a heated inflection point about the project. When wire burial priced out so shockingly high that Belmont had to VE it out, people stopped having any opinions about the TT poles/wires because the orders-of-magnitude more objectionable above-ground street utilities were all staying put and cleansheet sightlines were never going to be a thing.

^See^...sentiment about these kinds of aesthetics DO exert a gravitational signature. So find where that signature is/isn't for this pet issue. You can't simply point to a total void in the feedback and say "See; 90% of people agree with me because I was the first to express a strong opinion and they stayed silent." Consensus-proving doesn't work that way. If there's a total, absolute absence of any feedback signature giving any damns whatsoever about whether trolley poles are painted what color how often enough: it's overwhelmingly likely because you can't move the give-a-damn-o'-meter on more than the thousandths percentile of public opinion like you quite demonstrably can with the question of "Whither power-washing a station's walls more than once a century?" It is what it is, and the strongest single opinion in the room doesn't single-handedly fill a void. If it's truly a pervasive thought, the evidence has been quantified somewhere along the way. Find it here if this is an aesthetic thing that actually drives customer satisfaction.
 
Last edited:

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
359
Reaction score
578
Sure, if you point and exclaim "LOOK AT THIS!!! ISN'T THAT UGLY?!?!?" with a totally choke-leash leading question, you might get some nods. Otherwise...no, not at all. You would be hard pressed to find 1 out of every 1000 riders finding *an* opinion--any opinion--about wire poles. Much less any opinion stronger than: "Yes...that is a thing that must exist, I guess? What was the question again???" Please do not conflate a topic of passing interest on a set of arch-urb forums wholly dedicated to the fervent obsessing over aesthetic matters obscure and/or trivial as a pervasive wavelength for the general public. It's not. If you posted that question on Reddit r/boston instead of aB you'd be starving for pageviews, much less replies, much less strident opinions in the replies. This take is individualistic in the extreme.

The T does shitloads of rider surveying about appearances. That was actionable data they used for the station 'Brightening' program, and exactly which parts of stations needed the most brightening. "Trolley poles iz ugly-ass" did not rate anywhere high enough to command bucks spent. And even if it did, it's more likely that "I don't like the excess quantity of cabling youze guys got up on them D poles...can you bury some of that it uglifies the Emerald Necklace?" is probably going to outrank what color the B's comparably minimalist reservation poles are painted.



Some RR.net explainer thread eons ago. No, I'm not going to pull my hair out for an hour struggling with that board's 1994's-Internet anti-useful forum search to try to find the exact mention. It's both so tarnishing doesn't stick out like sore thumb, and also so at eye level they blend in with the tree line and/or adjacent wood telephone poles. And it went into general adoption that way on the order of 125 years ago, so we are not going to attempt to psychoanalyze the retro-Pantone aesthetic of 1890's populations. We're not going to have a Pantone swatch-war at all here, because that isn't the point. "Do enough people care at all to have any opinion?" is the point.



Now let's flip this question on its head: Do you now have a source on the "supposed to be rusty" take? Of course you don't; that take is as individual as a snowflake. Maybe this other guy over here thinks railheads are innately ugly, should not be seen, and we should be planting grass inside of all of our above-ground flanges. That is, after all, a thing that is done for ground treatments on some LRT systems. Is there any citizen polling in Greater Boston that you could possibly amass together that would turn up strong opinions about something as obscure as that? Extremely unlikely. For every 1 who has any opinion, even a weak one, there are 500 who have no opinion whatsoever. Because so extremely few citizens have formed an opinion about what a railhead should look like. They don't spend much time looking at it. They know that it exists, and that's about the extent of it.


Acknowledge when a personal take is purely personal, please, and acknowledge that some of the aesthetic opinioneering that rises to the top in a typical archBoston thread is very stridently askew from what and how much a typical citizen audience that cares about MBTA aesthetics. Or aesthetics in general, given some of the discourse we get hung up on in the Dev thread. And don't attempt speak in broad strokes for public sentiment unless you can point to a means of quantifying the sentiment.

The Station Brightening program happened because of popular demand quantified through very deep and very extensive rider surveying about aesthetic P's-and-Q's. If the appearance of wire poles truly rated in the public consciousness, they'd already have some responses on that through decades of surveying. They'd already have some responses percolating through the low levels of the rider surveys because there are multiple corridors where wire poles are more visually conspicuous against their surroundings than they are on the B Line (or C/E, for that matter). We'd be seeing opinions about whether the new GLX poles should be painted, and what color; there hasn't been much. We'd be seeing opinions on whether the comm cable clutter on Blue's and D's respective overheads should be pared back; there hasn't been much. We'd be seeing comments about the Mass Ave. TT poles, which are much more frequently-occurring and MUCH individually rustier than the newer and reservation-consolidated ones on the B. There not only hasn't been much aesthetic pigeonholing there despite a tortured 15 years of comment on how exactly to re-streetscape Mass Ave. throughout North Cambridge, but since any focus on the poles ends up crossing the streams with the T's perenial quest to rip down every Cambridge TT wire and dieselize the joint there ends up being ferocious local pushback to touching anything about the poles in any way/shape/form. We also saw shitloads of comments when NIMBY-hellhole Belmont was planning the rebuild of Belmont St./Trapelo Rd. on the 73 TT, because early on consolidating TT poles and streetlight poles while burying the above-ground utilities underground was a heated inflection point about the project. When wire burial priced out so shockingly high that Belmont had to VE it out, people stopped having any opinions about the TT poles/wires because the orders-of-magnitude more objectionable above-ground street utilities were all staying put and cleansheet sightlines were never going to be a thing.

^See^...sentiment about these kinds of aesthetics DO exert a gravitational signature. So find where that signature is/isn't for this pet issue. You can't simply point to a total void in the feedback and say "See; 90% of people agree with me because I was the first to express a strong opinion and they stayed silent." Consensus-proving doesn't work that way. If there's a total, absolute absence of any feedback signature giving any damns whatsoever about whether trolley poles are painted what color how often enough: it's overwhelmingly likely because you can't move the give-a-damn-o'-meter on more than the thousandths percentile of public opinion like you quite demonstrably can with the question of "Whither power-washing a station's walls more than once a century?" It is what it is, and the strongest single opinion in the room doesn't single-handedly fill a void. If it's truly a pervasive thought, the evidence has been quantified somewhere along the way. Find it here if this is an aesthetic thing that actually drives customer satisfaction.
F-Line, while I appreciate your thoroughness and contributions here, sometimes I think your takes are overly data-centric, over confident, and rigid in any sort of slightly emotional/aesthetic topic. I also don't have the time to write out a few essay replies here a day unlike you, so I'll keep this brief.

I'm not gunna repeat myself, but I'm just suggesting that normal people do care about the bits and pieces of rusty, seemingly-falling-apart infrastructure. They just don't show up prominently on your MBTA surveys as a huge priority. Is someone gunna remember that rusty pole? Probably not immediately, let alone enough to complain about it in a survey. Again, it's the culmination of these pieces that make the T look like shit. No, I'm not gunna pull out some studies or claim this is THE DEFINATIVE ANSWER to solving the T's image issues. I'm relying on anecdotal evidence (*gasp*) from taking to people about the T over the years.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
7,729
Reaction score
3,118
F-Line, while I appreciate your thoroughness and contributions here, sometimes I think your takes are overly data-centric, over confident, and rigid in any sort of slightly emotional/aesthetic topic. I also don't have the time to write out a few essay replies here a day unlike you, so I'll keep this brief.

I'm not gunna repeat myself, but I'm just suggesting that normal people do care about the bits and pieces of rusty, seemingly-falling-apart infrastructure. They just don't show up prominently on your MBTA surveys as a huge priority. Is someone gunna remember that rusty pole? Probably not immediately, let alone enough to complain about it in a survey. Again, it's the culmination of these pieces that make the T look like shit. No, I'm not gunna pull out some studies or claim this is THE DEFINATIVE ANSWER to solving the T's image issues. I'm relying on anecdotal evidence (*gasp*) from taking to people about the T over the years.
So...upon self-reflection the anecdotal evidence also largely ends up answering the original question about whether this aesthetic thing is befitting of some actual resource commitment to beautification. Because in the end it boils down almost entirely to transient fee-fees that don't stick or condition any behavior.

Glad I could be of service. ;)
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,656
Reaction score
755
That said, I don't think the T has aesthetics at the top of the list on their maintenance backlog. It might very well not even be on the list at all.
But they do, at least to some extent. Look at all the effort put in to making the station platform areas look brighter and cleaner over the past two years. That doesn't need to be done in terms of operations upgrades (so far as I know), but nevertheless does enhance rider experience. So the 'T thinks that matters, maybe just not as much as they'd need to think that to scrub rust from a pole very few people are going to notice.
 

Top