Northland Newton | Needham St. @ Oak St. | Newton

Equilibria

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I was supportive of the Greenway plan when it was going through, but it had so much support in Newton, I didn’t feel the need to get seriously involved: plenty of others were getting it through. So I am completely ignorant of some key points. First, MassDOT still owns the ROW, right? If so, is there any specific legal process MassDOT must follow to convert it from greenway back to rail? Or is this a matter of pure politics?
Newton has a 99-year lease on the property from MassDOT.
 

Equilibria

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Does the Lessor have any opt-out clauses within that 99 years?
I think you'd have to file a FOIA request :)

While we're here, did they have any renders yesterday, or just the 30,000ft stuff?
 

West

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I think you'd have to file a FOIA request :)
I am shocked, shocked, that such a document would not be on line where I can find it easily. A lack of transparency, right here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? It is an outrage.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Does the Lessor have any opt-out clauses within that 99 years?
Yes. Terminated at any time on zero-notice. The lease is literally a photocopied fill-in form. Google around for other landbank leases in MA and you'll probably find a copy on some trail lobby's site. It's somewhat shockingly basic, which is why so many in-over-their-head volunteer trail groups manage to get their hands on a 99-year lease.

Of course, Newton-Needham want the Green Line...have always wanted the Green Line right up to town meetings in the last 3 years about how bad they want it. So terminating the lease isn't going to be any issue for them. Especially because the corridor can fully accommodate both modes. They can't get the current path all the way to Needham Heights anyway because of the missing 128 bridge deck and tracks going active again at Webster St. grade crossing for the T to stuff work equipment well behind and out-of-the-way of trains reversing at Heights. MassHighway will be rebuilding the bridge abutments at add-a-lane project's end to allow for plopping back down a 2-track rail deck; the abutment concrete's needed anyway as a retaining wall to hold up the ROW hillside and was designed years ago before tracks were ever formally abandoned. They just deleted the deck to save money on the steel, but the de facto retaining wall is being done up same as ever in the rail bridge configuration. It's just extremely unlikely that Needham could ever self-justify the cost of an out-of-pocket deck installation when the path has to unsatisfactorily end >⅓ mile shy of Heights and any direct-touch of the maximal downtown density.


For that reason the spur path with trail head @ 4th & Kendrick with all of its downtown and Cutler Park connectivity is going to be the far more significant path for Needham. Vs. Newton where spanning Route 9 and Oak St. behind all this development is the key piece tying the room together. The ROW path went through intensive community input on how to accommodate future Green Line, to point where there's renders archived somewhere on one of the towns' websites of a rail-with-trail with trolleys running next to it. ROW is narrow in Needham because the Needham Branch spanning the mainline @ Needham Jct. to the B&A Riverside Line was always a single-track connector that usually ran as South Station-to-South Station circuit service. Plenty wide for 2 trolley tracks that only need a compact 25 ft. minimum grade separation, but too narrow for 2 RR tracks or a busway.

But the Newton side is where the thicket of old freight sidings covers pretty much the whole contiguous stretch between Charles River and Newton Highlands (second-to-last customer served until early-'00s was the lumber yard 100 ft. behind the substation in eyeshot of D trolleys rounding the curve). So there ends up plenty of room for rail-with-trail Curtis St. to Oak. Therefore, when the whole Amtrak cannibalization of Needham CR slots forces the conversion issue at the federal level, Newton would have its primary ped needs served by the rail-with-trail and Needham would still have the spur trail be its be-all/end-all connection. And yes, if the Needham Line gets divided between Highlands-Junction GL and Forest Hills-W. Rox OL halves the Bay Colony trail goes contiguous on the mainline ROW over 128 between Junction & VFW Pkwy. Knitting everything together--Medfield/West Medway-Boston, Upper Falls-Cutler Park-Boston, Cutler Park intersection of the Bay Colony & Blue Heron paths last-mile to Boston...and side-path installation along VFW linking that trail with the Arboretum, Emerald Necklace paths, and SW Corridor path. [ insert *head asplode* here]


So, uh...yeah. Chop-chop on all that NEC FUTURE hullabaloo, Amtrak. Your prerogatives can actually deliver the whole package of goods within our lifetime where the state's been frickin' useless going on 7 decades.
 

Equilibria

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But the Newton side is where the thicket of old freight sidings covers pretty much the whole contiguous stretch between Charles River and Newton Highlands (second-to-last customer served until early-'00s was the lumber yard 100 ft. behind the substation in eyeshot of D trolleys rounding the curve). So there ends up plenty of room for rail-with-trail Curtis St. to Oak.
In that case, what's really stopping the City of Newton from just building light rail to Upper Falls? This isn't GLX - you have a fully graded and cleared ROW with no bridges at all. It's just empty ground from the curve to Oak St. Assuming a $100M per-mile cost and a single station with a pair of concrete platforms, it seems like you could do it for under $100M total. Newton North cost twice that.

Of course, that wouldn't happen - Newton would have to lay claim to fare revenue somehow that would never be approved or they'd simply be out the money, but putting an LRT station adjacent to this project would make it ludicrously successful. A pledge by the City to put some portion of the money up against future commercial tax revenue from this site, Nexus, etc. might be moving for Baker.

In fact, why not get Northland and Crosspoint to throw in some bucks, too? This administration has no problem putting transit improvements in on short notice when somebody ponies up the money (witness: Assembly, Yawkey, and Boston Landing). If Mayor Warren started working this, I bet he could do it. Not Needham, not over the river, but to Oak Street, maybe.

If this situation existed in Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, etc., there would be no question about privately-funded transit access. Why should Newton sit out?
 

West

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^^
Thanks, F-Line. Just one more thing I need to get better up to speed on. But I'm glad there's room for tracks plus trail, having both would be great.
 

tysmith95

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^^
Thanks, F-Line. Just one more thing I need to get better up to speed on. But I'm glad there's room for tracks plus trail, having both would be great.
This will probably get done since the surrounding area is wealthy and has lots of influence. The Blue Line to Lynn will probably never happen because that area is poorer. I think both should be done but i'm just making an observation.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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In that case, what's really stopping the City of Newton from just building light rail to Upper Falls? This isn't GLX - you have a fully graded and cleared ROW with no bridges at all. It's just empty ground from the curve to Oak St. Assuming a $100M per-mile cost and a single station with a pair of concrete platforms, it seems like you could do it for under $100M total. Newton North cost twice that.

Of course, that wouldn't happen - Newton would have to lay claim to fare revenue somehow that would never be approved or they'd simply be out the money, but putting an LRT station adjacent to this project would make it ludicrously successful. A pledge by the City to put some portion of the money up against future commercial tax revenue from this site, Nexus, etc. might be moving for Baker.

In fact, why not get Northland and Crosspoint to throw in some bucks, too? This administration has no problem putting transit improvements in on short notice when somebody ponies up the money (witness: Assembly, Yawkey, and Boston Landing). If Mayor Warren started working this, I bet he could do it. Not Needham, not over the river, but to Oak Street, maybe.

If this situation existed in Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, etc., there would be no question about privately-funded transit access. Why should Newton sit out?
Well...it's a shortish branch on a very large-footprint Green Line so logistics matter the world re: the hookup to the rest of the network. You can't do a Mattapan dinky here because it requires some amount of D running from Newton Highlands. Otherwise you're just pinging through a network vacuum without any direct transfer to the outside world except the all-world shitty 59. Then the whole thing about that being way too big an expense for individual towns to swallow, and the "cahnt get theya from here" aspect of the tail tracks at Heights. Which you need...do a mundane cycled tie or ballast replacement job on the branch and you're going to need to stuff 6-10 cars of stone and tie stacks in easy reach of the work shift. Needham Ctr.'s tiny over-capacity CR layover and the 500 ft. of slack track that's left on the Millis side of Junction's wye aren't nearly enough.

But the Amtrak HSR thing and SW Corridor capacity pinch is real. And that's been the huge sea change we didn't have on the radar screen 5 short years ago. NEC FUTURE (FRA working group...not Amtrak-led) is being a tone-deaf dumpster fire with some of the insane and often unnecessary 12-figure things they're proposing that run roughshod over every state-run commuter rail the whole length of the NEC.

Of the relatively few big-ticket things they propose doing in MA compared to other states is the absurd notion that that they can rip up and rebuild the entirety of the SW Corridor to widen it for 4 tracks. Extra capacity only Amtrak gets to use to no commuter benefit whatsoever. The T already feasibility-studied that on a larf 10 years ago for South Coast Rail...only to come back with a >$B price tag and such wanton destruction across Roxbury and South End for so little aggregate benefit that the conclusion was "Yeah...we didn't think that would pass the laugh test." It's archived on the old-old documents on the SCR project page. NEC FUTURE's alternative to the swath of destruction is punitive kneecapping of CR frequencies in a unilateral capacity grab on the current 3 tracks. Something that takes real brass balls to print in an official Scoping Study when MA built the SW Corridor on its own funding and owns it lock-stock. It's so divorced from reality it's literally illegal and wouldn't survive a court challenge.

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The FRA working group is going to be nuked from orbit and disbanded the second the next Administration appoints a new Transpo Secretary, because they've already enraged the Congressional delegations of 7 states including some folks you do not want to fuck with like possible incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Plus...the FRA is a freaking regulatory agency; they have no jurisdiction over empire-building, so this was all a naked power grab to begin with. They are going to get disbanded in due haste by the next Admin. with their planning work transferred to the FTA/USDOT, Amtrak, and the consortium of member-state Transpo Sec'y. heads it should've been under all along.

And then we start talking the real-world, chopping out the pants-on-head stupid overreach, and balancing the needs of the states. That's going to mean multimodal improvements all up and down the coast, because of the delicate balancing act between intercity and local traffic growth. This means stuff like:

  • If MARC is going to be strained for upper-bound growth slots into Baltimore, then the 98 lb. weakling Camden Line is going to need a makeover as a better complement to the Penn Line for WSH-BAL load-spreading.
  • If 30th St. Station in Philly is going to be nuts while all CBD growth is centered around there, then that proposed Airport alt-spine bypass might want to include a rapid-transit conversion of the Regional Rail Airport Line. And/or ceding the old NEC alignment to rapid transit conversion of all the local stops east of Chester where the alignments re-merge. And/or moving DelDOT's Wilmington Line schedules to the new spine and quicker Univ. City-Airport-Chester jaunt through PA with rapid transit transfer @ Chester to separate out Delaware demand from Philly-local demand so both have the extra headroom to grow.
  • If NJ Transit's Trenton Line--the highest per-train commuter ridership on the whole continent--has a ceiling on growth slots...then NJ Transit should get load-spreading funding for preemptively building the West Trenton Line, and doing the River Line extension from downtown Trenton to West Trenton/SEPTA, and help squaring rights with SEPTA to reinstate the old Hoboken-Philly directs through West Trenton from 35 years ago.
  • If the New Haven Line is going to have most Top-five nutso traffic levels in the world, and there's not any non-destructive curve straightening that makes a tangible difference...then Metro North/ConnDOT need station upgrade funding to lengthen all their short platforms to 10 cars so they keep moving with much shorter dwell penalties.
  • If Rhode Island is going to get that that tunnel reactuvation + East Providence bypass to ease congestion, add capacity, and extend 165 MPH territory another 10 miles...then RIDOT should get some local transit help to move all those new riders slamming Downtown Providence around. Something like +3 infill stations at Mt. Hope, Woodlawn, and Park Terrace on the AMTK-vacated Providence-South Attleboro stretch so they can run their own South Attleboro-T.F. Green I-295 Indigo Line on all that gained capacity.

And then you get to Boston. The SW Corridor wrecking ball is a nonstarter, so Captain Obvious says:

  • Franklin Line moves permanently to Fairmount Line. No capital cost for that switch, so maybe a little pot-sweetener for the state to extend Indigo trains to Dedham Corporate so Franklin Line commuters are getting something unequivocally net-positive for sacrificing their Back Bay stop. South of Forest Hills is now just Providence and Stoughton/South Coast schedules staying the hell out of Amtrak's way on 4 tracks.
  • Needham gets the conversion. BBY-Forest Hills is always going to be 3 tracks, so common sense says clear out the 2 commuter rail branches that can be moved at no mobility loss and air the place out coexisting with just 2 remaining routes. Don't illegally kneecap the Purple Line because the feds will lose a state lawsuit in court...and lose HARD. Town of Needham by its lonesome once stopped CR from being Arborwayed 30 years ago with just the threat of a suit. Conversion to Green and Orange halves is $1B+ cheaper than the batshit tunnel destruction. Front 60/40 fed funding split because the whole Green + Orange package requires so little ROW re-landscaping it won't cost more than one-sixth of GLX (less if competently-managed).

Choice selections from this list to the member states gets them their capacity and eager cooperation at a couple hundred beeeeeelion less than that acid-fever alt spines proposal. Especially the most duh-obvious solves like SW Corridor. Things like that make sense even if whittling-down effects ultimately downsize a depressing 80% out of the desired HSR upgrades.

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So this will happen, because basic common sense. Because it's so obviously the path of least resistance for the feds. Because Amtrak and the FTA are stratospherically smarter than the FRA when it comes to bargaining with other stakeholders. Because the outer neighborhoods of Boston and Town of Needham will never ever allow outright transit loss...and will win a legal challenge in a heartbeat. Because feasibility of the solve was established 70 freaking years ago, revisited multiple times in the ensuing decades, and has been lusted-after by the locals all this time. Because the path for the rapid transit swallow in Needham has to go through Newton first and they've already got their trail plan dead-fucking-set for inexpensive rail-with-trail modding.

It's only a matter of how long it takes. Optimistically...subject's going to have to get serious higher-level discussion for whether it's time to go for it by 2025 or else commuter rail's going to be staring at the 2030 capacity noose to Forest Hills fast tightening on them. We already have the existing-growth traffic modeling math to show it, with or without superduper HSR. Realistically...superduper HSR is going to be a decade later than hoped because government is slow and tortured. But we'll still be squeezed enough on the SW Corridor that 2035 is effectively the drop-dead date for first Green and Orange trains before Amtrak and Providence have to start vulturing schedule slots from the branches.

So...rapid transit here is very much NOT the typical local expansion proposal subject to purely local advocacy with infinite deflection from the state. It's forces way beyond and way bigger than the state who are hastening the dilemma, and who will be forced to pay every bit and more of their fair share for the perma-fix when the time comes.
 

Equilibria

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So...rapid transit here is very much NOT the typical local expansion proposal subject to purely local advocacy with infinite deflection from the state. It's forces way beyond and way bigger than the state who are hastening the dilemma, and who will be forced to pay every bit and more of their fair share for the perma-fix when the time comes.
Ok, but I'm not talking about Needham. It's 0.85 miles to Oak St. from the split, plus a single station (with a chance for infill at the halfway point from Newton Highlands behind the Avalon). If train storage is an issue, extend a tail track down the ROW across Oak St. for some distance that you can incorporate into the Needham extension later, or move the platforms a few hundred feet up from Oak to the new "Main" if you don't want the crossing yet.

Operationally, can the MBTA do the full split - 1/3 of the D-Line schedule to Upper Falls - with their 2021 fleet? The full branch to Needham would of course be over the towns' head with the bridges, but what would make this starter stretch expensive? It's just moving/landscaping the path, laying ballast and track, hanging wires, and building a simple station that Northland would pay for. You don't hit 128, but the Northland development itself is a big anchor, and you make a clear statement about the intention for the corridor so that when all the big stuff you're talking about happens, it's a no-brainer to extend the service. As long as UF/Needham is seen as a pipe dream and the locals have grown up not even realizing the train COULD go there, you get laughs and eye-rolls, so why not prime the pump for $50 million or so?

I mean, if you had infinite fleet, run a new route with the full D-Line schedule from Kenmore to Upper Falls. That way, the Longwood commuters might be able to fit in the doors for once.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Ok, but I'm not talking about Needham. It's 0.85 miles to Oak St. from the split, plus a single station (with a chance for infill at the halfway point from Newton Highlands behind the Avalon). If train storage is an issue, extend a tail track down the ROW across Oak St. for some distance that you can incorporate into the Needham extension later, or move the platforms a few hundred feet up from Oak to the new "Main" if you don't want the crossing yet.

Operationally, can the MBTA do the full split - 1/3 of the D-Line schedule to Upper Falls - with their 2021 fleet? The full branch to Needham would of course be over the towns' head with the bridges, but what would make this starter stretch expensive? It's just moving/landscaping the path, laying ballast and track, hanging wires, and building a simple station that Northland would pay for. You don't hit 128, but the Northland development itself is a big anchor, and you make a clear statement about the intention for the corridor so that when all the big stuff you're talking about happens, it's a no-brainer to extend the service. As long as UF/Needham is seen as a pipe dream and the locals have grown up not even realizing the train COULD go there, you get laughs and eye-rolls, so why not prime the pump for $50 million or so?

I mean, if you had infinite fleet, run a new route with the full D-Line schedule from Kenmore to Upper Falls. That way, the Longwood commuters might be able to fit in the doors for once.
They would never do it only as a +1. Crossing 128 to get to TV Place and the Highland Ave. exit is where the biggest ridership prize is as a P&R reliever for Riverside plugging that quadrant of 128. Plus a second consecutive stop of fat TOD potential that'll justify the ridership in a one-two punch. The 1.5 miles to Gould St. is the terms of engagement for a project start. Not unreasonable, but you're going to have to go at least that far to hit critical mass. In similar sense you can frame an Orange +1 to Roslindale Sq. on the 3-track portion of the ROW concurrent with 1 CR track as the kickstarter you can mount independently for pure self-justifying reasons on that flank well ahead of the big Amtrak-led conversion job.

Now, as far as ops go you've got a lot of SGR work to do on the Green Line writ-large first. But it's all crap that has to be done anyway.

  • Repair-repair on the physical plant reliability, Kenmore-Haymarket + aging parts of the D.
  • Signal priority on B/C/E to fix the garbage-in/garbage-out situation at the portals with bunching.
  • Finish the Comm Ave. reconfig Phases II & III to Warren St. For all that is sane, also redo the BU Bridge intersection as a single-point/single-signal cycle intersection to get rid of the Mountfort clusterfuck that slows the B way down.
  • Stop consolidation to tighten last branch bolts. The proposed B ones + Fenwood & Back o' Hill on E + Brandon Hall & Dean Rd. on C.
  • All-doors PoP on all lines to tame dwells.
  • 3-car trains during all peak hours on B & D...+ as-needed C if there's a couple hours per day where conditions warrant. Combined w/ all of the above enhancements that de-stresses the schedule keeping by allowing slightly looser headways (minus 60-120 seconds at most) with lower dwells, less bunching, more punctuality. And...thus...an overall service and capacity increase. Means we have to max out the Type 9 supplemental order and lather on more buffering on the big 200+ Breda/Kinki replacement order. Also means electrical upgrades, but that's a bullet #1 every-item.
  • New cars = re-raise the speed limit on the D straightaways to 50 MPH like the good old pre-Breda days.
  • Revisit canceled plan for thru-running on the inner inbound Park St. loop track to traffic-sort trains running to North Station/Lechmere ahead of GC-turning trains so thru trains always get first crack at their far-end platform slot @ GC. Ends up increasing capacity a lot and eliminating bunching at a key vulnerable point. Also will need it because 3-car trains can't back-to-back on the same platform at Park like deuces can. T received a $12M stimulus grant for that job in 2010, which involved moving a couple electrical boxes and steel supports to clear room. Engineering assessment underestimated cost by half so they returned the grant, saying was a nice-to-have but not essential for GLX. Here is the time to revisit, since they'll get more of their money's worth.

OK...so ^that^ is the baseline for de-crapifying the existing service. All basic neutral eat-your-peas stuff we have no choice but to do for the dig-out from the SGR deficit. This walk-and-chew-gum shit our governance-by-Pioneer Institue-whitepaper refuses to do re: hiring project managers who can hire the front-line workers has to get resolved first. As well as the funding sources for stepping up the pace.

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Now...Phase I to 128.

  • New Charles River bridge, because the old trestle isn't in safe condition. That's the most expensive single piece of the build (and it's not that bad). Slap the deck on the 128 abutments MassHighway left in-wait. Get the substation power source beefed up out here. Realign the Curtis St.-Oak path portion to a track-separated fence...like the pretty clipart pictures on the old archived City of Newton concept render show. Lay track. Do the 2 stations. Upper Falls would work best with offset platforms on each side of the grade crossing so the signal priority would trigger the Oak St. traffic light upon door closure (just like B/C/E; the sensor sees the blinking marker lights change solid and triggers the traffic light cycle). Install a single wye track from the D behind the substation for connection to the Riverside car supply.

  • Tracks end 1-2 car lengths beyond the TV Place/128 station, shy of the Gould St. grade crossing. Each track with maybe one 3-car train's storage behind the platform. Get whatever TOD + P&R redev going on this site, because it's gonna be hot property.

  • Initiate service. Remember...with all the bunching fixes on the existing branches and flip to 3-cars on B/C/D you have slightly lessened headways @ Kenmore while increasing overall capacity/throughput via train size, PoP & dwell savings, and...most importantly...schedule accuracy. The D is the branch you can then re-load with extra frequencies and still keep Kenmore-Copley no more congested than today.
    • 128 & Upper Falls are going to need some crowd-swallers at peakmost. But it'll have a sharper dropoff off-peak than other places. So maybe E-level frequencies @ 3 car for a short peakmost period, dropping to maybe 85% of E frequencies after the surge. And sparser than all others in the dead of night. The inner D will benefit plenty from the all-day frequencies, and despite the loss-leader status of those stops in dead-of-night the CBD keeps growing. The extra subway service in the way off-peak keeps the ledger balanced the hours the outskirts are pretty empty (and those subway trains have to originate from somewhere).

That works pretty well, no? Not much of a capacity burden on the rest. We just can't waste 25 years on this SGR deficit trying to squeeze pennies single-tasking to prove some point about...I don't know what the FCMB is trying to prove. Do what it takes to keep up with growth on any branch of the existing GL and the system will be ready for judicious branch expansion. Upper Falls--and Union-Porter gap-filler for that matter--are perfunctory footnotes to the main job.

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Now...when it's time to do the big swallow to Junction underwritten with Amtrak fun bux, we take it in bite-size steps. On Green at least, the hardest part is over with on this first Upper Falls-128 leg that's got the Big Two TOD stops.


Bite-size Phase 2.1:

  1. Lay track across Gould St. and Webster. Start cannibalizing the CR work storage tail. Same signal-priority doohickeys controlling these 2 non-station crossings (added function: hazard detector pointed at the road that'll flash an emergency red trolley signal ahead of the crossing if it sees a vehicle not slowing down at the traffic signal).
  2. Truncate commuter rail from Heights to Center, and bring Green into Heights station. CR still has full access to the layover yard. Both modes' bumper posts now stare at each other across West St.
  3. Initiate Green +1 service to Heights, stubbing out same as first build to TV Place.
Bite-size Phase 2.2:

  1. Start front-loading prep work while CR is still running. Landscaping ROW, building opposite platform at N. Center, erecting the catenary poles off to the side, trenching utilities. Start clearing out space in the middle of the Junction wye for the new Junction station and storage yard (behind Roche Bros...not the current station on the Millis main).
Bite-size Phase 2.3:

  1. Truncate CR service at Junction. Use the adjacent passing siding and Millis tail track as makeshift layover (won't need much with the shorter line). Stiffen 59 frequencies to cover the temporary Heights-Junction transit gap affecting Center.
  2. Blitz remaining conversion in a 1-year shutdown.
  3. Initiate Green service to Junction. Truncate commuter rail at W. Roxbury. Re-route the 59 off Chestnut St. to Dedham Ave.--terminating @ 128/St. Sebastien's School--to cover the Hersey catchment.
  4. Start tearing out the track between Hersey and Junction for a commuter path. Just get the pave job done so they've got a grade-separated walk to the GL station. Worry about the landscaping and crossing 128 later.


Then...*BREATHE*. Reload the budget, including the Amtrak fun bux share. And then onward and upward with prepping the Rozzie-W. Rox half for its Orange future.






BTW...here's the presentation from 8 months ago presented at a meeting of the Waban Area Council, encompassing all of these wrapped-together developments. Including a bunch of slides on exactly this first-step Green Line poke to 128. So I'm not just spitballing here...this is a very for-real advocacy in town that's got its 'vision thing' together waiting for someone to listen.

http://www.wabanareacouncil.com/sites/default/files/WabanHighlands2-29_1.pdf

GL stuff starts on p.49.
 
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FK4

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It's frustrating because this should have been done years ago... and because this area, on both sides of 128, is so primed to become, possibly, one of the next major expansions of innovation/tech/startup space in the inner metro area. A GLX here would totally change the face of what could be done here, especially since by itself it'd be guaranteed to attract the more diverse and urbanistic crowd that could breathe some life into this area (don't get me wrong, I love Newton and Needham is aight, but quiet and homogeneous it definitely is). I could even see a whole district going up here with nightlife and all sorts of stuff... but I know I'm getting ahead of myself here.:cool:
 

F-Line to Dudley

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It's frustrating because this should have been done years ago... and because this area, on both sides of 128, is so primed to become, possibly, one of the next major expansions of innovation/tech/startup space in the inner metro area. A GLX here would totally change the face of what could be done here, especially since by itself it'd be guaranteed to attract the more diverse and urbanistic crowd that could breathe some life into this area (don't get me wrong, I love Newton and Needham is aight, but quiet and homogeneous it definitely is). I could even see a whole district going up here with nightlife and all sorts of stuff... but I know I'm getting ahead of myself here.:cool:
See in particular page 62 of the WAC slide package, middle of the transit section. Part-and-parcel companion to this Upper Falls + 128 spur is a circulator bus through all that industrial park TOD redev spanning Highland & Kendrick between 128 and the river...designated "New England Business Center". Needham side of the town line, but more contiguous with the Upper Falls TOD catchment. Pages 70-71 bullet the separate economic impacts of NEBC redev to each Needham and Newton. And it's massive. (FWIW...all 115 pages of that presentation covering all things Newton redev are fascinating reading.)

Slam-dunk on the numbers that back up exactly the point you make. Since we know local advocacy doesn't do shit for getting the state to take you seriously, further study on this is going to have to triage with the opportunities the non-optional SGR backlog-taming allow for this branch to help the Green Line's service levels in downtown after the flow kinks get pounded out. And latch onto that ticking Amtrak timebomb by pitching itself as the inexpensive down payment that makes the final Needham Line conversion an easy swallow...again, cloaking itself in best interests of City of Boston's monied politics. Everything else purely local that they talk about is completely on-point and completely compelling unto itself. They just need to tart it up with enough red-meat presentation for the folks with money and political careers riding on the Boston CBD that this serves their mutual interests. Especially as it concerns stepping up the pace of SGR repair on the existing system and offering up congestion solves on the existing system with backfill frequencies post-SGR and a less-daunting approach to that Amtrak D-Day.

Call it optics, call it extracurricular to the purely local upside Newton residents care most about. But it makes this harder to ignore by angling it square at the (more Boston-centric) burning issues holding the FCMB's feet to the fire on whether they're going to walk the talk on overhauling the core system. And that, much like the Amtrak timebomb and all this TOD graduating from study to bid-out, are big sea changes within just the last 5 years. It's not the lonely vacuum the last 70 years of advocacy for this Upper Falls-Needham spur has been. All-new hooks, all-new and harder-to-ignore exploits for getting foot in the door. Nothing's ever a guarantee when it comes to the state. But if these towns can hone their chops the way STEP has in Somerville at ramming home both the economic argument and the impossible-to-ignore system argument that speaks to Boston...it could get them somewhere. This is not GLX. This is more like the cumulative Fairmount Improvements funding pot had they gone through with the Fairmount % share of the DMU purchase. $175-200M managed correctly, not $2B. The Wachusett +1 alone paid out for half as much as we're talking here.
 

whighlander

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Call it smokin before the passage of Ref #4

Where do you think he money is going to come from??

State of Good Repair backlog is $7B -- to work that off in 25 years requires enough $ -- this is another pipe [filled with ....] dream
 

F-Line to Dudley

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FYI...since the WAC presentation is Newton-geared, stop selection is a little different than all previous proposals, from 1945 to Boston MPO's PMT to town-level presentations from as little as 3 years ago. This is first-ever appearance of a Needham St. stop before Upper Falls and first appearance of a 128 stop on the east side of the highway instead of Gould St./TV Place.

That's all going to be subject to further discussion, since past proposals have stuck to traditional RR stop locations. Town of Needham may have differing opinion on which side of 128 works best for stop spacing. It could even be that TOD on both sides of the highway merits stops on both sides of the highway since it would conform to avg. GL stop spacing (if NEBC station isn't sited too-too close to the highway).

We're still dealing in informal stop concepts within the longstanding consensus on general service plan and what's considered the minimum build to 128. The recommended stop placement will inevitably evolve with give-and-take between the towns. But, make a strong enough economic case for demand at each candidate site and impact of maxed-out TOD on each town's tax base (per the slides) and the solution could well be "Aw, fuck it...we're doin' 4 D-style stops!" Again, this is not a GLX-level production so prove the ROI and they can milk it denser with a little public-private rummaging.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Call it smokin before the passage of Ref #4

Where do you think he money is going to come from??

State of Good Repair backlog is $7B -- to work that off in 25 years requires enough $ -- this is another pipe [filled with ....] dream
Try read before reply for a change, Professor. I explained the SGR needs and consequences of doing nothing whatsoever on the economy of Boston if downtown chokes on itself. Pay the going rate for sustaining the New Boston economy or start the drawdown to the lowered-expectations mid-century era is a political decision. Pick which side of the bed you wake up from, because there ain't no continuing Innovation Economy if we can't move people to those opps.

I quoted the build costs for the spur post-SGR and post- "Which side of the bed are you on?" re: fish/cut-bait on sustaining the regional economy. Pay attention or don't bother replying.

The linked slides also fully explain the gains to each town's tax base from maxed-out TOD. Up from ~10% to 20%. Read it yourself; it's not my job to be your research assistant and get concern-trolled for it.
 

whighlander

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Try read before reply for a change, Professor. I explained the SGR needs and consequences of doing nothing whatsoever on the economy of Boston if downtown chokes on itself. Pay the going rate for sustaining the New Boston economy or start the drawdown to the lowered-expectations mid-century era is a political decision. Pick which side of the bed you wake up from, because there ain't no continuing Innovation Economy if we can't move people to those opps.

I quoted the build costs for the spur post-SGR and post- "Which side of the bed are you on?" re: fish/cut-bait on sustaining the regional economy. Pay attention or don't bother replying.

The linked slides also fully explain the gains to each town's tax base from maxed-out TOD. Up from ~10% to 20%. Read it yourself; it's not my job to be your research assistant and get concern-trolled for it.
F-Line -- you made a complete case -- and you certainly have a handle on the programmatics and such -- But you still didn't answer the question -- Where is the money supposed to come from -- that era is over

The era of the new reality is these grandiose schemes will just remain dreams unless you find a viable source for funding
 

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